Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM review

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introduction

The Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM is a compact, lightweight and affordable super telephoto lens for Canon EOS R full frame mirrorless cameras that won’t break the bank.

It features 12 elements in 9 groups, including an aspherical element to help control distortion and an ultra-low dispersion element to reduce chromatic aberration, and it features a Super Spectra coating to help reduce glare and ghosting. .

This lens features a 9-blade diaphragm that creates attractive blur on out of focus areas of the image.

It is equipped with an Optical Image Stabilizer that offers 5.5 stops of built-in stabilization, or 6 stops when used with the EOS R5 and EOS R6 cameras.

An internal focusing mechanism means the lens barrel doesn’t move, and it offers an impressive 88cm / 34.6 “minimum focusing distance and 0.41x maximum magnification ratio, all using economical 67 m filters.

There is a configurable control ring on the lens barrel that allows you to quickly change exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture, and ISO settings.

This lens is also compatible with 1.4x and 2x RF Extenders with no zoom range limitation, offering focal ranges of 140mm – 560mm and 200mm – 800mm respectively.

The Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM lens is now available for £ 699 / $ 649 in the UK and US, respectively.

Ease of use

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Weighing 635g / 22.4oz and measuring 16.5cm in length (when set to a focal length of 100mm), the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM is a surprisingly compact lens and relatively light considering the wide focal range of 100 -400mm it is proposed.

It doesn’t look out of balance at all when you use it with a mid-size camera body like the Canon EOS R6 body we tested it with, as the product photos show, even without a battery grip.

The lens extends a further 8.5cm to reach a total length of 25cm when fully zoomed to 400mm.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

The RF 100-400mm is slightly shorter than the similar RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM by around 4cm, but above all it’s much lighter than its longer and faster cousin, which weighs in. 1530 g.

The build quality is very good for what is not an L-series lens after all. Despite its mostly plastic construction, the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM feels solid in your hand, and it commendably has a metal stand.

Note that this lens does not have a weatherproof design to help protect it from dust and moisture.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

There are two switches on the left side of the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM lens. The first is a switch to choose between autofocus and manual focus. The lower one is a switch to turn image stabilization on or off.

The 5.5 built-in image stabilization stops are important when holding such a long lens in your hand, and the system thankfully works very well, allowing you to shoot at shutter speeds slower than 1 / 400th. and always get clear results (obviously depending on your technique).

This is especially important on the older EOS R and RP cameras, which do not have the extra in-body stabilization offered by the newer EOS R5 and R6, which therefore further improves the stabilizer of the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM, although only by an extra half stop at 6 stops in total.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

The lock function switch is a useful function that helps protect the lens. Set the focal length to 100mm and move it to the locked position to prevent the zoom mechanism from sneaking around when the camera is pointed down or in storage.

At the end of the lens is the thin control ring. Like most other Canon RF lenses, this can be used to control some key camera settings (TV, AV, ISO, and exposure settings).

The fly-by-wire manual focus ring is quite narrow but is ridged to help you grip it better.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

There are also no hard stops on either end of the ring to help you know when the minimum or maximum focus distance has been reached.

Note that this lens usefully offers permanent manual focus even when AF is selected.

Polarizer users should be happy that the sensitive 67mm filter thread does not turn when focusing.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Autofocusing with the Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM and the EOS R6 camera has proven to be fast, quiet and accurate most of the time.

The Dual Nano USM autofocus system uses both a ring-type USM mechanism and an STM mechanism to deliver fast, near-silent autofocus performance with permanent manual focus in one-shot AF mode .

The lens is also very quiet, making it ideal for low-key situations, like a safari or for bird watching, as well as for use when shooting videos.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

We haven’t experienced too much “hunting” at all, whether in good or bad light, with the lens focusing precisely almost all the time, thanks to the cameras’ superb low-light capabilities. photo EOS R.

A petal-shaped lens hood (EW-74B) and soft case (LP1224) are available for this lens, but unfortunately both are optional extras that are not included in the box.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Focal range

The focal length range of the Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM offers a viewing angle of 24 ° at 100mm and 6 ° 10 ‘at 400mm.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

100 mm

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

200 mm

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

300mm

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

400 mm

Chromatic aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasting edges, were not particularly noticeable in our test shots, only appearing in areas of very high contrast.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Vignetting

With the Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM lens set to its maximum aperture, there is some light loss in the corners, which you will need to correct in post processing. This is much more apparent in Raw files than in JPEGs.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

100 mm / JPEG

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

100mm / RAW

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

400mm / JPEG

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

400mm / RAW

Distortion

There is a slight cushion distortion at either end of the focal range in JPEG and Raw files, but it is not too pronounced.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

100 mm

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

200 mm

Macro

The Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM offers a minimum focusing distance of 88cm / 34.6 “, with a maximum magnification of 0.41x. This allows you to take good macro photos when shooting. shooting at the focal length of 400 mm.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for blurry areas in a photograph and is generally described in qualitative terms such as smooth / creamy / hard etc.

In the RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM lens, Canon used a rounded 9-blade iris diaphragm, which, combined with rather slow maximum apertures, results in a pretty nice bokeh in our opinion.

We do realize, however, that bokeh rating is subjective, so we’ve included many examples below for your reading.

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

Acuity

In order to show you how sharp the Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM lens is, we are offering 100% cropping in the following pages.

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Sharpness: 1 “


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