- Very compact and lightweight for a 100-400mm lens
- Well constructed lens with excellent control haptics
- Very fast and accurate autofocus
- Excellent optical image stabilizer
- Good sharpness throughout the zoom range
- Reasonably good bokeh for a consumer zoom
- Very good flare performance
- Excellent close-focus ability
- Reasonable price
- Slow maximum aperture
- Moderate lateral chromatic aberration
- Some edge softness at close focus distances
- No lens hood included
As I mentioned several times, I found the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM to be a surprising lens. When it was first introduced, it was easy to dismiss as a slow, cheap consumer zoom that probably wasn’t very good. Well, it does have a slow maximum aperture, and it is fairly inexpensive, but it is pretty darn good. While it isn’t going to challenge the RF 100-500mm f/5-7.1L in ultimate image quality, the lens manages to produce images with very good sharpness, nice bokeh and overall high image quality. The lens also has an excellent image stabilizer, fast and accurate autofocus and is small and light enough to be a lens that makes it into your bag every day.
This last part is key. Before this lens, I usually dreaded carrying lenses longer than 200mm. With the 100-400mm, it’s a pleasure to have in my bag. It can fit in the vast majority of camera bags with no issues, and weighs less than the RF 24-105mm f/4L. This compact size, along with the excellent AF and good optics makes this a perfect lens to carry for daily shooting. It’s a great bargain and a lens most Canon R shooters should consider for their kit. Highly recommended.
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2 thoughts on “Review: Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM”
Thanks for the review. I just purchased this lens to take with me on a trip instead of using my adapted 70-200 4L IS. My early impression are that it is a very impressive lens even not accounting for its low price. No time yet to compare to my 70-200 4L IS, but I think the difference is going to be mostly aperture and FL range. It’s roughly the same size and weight but I don’t have to deal with the adapter, it has 200 mm more reach and the IS is really good. The aperture hit is unavoidable for its size and it seems Canon has used a very intelligent set of tradeoffs designing this lens. Build may be plastic/polycarbonate but this thing is well engineered and very solidly put together.
I also am getting the 16 2.8 largely based upon your review. I currently use the 16-35 4L IS on an adapter (and will continue to do so) but the small size of that 16 will means it comes along with me more often.
Please keep the Canon gear reviews coming. I like how you give reports that reflect actual usage instead of just shooting test charts and reporting the numbers produced by a software program. I say this as a person who has worked 30+ as an EE testing producing test systems for the clients of my consulting business. Keep up the good work.
Thank You very much for this complete and effective test