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Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS Super Telephoto

The EF 800mm f/5.6L IS (about $10,900) is Canon’s longest currently available telephoto, and requires special handling to make sharp images, a topic discussed explored in the full review in DAP.

Optical construction

With two fluorite lens elements, one UD element and one Super-UD element, control of color fringing is outstanding— I observed no evidence of any.

The 800/5.6L is also weather resistant and light weight (relatively speaking). With the lens hood, I weighed it 10.5 pounds, a bit higher than the nominal 9.9 weight of the lens alone.

Specifications

Per Canon.

Specifications for Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS
Item Item
Focal Length and maximum aperture 800 mm f/5.6
Lens Construction 18 elements in 14 groups
Angle of View diagonal 3° 5' on full-frame
Focus Adjustment Ring type ultrasonic motor with internal focus
Closest Focusing Distance 19.7 ft / 6m
Filter size 52mm (Drop-in Gelatin Filter Holder)
Max Diameter and Length 6.4 in. x 18.1 in./ 162mm x 461mm
Weight alone
Working weight with lens hood
With hood, rear cap, soft case
9.9 pounds / 4500g
(10.5 pounds with lens hood)

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Support

Consider the Wimberly WH-200 a mandatory accessory for this lens, along with a sturdy tripod.

The full review goes into alternatives, but this is the tripod head you’ll want.

Wimberly WH-200 gimbal-type tripod head

 

MTF

MTF for Canon EF 28mm f/2.8

This MTF chart shows outstanding contrast. While there is some astigmatism present, the overall MTF is so high that very crisp detail should result at every setting.

There is no sharpness advantage to stopping down— at all. Stop down only to improve depth of field. Stopping down past f/8 will only drop the contrast resulting in less crisp images (except for depth of field), due to diffraction.

Full review

An in-depth review of this lens is available in DAP.

Field comparison scene

Conclusions

At about $10,900, the Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS delivers the results serious pros need, with some attention given to focus, shutter speed, tripod stability, technique, etc.


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