Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM Review

September 18, 2020 | Mark Goldstein |


What's not to like about a stabilized 800mm prime lens for full-frame cameras that is light enough to use hand-held, compact enough to travel with, focuses quickly and quietly with the minimum of fuss, blurs backgrounds with pleasing bokeh effects, and costs less than £$1000?

Well, there's no getting away from that fixed f/11 aperture which limits its use to either bright conditions or high ISO speeds (or sometimes both), the lack of any kind of weather-sealing at all may well put off more hard-core users, the 6m minimum focusing distance is a little restrictive, the tripod mount can't be rotated from landscape to portrait position, there could be some question marks over the long-term durability of the retractable design, and the essential lens hood is unfortunately an expensive optional accessory.

All in all, though, the Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM is a refreshingly brave attempt to make an otherwise expensive branch of photography more accessible, both in terms of cost and portability - there simply aren't any other 800mm lenses that are as inexpensive, compact and crucially as good as this one. Bravo to Canon for thinking out of the box.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 5