Canon RF 600mm F/11 IS STM

Super telephoto prime lens • Digital era

RF The lens is designed for Canon EOS R digital mirrorless cameras.
IS The lens is equipped with Image Stabilizer.
STM The lens is equipped with Stepping Motor.

Designed for

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Features highlight

2 DO
Fixed
STM
Focus limiter
IS 5 stops
IS Mode 1
Panning det.
TC

Specification

Production details
Announced:July 2020
Production status: In production
Production type:Mass production
Original name:CANON LENS RF 600mm F11 IS STM
Optical design
Focal length:600mm
Speed:F/11
Maximum format:35mm full frame
Mount:Canon RF
Diagonal angle of view:4.1° (35mm full frame)
Lens construction:10 elements - 7 groups
2 DO
Diaphragm mechanism
Diaphragm type:Fixed
Number of blades:-
Focusing
Closest focusing distance:4.5m
Maximum magnification ratio:1:7.14 at the closest focusing distance
Focusing method:<No information>
Focusing modes:Autofocus, manual focus
Manual focus control:Focusing ring
Autofocus motor:Stepping motor (Lead screw-type)
Focus mode selector:AF - MF
Full-Time Manual Focus (FTM):Determined by the camera
Focusing distance range limiter:FULL;12-
Image Stabilizer (IS)
Built-in IS:Yes
IS features:Mode 1
Panning Detection
IS efficiency:up to 5 stops
Physical characteristics
Weight:930g
Maximum diameter x Length:⌀93×269.5mm
Weather sealing:-
Fluorine coating:-
Accessories
Filters:Screw-type 82mm
Lens hood:Bayonet-type ET-88B (round)
Teleconverters: Canon Extender RF 1.4X → 840mm F/15.4
 Canon Extender RF 2X → 1200mm F/22

*) Source of data: Manufacturer's technical data.

Manufacturer description

The RF600mm F11 IS STM super-telephoto lens provides a long 600 millimeter focal length and is the first compact and lightweight 600mm super telephoto lens in the RF lineup. This lens is ideal forbird, wildlife, outdoor sports, and aviation. The size of this lens, and it's retracting design, make it a highly portable option which can be stored easily in a camera bagand the built-in optical image stabilization with up to 5 stops of shake correction makes it easy to use either hand-held or with a monopod. The RF600mm F11 IS STM lens will also accept an RF 1.4X or 2.0X teleconverter to increase your focal length to 840mm or 1200mm respectively.

The RF600mm F11 IS STM Lens is the first 600mm super-telephoto in the RF lens lineup and is more portable than its EF counter parts in this category because of its design advantage. The 600mm range provides a far reach not only in distance to the subject, but also in terms of who can access it with its affordable price, smaller super-telephoto footprint, and lighter weight.

With a design that enables you to retract the lens barrel when not shooting, the lens is even more compact so it can more easily be stored or carried in a bag with additional lenses and accessories. When you’re ready to shoot, just unlock to extend the lens barrel, lock it in place for stability and capture your shots, then unlock, retract, and store again to easily move to your next destination.

The use of gapless dual-layered diffractive optical elements helps reduce chromatic aberrations so your images are clear and detailed for high-quality results all around. And because one DO lens has the optical characteristics of multiple lenses, this contributes to the lightweight of the lens itself, as well.

Impressive results are always the goal and with the RF600mm lens and its use of diffractive optic elements, chromatic aberration can be significantly reduced to achieve clear images with minimal color fringing, even at a fixed aperture of F11. This means detailed results of landscapes and more, even from a distance.

Steady and clear images aren’t always the easiest to come by, especially when shooting with a super-telephoto lens, but with the powerful image stabilization function in the RF600mm, you can feel far more confident it won’t be an issue. Whether shooting handheld or with a monopod, the built-in IS with up to 5 stops of shake correction helps to significantly reduce camera shake to stabilize the image and get you the results you want and need.

The use of a lead screw-type STM focus motor means smooth and quiet autofocus can be achieved whether you’re shooting stills or tracking a subject while shooting video. While it’s nice to be near-silent anyway, it’s especially important in instances where you’re trying to capture the flight of a wild bird or the relaxation of a wild animal. With the STM feature of the RF600mm, you can capture the scene while significantly reducing the chance ofthe subject being disturbed.

Like all RF lenses before it, the RF600mm lens comes with a customizable and easily accessible control ring so you can change settings like shutter speed, aperture and ISO while still looking through the view finder.

A 12 pin connection between your EOS R series camera and the lens means communication at a higher speed with larger amounts of data transfer, enabling incredibly fast Autofocus calculations, impressive image stabilization and even Control Ring adjustments.

If 600mm isn’t far-reaching enough, the RF600mm lens is compatible with both the RF Extender 1.4x and RF Extender 2x to help get you even closer, up to 840mm with the 1.4x or 1200mm using the 2x. This added flexibility and versatility helps make the RF600mm an amazing option for your landscape, wildlife, sports photography and more.

From the editor

Based on the specification - a focal length of 600mm, a minimum focusing distance of 4.5m, a small weight of 930g for a super telephoto lens - this lens is primarily intended for handheld photography of distant subjects, as well as wildlife. In order to avoid image blur due to camera shake, shutter speeds of at least 1/640 sec. must be used with this lens. When photographing wildlife, shutter speeds of at least 1/1000 sec. should be selected to “freeze" action of the subjects.

As the lighting deteriorates, it is not possible to gradually open the aperture with this lens, since it has a fixed aperture. The only recourse is to increase the ISO, which will degrade image quality, especially when shooting at sunset or during heavy overcast conditions:

This lens600mm F/4 lens
Lighting conditionsApertureShutter speedISOApertureShutter speedISOShadow detail
Snow/sandF/111/640160F/221/640640Dark with sharp edges
SunnyF/111/640320F/161/640640Distinct
Slight overcastF/111/640640F/111/640640Soft around edges
OvercastF/111/6401250F/81/640640Barely visible
Heavy overcastF/111/6402500F/5.61/640640No shadows
Open shade/sunsetF/111/6405000F/41/640640No shadows

Considering this, the lens is not suitable for professional wildlife photography in low light conditions. For this purpose, the purchase of a F/4 (5.6) super telephoto lens is recommended.

Typical application

distant subjects, distant landscapes with perspective compression effect, wild nature, travel

Slowest shutter speed when shooting handheld

IS OFF11/21/41/81/151/201/301/601/1251/2501/5001/6401/1000+
IS ON11/21/41/81/151/201/301/601/1251/2501/5001/6401/1000+

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35mm full frame

43.27 24 36
  • Dimensions: 36 × 24mm
  • Aspect ratio: 3:2
  • Diagonal: 43.27mm

Travellers' choice

Note

Among autofocus lenses designed for 35mm full-frame mirrorless cameras only. Speed of standard and telephoto lenses is taken into account.

One of the best slow super telephoto primes

According to lens-db.com; among lenses designed for the same maximum format and mount.

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Image stabilizer

A technology used for reducing or even eliminating the effects of camera shake. Gyro sensors inside the lens detect camera shake and pass the data to a microcomputer. Then an image stabilization group of elements controlled by the microcomputer moves inside the lens and compensates camera shake in order to keep the image static on the imaging sensor or film.

The technology allows to increase the shutter speed by several stops and shoot handheld in such lighting conditions and at such focal lengths where without image stabilizer you have to use tripod, decrease the shutter speed and/or increase the ISO setting which can lead to blurry and noisy images.

Stepping motor (Lead screw-type)

Simple direct drive mechanism to realize truly silent and smooth autofocus during video recording. Too large to fit inside compact prime lenses.

Focusing distance range limiter

The lens features focusing distance range limiter which allows to choose between the following focusing distance ranges:

FULLFull range of focusing distances.
12m - ∞Range of focusing distances suitable for shooting distant subjects.

By setting the suitable focusing distance range, the actual autofocusing time can be shorter.

AF - MF

AFAutofocus mode.
MFManual focus mode.

Aspherical elements

Aspherical elements (ASPH, XA, XGM) are used in wide-angle lenses for correction of distortion and in large-aperture lenses for correction of spherical aberration, astigmatism and coma, thus ensuring excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. The effect of the aspherical element is determined by its position within the optical formula: the more the aspherical element moves away from the aperture stop, the more it influences distortion; close to the aperture stop it can be particularly used to correct spherical aberration. Aspherical element can substitute one or several regular spherical elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Use of aspherical elements has its downsides: it leads to non-uniform rendering of out-of-focus highlights. This effect usually appears as "onion-like" texture of concentric rings or "wooly-like" texture and is caused by very slight defects in the surface of aspherical element. It is difficult to predict such effect, but usually it occurs when the highlights are small enough and far enough out of focus.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Low dispersion elements

Low dispersion elements (ED, LD, SD, UD etc) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. This type of glass exhibits low refractive index, low dispersion, and exceptional partial dispersion characteristics compared to standard optical glass. Two lenses made of low dispersion glass offer almost the same performance as one fluorite lens.

Canon's Super UD, Nikon's Super ED, Pentax' Super ED, Sigma's FLD ("F" Low Dispersion), Sony' Super ED and Tamron's XLD glasses are the highest level low dispersion glasses available with extremely high light transmission. These optical glasses have a performance equal to fluorite glass.

High-refraction low-dispersion elements

High-refraction low-dispersion elements (HLD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

High Index, High Dispersion elements

High Index, High Dispersion elements (HID) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Anomalous partial dispersion elements

Anomalous partial dispersion elements (AD) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture.

Fluorite elements

Synthetic fluorite elements (FL) minimize chromatic aberrations and ensure excellent sharpness and contrast even at fully open aperture. Compared with optical glass, fluorite lenses have a considerably lower refraction index, low dispersion and extraordinary partial dispersion, and high transmission of infrared and ultraviolet light. They are also significantly lighter than optical glass.

According to Nikon, fluorite easily cracks and is sensitive to temperature changes that can adversely affect focusing by altering the lens' refractive index. To avoid this, Canon, as the manufacturer most widely using fluorite in its telephoto lenses, never uses fluorite in the front and rear lens elements, and the white coating is applied to the lens barrels to reflect light and prevent the lens from overheating.

Short-wavelength refractive elements

High and specialized-dispersion elements (SR) refract light with wavelengths shorter than that of blue to achieve highly precise chromatic aberration compensation. This technology also results in smaller and lighter lenses.

Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics

Organic Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics material (BR Optics) placed between convex and concave elements made from conventional optical glass provides more efficient correction of longitudinal chromatic aberrations in comparison with conventional technology.

Diffraction elements

Diffraction elements (DO, PF) cancel chromatic aberrations at various wavelengths. This technology results in smaller and lighter lenses in comparison with traditional designs with no compromise in image quality.

High refractive index elements

High refractive index elements (HR, HRI, XR etc) minimize field curvature and spherical aberration. High refractive index element can substitute one or several regular elements to achieve similar or better optical results, which allows to develop more compact and lightweight lenses.

Apodization element

Apodization element (APD) is in fact a radial gradient filter. It practically does not change the characteristics of light beam passing through its central part but absorbs the light at the periphery. It sort of softens the edges of the aperture making the transition from foreground to background zone very smooth and results in very attractive, natural looking and silky smooth bokeh.

Original name

Lens name as indicated on the lens barrel (usually on the front ring). With lenses from film era, may vary slightly from batch to batch.

Format

Format refers to the shape and size of film or image sensor.

35mm is the common name of the 36x24mm film format or image sensor format. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, and a diagonal measurement of approximately 43mm. The name originates with the total width of the 135 film which was the primary medium of the format prior to the invention of the full frame digital SLR. Historically the 35mm format was sometimes called small format to distinguish it from the medium and large formats.

APS-C is an image sensor format approximately equivalent in size to the film negatives of 25.1x16.7mm with an aspect ratio of 3:2.

Medium format is a film format or image sensor format larger than 36x24mm (35mm) but smaller than 4x5in (large format).

Angle of view

Angle of view describes the angular extent of a given scene that is imaged by a camera. It is used interchangeably with the more general term field of view.

As the focal length changes, the angle of view also changes. The shorter the focal length (eg 18mm), the wider the angle of view. Conversely, the longer the focal length (eg 55mm), the smaller the angle of view.

A camera's angle of view depends not only on the lens, but also on the sensor. Imaging sensors are sometimes smaller than 35mm film frame, and this causes the lens to have a narrower angle of view than with 35mm film, by a certain factor for each sensor (called the crop factor).

This website does not use the angles of view provided by lens manufacturers, but calculates them automatically by the following formula: 114.6 * arctan (21.622 / CF * FL),

where:

CF – crop-factor of a sensor,
FL – focal length of a lens.

Mount

A lens mount is an interface — mechanical and often also electrical — between a camera body and a lens.

A lens mount may be a screw-threaded type, a bayonet-type, or a breech-lock type. Modern camera lens mounts are of the bayonet type, because the bayonet mechanism precisely aligns mechanical and electrical features between lens and body, unlike screw-threaded mounts.

Lens mounts of competing manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony etc.) are always incompatible. In addition to the mechanical and electrical interface variations, the flange focal distance from the lens mount to the film or sensor can also be different.

Lens construction

Lens construction – a specific arrangement of elements and groups that make up the optical design, including type and size of elements, type of used materials etc.

Element - an individual piece of glass which makes up one component of a photographic lens. Photographic lenses are nearly always built up of multiple such elements.

Group – a cemented together pieces of glass which form a single unit or an individual piece of glass. The advantage is that there is no glass-air surfaces between cemented together pieces of glass, which reduces reflections.

Flange focal distance

The flange focal distance (FFD), sometimes called the "flange back", is the distance from the mechanical rear end surface of the lens mount to the focal plane.

Focal length

The focal length is the factor that determines the size of the image reproduced on the focal plane, picture angle which covers the area of the subject to be photographed, depth of field, etc.

Speed

The largest opening or stop at which a lens can be used is referred to as the speed of the lens. The larger the maximum aperture is, the faster the lens is considered to be. Lenses that offer a large maximum aperture are commonly referred to as fast lenses, and lenses with smaller maximum aperture are regarded as slow.

In low-light situations, having a wider maximum aperture means that you can shoot at a faster shutter speed or work at a lower ISO, or both.

Closest focusing distance

The minimum distance from the focal plane (film or sensor) to the subject where the lens is still able to focus.

Closest working distance

The distance from the front edge of the lens to the subject at the maximum magnification.

Magnification ratio

Determines how large the subject will appear in the final image. For example, a magnification ratio of 1:1 means that the image of the subject formed on the film or sensor will be the same size as the subject in real life. For this reason, a 1:1 ratio is often called "life-size".

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Manual focus override in autofocus mode

Allows to perform final focusing manually after the camera has locked the focus automatically. Note that you don't have to switch camera and/or lens to manual focus mode.

Electronic manual focus override is performed in the following way: half-press the shutter button, wait until the camera has finished the autofocusing and then focus manually without releasing the shutter button using the focusing ring.

Electromagnetic diaphragm control system

Provides highly accurate diaphragm control and stable auto exposure performance during continuous shooting.

Fixed diaphragm

The aperture setting is fixed at F/11 on this lens, and cannot be adjusted.

Number of blades

As a general rule, the more blades that are used to create the aperture opening in the lens, the rounder the out-of-focus highlights will be.

Some lenses are designed with curved diaphragm blades, so the roundness of the aperture comes not from the number of blades, but from their shape. However, the fewer blades the diaphragm has, the more difficult it is to form a circle, regardless of rounded edges.

At maximum aperture, the opening will be circular regardless of the number of blades.

Weight

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

Maximum diameter x Length

Excluding case or pouch, caps and other detachable accessories (lens hood, close-up adapter, tripod adapter etc.).

For lenses with collapsible design, the length is indicated for the working (retracted) state.

Weather sealing

A rubber material which is inserted in between each externally exposed part (manual focus and zoom rings, buttons, switch panels etc.) to ensure it is properly sealed against dust and moisture.

Lenses that accept front mounted filters typically do not have gaskets behind the filter mount. It is recommended to use a filter for complete weather resistance when desired.

Fluorine coating

Helps keep lenses clean by reducing the possibility of dust and dirt adhering to the lens and by facilitating cleaning should the need arise. Applied to the outer surface of the front and/or rear lens elements over multi-coatings.

Filters

Lens filters are accessories that can protect lenses from dirt and damage, enhance colors, minimize glare and reflections, and add creative effects to images.

Lens hood

A lens hood or lens shade is a device used on the end of a lens to block the sun or other light source in order to prevent glare and lens flare. Flare occurs when stray light strikes the front element of a lens and then bounces around within the lens. This stray light often comes from very bright light sources, such as the sun, bright studio lights, or a bright white background.

The geometry of the lens hood can vary from a plain cylindrical or conical section to a more complex shape, sometimes called a petal, tulip, or flower hood. This allows the lens hood to block stray light with the higher portions of the lens hood, while allowing more light into the corners of the image through the lowered portions of the hood.

Lens hoods are more prominent in long focus lenses because they have a smaller viewing angle than that of wide-angle lenses. For wide angle lenses, the length of the hood cannot be as long as those for telephoto lenses, as a longer hood would enter the wider field of view of the lens.

Lens hoods are often designed to fit onto the matching lens facing either forward, for normal use, or backwards, so that the hood may be stored with the lens without occupying much additional space. In addition, lens hoods can offer some degree of physical protection for the lens due to the hood extending farther than the lens itself.

Teleconverters

Teleconverters increase the effective focal length of lenses. They also usually maintain the closest focusing distance of lenses, thus increasing the magnification significantly. A lens combined with a teleconverter is normally smaller, lighter and cheaper than a "direct" telephoto lens of the same focal length and speed.

Teleconverters are a convenient way of enhancing telephoto capability, but it comes at a cost − reduced maximum aperture. Also, since teleconverters magnify every detail in the image, they logically also magnify residual aberrations of the lens.

Efficiency of image stabilizer

The efficiency of image stabilizer is measured in stops and each stop corresponds to a two-times increase of shutter speed. For example, if you are shooting at focal length of 80mm and it is known that the efficiency of image stabilizer is 3 stops, it means that during handheld shooting at such focal length you can use shutter speed of 1/10 second which is exactly 23 times longer than the shutter speed 1/80 second needed to obtain sharp image in sufficient lighting conditions.

Hybrid IS

The image stabilizer has Hybrid IS technology which corrects not only angle but also shift camera shake, which is more pronounced in close-range shooting when a camera moves parallel to the imaging scene. Hybrid IS dramatically enhances the effects of image stabilization during shooting, including macro shooting, which had proven difficult for conventional image stabilization technologies.

XY-Shift

The image stabilizer has XY-Shift technology which corrects not only angle but also shift camera shake, which is more pronounced in close-range shooting when a camera moves parallel to the imaging scene. XY-Shift dramatically enhances the effects of image stabilization during shooting, including macro shooting, which had proven difficult for conventional image stabilization technologies.

Dynamic IS

The image stabilizer has Dynamic IS technology which especially effective when shooting while walking because it compensates strong camera shake. Dynamic IS activates automatically when the camera is set to movie shooting.

Mode 1

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake. Mainly effective for shooting still subjects.

Mode 2

Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots in a horizontal direction. Corrects horizontal camera shake during following shots in a vertical direction.

Mode 2

Corrects vertical camera shake during following shots in a horizontal direction.

Mode 2 (Intelligent OS)

The lens incorporates Intelligent OS with algorithm capable of panning in all directions. In Mode 2, the movements of subjects can be captured with panning effects even when the camera is moved horizontally, vertically, or diagonally — regardless of the position of the lens.

Mode 3

Corrects camera shake only during exposure. During panning shots, corrects camera shake during exposure only in one direction the same as Mode 2. Effective for following fast and irregulary moving subjects.

Panning Detection

The image stabilizer automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction.

Tripod Detection

It is often thought that image blur caused by camera shake can be prevented by using a tripod. Actually, however, even using a tripod may result in image blur because of tripod vibration caused by mirror or shutter movement at the time of exposure. The image stabilizer automatically differentiates the frequency of the vibration from that of camera shake, and changes algorithm to correct image blur caused by slight tripod vibration.

VR NORMAL

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake. Automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction.

VR ACTIVE

Corrects vertical and horizontal camera shake when shooting from a moving vehicle, or some other unstable position. Panning is not detected.

VR SPORT

Allows a continuous shooting frame rate and release time lag similar to those that are possible when image stabilizer is turned off. Automatically detects panning and then corrects camera shake only in one direction.

VR TRIPOD

It is often thought that image blur caused by camera shake can be prevented by using a tripod. Actually, however, even using a tripod may result in image blur because of tripod vibration caused by mirror or shutter movement at the time of exposure. The image stabilizer automatically differentiates the frequency of the vibration from that of camera shake, and changes algorithm to correct image blur caused by slight tripod vibration.