Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS



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The Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS

The 800mm f/5.6L IS is Canon’s longest telephoto lens. It’s every bit as sharp as the other Canon supertelephoto lenses, and the IS provides a full 4 stops of image stabilization. This can be important in a lens this long even when mounted on a tripod, due to vibration from things as minor as mirror slap.

Although it is fully compatible with the 1.4x teleconverter, it will only autofocus on 1D series cameras with an extender mounted. Autofocus is not guaranteed, even on 1D bodies with the 2x teleconverter; however, some report that center point autofocus may work, at least in bright light.

Roger's Take

Now that I’ve taken this out a couple of times, I’ll answer the question everyone asks: “why should I use the more expensive 800 f/5.6 instead of a 600 f/4 IS with a 1.4x converter?”

It’s a bit lighter and the IS is clearly better (4 stops) than the 600mm (2 stops) which means, in a pinch, I can handhold it for a shot or two, more like if I can brace myself on a fencepost, etc.

The 800 f/5.6 IS is sharper than the 600 f/4 with 1.4×.

The IS system does a better job of controlling mirror slap, allowing shots at 1/5 – 1/20th second (on a steady mount of course) that get blurry with the 600mm.

It’ll let you shoot 1600mm with a 2x TC, although you do have to manually focus.

Now that I’ve shot with the 800mm, I like it. I definitely prefer it over a 600mm with teleconverter if I know I need the focal length. The 800mm f/5.6 is also the photography equivalent of a D cup -- not a necessity, but wherever you go with it, you’ll make lots of new friends.

Addendum: Now the question has become “why should I shoot the 800 f/5.6 instead of the lighter 600 f/4 IS II with a 1.4x teleconverter?" I don’t know. There’s something you never read on the internet: I don’t know.

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