Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens review

The Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM offers massive telephoto reach in a refreshingly compact and affordable package

Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM
(Image: © Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM super-telephoto lens for Canon EOS R-series full-frame mirrorless cameras gives phenomenal reach but is much smaller and more lightweight than competing lenses for DSLRs. At 1,260g, it’s perfectly viable for long periods of handheld shooting, aided by a highly effective optical image stabilizer. It also has a retractable mechanism to cut down on stowage size, making it ideal for use anywhere and everywhere from local sporting events to wildlife shoots in far-flung corners of the world.


  • +

    Monster telephoto reach

  • +

    Compact, lightweight retractable design

  • +

    Good image quality and handling


  • -

    Fixed f/11 aperture

  • -

    No weather-seals

  • -

    Lens hood is sold as expensive optional extra

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Think lightweight, affordable, fixed-aperture super-telephoto prime and you’re probably thinking along the lines of a reflex/mirror lens like the Rokinon/Samyang 800mm. This type of lens plays tricks with mirrors to shoehorn long telephoto reach into a small physical size. They used to be quite popular a few decades ago but image quality was (and is) mediocre at best. The other option has more recently been a conventional super-tele prime like the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM, which is frankly enormous, weighs a hefty 4.5kg, and costs around £13,200/$13,000, putting it beyond the reach of most of us. At a fraction of the weight and cost, Canon’s new RF 800mm f/11 lens aims for an ideal compromise.

Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM specs

Canon RF 600mm lens compare this shot with the similar image in our separate review. (Image credit: Matthew Richards/Digital Camera World)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.