Yesterday’s roundly disappointing outing with the RF 100-500mm left me with some questions. When today’s weather was predicted to be same as yesterday’s, it looked like the best possible time to get answers, again at the mud flat/seawall area. But first, a stop to grab a necessary evil I’d been hoping I wouldn’t need: a teleconverter.
Moving the same five mile or so route as yesterday, though with a bit more haze today, I paired the RF 100-400mm with the RF 1.4X extender. To my utter astonishment, the combo ceded nothing in sharpness to the loftier zoom. Yes, at 200% magnification on the finest details, contrasting edges are fuzzier; but real world shots show no difference.
The RF 100-500mm has a slight edge at MFD, where details of a dragonfly’s eye are a tiny bit crisper at 200%, but I’d be more likely to shoot the RF 100-400mm without the TC in that situation, where it would be a solid equal. AF acquisition was nearly instant, with no wrong-way hunting. Wake-up time with the combo was about half a second, same as the other RF lenses—except for the 100-500mm.
Heat shimmer and haze were again factors in some shots, but to nowhere near the degree they were with the L zoom. Too, the 100-400mm/TC combo doesn’t render feathers with as much detail in anything less than good light. There again, the lens alone would be a better option.
Perhaps the strangest difference was that, in about the same light as yesterday, the 560mm f11 combo stayed in 3-digit ISO most of the time; while the 500mm f/7.1 zoom had ISO in four digits for about 90% of yesterday’s shots.
Overall, though, the outing cemented my belief that the RF 100-500mm, which has already been packed up for offloading, while in lab tests may be a superb lens, it is not for me in the field. Today’s experience has me considering trying the RF 600mm f11, which is surely better for shooting long than today’s combo.
Handles well, too . . . and doesn’t weigh all that much . . . and I still happen to have a hood left over from my previous copy . . . see where I’m headed? 😉