Buoyed by a second look at some of yesterday’s static shots with the RF 100-500mm, I enthusiastically headed out to the mud flat/seawall on one of the most sultry afternoons in recent memory, heat index around 112F.
Of 150 shots, well over half were not focused with critical accuracy. Even factoring in heat shimmer, which could have affected some of the shots, it was an abysmal performance. With BIF, the percentage was lower, with the IS pan setting making no difference whatsoever.
A secondary issue seems to be poor stabilization, even though camera and lens both have the latest firmware, visible in some shots. IS on most shots today took about 3 seconds to somewhat stabilize the finder, with more than one thrown focus point. Slow wake-up, which doesn’t happen with any of my other RF lenses, cost me a chance at a Brahminy Kite passing overhead.
The final nail in the coffin was when I half-pressed the shutter button and started to zoom the lens in while raising the camera for a shot. Both EVF and camera froze, and wouldn’t do anything until I removed the battery and restarted the camera.
This lens seems a lot like a Sony product from a few years ago, start to finish: designed to impress DXOmark, brick wall testers, and Youtube “reviewers.” It is unquestionably sharp at all focal lengths. On inanimate objects, focus is accurate. It’s a cosmetic masterpiece, right down to the hard plastic “rubber-look” bumper at the end of the hood.
Below are two 100% crops. Almost any consumer zoom would have grabbed some amount of feather details on the Blue-Tailed Bee Eater. The dragonfly looks great, but only a smidgen crisper than the same shot taken by the RF 100-400mm would, with the difference probably made by cooked sharpness in the L lens files.
The lens currently rests on the outbound shelf in the dry cabinet. Tomorrow, back to shooting with the 500PF . . .