. . . finally.
During a visit to the local Canon office I was able to test an RF 100-500mm on an outdoor terrace. No critters, just a few plants and some distant printed matter had to suffice.
The lens handled differently deployed than when handling it in a shop. It felt compact and light, and the Canon employee assured me that walking around with it dangling from the camera would stress neither camera nor lens mount. But the zoom throw felt plasticky, and the extended barrel had no inertia.
At shutter speeds >1/fl, the finder was shakey, similar to Sony; and, yes, it did throw the focus point a couple of times. But at slower speeds, the finder was reasonably steady. Of the 17 clicks I made, two appeared to have some shake.
Hard to tell how bird feathers would render on it, but fine print was about the same as with the Sigma 150-600mm, maybe even not quite as good. Slight feathering on contrasting borders at 200% doesn’t inspire confidence.
At half-again the price of the EF 100-400mm IS II, which I recall to be slightly crisper, and which was the best zoom I’ve ever used for bird feathers, its stature seems to be boosted by the fact that it’s the only affordable long L lens. Hard pass from me, content to wait for a medium-speed RF prime telephoto.
Maybe having used the 500PF for the last week made me more critical of it, but I don’t think so. The PF lens will be my 500mm going forward and the RF 100-400mm will handle what the PF doesn’t. With no teleconverters currently in the arsenal, I’m not enthusiastic about adding any, but if the little zoom captures birds in other places with as much detail as it does in the field, I might take that option. It was great with TC on the R6.
More changes in the arsenal, which will be apparent in coming days as some different-looking pictures will appear on these pages . . .