. . . what you think you’re paying for. Unless you count part of it as valuable experience.
Out with the R5 and 100-500mm for a target walk in the morning and a critter walk in the afternoon, I managed to get through the day without cursing . . . much. Let me be clear: it is NOT a bad lens. It’s just that I can’t see that it’s any better for my purposes than Canon’s RF lower-tier offerings.
It reminds me so much of the Sony 100-400mm GM: a bit of cooked sharpening, and appears to be a product of the finance and marketing departments rather than the optics and industrial design people. Even the black-rimmed hood, which gives the impression of a rubber bumper featured by higher-end hoods, and is claimed to be rubber by at least two reviews, is hard plastic.
Spot focus was mostly hits, and eye AF was mostly accurate, but sometimes a little off. And from what I’ve read online in the past day or so, many users have similar experiences and don’t seem to mind putting up with the bad in order to get what, for them, is the good in the lens.
It’s as if the company was looking to make a windfall off of customers desperate for a “pro” level long zoom, and this is what they came up with. Sure, it’s plenty sharp; but that’s it. At f/7.1 under canopy in medium lighting, I got ISO 8000! F-stop 7.1, sure; but T-stop seems more like f/13 in anything other than open field sunlight. Even in sunshine shooting against foliage, I don’t think I got down to 3-digit ISO the whole afternoon.
The glass seems to be a lot like some Cosina glass from about 10-12 years ago: overly-contrasty, with black shadows and blown whites that can’t be helped by highlight/shadow manipulation. Even with sacrificing a bit of reach, I much prefer the draw of the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 so far.
It’ll get one more test, weather permitting, in the mud flat/seawall area. If logistics are on my side, I’ll be able to compare it directly with a 600mm f/11, which is in my sights at the moment.
Should be interesting. Stay tuned . . .