Sizing up of the competition's new announcement: Canon


Jul 31, 2013
Real Name
I am not speaking of Canon R5 or R6 because personally I have no interest in those because of the following lines I am writing bellow. I am writing this with interest in Wildlife and Birds in Flight specifically.
Hands-on experience article:

I am an open-minded person and I'm brand agnostic IF I can get WHAT I NEED from any other brand. I was looking forward to these Canon announcements from at least a curiosity point. In the end, what I got from the announcements, is the reinforcement of conviction that I am on the right platform. Sizing up the current mirrorless market (for the past 9 months), I have no interest in going back to DSLR for a daily driver (but I would not exclude getting back to DSLR for nostalgia and camera collection at some point), there is not much better alternative then Micro Four Thirds for wildlife and telephoto shooting past 200/300mm (35mm FF equiv).
Canon coming out with a 600mm f 11 and 800mm f 11 telephoto prime that are designed almost like a mix between mirror lenses and spotting scopes. They are fixed aperture at f 11, just like mirror lenses, but they have AF motors. They extend from storage like old pump-action zooms from the 70s and 80s lenses and they have quite dark apertures, f 11 is something we normally see on mirror lenses, yet we come back to this similarity with mirror lenses: they had to pull every single trick they could find to make these lenses compact and yet there is quite a big sacrifice to get this: (first column 600mm f 11 and 2nd column 800mm f 11)
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While they are light for what they are, super-telephoto primes, they are quite big still and with dark apertures. While Micro Four Thirds does not have direct competition against these because we have only 2 premium telephoto prime lenses at significantly higher costs, by comparison, we do have zooms that fit within these designs that are lighter, smaller, brighter, cheaper. Are the equivalent in Image Quality? That's yet to be determined as the Canon primes have not been reviewed in depth at the moment so time will tell.
But what I can take from these is that you need a damn good amount of light to make these work at their best. These put extra importance on sensor output at High ISO which negates the 1 to 3 stops noise performance between Micro Four Thirds and Canon 35mm FF (I am generalizing here since I haven't used Canon cameras so I don't know personally how much better their sensors are). For Birds in Flight, I often use ISO 1.600 to 6.400 at f 5.6 (the brightest aperture I have at the longest FL I own) even on bright sunny days to maintain high shutter speeds (1/2.000 to 1/8.000 sec depending on the size and type of bird). With these Canon lenses at f 11 I would have to be ISO 6.400 at best and 25.600 at worst so that's not exactly ideal. For larger subjects like foxes and deer (most commonly for me) it could be doable when lowering to 1/125 sec but it still would be a pain for darker scenes, like winter, cloudy days, stormy English weather, forests, tree alcoves.
Adding teleconverters to these lenses will make them f 16 and f 22 ... which makes me wonder if we need God himself to shine a Godray upon your subject for the AF to fo some miracle work (sorry about the sarcasm but I couldn't help myself).

Canon 100-500mm f 4.5-5.7 is a bit more ... interesting:
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It's a light-ish lens, yes, it's a small-ish lens, yes. The lens does have some particularities: the new 1.4x and 2x Teleconverter will not work when the lens is zoomed under 300mm, with a physical block inside the lens to stop the lens from smashing itself into the teleconverter. So you lose half of the lens range when using the teleconverter. The lens has a bit better Minimum Focus Distance to add for the versatility (if you are interested in macro) but nowhere as good as half of the Micro Four Thrids options out there. The more I look at this lens the less I am interested in it, to be honest.
It's also quite pricey: 2.700 $. Does that matter? Well let's have a look (sorry, I'm using UK prices from
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Olympus option gets you 80-300mm f 2.8, 96-420mm f 4, 160-300mm f 5.6 (equivalence or no equivalence) it still offers you more for less.
Then there's the upcoming Olympus 100-400mm f 5-6.3 and 150-400mm f 4.5 Pro, which the latter one would most likely be in a different price bracket.
And we have the old trusty Olympus 75-300mm f 4.8-6.7, value for money.
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On Panasonic side we have even more options, the one I currently have:
Panasonic Leica 50-200mm f 2.8-4 which I paid the MSRP of 1.500 £ and recently bought (slightly used) Panasonic DMW-TC 1.4x for another 350 £, for a somewhat price 1.850 £ setup that gives me 100-400mm f 2.8-4 AND 150-560mm f 4-5.6.
Then there's Panasonic's 100-400mm lens with a lot of reach.
I haven't mentioned the Olympus 300mm f 4 or Panasonic 200mm f 2.8 because they are primes compared to Canon Zoom, but you could (second hand of course) get these prime lenses and the consumer lenses for the same price of that Canon L lens and get reach and IQ and versatility.
As for weight most of the Micro Four-Thirds options come under the size and weight of the Canon L.

Besides the unknown IQ level of these new Canon lenses, there's also the new IBIS+Lens IS that Canon has added to the R5 and R6. Will it be as effective as the best in the industry at the moment from Panasonic and Olympus? We don't know, it might swing all of these into Canon's favor. Then there's also the new Dual Pixel AF 2.o, maybe it's better than Olympus, probably better than Panasonic but that f 7.1 and f 11 won't be helping the AF either.
PS. Forgot about this as well: I've seen plenty of people (using 35mm FF cameras) they stop down to f 8, f 11 for more DoF for small subjects like small birds and mammals, so basically you loose light to get what ASP-C and Micro Four Thirds already give you. They stop down to increase sharpness ... same damn thing again. To which point WHERE is the advantage of using bigger, heavier, more expensive gear? Bragging rights or excuses to skip the gym? Anywho, this might be getting a bit too personal :p

The photography community seems to be asking, as of late, for higher IQ but slower aperture lenses for Full Frame to compete on price and size with ASP-C and Micro Four Thirds given the advancements in High ISO performance in the last few years. OK? That sounds like trying to scratch your left side of the face with your right arm by bending it behind your back. Maybe it sounds reasonable for someone who owns 35mm FF cameras but dishing out the distaste on crop cameras because they already have most of what you are asking/expecting is pretty awkward.
At the moment Canon is not taking seriously their ASP-C EOS-M cameras, Sony is not putting significant effort into their A6xxx lenses option for wildlife (I would not count a 75-350mm f 4.5-6.3 as serious enough compared to Micro Four Thirds options), Fujifilm has only the 100-400mm f 4-5.6 (which is the size of 35mm FF lens by comparison) and the 150mm f 2 (which costs as much as a 35mm FF lens by comparison), Nikon Z50 has only 2 lenses and Nikon will most likely focus on their Z6/7 line of lenses more then ASP-C.
I don't believe any brand will be able to compete on price, size, weight, and IQ with Micro Four Thirds telephoto range, it's just not doable by the laws of optics and the laws of economics.
For other disciplines, like portraiture, weddings, landscape, astrophotography, etc, it might be a different story depending on YOUR level of expectation and demand.

Please, do feel free to disagree or share your own opinions and experiences, I would like this conversation to be ongoing and helpful for everyone.
(Normally I would make a lot more research and gather to display a lot more data for a comparison for my argument but right now I am stuck at work and I just want to put down my thoughts that I have been having since this morning when I saw the announcements, I might rework this post or expand my thoughts in a reply).
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