They say you can never be too thin, have too much money or too much lens. (Oh well two out of three ain’t bad!) Canon obviously agrees with the latter statement. Their 800 super telephoto lens is one of the longest production lenses made.
I’ve been testing the Canon 1D MK IV for a review. I’m using this camera as my primary video camera and testing the stills for review. One of the lenses I’ll be relying on as I do more video is the 800. This is a new super telephoto lens in the Canon line up and it’s generated a bunch of excitement.
At just under $11,000 it is Canon’s most expensive regular production lens. For wildlife, nature, sports and events photographers, this is THE dream lens.
It’s actually lighter than Canon’s 600 F/4 IS and every bit as sharp. It weighs less than 10 pounds and is made of magnesium alloy. Oh yeah did I mention it’s sharp? Edge to edge, corner to corner this baby is SHARP! At f/5.6 it’s amazing. At f/8 it’s only marginally better – actually not worth mentioning. To get top-quality sharpness wide open on a lens of this size is quite something. Color me very, very impressed. Oh yeah, and there’s no distortion. The color is very neutral. The 800 offers great CA and almost no flare to speak of.
The lens offers a number of cool features:
Super Spectra coatings ensure accurate color balance and high contrast.
Magnesium alloy construction keeps its weight comparable to shorter telephoto lenses.
Fully weather sealed
Full-time manual focus override
AF Stop function shuts off autofocus when obstruction appears
Two-stage image stabilization; dual-axis camera shake correction or vertical axis only (for panning)
Focus preset function allows for returning to a specifically set focus by turning a ring in front of the focus ring
Circular aperture produces attractive background defocus
Canon really thought of everything when they built this lens. It has a rear drop in 52mm filter holder. It’s minimum focus distance is just under 20 feet and competitive with other 800mm lenses I’ve tested.
Where the big Canon sets itself apart is the beautiful creamy backgrounds it produces wide open while retaining amazing contrast and sharpness.
The IS really, works and the lens focuses lightning fast. The IS is very important to video shooters. In my initial tests the IS system is really helpful at reducing what’s known as the “jello effect” from the rolling shutter used on all CMOS video cameras.
I can’t say enough about this lens. I fell in love with it in the first 10 minutes I used it. I’ve had about four hours total shooting experience with it and so far, I find no flaws.
This is the kind of lens that people will switch brands for. It’s that good. Now – about that $11,000 price tag!
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