I'm really pleased to see Canon's RF lens innovation extend beyond the top end range. The first RF lenses, whilst optically stunning and impressive in their design, were limited in their appeal (and affordability). Sure, I'd add them all to my collection if I won the lottery, but most would rarely be used.
These affordable, super telephoto lenses are long overdue. They'll allow many an enthusiast wildlife photographer to capture smaller and more timid subjects.
I was pleasantly surprised with the sharpness of the images I got from these lenses. Sure, they're not going to compete with the results from a £13,000 L-series lens, but that's not the point of them.
When deciding whether one of these lenses is for you, it's important to think carefully about your needs, particularly whether a fixed focal length lens is right for you.
If you have the patience to sit in a hide, waiting for a moment, they can enable you to achieve the reach you need to fill the frame with your subject, so long as you’re at the right distance. They’re also a good lens for the opportunistic photographer, who wants to grab shots of what they see while out and about. After all, this is genuinely a portable lens. You could easily take it on a day's shoot.
If instead you want a lens that can work for a variety of subjects at different sizes and distances from the camera, then look elsewhere. Fixed focal lengths require your feet to do the zooming, and so when testing them I spent a lot of timewalking backwards to fit the subject in the frame or to conform to the lenses' minimum focusing distance.
They are too long for most when it comes to successfully shoot birdsin flight. Simply finding the bird in the first place is challenging with such a long focal length. I shoot a lot of birds in flight and, whilst I'm the first to admit that I'm a bit rusty because of lockdown, I still struggled more than I expected to find subjects and, more importantly, to keep them in the frame.
So consider your needs, and adjust for your budget. For me, I'm aiming for the RF 100-500mm lens and the hope that my finding and tracking skills are like riding a bike – once I get back on, I'll be fine.