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Minimum Focusing Distance Question about Canon RF 600 mm F11 IS STM


Hi, I am shooting with a Canon RP. I bought the RF 600 mm F11 IS STM lens because I do a lot of wild photography.

I have found that the minimum focal distance for the lens is rather large an I have difficulty shooting small birds. If I go close to the small bird, the lens will not be able to focus. If I for far enough from the subject, so that the camera can focus, the subject appears too small and the focus is not so good. Yes, I see photographers using 600 mm lenses (prime, the L series) a lot. Is it possible to use the RF 600 mm F11 for small objects, or is it only for bigger objects because the the minimal focusing distance issues? I am well aware of the price difference and of the difference in the minimal focus distance that brings along with it. I am asking, because I am thinking of selling the lens in and buying an RF 100-400 mm instead, which allows me to get much closer to the subject.

Thank you



It depends on what you mainly shoot. I went with the 100-400 because I like to photograph small things like butterflies and dragonflies, and the 3-foot MFD on the 100-400 is perfect for me. I rarely have the opportunity to photograph birds because the birds around my house tend to stay high in the trees or are very skittish. If I know I'm going to a birdy place, then I take along my 1.4x extender. The extender makes only the smallest difference in the MFD. 

Thank you W. I do shoot birds a lot but also squirrels, butterflies, dragonflies etc However, most of the time the birds are near me, because we live in the city. I had not appreciated the mfd issue with the 600 mm lens well enough when I bought it, but in the field it has been a real impediment for subjects near me.


The 600mm f/11 lens does have drawbacks, and the MFD is one of them. I have its 800mm brother and the MFD is even longer on that one. It comes into its own when you just can't get close to your subject so the MFD isn't an issue. Skittish wildlife is an example, of course.

I have had the RF 100-400mm lens, which focuses amazingly close, and I've now replaced that with the RF 100-500 L lens which focuses similarly close. All of these lenses can be used with extenders to get a bit more reach if you need it, of course.

R6mkII, various lenses, speedlites. Also legacy Canons going back to T90 and even A1.


Do you have the focus limiter on?


Minimum focus distance on the 600mm f/11 is 4.5M, with the focus limiter switched in the closest it will focus is 12M. The 800mm lens MFD is 6M and the focus limiter makes it 20M. The 100-400 and 100-500 lenses will focus to around 1M.

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