Canon Announces Three New RF Lenses

Canon has been busy. Along with the development announcement of the Canon EOS R3, Canon announced three new upcoming RF lenses for their mirrorless line.

The RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM, RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM, and RF 600mm f/4L IS USM.

It’s an interesting release overall. The 100mm f/2.8L Macro stands out to me and has a new feature that should distinguish it from other macro-options.

Although a 400mm f/2.8 and 600mm f/4 should be super exciting for wildlife photographers, I’ll touch on why these lenses really aren’t really ‘new’. They are, but they aren’t.

Canon has been taking the mirrorless market by storm though. We’ve now had news of the EOS R3, these new lenses, and rumors are swirling about an EOS R1. We haven’t heard much from Sony since the A1 or Nikon since the announced development of the Z9.

Let’s take a look at these lenses:

Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Price: $1,399

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • 4x Magnification with Autofocus
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 10.2″
  • Super Spectra Coating
  • Smooth and Quiet Auto Focus
  • Optical Image Stabilization; Hybrid IS
  • Control Ring for Direct Setting Changes
  • 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Weather-Sealed Construction

This looks like an incredible lens, perfect for some of the macro opportunities on our trips to Costa Rica.

Canon says this lens is the “world’s first medium telephoto macro lens” for mirrorless. There are a lot of medium telephoto macro lenses for mirrorless, but I think this might be the first full-frame option to offer 1.4x magnification with AF.

It features a new and exciting feature for macro photography: a Spherical Aberration (SA) Control Ring. The ring lets you effectively control the amount of bokeh and change the look of the background. That seems like it should be an awesome feature, but Canon did not provide example images.

It also has a customizable control ring that can be programmed to adjust exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed, or ISO. It does have image stabilization too, at up to 5 stops. This can be combined with in-body stabilization (with certain models) for up to 8 stops of stabilization.

This is an improvement over Canon’s EF 100mm f/2.8 in every way. I think Canon has priced this one really well too, as I expect it to deliver professional-grade quality and the new SA feature should be great.


Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

Price: $11,999

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/32
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Super UD and Fluorite Elements
  • Super Spectra and Air Sphere Coatings
  • Customizable Electronic Focusing Ring
  • Two Focus Presets
  • Circular 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Weather-Sealed Design, Fluorine Coating
  • Rotatable Tripod Collar

Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM

Price: $12,999

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/4 to f/32
  • Super UD and Fluorite Elements
  • Super Spectra and Air Sphere Coatings
  • Customizable Electronic Focusing Ring
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Two Focus Presets
  • Circular 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • Weather-Sealed Design, Fluorine Coating
  • Rotatable Tripod Collar

The 400mm f/2.8L and 600mm f/4L are basically re-releases, but they are official RF lenses now. Canon has said that these lenses are optically identical to the EF lenses.

These lenses are pretty much the same as the EF versions though, it even looks as if they just added a built-in adapter. The only change is a 0.5 stop increase in image stabilization versus the EF models, from 5 stops to 5.5 stops.

Even so, these two primes are two of the best super teles ever made. I just think I’d rather buy a used EF model and adapt it, versus paying a premium for these ‘new’ RF lenses.

I think we can expect Canon to update these with truly new RF options in the future.

This could be a marketing strategy just to say ‘hey, we have native super-telephoto primes’, and I think the Olympics might have something to do with these releases as well.

It seems like when a new mirrorless line is developed, whether it was Sony who started the craze, Canon, or Nikon, there’s a race to produce telephoto lenses, especially professional-grade super-telephoto primes. Because those lenses are key for capturing a section of the market, wildlife photographers (and sports photographers).

Canon has been absolutely on fire with releases, but I’m unsure of their plan with the super teles. I’m guessing we will see an RF redesign eventually. Also, it’s hard to justify the price for those primes when the 100-500mm is producing such excellent results.

Let us know your thoughts on these lenses!

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image. Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world. As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals. You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com


Don’t Miss the Next Session of BCJ “Live”

Night Sky Post-Processing 

with Ben Blankenship
Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 at 11 am (Mountain)

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