New Releases: Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 and RF 16mm f/2.8

Canon just announced the release of the EOS R3 – but they also released two new RF mount lenses.

These new forthcoming lenses are the Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 and the Canon RF 16mm f/2.8.

These lenses snuck under the radar a bit, but they definitely deserve their own focus as I expect them to be great for nature photographers (albeit with limitations, more on that later).

These two lenses are also some of the most affordable RF lenses. Neither are ‘L’ lenses, Canon’s designation for their highest quality lenses, but I expect both to be great for the price.

Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM Lens

Price: $649

Key Specifications

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/5.6 to f/45
  • One UD Element, One Aspherical Element
  • Super Spectra Coating
  • Nano USM AF Motor
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.41x at 400mm
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

This is a really exciting lens, in my opinion. It definitely is a niche lens and not for everyone, however.

Canon already has the excellent RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L, which offers 100mm extra reach (400-500mm), it’s faster, and it will most likely be better optically. But, it’s $2,800.

This new 100-400mm is slower at f/5.6-8, but it’s going to retail at $649!

Who is this lens for – nature photographers looking for an excellent super telephoto zoom who don’t need wide open apertures. That’s mainly going to be landscape photographers who are shooting at f/8 – f/11 most of the time.

If you’re a wildlife photographer, this lens should still be great, but like I said the 100-500mm is faster and has more reach, I’d recommend the 100-500mm for wildlife.

This lens is exactly what I wish Nikon would release. I’m actually renting the R5 for an upcoming workshop and if I like it, I think I will switch over and this new 100-400mm will be a for-sure purchase for me.

I’m interested to get a copy and test out sharpness and quality compared to the 100-500mm, but I think it will be comparable. It should be an excellent lens for abstract and telephoto landscape images.

The new 100-400mm is 1.4 lbs. and super compact for the telephoto range it offers. It will also take 67mm filters.

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM

Price: $299

Key Specifications

Key Features

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • One Aspherical Element
  • Super Spectra Coating
  • STM Stepping AF Motor
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

The other new RF release is an ultralight and inexpensive 16mm f/2.8 prime lens. This is an interesting one. It’s ultra-wide at 16mm and super-fast, but the price tag is only $299. I’m sure there was some quality sacrificed when compared to the 15-35mm f/2.8 and the 14-35mm f/4, but for $299 this 16mm could be an excellent option.

16mm is a great focal length for landscape photography, I expect this to also be a popular lens for videographers using the R system, where a wide perspective and fast aperture can go a long way. Astrophotographers should appreciate the fast f/2.8 aperture as well.

If you’re looking for a lightweight setup, a good option might be this 16mm prime, the 24-105mm f/4-7.1, and the new 100-400mm f/5.6-8.

That setup won’t get you the best possible image quality, but it will give you exceptional quality for the price and for the weight. Although phenomenal, the RF 15-35mm and RF 100-500mm are large lenses.

But, it all comes down to quality. Canon’s RF line has been great, but almost all lenses have been priced at a premium. They have been some lackluster reviews for the cheaper RF options. So the question is, will the 16mm (and 100-400mm) slot in as budget options that still offer great quality, or will we see a considerable drop off from the L lenses to these.

Of course, a drop off is expected, I’m wondering how much – and that will be something to watch out for when these lenses are released and tested.

Overall, I’m excited for both lenses. If I was a Canon user shooting mainly landscapes, I think the 15-35mm f/2.8, 25-105mm f/4, and 100-400mm f/5.6-8 could be quite an awesome setup.

If you’re doing wildlife, stick with the 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 unless it’s way out of your budget.

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

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