This week Canon has announced three new RF lenses to continue extending the range of lenses for EOS R series camera owners. Two lenses are aimed fully at sports and wildlife and the third is a special macro lens with more than life-size reproduction ratio.

The big white telephotos look to be based on the recent EF versions and keep the same eye-watering pricing, matching the exact prices of the EF versions in the Canon UK online store; £13,409 for the 600mm, £12,449 for the 400mm. The new RF 100mm macro lens has functional improvements, adding 1.4x reproduction ratio, and has spherical aberration adjustment control, but at £1,479 it’s almost 50% more than the existing EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens. I look forward to giving the 100mm macro a trial in the future, but I’m not sure it will be added to my bag as I already have the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens in there with the RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM.

Canon Press Release Info

RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM & RF 600mm F4L IS USM

The RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 600mm F4L IS USM join its extensive range of optically excellent, and industry leading, RF lenses built for Canon’s EOS R System – a System designed to future proof and give unparalleled capabilities for the photographers of today and tomorrow. Ideal for professional wildlife and sports photographers, these super telephoto lenses are the first in the RF line-up to feature a double power drive method, enabling cameras to focus faster than ever before, helping professionals keep track of action – even when shooting at 30fps.

RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 600mm F4L IS USM – super telephoto lenses with incredible focusing speeds

The RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 600mm F4L IS USM are based, respectively, on the ground-breaking EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and EF 600mm f/4L III USM – two much-loved super telephoto lenses for professional sports and wildlife photographers. While the optics and mechanics of the lenses are largely the same as the EF versions, the capabilities of these super telephoto lenses are next level, as they take full advantage of Canon’s revolutionary EOS R System and RF Mount.

Professionals using the lenses will enjoy incredible focal lengths – even more so when used with the 1.4x and 2x RF extenders – ultra-high optical performance, speedy focusing, reduced weight, and improved balance when using with a Canon EOS R System camera.

The RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 600mm F4L IS USM boast the stand-out features of Canon’s RF lenses, such as 1/8th stop aperture control for video, and enhanced optical IS, a feature enabled by the RF Mount communication system, providing 5.5 stops**. In addition to this, the lenses support a double power drive method for faster AF with future bodies. As a result, professionals can shoot far away, fast moving action which would be over in a matter of milliseconds. Both lenses also feature three manual-focus speeds, for precise control and full-time manual focus – allowing adjustments to be made without switching modes. What’s more, professionals can store two focus pre-sets for quick recall – saving time when they need to react fast and enabling them to pull focus when shooting video. The focus ring can also be used as a control ring with some EOS R series bodies.

Thanks to the use of Fluorite and Super UD glass plus ASC and Super Spectra coatings, even at its maximum f/2.8 aperture, the RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM offers exceptional sharpness right across the frame. The RF 600mm F4L IS USM shares this same benefit of minimised distortion and flare – even at the lens’ f/4 max aperture – ensuring professional images are of the highest quality edge-to-edge. Operating confidently in low-light conditions, the RF 600mm F4L IS USM, thanks to its large f/4 aperture, and the RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM with its f/2.8 aperture, both support 5.5-stops of image stabilisation – reducing camera shake, even in dimly lit conditions, making them perfect for professionals to achieve the winning shot, whatever the conditions.

Built to inspire confidence, both lenses are lightweight and can withstand the rigors of professional use. Whether photographers are on a rainy touchline or a dusty safari, the lenses stand up to the test with their legendary L-series build quality and heat-reflecting white finish.

RF 400mm F2.8L IS USM & RF 600mm F4L IS USM key features

  • Large maximum aperture f/4 and f/2.8 respectively for the lens’ focal length, delivering excellent low light performance and image quality
  • Image Stabilizer providing up to 5.5 stop (based on CIPA standards)
  • Lightweight and easy to hand hold for long periods
  • 9-blade circular aperture capable of moving in 1/8th steps for smoother transitions of apertures changing during video recording
  • Ring USM drive, high-speed CPU and optimised AF algorithms to provide a quiet and fast auto focusing

RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM

Also launching today is the RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM – the world’s first AF macro lens with 1.4x magnification*. This lens is a kitbag essential for all photographers, from enthusiasts to professionals, looking to advance their creative skills with the powerful benefits EOS R System cameras and lenses bring.

RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM – a picture perfect macro and portrait lens

The RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM is a truly versatile lens, and a kitbag ‘must have’ for professionals, semi-professionals and enthusiasts alike shooting macro, still life and portrait photography. Its higher-than-average magnification ratio 1.4:1 – made possible by the lens’ floating system and short back focusing – allows photographers to capture exceptional close-up detail. The flattering focal length of 100mm at f/2.8 aperture is perfect for those looking to take striking portraiture.

In addition to its incredible magnification, a standout feature, and an improvement from its EF version – the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM – is a new variable and adjustable Spherical Aberration Control ring. Photographers can vary the look of the background and foreground bokeh, while allowing them to create a soft-focus effect on the subject. It’s f/2.8 maximum aperture with 9-blades gives shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh. Boasting the professional grade image quality seen throughout Canon’s RF lens line-up, the RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM’s advanced lens design ensures sharp, high-contrast images edge-to-edge.

The RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM also features up to 5-stops Optical Image Stabilization and 8-stops Combined IS (using CIPA standards) when used with the EOS R5 and EOS R6, significantly reducing camera shake while hand-held. Dual Nano USM AF provides smooth, accurate and high-speed auto focus that is virtually silent, while focus breathing is also suppressed – making it ideal for shooting movies and in post-production when Focus Stacking.

RF 100mm F2.8L MACRO IS USM key features

  • Worlds first AF macro lens with an incredible 1.4x magnification (1.4:1) capability ***
  • A variable Spherical Aberration Control ring can be used to adjust the subject softness and look of the Bokeh
  • 8 maximum aperture gives a shallow depth of field
  • 9-blade circular aperture creates beautiful out of focus highlights (bokeh)
  • Up to 5-stops optical IS (CIPA standard, using an EOS R) and up to 8-stops Combined IS using EOS R5 / EOS R6, with their in-body image stabiliser system
  • Dual nano USM motors for smooth and fast AF

Notes:

* For an interchangeable autofocus lens, for full frame mirrorless cameras. Canon survey as of April 13, 2021
** Based on CIPA Standards
*** For an interchangeable autofocus lens, for full frame mirrorless cameras. Canon survey as of April 13, 2021

About the author

Full-time photo tutor and photographer. I love to share my knowledge and skills to make photos, videos and teach others. I write books and articles for photo magazines and I always have at least one Speedlite flash in my camera bag