Canon Closes the Telephoto Lens Gap with Several New RF Mount Lenses

The library of Canon RF mount Lenses is becoming more robust, especially in the telephoto section.

Along with the announcement of the highly anticipated Canon EOS R5 and the EOS R6, Canon also announced a slew of new lenses today as well. Joining the ranks of Canon RF mount lenses will be three new telephoto prime lenses and a telephoto zoom lens that will delight birders and wildlife photographers. With these new lenses, Canon has significantly closed the gap between themselves and Sony in this segment. After the break will take a quick look at the new Canon RF mount lenses and how the RF mount now stacks up against offerings from Sony.

While Canon’s first Mirrorless cameras (the EOS R and RP) were a little lackluster, nobody can deny that Canon RF mount lenses up until now have been nothing short of extraordinary. Fortunately, there is nothing to suggest the premium RF mount lens train will be slowing anytime soon. Today, Canon announced four new lenses (the 85mm f2, the 100-500mm f4.5-7.1m the 600mm f11, and the 800mm f11). There are also two new teleconverters (x1.4 and x2.0) too, which can be used with three out of four new RF mount lenses. These are exciting times indeed for Canon. Let’s break down the new RF mount lenses below.

Canon RF 85mm f2

RF mount lenses

The Canon RF 85mm f2 features the following:

  • Bright F2 aperture with beautiful bokeh
  • Max magnification of 0.5x minimum focusing distance of 1.15ft
  • Optical image stabilization of 5 stops (8 stops with dual body and lens IS)
  • Hybrid IS compensates for angular and shift camera shake during macro photography
  • Control ring for direct setting changes
  • 12-pin communication system
  • 9 blade circular aperture
  • $599 available October 2020

Canon RF 100-500 f4.5-7.1 L IS USM

rf mount lenses

The Canon RF 100-500 f4.5-7.1 L IS USM features the following:

  • An all-new design, not a copy of older tech
  • 5 stops of shake correction
  • Three image stabilization modes (standard, panning, during exposure only)
  • New dual nano USM motors
  • Minimum focus distance 2.95ft/0.9m
  • Rotation type zoom, not push-pull
  • 12-pin communication system
  • Dust and weather resistant
  • Fluorine coating
  • One Super HD and Six UD lenses
  • Lens hood has a side window to adjust filters
  • Weighs 1,370g 3.02lbs,
  • The weight of the camera body (EOS R5) + lens is 14% lighter than the old 100-400mm EF lens and 5d4 combo
  • Compatible with the new x1.4 and x2 extenders
  • $2,699 available in September

Canon RF 600 f11 IS STM

rf mount lenses

The Canon RF 600mm f11 IS STM features:

  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Fixed f11 aperture
  • Gapless double-layer diffractive optics (DO) reduce chromatic aberration
  • The barrel extends and retracts so that lenses can be carried more easily
  • 5 Stop of IS
  • Lead screw-type STM enables smooth focus for stills and video
  • Control ring for direct setting changes
  • 12-pin communications system
  • Compatible with both the x1.4 and 2x extenders for 840mm and 1200mm
  • Achieves AF operation area equivalent to EOS 6D II focus points at f11
  • 930g (2.05lbs) 
  • 199.5mm (7.8-inches) when retracted – 269.5mm (10.6-inches) when extended
  • $699 available end of July 2020

Canon RF 800mm IS STM

The Canon RF 800mm IS STM freatures:

  • The barrel extends and retracts so that lenses can be carried more easily
  • Gapless double-layer diffractive optics (DO) reduce chromatic aberration
  • Fixed at f11
  • 4 stops of shake reduction
  • Lead screw-type STM enables smooth focus for stills and video
  • Control ring for direct setting changes
  • 12-pin communications system
  • compatible with both the x1.4 and 2x extenders for 1120mm and 1600mm shooting
  • Weighs 1,260g (2.77lbs)
  • 281.8mm (11.09-inches) when retracted, 351.8mm (13.85-inches) when extended
  • Achieves AF operation area equivalent to EOS 6D II focus points at f11
  • $899, available end of July 2020

The Competition

RF mount lenses

As you can see, Canon has decided to double down on telephoto lenses. The 85mm f2 prime is the Mirrorless version of the classic EF 85mm f1.8, which will give portrait photographers a cheaper alternative to the RF f1.2 option that has been around for a bit. At the same time, the 100-500mm and the 600mm and 800mm lenses will appeal to wildlife photographers who flocked to Sony’s E mount platform. Canon, with their new longer lenses, in particular, has closed the gap between themselves and Sony now, and this will go a long way in regard to winning back the droves who flocked to Sony a few years ago.

RF mount lenses
The Sony 100-400mm ff4.5-5.6 GM

As it stands, Canon will now be able to offer four telephoto RF mount lenses (the 70-200mm f2.8, the 100-500mm f4.5-7.1, the 600mm f11, and the 800mm f11), while Sony offers five in the flavors of their 70-200mm f2.8 GM, the 70-200mm f4 G, the Sony 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 GM, the 200mm-600mm f5.6-6.3, and the very pricey Sony 600mm f4.

We’re sure Canon is already working on a 70-200mm f4 (or something similar), and that will bring its telephoto lens count up to par with Sony. There’s no denying that things are heating up between these two giants, and this is a good thing. Sony has been running away in the Mirrorless space for far too long, so some serious competition will be welcomed.

Don’t Forget About the Teleconverters

These new Canon RF mount lenses, coupled with the new Dual Pixel AF II (which can be found in the Canon EOS R5) and the R6 could be a force to be reckoned with. We’ll let you know what we find out in our real-world reviews. Couple the new autofocus system with the fact that the new teleconverters the RF x1.4 ($499 available at the end of July), and the x2.0 ($599 available at the end of July) will make the lenses even more versatile, and the new lenses sound even better. With the 800mm f11 and new Canon IBIS systems, photographers will be able to shoot handheld at 1600mm.

These are undoubtedly exciting times for Canon. The release of two new cameras, four new lenses, and two teleconverters will only help further cement Canon’s place in the Mirrorless segment. We will get our reviews of these lenses to you as soon as we can. What do you think about the new RF mount lenses? Do they excite you? Are they day one purchases for you, or do you think Canon missed the mark? Let us know in the comment section below.