Canon dropped a bomb on us today with the launch of three major RF lenses—the RF 400mm F2.8 L IS USM, the RF 600mm F4 L IS USM and the 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM. These lenses are a huge leap for the RF mirrorless line and combined with the EOS R5 and R6, have phenomenal outcomes. We were able to get our hands on all three lenses and let’s just say we were pretty impressed. So, let’s dive into each lens and what they bring to the Canon RF lineup.
RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM & RF600mm F4 L IS USM
Back in late 2018, Canon announced version III of the EF 400mm F2.8 and EF 600mm F4 lenses. The major improvement in these two lenses was a significant reduction in weight which changed the whole dynamic of who those lenses were made for. The new portability and mobility aided a wide range of photographers. The new RF versions are optically identical to the previous EF versions. The two notable feature differences are the lack of a distance scale, since that information is available in the EVF, and there is no click stop control ring on the new RF versions. For technical reasons, these two lenses are about 2 ounces heavier than the previous EF versions. They are compatible with the RF 1.4 and 2x Extender.
Why get the RF vs the EF? For the customer who has made the commitment to mirrorless, there are now dedicated super telephoto lenses. High-profile photographers don’t have to worry about forgetting their mount adapters. The minimum focus distance in the RF 400mm F2.8 is 8.2ft and the minimum focus distance on the RF 600mm F4 is 13.8ft. Both lenses give 5.5 stops of image stabilization whether you use them on a camera with IBIS or not. The focus ring is electronic and it can be programmed to become a control ring. Both lenses come with 52mm screw in drop-in filter holder and filter.
RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM
Canon mirrorless users also gained a huge asset to their lens lineup with the new RF 100mm F2.8 Macro. The previous EF version has been the go-to for macro photographers and now the RF 100mm F2.8 Macro is even sharper and better than ever. It has a minimum focus distance of .86 ft. (10.2 in) and it is the first medium telephoto lens with a maximum magnification of a 1.4x. The RF 100mm F2.8 Macro lens has 5 stops of image stabilization and when combined with the EOS R5 or R6 cameras, up to 8 stops.
In terms of size, the RF version is 1.61lbs and 5.83 inches which is a little longer and a few ounces heavier than the EF. When looking at optics, it comes with 17 elements and 13 groups along with a Super Spectra Coating that helps reduce flare and ghosting. Autofocusing is smooth and quiet with Dual Nano USM. It comes equipped with a lens hood and there is an optional tripod collar as an accessory.
One unique thing about this lens is that there is an additional ring called the Spherical Aberration or SA control ring. What this ring does is it allows creative adjustments to the shape of the foreground or background bokeh. This ring has four points both on a negative and positive scale. When you adjust the ring towards the positive side, the bokeh will become more defined and the edges have more clarity. When adjusted to the negative side, the bokeh becomes softer and gives a more dream-like effect. Canon has made it clear that this is not a soft-focus lens and that this new feature is useful for creative effects and experimentation with getting a unique look.
The RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM lens will be available July, 2021 for $1,399.