Best RF lenses for Canon mirrorless cameras
At the end of 2018, Canon decided to jump into the full-frame mirrorless adventure with the release of the Canon R, introducing the new RF-mount. We have in fact written a comprehensive page summarizing all the available lenses for the Canon RF-mount (Canon lenses and the few current third-party brands). This mount has been designed to take advantage of the space left free by the mirror disappearance necessary for the optical viewfinder of the DSLR, strongly reducing the distance between the sensor and the mount. As for any new mount, the previous lenses were no longer compatible and, even if Canon quickly introduced an adaptor ring to keep using Canon EF-mount lenses on their new mirrorless, it was necessary to renew the optical range to take full advantage of the improvements of the new RF-mount. In this article, I will talk about Canon RF lenses that I consider as the best.
Although EF lenses are, for the most part, fully usable with the ring on the new mirrorless body without losing performance or quality, some of them have not been renewed for a long time, and the reduction of the space between sensor/lens mount allows to reduce weight and size of some lenses or to gain in image quality. It is therefore more appropriate to invest quickly in the new RF range than to consider EF lenses with an adapter ring for these and other reasons (another reason, for example, is that if one day you decide to switch to an RF lens and part with an old EF version, with time and mirrorless becoming more common, these EF lenses will probably be less and less popular and could eventually see their rating decrease rapidly).
Check out my practical photography packs. It's a simple, fun and entertaining way to learn and improve in photography, especially in the field!
In 3 years, Canon has already released 23 RF-mount lenses, which represents a fast pace of nearly 8 lenses per year! Canon is aware that, in order to accelerate the transition, they have to propose as soon as possible a sufficiently wide range of lenses to avoid falling back on used EF lenses (let’s not forget that their goal is also to sell, and on used EF lenses, Canon gets… nothing!). And as they also know that sales are the most important in the first months of the product’s release, there is unfortunately little chance that prices will drop, that’s why Canon decided to release high-end lenses first. Nevertheless, they didn’t leave the “amateurs” in the dark and also released some more affordable lenses. So here are, in my opinion, the best lenses that Canon offers in RF-mount.
Moreover, Canon announced in June 2022, the release of its first two Canon RF APS-C cameras, which probably put an end to the old Canon EF-M mount. On the above link, you will find in detail all the characteristics of the cameras. Also, we have compiled a complete page detailing all the current full-frame Canon mirrorless cameras (updated with each release, of course).
In the meantime, if you are currently wondering which Canon RF lens to choose, here is the series of lenses we particularly recommend. We decided to sort them by focal length, from the shortest (ultra wide-angle lens) to the longest (super telephoto lens). For information, at the time of writing this article, there are only a few third-party brands offering lenses for the Canon RF-mount, as they have not yet opened this possibility (no Sigma or Tamron lenses at this time yet). Also note that we have not yet included any Canon RF-S lenses, knowing that at the time of writing, there are only two entry-level lenses.
Best Canon RF wide-angle lenses
Here are some lenses, especially dedicated to landscape or architectural photography, because of their wide-angle of view.
The table below summarizes what you should know about Canon RF wide-angle lenses mentioned
|Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 16mm f/2.8||Amazon B&H|
Here are the detailed lenses below
Characteristics of the following Canon RF wide-angle lenses are detailed in the table below.
1 - Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS
Perfect to shoot pictures with wide framing, the Canon 15-35mm f/2.8 is among Canon top of the range. Previously, Canon proposed a 16-35mm f/2.8 in EF-mount, focal length ranges that Sony has adopted for its 16-35mm f/2.8 GM. Canon is different by extending the range to 15mm, and this without having to stick an irremovable lens hood that would prevent the use of screw-on filters (no bulbous front lens, therefore). This ultra wide-angle lens is perfectly suited for landscape or architectural photography.
This wide-angle lens has an excellent build quality, as with all L series, and provides a very good image quality – even if the shorter focal lengths are slightly behind at full aperture. Vignetting and distortion are important, especially at the shortest focal lengths, but they are easily handled by the camera or software. Optical stabilization may not be considered very useful with this kind of lens for some, but we should not forget that the first Canon mirrorless body did not have a stabilized sensor.
Available at 2500€, it is within the usual price range of this kind of lens. Unfortunately, there is no RF lens alternative for the moment, at least as long as Tamron and Sigma are not able to offer their lenses in this mount. So this is a high-end lens which requires a big investment, make sure you have the use of it.
2 - Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS
In June 2021, Canon finally announced an alternative to the high-end 15-35mm f/2.8. While they had maintained the same focal range in EF-mount on the 16-35mm f/4, they decided this time to again take advantage of the shorter mount flange distance of the RF-mount to extend the focal range and reach 14mm, still without having to place an irremovable lens hood (angle of view of 114° at 14mm).
The build quality remains worthy of Canon’s all-weather built and very serious L series.
The image quality is slightly worse than the 15-35mm f/2.8, which is understandable, but remains at a very good level. Again, distortion and vignetting are very significant and will need to be corrected. It also gains a shorter minimum distance which allows a greater magnification ratio, which can be interesting for close-ups and get a better bokeh (admittedly, reasonable on this type of focal length).
This stabilized wide-angle lens is sold at more than 1800€. Canon continues to take advantage of the mirrorless novelty effect and the lack of alternatives from third-party brands. Some people may therefore find this price high, especially against the competitor Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 at 1250€. However, we can congratulate Canon for offering this focal length range in a relatively light and compact lens.
3 - Canon RF 16mm f/2.8
At the end of 2021, Canon released a rather “surprising” lens: this 16mm f/2.8 lightweight, compact and super affordable. “Surprising”, because Canon does not yet offer high-end fixed lenses below 50mm. Personally, I thought that Sony should release a compact and light 16mm for its mount, so I was surprised that it was Canon that released it first.
This 16mm f/2.8 may offer a limited aperture for a fixed focal length lens, but that’s not that unusual for this type of lens, such as Samyang’s 14 and 18mm f/2.8. This is, in any case, the only way to keep the size and weight reasonable on this type of focal length. The construction is not of L range and therefore more “plastic”, but remains correct, with a relatively good image quality and in adequacy with the dimensions (you can’t hope, in full-frame, to have a high quality lens and which would only be 165g, especially on a lens other than a standard focal length like 50mm). The optical defects are even more important than the 2 zooms of the L range, but they can be adjusted in post production.
Priced at 350€, this entry-level lens is an excellent option if you want an ultra wide-angle lens without spending more than 1500€ on a high-end zoom, and if you want to travel light.
Here are the specifications summarized for Canon RF wide-angle lenses mentioned above
|Lenses||Focal length||Max. aperture||Filter||D/L||Weight||Min. focus distance||All-weather build||Stab.||Best Price|
|Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS||15-35mm||f/2.8||82mm||88.5 x 126.8mm||840g||28cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 14-35mm f/4 L IS US||14-35mm||f/4||77mm||84.1 x 99.8mm||540g||20cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 16 mm f/2.8 STM||16mm||f/2.8||43mm||69.2 x 40.2mm||165g||13cm||NO||NO||Amazon B&H|
If you want to go further, we have just published a complete guide with the best Canon RF wide-angle lenses. This includes the three lenses listed above, but also features some of the newer lenses.
Canon also offers a 5.2mm f/2.8L dual fisheye for 2200€. This is a very special lens, designed for virtual reality, so it is reserved for specific use by 3D content professionals.
Best Canon RF standard photo lenses
These are lenses more suited to photojournalism, environmental portraiture, street photography and everyday photography.
Here is what you should know about the best standard Canon RF lenses in the table below.
|Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS macro||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 50mm f/1.8||Amazon B&H|
Here are the best standard Canon RF lenses as far as I am concerned
- Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L
- Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS
- Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS
- Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L
- Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS macro
- Canon RF 50mm f/1.8
Main physical characteristics of standard Canon RF lenses are summarized in the table below.
1 - Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L
Shortly after the release of the first Canon R camera, Canon wanted to prove that their new mount allowed them to build new lenses (if we forget that Sigma had already designed an f/2 zoom, the 24-35mm art, for DSLR mount). So they came out with a 28-70mm designed for professional reporters that don’t compromise on size and weight.
With a construction worthy of the L series, this 28-70mm is a high-end lens offering high performance over the entire focal length (we can see a slight drop off at the shortest focal length at full aperture) and very consistent. The distortion is quite low and well corrected by the software. The vignetting is quite significant, but also well corrected.
At 3250€, this lens is really aimed at professionals. Some might find its weight and size important but let’s be honest, this same weight and even bigger size did not prevent professionals from carrying 70-200mm f/2.8. Unlike the 24-70mm in the same range, it is not stabilized, but on the R6/R5s with sensor stabilization, this is not a big flaw. Not to mention that it would have increased the weight, size and price of this lens, which doesn’t need it (haha).
2 - Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS
1 year after the release of the first Canon R mirrorless, Canon released its “traditional” standard zoom lens for reportage, not as bright but lighter, cheaper, and stabilized compared to the 28-70mm f/2. The L II in EF-mount being a reference on DSLR, we expected from Canon something of high performance.
The construction is again top of the range with a very high level image quality, although we can detect a slight decrease of sharpness at full aperture at 24mm, but which improves very quickly by closing the diaphragm. Distortion and vignetting are usual on this kind of zooms and are well corrected by post processing software. Its stabilization is effective and is combined with that of the R6 and R5 sensors.
For 2500€, it is not much cheaper than the 28-70mm f/2 but the loss of the aperture is compensated by more focal lengths at wide-angle, stabilization, a more compact body and most importantly, 500g less to carry.
3 - Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS
The 24-105mm f/4L RF is one of the first lenses released for this mount, at the same time as the Canon R with which it was proposed in kit. This type of lens is very appreciated in many uses, versatile par excellence. From reportage to travel, through portraits or landscapes, it is often considered as the “Swiss Army knife”.
Its very good build quality, worthy of the L series, is in line with its image quality since it is able to compete with the 24-70mm f/2.8L at almost any focal length. It is perhaps even better at 24mm. There is a slight drop off at longer focal lengths, which you don’t get with a 24-70mm. Distortion and vignetting are more important than on the 24-70mm but are very well corrected by software (I feel like I already said this sentence… more than once, even! ahah).
For 1200€, we have a very nice alternative to the 24-70mm f/2.8 since for half the price we have more long focal lengths and an excellent image quality, while gaining a few dozen grams and a few millimeters. If the f/4 aperture works for you, this zoom is just what you need. In my opinion, it is even more interesting to get this zoom on one side and to look at prime lenses mentioned afterwards to have an aperture even larger than f/2.8 on the other side.
4 - Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L
Following the 24-105mm f/4, Canon released the first prime RF-mount lens, a 50mm f/1.2. The EF version has been very successful for years, so Canon had to renew the lens to take advantage of the new mount.
As a high-end lens, it is very well built and offers excellent image quality from full aperture. Vignetting is high, usual on a lens with such a large aperture, and decreases when closing. Distortion is very well controlled optically. The AF has a little trouble moving all its lenses without making noise.
At 2500€, we are facing a usual price, the Nikon and Sony versions having about the same price. Unless you use the 50mm exclusively, it might be better to go for one of the 2 following fixed focal lengths.
5 - Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS macro
Third lens entering the RF range, this 35mm offers many interesting features for a relatively correct price. A traditional focal length for reportage and street photography, where compactness and lightness are very appreciated.
The construction is of good quality, even if it does not have an all-weather construction. Image quality is also very good, although the extreme edges were not excellent before f/2.8, but the overall image is very good. Vignetting quickly decreases as you close and distortion is mild and well corrected. The autofocus is very responsive and relatively quiet. It also offers effective stabilization and is stamped macro, even though its magnification ratio is 1:2 and not 1:1.
For 550€, it is a very good option that will go very well with a zoom lens like the 24-105mm f/4. Its performance and features make it a particularly interesting choice for anyone with a Canon mirrorless camera.
6 - Canon RF 50mm f/1.8
Canon and Nikon have always offered a lightweight and affordable 50mm f/1.8 for their full-frame sensors, and Canon hasn’t given up on that idea with the RF-mount (unlike Nikon who released a more premium 50mm f/1.8 S). So at the beginning of 2021, they released this 50mm f/1.8 which fits very well with mirrorless cameras because of its compactness and lightness.
The construction of this 50mm is the same as the 35mm, not with an all-weather construction, but relatively good. It has the image quality of the 50mm, of “simple” design, with large apertures, but a very good level when closed by 1 or 2 stops. The distortion is very low and the vignetting, very present at large apertures, is corrected by software. The AF is effective, but a little noisy.
Those used to “simple” 50mm lenses on DSLR will not be disoriented with this new Canon RF proposed at 250€. A good lens to start with, less expensive than the 35mm, but also a little less good and a little more “expected”.
Here are the summarized main features of Canon RF standard lenses mentioned above.
|Lenses||Focal length||Max. aperture||Filter||D/L||Weight||Min. focus distance||All-weather build||Stab.||Check Prices|
|Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L||28-70mm||f/2||95mm||103.8 x 139.8mm||1430g||39cm||YES||NO||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS||24-70mm||f/2.8||82mm||88.5 x 125.7mm||900g||21-38cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS||24-105mm||f/4||77mm||83.5 x 107.3mm||700g||45cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L||50mm||f/1.2||77mm||89.8 x 108mm||950g||40cm||YES||NO||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS macro||35mm||f/1.8||52mm||74.4 x 62.8mm||305g||17cm||NO||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 50mm f/1.8||50mm||f/1.8||43mm||69.2 x 40.5mm||160g||30cm||NO||NO||Amazon B&H|
Canon offers another zoom lens that can be well matched with the small compact camera of the brand, the Canon Rp, the 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS. Available at 500€, it is one of the cheapest lenses in the range at the moment. Even if it opens to f/4 at short focal lengths, the aperture gets smaller as you zoom in to give an “acceptable” f/7.1 at longer focal lengths, which is not very bright. This lack of light is compensated by the stabilization with still subjects, which makes it rather interesting when traveling, for example. However, the image quality is well below that of the f/4L version, but its purpose is not the same. We are dealing here with a lens designed to be compact and lighter (barely 400g).
Canon has also released a more “standard” zoom, meaning one that covers a very wide focal range, with the 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS at 1000€. It offers an even wider focal range than the 24-105mm with an aperture that narrows less than the f/4-7.1 version. It is a bit heavier than the 24-105mm f/4L, but offers more focal length versatility, of course, although its image quality is also a bit lower than the 24-105mm f/4L.
These 2 lenses are, in my opinion, less interesting. If you want to have a zoom lens with a very wide focal length range, you might as well get a camera with a “small” sensor like a bridge or a compact expert.
Best Canon RF telephoto lenses
I introduce you different lenses here between 85mm and 200mm, suitable for reportage, street or outdoor portraits.
Here is what you should know about the best Canon RF telephoto lenses, summarized in the table below.
|Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 85mm f/2 IS macro||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro||Amazon B&H|
Here are the best current Canon RF telephoto lenses in my opinion.
1 - Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
At the end of 2019, Canon released the 70-200mm f/2.8 at the same time as the 24-70mm f/2.8. The L II version in EF-mount had been very successful too. Canon was thus awaited on this type of lens, which they mastered perfectly!
The construction is excellent, as well as the image quality from full aperture on the whole focal length. Vignetting and distortion are well contained and can be corrected by software anyway. AF is excellent, fortunately for a lens that is supposed to be targeted at sports photographers in particular. In addition, Canon has used variable dimension design, which has seriously reduced the weight and dimensions (at 70mm). Indeed, as opposed to the traditional 70-200mm f/2.8, this time it gets longer when zooming, even if some people think that it can be a flaw for sealing and reactivity (and on the other hand, they praise the weight and compactness, you have to know what you want… ahah).
For 2850€, we are facing a usual price for this kind of lens – the Sony that just came out is 3000€, the Nikon Z is 2700€ and the Panasonic 2800€. It is therefore a lens that is primarily aimed at professionals of reportage and sports photography.
2 - Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS
In early 2021, Canon introduced the f/4 version of its 70-200mm. Indeed, this zoom is often appreciated by everyone who has neither the means nor the requirements of the f/2.8 version, but keeping the construction of the L range and good performance.
We are still in a high-end construction, and the image quality, if not equal to the f/2.8 version, is very close and very homogeneous at all focal lengths from full aperture. It has a relatively well corrected distortion, except at the longest focal length, but is obviously easy to correct. The vignetting on the other hand is much more present but is also easy to correct. As for the f/2.8 version, Canon chose a variable design which is logical, otherwise it would have been longer than the f/2.8! It is therefore very compact at 70mm, even more than the f/2.8, and almost 400g lighter.
At 1800€, the price is still high but finally in line with the price of the 14-35mm f/4L. Let’s hope that more third party options will be available to hopefully see prices drop.
3 - Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L
In early 2020, Canon announced a 85mm f/1.2 in RF-mount. Offering this lens in EF-mount (DSLR) and after releasing the 50mm f/1.2, it was usual for Canon to quickly release the successor to the existing 85mm f/1.2 in DSLR.
The build quality and the image quality are exceptional. We are really dealing with a very high level lens. The AF is, as for the 50mm, relatively fast but a little audible with all these elements to move. The optical defects are quite well controlled and most easily corrected by software. Canon offers two versions of this lens: a classic version and a version called “DS” which offers a special optical treatment to give a background blur/bokeh even more elaborate. As for the 50mm, the switch to the RF version was made with a significant increase in weight.
At 3000€, this is far from an affordable lens, and the DS version is even more expensive, at nearly 3500€. This 85mm requires a particularly intensive and professional use to justify its purchase, but if you have enough money and want to enjoy yourself, it will not disappoint you. Note that its large maximum aperture can be particularly useful in low light conditions.
4 - Canon RF 85mm f/2 IS macro
In the middle of 2021, Canon finally released a more affordable and reasonable 85mm than the f/1.2L for portrait photographers who can’t afford to lay 3000€ on the table.
The build is similar to the 35 and 50mm f/1.8, a little less high-end than the Ls but still quite good. The image quality does not reach the level of the f/1.2 , but is still very good, slightly behind at full aperture but quickly improves from f/2.8. The distortion is slight and the vignetting quite significant at larger apertures, nothing surprising for a lens of this range. In general, 85mm lenses have a minimum focusing distance around 85cm, but this one is stamped macro, also offering a 1:2 magnification ratio and stabilization like the 35mm f/1.8.
For 700€, we have a very good 85mm with rare options on this kind of lens, a stabilization and a 1:2 ratio. An excellent choice for any “amateur” portrait photographer in RF-mount.
5 - Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro
At the end of 2021, Canon released its first RF macro lens. It is hard to forget the outstanding 100mm f/2.8 EF macro, a benchmark for many years for Canon DSLRs. However, Canon intends to achieve this, especially by introducing a macro lens with a magnification ratio higher than the traditional 1:1.
The build quality is excellent, as well as the image quality, and this from the full aperture! It also has a ring called “SA” to play with the bokeh quality and a fast and silent AF, with a distance limiter on the back to ensure its reliability and velocity. Distortion and vignetting are minor and well corrected. Canon provides 1:2 ratio macro lenses at both 35mm and 85mm, they probably wanted to do something really different with this 100mm by proposing a 1.4x magnification ratio, i.e. 1.4:1. Shooting with such a ratio and such a focal length results in a very short depth of field!
For 1550€, you will have a high-end macro lens, highly efficient on all points, even if its price is quite high and will require a “real” macro use to justify spending more than twice the price of the 85mm f/2. Let’s see in the future if Canon will release other macro lenses more affordable?
Here is a summary of the lenses in the following table.
|Lenses||Focal length||Max. aperture||Filter||D/L||Weight||Min. focus distance||All-weather build||Stab.||Check prices|
|Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS||70-200mm||f/2.8||77mm||89.9 x 146mm||1070g||70cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS||70-200mm||f/4||77mm||83.5 x 119.3mm||695g||60cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L||85mm||f/1.2||82mm||103.2 x 117.3mm||1195g||85cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 85mm f/2 IS macro||85mm||f/2||67mm||78 x 90.5mm||500g||35cm||NO||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro||100mm||f/2.8||67mm||81.5 x 148mm||730g||26cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
In this range of focal lengths between 70 and 200mm, there are no alternatives yet other than the lenses in this classification. We have to wait for a possible 70-300mm f/4-5.6, for example.
Best Canon RF super-telephoto lens
I talk here about lenses with a focal length greater than 200mm.
You will find below a summary of all characteristics to remember regarding all Canon RF telephoto lenses mentioned below.
|Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS||Amazon B&H|
So here are the best current Canon RF super telephoto lenses in detail.
1 - Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS
Also released in late 2021, the 100-500mm is supposed to offer a more affordable option to the 400 and 600mm primes for sports and wildlife photographers. It covers a wider range than Sony’s 100-400mm GM but narrows its aperture faster (the Sony is f/4.5-5.6).
The construction of this Canon lens remains high-end, in line with the L-series, with fairly high image quality even though it declines as you reach longer focal lengths. The AF is very fast and quiet, perfect for capturing sports and wildlife images. Despite its wide focal length range, it remains relatively light and compact with its variable dimension design. It is unfortunate, however, that the maximum aperture is only f/7.1 at 500mm, while the competition offers better lenses overall, including Sigma’s recent 150-600 f/5-6.3, and even Tamron’s 150-500mm f/5-6.7. Taking pictures in low light conditions, at f/7.1, will not be that easy (ISO increase required).
At 3100€, you might think that its price is high, but it is in the L range (the Sony GM range is also close to 3000€), and compared to the 400 and 600mm fixed focal lengths at 13 and 14000€, it remains more “reasonable”.
2 - Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS
At the beginning of 2021, Canon released its sports and wildlife photography lenses with telephoto lenses with constant aperture, the 400mm f/2.8 and 600mm f/4L. Canon is, with Nikon, the most famous brand in the field. So, they had to propose quickly professional lenses of this kind.
Still in the L range, you will not be surprised to find a very high-end construction and high level optical performances. From the full aperture, we find a fantastic AF system. The optical defects are very minor and most are easily corrected. To avoid having to buy large filters, an adjustable filter system allows you to use only 52mm filters.
For 13000€, you can expect excellence, and it is the case. However, you have to afford and use excellence… ahah. This prime lens, as the 600mm below, can be used with the x1,4 and x2 teleconverters from Canon.
3 - Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS
With the 400mm f/2.8, Canon has released this 600mm f/4L, just like Sony which, some time ago, had also released two lenses with the same characteristics at the same time.
No need to expand further, this 600mm f/4 has the same qualities as the 400mm in a slightly longer and bigger barrel to offer a 200mm longer focal length, a smaller aperture and a longer minimum focusing distance.
For 14000€, same appreciation as for the 400mm !
Here are the characteristics summarized in the table below.
|Lenses||Focal length||Max. aperture||Filter||D/L||Weight||Min. focus distance||All-weather build||Stab.||Check prices|
|Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS||100-500mm||f/4.5-7.1||77mm||93.8 x 207.6mm||1530g||90 à 120cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS||400mm||f/2.8||52mm||163 x 367mm||2890g||250cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
|Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS||600mm||f/4||52mm||168 x 472mm||3090g||420cm||YES||YES||Amazon B&H|
Canon has been proposing for some time the surprising 600 and 800mm f/11 IS. They are indeed surprising since their aperture is fixed. Canon seems to want to offer to amateurs who can’t afford bright telephoto lenses to still have access to rare focal lengths, while keeping the lenses rather light, compact and affordable. Indeed, even if they are quite long (although 27 and 35cm for 600 and 800mm, it remains relatively “short”), their weight is around 1kg and their prices are respectively 800 and 1050€. However, I think it would be better in absolute terms to look at a micro 4/3 body and Panasonic’s 100-400 (200-800mm equivalent in full-frame), whose apertures are not fixed and which offers the equivalent of the 2 focal lengths in a single lens and more (if affinities ☺).
In late 2021, Canon also released a 100-400mm f/5.6-8. Even though the apertures are even smaller than with the 100-500mm L, these apertures and the more plastic design (it’s not an L) allow it to weigh only 635g for 16.5cm long, and at a price of 750€. The image quality seems to be quite good and the AF responsive. Even if the 150-500mm Tamron and 150-600mm Sigma options were available in RF-mount, the weight and the price of this 100-400mm remain undeniable assets.
That’s it, I’m coming to the end of this article on the best Canon RF lenses of the moment. The RF range, even if it is not yet quite complete (we don’t yet find a 20 or 24mm prime, a 35mm f/1.4 or f/1.2 or a 70-300mm), has grown during these first 3 years of existence. No doubt that Canon will continue to offer more and more interesting lenses, even if we hope for more affordable options.
With the mirrorless trend that seems to last, it is unlikely that Canon (like Nikon) will come back to DSLRs and the EF range. So I think it’s more worthwhile to invest in the RF line instead, although some of these lenses will likely remain at fairly high prices for quite some time (Canon actually announced a significant increase in all of their prices recently for early 2022).
I’ll continue to update this article as new releases arrive, of course. For the moment, I will not write a more specific article about the lenses of this mount, the choices being still too limited to write about specific focal length types (as I did for Sony).
See you soon and I wish you a good choice !