Canon has just released two new super-telephoto lenses: the Canon RF800mm f/5.6 L IS USM, and the Canon RF1200mm f/8 L IS USM. These very specialized lenses are not for everyone, with prices of $16.999 and $19.999, respectively. Let’s take a closer look at these state-of-the-art lenses for wildlife, sports and documentary filmmakers!
Canon is slowly starting to stop producing Canon EF lenses, and a vast majority of their EF prime lenses have been discontinued. The company also recently closed its Zhuhai factory in China, where no less than 12.3 million lenses were produced in 2020.
Canon is putting a lot of energy, resources and efforts into its cinema and mirrorless camera lineup, with the recent launch of the Canon EOS R5 C. However, they’ve been pretty “slow” at releasing lenses for Canon RF cameras since the EOS R launch in 2018. They’ve been increasing the rhythm lately though, with incredible optics such as the Canon RF 5.2mm f/2.8L dual fisheye 3D VR.
Now, Canon is back with two super-telephoto lenses: the Canon RF800mm f/5.6 L IS USM, and the Canon RF1200mm f/8 L IS USM.
The Canon RF800mm f/5.6 L IS USM and the Canon RF1200mm f/8 L IS USM have quite a few similarities. First, both lenses have a significant focus ring and a control ring to adjust user-selectable settings. And, both lenses have built-in image stabilization with three modes.
On the side of the lenses, you’ll find the traditional AF/MF switch, which also has a “PF” position that stands for Power Focus. A focus distance switch allows you to limit the focusing range for faster focus pulls.
Talking about focusing capabilities – focus preset switches allow you to set and recall memorized focus distances.
The RF800mm f/5.6 L IS USM and RF1200mm f/8 L IS USM are compatible with Canon’s RF1.4x and RF2x extenders. Moreover, it means that you can transform the RF1200mm f/8L IS USM into a 2400mm f/16 lens with image stabilization, which is quite surreal.
Last but not least, these special prime lenses for sports/wildlife/documentary photographers and filmmakers are lightweight, considering their focal length: 6.9lbs/3.1kg for the RF800mm and 7.4lbs/3.3kg for the RF1200mm.
To give you a bit of context, the legendary Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM was 16kg/35lbs and is one of the longest telephoto prime lenses ever made. Last year, Wetzlar Camera Auctions sold a copy of this incredible lens for $500.000, as there are only around 20 pieces of this lens worldwide.
The lens design of the Canon RF800mm f/5.6 L IS USM and RF1200mm f/8 L IS USM are similar. They feature 26 elements in 18 groups, including two fluorites, one super UD, and one UD (ultra-low dispersion) lens.
Both lenses feature Super Spectra Coating (SSC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) to help minimize ghosting and flaring. In addition, they are dust/water resistant, and a fluorine coating on the front element helps with cleaning.
The aperture diaphragm has nine circular blades for smooth and creamy bokeh results. The minimum focusing distance of the RF800mm is 2.6m/8.53ft and 4.3m/14.1ft for the RF1200mm. Lastly, the drop-filter diameter at the back of the lens is 52mm.
Price and availability
The Canon RF800mm f/5.6 L IS USM and Canon RF1200mm f/8 L IS USM are scheduled to be available in late May 2022 for an estimated retail price of $16,999.00 and $19,999.00, respectively.
For more information, please visit Canon’s website.
What do you think about these super-telephoto lenses? Do you shoot with lenses tighter than 200mm often? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments down below!