Canon Adds 100mm Macro and 400mm and 600mm Super Teles to RF Lens Line

Continuing to round out its full-frame mirrorless system, Canon has just launched a trio of RF-mount prime lenses that contribute to this maturing and expanding system. Focusing on the long end of the focal length spectrum, Canon is introducing a fresh take on the popular 100mm f/2.8 macro option, as well as releasing 400mm and 600mm super-telephoto primes for the sports and wildlife crowd. As might be expected, all three lenses are L Series primes, indicating their optical excellence and durable physical designs.

Also, in a surprise move, Canon has revealed the development of the EOS R3—a brand-new full-frame mirrorless model designed to sit between the R5 and 1D X Mark III. More details on the R3 are coming soon but you can read about what we know right here on Explora.

The RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM is the first true macro lens for the RF system and is the natural follow-up to the beloved EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens for SLRs. Taking the same short-telephoto focal length but upping the maximum magnification beyond life size, to 1.4x, and shortening the minimum focusing distance to 10.6", this new close-focusing prime also features a unique SA (spherical aberration) Control Ring.

Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens
Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens

A new feature for Canon, this control ring provides the opportunity to fine-tune bokeh rendering: At one end, images have smooth and blurry bokeh and at the other, imagery takes on a more prominent ring-shaped bokeh. Beyond the optics, this lens has been fitted with an Optical Image Stabilizer, which corrects for up to 5 stops of camera shake, or up to 8 stops when used with a compatible camera body featuring IBIS, and the lens also features a Dual Nano USM focusing system for smooth, responsive, and silent AF performance.

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Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens sample photos

For sports and wildlife shooters, nothing beats a fast and long-reaching telephoto prime, and this is where the RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM fits in. It’s a versatile focal length with an impressively bright design and uses trusted technology and a proven optical design comprised of fluorite and Super UD glass. In fact, if you were a fan of the EF 400mm f/2.8, there’s a lot of similarities between these two lenses; optically, they’re identical, and physically, the lens has just been updated for the RF mount.

Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens
Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens

The Optical Image Stabilizer compensates for up to 5.5 stops of camera shake, and the USM focusing system yields snappy AF performance and works with programmable AF preset buttons for faster performance. It’s compatible with the RF 1.4x and 2x Extenders and works with drop-in 52mm screw-in filters.

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2x Extender © Tyler Stableford
2x Extender © Tyler Stableford
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1.4 Extender © Tyler Stableford
1.4 Extender © Tyler Stableford
Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens sample photos

Even longer is the RF 600mm f/4L IS USM lens, which adds a respectable amount of reach, compared to the 400mm, while being just one stop slower. Cherished for working with smaller or even more distant subjects, this super-telephoto is a choice lens for birders, wildlife shooters, and some sports applications, too. Like the RF 400mm, this 600mm gets its optics from its EF 600mm f/4L predecessor, including the fluorite and Super UD glass that helps it achieve impressive sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy throughout the aperture range.

Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM Lens
Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM Lens

The lens has been updated for the mirrorless RF mount and features an Optical Image Stabilizer to compensate for up to 5.5 stops of camera shake, and the USM focusing system offers quiet and quick focusing performance. Both super-teles also sport a rotating tripod mount with a removable foot, both accept the same 52mm drop-in filters, and this 600mm also has the same dust- and weather-resistant exterior for use in harsh weather.

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Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM Lens sample photos

What are your thoughts on Canon’s latest RF-mount lenses? Have you been waiting for any of these telephoto options for your RF camera? Let us know your thoughts on Canon’s new lenses, in the Comments section, below.

8 Comments

I was looking forward to Canon releasing RF mount Telephoto L lenses that would be new lenses designed for their mirrorless R system. Therefore it was a big disappointment to learn that they are simply the EF lenses reissued with RF mounts. It raises the question of how long it will be before Canon announces Telephoto L lenses natively designed for the mirrorless/R cameras. I won't hold my breath. 

I agree with Steve H & Steven K. Major disappointment. Is Canon getting to the point of relaunching the same product with minor change and higher price ticket? Looks like a big list of launches for 2021 and 2022 but I think we need to see if it's really new and improved or just lipstick. 

A little disappointed that canon elected to bolt an adapter onto the 600 iii. Was hoping for some sort of improvement in optics or weight or size. I have been considering the 600 iii ever since it came out but it is hard to justify over my 500 ii. So now the RF 600 leaves me with the same calculation. 

I couldn't agree more. What a MAJOR disappoint. What Canon has done is basically what Sigma did with their older lenses for DSLR and slapped on an adaptor to work with mirrorless. I am actually kind of shocked. Unless Canon can prove that the new RF 400/600 lenses will perform better than there counterpart EF version and using the Canon EF-RF adaptor what is the point ??

Shorter flange doesn't really make any difference for long telephoto lenses.

I think this makes it official from Canon and puts away the nonsense thinking that EF lenses with adapter work just as good as RF lenses.

You can't improve 600/4 weight/size much without using some exotic materials and significantly higher price tag.

The 600/4 III was likely designed for the RF mount since it was released along with the EOS R. While some sharpness improvement would be welcome, I doubt you can reduce weight any further. The Sony 600/4 is like 30 grams lighter but I doubt anyone would notice a difference ;)

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