Canon Unveils RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L Telephoto Lens04/20/2023
Canon mirrorless fans, rejoice. The long-awaited RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM telephoto lens has arrived. The new lens will join only a handful of other telephoto lenses in the RF lineup. It is designed to fill the glaring gap left by the beloved EF 300mm f/2.8 L lens.
A welcome addition to many low-light photographers' kits, the zooming lens maintains a quick f/2.8 aperture throughout the entire 100-300mm range, although first you will have to contend with its hefty price tag. The RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L is listed at $9,499, which at first glance seems high, until you compare it with Canon's RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM ($11,999) or the Canon RF 600mm f4 L IS USM ($12,999). Still out of the price range of many hobbyists, the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L is aimed squarely at the professional (as the L might suggest) luxury market.
One of the most impressive aspects of this lens is its weight. At only 5.8 lb, Canon claims it is "the lightest f/2.8 zoom lens with a 300mm focal length on the market," a venerable option for any Canon shooter trying to lighten their camera bag.
With the Canon luxury branding comes Canon's signature lightning-fast autofocus. Two built-in nano ultra-sonic motors (USMs) can be thanked, in part, for this achievement. The independently actuated USMs allow the lens to focus effortlessly from close-up to infinity. Additionally, the weight and feel of the lens has been improved, reducing stress on your hand and wrist while taking handheld shots.
A focus preset button is also included on the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L, which allows shooters to focus on a predetermined distance where they expect the action to occur. This is especially useful when photographing wildlife or sports.
Unsurprisingly, the lens is also built exceptionally well. Inside the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L is one fluorite lens, four ultra-low dispersion (UD) glass elements, a fluorine coating, and a super spectra (SSC) coating to help minimize ghosting and flare. Seals around the mount, switches, and rings prevent dust and moisture from entering the lens and a specially designed fluorine coating prevents grime from sticking to the exterior.
In line with some of Canon's other RF telephoto lenses, the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L has an impressive five-and-a-half stops of shake correction (which can be bumped up to six stops when paired with an in-body image-stabilized mirrorless body). This is a marked improvement over its predecessor, the EF 300mm f/2.8 L, which maxed out at four stops of stabilization.
Also in line with other telephoto lenses in the RF series, the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L has a dedicated, programmable control ring on its barrel. This ring effectively acts as a bonus button for the minimalistic EOS bodies and can be programmed to control anything from shutter speed to ISO. This is especially useful for quick adjustments on the fly.
Those looking to enhance the focal length of this lens periodically (at the expense of several f-stops) will be happy to hear that the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L is compatible with two extenders: the Extender RF 1.4x and Extender RF 2x. These extenders can expand the effective focal length to 140-420mm at f/4 with the Extender RF 1.4x, or to 200-600mm at f/5.6 with the Extender RF 2x.
While the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L might be financially out of reach for many photographers, it does indicate a significant step by Canon in fleshing out the RF line. Undoubtedly, the 100-300mm focal range will be a useful addition to the arsenal of many photojournalists, sports and wildlife photographers, but whether these features outweigh the significant cost is up to you.
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