Canon has just announced the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM, which fills one of the last major gaps in the brand’s RF lens lineup. Instead of being a traditional 300mm f/2.8 prime lens, this zoom forms a sort of bridge between standard and super-telephoto lenses. Here’s what we know about the lens so far.
RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM Specifications and Features
- Full Name: Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM
- Mount Type: Canon RF
- Focal Length: 100-300mm (3× zoom)
- Angle of View (FX): 24° to 8° 15′
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Aperture Blades: 9
- Filter Size: 112mm
- Lens Elements: 23
- Lens Groups: 18
- Special Elements: 1 fluorite element, 4 UD elements, 1 aspherical element
- Coatings: Fluorine coating, and a super spectra (SSC) coating
- Electronic Diaphragm: Yes
- Vibration Reduction: 5.5 stop(s)
- Internal Focusing: Yes
- Internal Zooming: Yes
- Control Rings: Focus ring, zoom ring and programmable control ring
- Focus Motor: Two built-in nano ultra-sonic motors (USM)
- Minimum Focus Distance: 1.80 meters (70.87 inches)
- Maximum Magnification: 0.16×
- Mount Material: Metal
- Weather/Dust Sealing: Yes
- Dimensions (Length × Diameter): 323 mm x 128 mm (12.72 × 5.04 inches)
- Weight: 2650 g (5.84 lb)
- MSRP: $9,499.00 (check current price and availability)
The idea of taking a traditional lens in the 70-200mm f/2.8 range and extending its reach to 300mm, while retaining the maximum aperture of f/2.8, is not completely new – Sigma came up with a similar lens back in 2002, and a few companies have made them since. Still, it is a less common type of lens than a typical 70-200mm f/2.8 or 300mm f/2.8 prime. With the RF 100-300mm f/2.8, Canon is the first to make a dedicated mirrorless lens of this type.
Compared to a traditional 70-200mm lens, the extra 100mm of focal length will significantly expand the possibilities of using this lens. It will appeal to press photographers, wedding photographers, and sports and wildlife photographers. One could say that this lens merges together both the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 and the Canon 300mm f/2.8.
Looking at the specs of the Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8, several features caught my eye. First and foremost, of course, is the price. While the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens retails for $2800, the new RF 100-300mm f/2.8 will be available for $9500. This, of course, is a huge difference for many. But if we compare the price to the current Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the situation begins to change. The price of that lens is $6100! So, if you’re the type of photographer who carries both a 70-200mm f/2.8 and a 300mm f/2.8, the price of the 100-300mm f/2.8 may not look so bad.
Then there’s the size and weight. At 2650 g (5.84 lbs), the new RF 100-300mm f/2.8 is not a light lens. But it’s barely heavier than the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II, which weighs 2400 g (5.29 lbs). Considering that this new lens is a 100-300mm zoom, I’m impressed that Canon kept the weight reasonable. The new lens also focuses a bit closer than the EF 300mm f/2.8, which will be welcome for photographing small subjects like nearby birds and lizards.
All other features of the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM are what you would expect from a professional-grade, L-series lens. Canon has used the best technologies it currently has in its arsenal. Be it advanced coatings (SSC, Flourine Coating, ASC), 5.5 stop image stabilization, fully sealed construction, or a pair of Nano USMs for fast focusing. The proof will be in the performance, but everything I’m seeing so far suggests that the RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L will be a very impressive lens indeed.
Shipping and Pre-Order
The Canon RF100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM is launching at an MSRP of $9499. You can pre-order it now at the links below, with shipping expected to begin in May 2023.
- Canon RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM Pre-Order at B&H
- Canon RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM Pre-Order at Adorama
Official Press Release
Canon Introduces the RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM to Its Lens Lineup
The new lens combines the flexibility of a zoom lens with the quality of a telephoto lens
MELVILLE, NY, April 20, 2023 – Today, Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, announced the launch of the RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM lens, answering calls from photojournalists and professional level customers for a modern 300mm f/2.8 equivalent lens.
“This lens is an absolute game changer! It gives you the most incredible range, but without sacrificing the f/2.8 aperture. To have this kind of performance at your fingertips is incredible!”
Roberto Valenzuela, fashion and wedding photographer
For decades, the 300mm f/2.8 telephoto lens has been an industry standard for photojournalists, professionals, and aspiring enthusiast photographers due to its outstanding image quality, excellent speed for indoor shooting, and relatively light weight for hand-holding. Now, with the launch of the RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM, Canon delivers the flexibility of a zoom lens design with the truly outstanding quality of a 300mm f/2.8 L-series telephoto lens. Exceeding the reach and potential of traditional 70-200mm lenses, and adding zoom flexibility to its Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS predecessor, the RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM lens brings new value to customers with the following features:
- Wide Focal Range — 100-300mm range
- Extended Zoom — Optional RF1.4x and 2x extenders are supported with this lens, enabling a zoom range of up to 600mm
- Spectacular Image Quality — f/2.8 constant wide aperture; Fluorite Aspherical and UD-glass design
- Reliable Stabilization — Up to 5.5 stops correction with in-lens Optical Image Stabilization and up to 6.0 stops correction with in-body coordinated Image Stabilization (CIPA standard)
- Weather and Dust Resistant — Durable in various environmental conditions
- Compact and Lightweight Design — Despite capabilities to zoom over 300mm, this lens is unusually lightweight, just barely heavier than the EF300mm f/2.8L IS II
“I love this lens! It’s incredibly lightweight, versatile, and sharp. Toss on the 2x extender and you can snipe gorgeous frames at a distance, especially with the built in image stabilizer. This lens is going to change the game for live concerts, weddings, and so much more.”
Ben Hagarty, Grammy award-winning cinematographer
This telephoto zoom lens is ideal for professionals who use a Canon EOS R3, EOS R5 or EOS R6 Mark II full-frame mirrorless camera, but can also be a catalyst for users who have developed into serious, aspirational enthusiasts and are looking to step beyond their traditional telephoto lens experience. Best use cases include, but are not limited to, indoor sports, motorsports, outdoor fashion, video and cinema, photojournalism and theater work. For high-level shooters and videographers particularly working in low-light settings and seeking a hand-holdable solution, this lens provides the total answer.
Price & Availability
The Canon RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM lens is expected to be available in May for an estimated retail price of $9,499.00*. For more information, please visit usa.canon.com.
About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean markets. With approximately $30.3 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), as of 2022 has ranked in the top-five overall in U.S. patents granted for 37 consecutive years†. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To learn more about Canon, visit us at www.usa.canon.com and follow us on Twitter @CanonUSA.
† Number of patents for 2021 are based on figures released by IFI CLAIMS Patent Services. Figures for 2005 to 2020 are based on information issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
* Specifications, availability and prices are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.
Where oh where is the straight jacket emoji when you need one?
I am a former wedding photographer. I didn’t need such a glass. First. Focal points of more than 150 are not needed for the wedding. Second. It’s heavy, big and expensive. To carry such a burden on yourself all day among sometimes drunk people is still a pleasure.
The ideal bundle is 24-120 4.0 and 85 1.8. Cheap, easy, universal.
You’re right, Dmitry, that this lens is a bit overkill for wedding photography. Rather than suitable, I would describe this lens as usable. And for the very reason you describe. My personal favorite combination for shooting a wedding is a 35mm f/1.8 and a 105mm f/1.4, with some wide angle in the bag.
If that had a built in 1.4x TC….I’d switch brands! I have one the last Nikon 200-400mm VRII’s ever made and it’s extremely sharp. I know what sharp is, because I also own or owned the 500FL, 400FL and 800mm f/5.6E VR FL. I’ve used the Nikon 120-300mm and 180-400FL, but I really liked the 120-300mm more. Because with a 1.4x TC…you sorta get both lenses in-one. Except Nikon didn’t add a built in 1.4x TC and in my opinion that has limited the sales. I hardly ever see 120-300mm lenses, I’ve maybe seen one. I am a photojournalist in a major city, so I see a lot of other photographers gear. This Canon lens looks amazing and I’m sure it will be. Just really wish Nikon or Canon would’ve been smart enough to include a built in teleconverter! I do eventually plan on upgrading my 200-400mm VRII, to the 180-400FL. It’s just hard to spend $5,000+ or more just to get a teleconverter and 20mm of extra reach. I tested an NPS loaner 180-400FL and although it was amazing…it wasn’t much sharper than my 200-400 VRII. So maybe I got a really good copy or maybe I got a not so good loaner? I dunno. All I know is for $2,000-$2,400 USD…the Nikon 200-400mm VRII is quite the bargain. I’m actually trying to sell mine and nobody wants it yet, lol. It’s such a good value, I’m shocked so far nobody wants it. Oh well, I’m not really in a position to get the 180-400FL, since I have the 500FL, not sure I can afford another. Canon looks to have made an amazing lens for indoor sports, portraits, photojournalism, etc.! However they missed the mark with the lack of built in-teleconverter, but I’m sure they’ll still sell well! It’s probably going to be extremely sharp, like near perfect optically! At least Canon finally announced an innovative lens. Instead of just gluing teleconverter’s and throwing EF-RF adapters on older lenses and calling them new, plus charging way more? No more Frankenstein lenses? From Canon, this is improvement for sure!
Thank you for your detailed comment, Patrick, and for sharing your experience with these telephoto lenses. I must admit that I find it quite surprising how you perceive the sharpness of the 200-400mm f/4 lens. I’ve photographed with a total of three copies, and none of them really convinced me. But they were all the first generation of this lens. Specifically, I was not happy with the sharpness of distant subjects, how it worked with the tele-converter, the AF speed, and on the Z9 with the FTZ adapter, the “jumpy” focusing in AF-C mode. Just for the record, a friend got rid of this lens for the above reasons and now uses the much cheaper 200-500mm f/5.6 to his satisfaction.
I also somehow think Canon missed an opportunity with the built-in tele-converter. For some, this magic lever is the only argument to switch to Nikon, and I have to say I’m not surprised. The built-in tele-converter is indeed a highly addictive feature. I know I’m a bit of a dreamer, but I imagine there could be two teleconverters on f/2.8 lenses. Both 1.4x and 2.0x.