Canon has unveiled its hotly anticipated wide aperture super-telephoto zoom lens. It’s the Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM (buy here) and costs a whopping $9,499. With this kind of price tag, Canon doesn’t really need to say that it’s “aimed directly at professional and very high-end video and still-image users”, although they said it anyway. Specifically, they say it’s ideal for things like theatre, event candids, and indoor sports.
It’s a bit of a monster at 5.8 lbs, although Canon says it’s the lightest f/2.8 zoom lens with a 300mm focal length on the market. It claims excellent optical quality, with edge-to-edge sharpness, and a design that includes one fluorite element, and 4 Ultra-Low Dispersion (UD) elements. Fluorine coatings and Canon’s Super Spectra Coating (SSC) help to minimise ghosting and flare.
Canon 100-300mm f/2.8 – It’s a beast!
The new RF 100-300mm f/2.8, Canon says, is essentially an evolution of the old Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens – which is still for sale for around $6,100. Naturally, this evolution includes a different optical arrangement. The RF 100-300mm f/2.8 zoom contains 23 elements in 18 groups vs the EF 300mm f/2.8 prime’s 16 elements in 12 groups. Of course, it’ll need that extra glass to be able to shift from a long 300mm to a slightly less long 100mm.
Weighing 5.8 lbs, this is not a light lens, but despite all that extra glass, the new RF 100-300mm f/2.8 is only slightly heavier than the EF 300mm f/2.8’s 5.29 lbs. This is a pretty significant achievement for Canon, to be able to add all this extra versatility to the lens without a massive weight gain. Of course, it does come at a significant price gain, costing over 50% more than the old EF prime.
Autofocus and Image Stabilisation
The new Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM sports dual Nano USM motors, which Canon credits for the “incredible focus speed and accuracy” of the lens. They say that it maintains that speed and accuracy throughout its focal length range, so you should never see a dip in performance. The two motors are independently actuated, which Canon says is particularly useful when tracking moving subjects.
When it comes to stabilisation, the lens offers up to 5.5 stops and works in conjunction with IBIS in Canon RF mirrorless bodies, bringing it up to a total of 6 stops of correction. So, shooting this handheld shouldn’t be much of a problem, despite its long focal length. While you’re still bound by physics and slower shutter speeds will cause motion blur in the subject, camera shake from handholding shouldn’t be an issue.
Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM Specs
|Lens Mount||Canon RF|
|Angle of View||Approx. 24° – 8° 15'|
|Maximum Magnification||0.06x (at 100mm); 0.16x (at 300mm)|
|Minimum Focus Distance||1.8m (5.9 ft.) at all focal lengths|
|Optical Design||22 Elements in 18 Groups|
|Diaphragm Blades||9, rounded|
|Image Stabilization||Yes, 5.5 stops (6 with IBIS)|
|Filter Size||112 mm (Front)|
|Dimensions (ø x L)||128mm x 323.4mm|
Price and Availability
The Canon RF 100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM is available to pre-order now for $9,499 and is expected to start shipping in May.
Will this beast be making it into your gear bag?