Canon Unveils 3 RF Lenses: 400mm, 600mm & 100mm Macro

Today, Canon has announced three new lenses that will join the RF line-up. These lenses are a 100mm f/2.8 Macro, a 400mm f/2.8 prime, and a 600mm f/4 prime.

The announcement comes alongside that of the new Canon EOS R3 which is currently in development.

Canon has updated three of its most popular EF mount lenses, bringing them into the RF world. The three lenses are:

400mm & 600mm primes

The new 400mm and 600mm prime lenses are based on the EF-mount 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and 600mm f/4L III USM lenses respectively.

Both prime lenses have been extremely popular super-telephoto lenses amongst professional sports and wildlife photographers. Whilst the lens is in its nature largely the same as the EF-mount version, Canon says that the capabilities of the new super-telephoto lenses are “next level” as they are designed specifically for the Canon R system and can take advantage of its benefits.

Both lenses offer 1/8th-stop aperture control for video work. There is also enhanced image stabilisation at 5.5 stops when used with Canon R cameras.

Canon example image from the new RF 600mm f/4 IS USM

Canon reports that the lenses support a “double power drive” method for faster AF that will be compatible with future camera bodies, allowing photographers to shoot far away, fast-moving action that would be over in a matter of milliseconds. 

Canon example image from the new RF 400mm f/2.8 IS USM

Both lenses employ the use of Fluorite and Super UD glass, plus ASC and Super Spectra coatings. Canon claims that this minimises distortion and flare all the way across the frame, even when wide open.

Key features of the 400mm and 600mm primes:

  • Large maximum apertures of f/2.8 and f/4 respectively, delivering excellent low light performance and image quality
  • Image stabiliser providing up to 5.5 stops
  • Lightweight and easy to handhold for long periods (400mm is 2.9kg; 600mm is 3.1kg)
  • 9-blade circular aperture capable of moving in 1/8th steps for smoother transitions of apertures changing during video recording
  • Ring USM drive, high-speed CPU and optimised AF algorithms to provide a quiet and fast autofocusing
The new Canon 100mm f2.8L Macro IS

The 400mm f/2.8 is currently available for pre-order at £12,449 ($11,999). The 600mm f/4 lens is also available to pre-order at £13,409 ($12,999).

100mm Macro

Alongside the two powerhouse primes, Canon have also announced the RF successor to its ever-popular EF-mount 100mm f/2.8L Macro lens: the RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM.

Canon’s 100mm Macro has always been a versatile lens ideal for not only macro shooting, but also portrait and still life photography.

The RF version takes on many of the same characteristics, but incorporates some new features in the build of the lens. Firstly, it has a “higher-than-average” magnification ratio of 1.4:1, which is made possible by the lens’ floating system and short back-focusing; reportedly this allows photographers to capture exceptional close up detail.

Canon example image, showing soft-focus control from the new RF 100mm f/2.8L

In addition to its magnification, a standout feature – and an improvement from its EF version – is the completely new variable and adjustable Spherical Aberration Control ring. This built-in feature allows photographers to vary the look of the background and foreground bokeh, and allows them to create a soft-focus effect on the subject as seen in the above example.

The 100mm Macro lens also features optimised image stabilisation of as much as 8 stops when used with the Canon R5 and R6, significantly compensating for camera shake when shooting handheld.

Macro lenses have historically struggled with AF performance, but Canon promises that the “Dual Nano USM AF” provides smooth, accurate, and high-speed autofocus that is virtually silent with minimal focus breathing – something that will make it ideal for focus stacking

Key features of the RF 100mm f2.8L Macro IS USM:

  • AF macro lens with an incredible 1.4x magnification (1.4:1)
  • A variable Spherical Aberration Control ring can be used to adjust the subject softness and look of the bokeh
  • f/2.8 maximum aperture gives a shallow depth of field
  • 9-blade circular aperture creates beautiful out of focus highlights
  • Up to 5-stops optical IS (using an EOS R camera), and up to 8-stops with Combined IS using EOS R5 / EOS R6 and the in-body image stabiliser system
  • Dual nano USM motors for smooth and fast AF

The 100mm f/2.8L Macro is now available for pre-order for £1,479 ($1,399).

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Joe is a photographer, camera and drone operator with a focus on conservation and the natural world. Having worked for a number of wildlife and conservation NGOs, Joe is now working for the BBC NHU on an upcoming landmark series.

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