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Canon goes pro with RF 400mm f/2.8L and RF 600mm f/4L telephotos

Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon has announced a pair of professional-grade, high-performance (and high-price) telephoto lenses: the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM and Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM.

Designed for professional sports and news photographers, the announcement of the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM and Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM coincides with the reveal of the new Canon EOS R3 – the professional mirrorless body with 30fps continuous shooting and eye-controlled autofocus. 

• Read more: Best Canon RF lenses

The optical construction of the two RF lenses is largely indistinguishable from their DSLR counterparts, the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and Canon EF 600mm f/4L III USM – two of the best Canon lenses for top-tier telephoto shooting. However, they make use of the cutting-edge RF mount to deliver even more powerful performance. 

For starters they deliver an extra half-stop of image stabilization over their EF equivalents, with both lenses capable of 5.5 stops of IS to reduce camera shake. They are also the first RF-mount lenses to feature a double power drive mechanism, enabling super-fast autofocus performance – designed to keep up with the 30fps pace of the EOS R3. 

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Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)
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Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)
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Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)
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Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)

The optics also feature three manual focus speeds and, as reflected by recent firmware updates to the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6, full-time manual focus override. Two focus presets can also be programmed, enabling shooters to react quickly as well as pull focus to preset points when shooting video. 

The premium construction comprises Fluorite and Super UD glass elements, along with ASC and Super Spectra coatings, minimizing distortion and flare and ensuring fantastic edge-to-edge resolution even wide open. Such is the optical quality that both lenses can be used with the Canon Extender RF 1.4x and Canon Extender RF 2x teleconverters. 

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Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)
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Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)
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Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)

Unlike the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM, which was designed to offer a low-cost super telephoto optic for the masses, these two lenses are priced for professionals and high-end shooters. 

The Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM will retail for $11,999.00 / £12,449.99 / AU$21,999.00 and the Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM will cost $12,999.00 / £13,409.99 / AU$23,999.00 when the optics go on sale in July.

Pre-order the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM from Adorama (US)
Pre-order the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM from B&H (US)
Pre-order the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM from Park (UK)
Pre-order the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM from Wex (UK)

Pre-order the Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM from Adorama (US)
Pre-order the Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM from B&H (US)
Pre-order the Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM from Park (UK)
Pre-order the Canon RF 600mm f/4L IS USM from Wex (UK) 

Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L + Canon RF 600mm f/4L specs

• Large maximum aperture f/4 and f/2.8 respectively for the lens’ focal length, delivering excellent low light performance and image quality 

• Image Stabilizer providing up to 5.5 stop (based on CIPA standards) 

• Lightweight and easy to hand hold for long periods 

• 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 optimized AF algorithms to provide a quiet and fast auto focusing 

Read more: 

Best telephoto lenses
Best Canon telephoto lenses
Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM review
Canon EOS R5 review
Canon EOS R6 review

James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James started working in the photographic industry in 2014 as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy – successor to David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus. In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. An Olympus and Canon user, James was previously technique editor on PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine.