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Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM: the ultimate all-purpose super tele zoom?

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM
(Image credit: Canon)

Canon’s onslaught of new lenses continues with the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM – a versatile new super telephoto zoom aimed at enthusiasts and professionals capturing sport, wildlife, aviation and video. 

The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS is a reliable, durable and compact optic, with one Super UD lens (ultra-low dispersion) and six regular UD lenses to effectively suppress chromatic aberration as well as ghosting and flare across the entire 100-500mm zoom range, for high-resolution, high-contrast image quality from maximum apertures.

Unlike the unorthodox new f/11 lenses, the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM and Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM, the RF 100-500mm is an L-series optic, meaning that it features robust weather sealing for performance in all conditions.

The build quality, size and weight of the new lens will be similar to the existing Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM. The new RF 100-500mm weighs a respectable 1,370g (compared to the EF 100-400mm’s 1,570g, both without tripod mounts) and is moderately longer at 207.6mm (compared to 193mm). As such, it delivers an extra 100mm of reach while weighing 13% less.  

It will offer 5 stops of lens-based image stabilization, but when mounted on the Canon EOS R5 or Canon EOS R6 it leverages the in-body stabilization to deliver 6 stops. So even though you’ll be restricted to f/7.1 at 500mm, the stabilization should ensure sharp shots even at slower shutter speed when shooting without a tripod. 

Featuring Dual Nano USM AF motor technology, the RF 100-500mm boasts accurate, high-speed and quiet autofocus – ideal for capturing wildlife and noise-free filming. Canon’s innovative floating focusing system also allows for improved close focusing, down to 0.9m.

As standard with RF lenses, it features a programmable Lens Control Ring on the barrel, enabling you to change settings without taking your eye off the viewfinder. And the adjustable torque zoom ring enables the zoom action to be made tighter or looser to suit your preferences. 

It is compatible with the new Extender RF 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, though due to the lens’ physical design they can only be employed at 300mm and beyond (resulting in a 420-700mm f/8-10 with with the 1.4x and 600-1000mm f/11-14 with the 2x converter).

Scheduled to go on sale in September, the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS will be priced at $2,699 / £2,899 / AU$4,999.95.

Read more: 

Hands on: Canon EOS R5 review
Hands on: Canon EOS R6 review
Best Canon RF lenses: the best lens for Canon EOS R5, R6, R and RP