Canon’s new 400mm f2.8 and 600mm f4 EF lenses are ‘world’s lightest’

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As well as the dramatic announcement of the new EOS-R mirrorless system, Canon has also found the time for a few extra surprises today.

Two of which are the new EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM, the latest in the firm’s full-frame super-telephoto lenses, both of which have been newly designed with a dramatic weight reduction to make them the lightest in their respective classes.

The weight of the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM has been reduced to 2840g (was previously 3850g), while the weight of the EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM has been pared down to 3050g (from 3920g on the previous model). These significant reductions mean the two lenses hold the titles of world’s lightest in their respective focal lengths.

The new EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM

The new EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM

This will make them significantly more usable for handheld shooting, which Canon has also made easier by inclusion of five-stop Image Stabilizer technology, which should greatly reduce camera-shake and image blurring. 

They also feature extensive weather-sealing, while the familiar white finish that makes Canon’s L lenses so distinctive now also functions as a thermal insulation coating to allow the lenses to function in all temperatures. 

Both of the lenses contain fluorite lens elements to eliminate chromatic aberration, while a Subwavelength Structure Coating (SWC) significantly cuts down on flare and ghosting. They also both feature a nine-bladed diaphragm, allowing for the creation of smooth backgrounds.

The new EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM

The new EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM

The genres of photography these types of lenses are typically used for – wildlife, aviation, sports, action, etc – demand high-speed autofocus, which is provided in both cases by a ring-type USM autofocus motor and high-speed CPU. The lenses have also been optimised in this regard for video, giving users the option to make use of pull-focus effects with power focus controls and focus presets.

Focusing can also be controlled via the tactile controls on the lenses’ outer bodies, allowing focusing to be started, stopped or locked in an instant. If you have presets you like to work with, you can program two to the pre-set ring, allowing you to recall them instantly with a quick twist. Other controls for focusing mode, focusing range, focus pre-set recall and IS are also located on the outer body.

The new EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM

The new EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM

Key  specifications

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM 

• five-stop image stabilisation
• nine- blade iris
• two fluorite lenes
• one super UD lens
• 17 elements in 13 groups
• Minimum focus 2.5m
• 2840g

Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM

• five-stop image stabilisation
• nine- blade iris
• two fluorite lenes
• one super UD lens
• 17 elements in 13 groups
• Minimum focus 4.2m
• 3050g

Pricing and availability

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM will be priced at £11,999.99 / €13,999 / $11,999;
the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM will be £12,999 / €15,199 / $12,999.
Both will be available from December 2018.