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Could this Canon lens be a total game changer?

Canon
(Image credit: Canon News/ Canon)

One of the most expensive areas of photography for Canon users has traditionally been anything that requires a super telephoto lens. Whether your poison of choice was sports, wildlife or astrophotography, super telephoto lenses can often cost tens of thousands of dollars, making these genres inaccessible for many budding photographers.

However, a new patent from Canon shows that there could be a cheaper alternative coming soon. While we wouldn’t expect the same level of quality as, say, the Canon EF 800mm f5.6 L IS USM lens, this new patent could certainly be a game changer for those looking to dip their toes into the super telephoto waters.

Read more: Best Canon lenses (opens in new tab)

This new patent shows three potential designs, including a Canon 1200mm f/11, a Canon 400mm f/3.5 and even a crazy Canon 2000mm f/15. While a maximum aperture of f/11 or f/15 might initially seem ridiculous to some people, it’s worth noting that Canon’s release of the Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM lens (opens in new tab) was pretty well-received.

The benefit of a narrow maximum aperture is that lens manufacturers such as Canon can use a lot less glass than a lens with a wider maximum aperture. This means that super telephoto focal lengths can be achieved without making the lens incredibly large, heavy and expensive. 

This new Canon lens patent was reported by (opens in new tab) Canon News, which notes: “These lenses are good for basically one thing; infinity focus. Outside of infinity focus, you have donut shaped bokeh, which is unavoidable, because the entry of light is obscured by the secondary mirror at the front of the lens. This central obscuration is a key trait of a Catadioptric lens.”

Canon News also goes on to say that: “The interesting part of these embodiments is the fact that Canon is adding image stabilization to the lenses. This has never been done before.” 

Canon is well-known for patenting many designs every year that never make it to market, so it’s not guaranteed that we’ll ever see this patent become an actual product. However, it’s always interesting to see what ideas Canon is exploring. 

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With over a decade of photographic experience, Louise arms Digital Camera World with a wealth of knowledge on photographic technique and know-how – something at which she is so adept that she's delivered workshops for the likes of ITV and Sue Ryder. Louise also brings years of experience as both a web and print journalist, having served as features editor for Practical Photography magazine and contributing photography tutorials and camera analysis to titles including Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab) and  Digital Photographer (opens in new tab). Louise currently shoots with the Fujifilm X-T200 and the Nikon D800, capturing self-portraits and still life images, and is DCW's ecommerce editor, meaning that she knows good camera, lens and laptop deals when she sees them.