Is Fujifilm following Canon's lead with a budget super telephoto?

lens envy
(Image credit: James Artaius)

As surely as the sun rises, new patents will be uncovered spoiling camera manufacturers' carefully maintained secrecy. And this time it is Fujifilm's turn, with a new patent revealing that it has designed a Fujinon XF 500mm f/8 OIS lens. 

Fujifilm rumors (opens in new tab) usually revolve around bodies more than lenses, but a new bit of sleuthing shows that the manufacturer has been working on a lens very similar in purpose to the very successful and well-received Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM (opens in new tab) (and its little brother, the Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM (opens in new tab)). 

Japanese outlet Digital Camera Info (opens in new tab) has unearthed a patent describing the Fujinon XF 500mm f/8 OIS – which would have an equivalent focal length of roughly 750mm and an equivalent aperture of around f/12, with a 1.5x conversion to a full-frame sensor, making it very similar to the RF 800mm f/11.

The best Fujifilm lenses (opens in new tab) already comprise an impressive range of telephoto lenses, including the colossal Fujifilm XF 200mm F/2 R LM OIS WR (opens in new tab). However, with photographers increasingly demanding smaller and more compact optics but without sacrificing image quality, these smaller aperture telephotos are one way to accomplish just that.

The Fujinon XF 500mm f/8 OIS patent drawing  (Image credit: digicame-info)
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After the initial surprise at Canon's reveal (opens in new tab), the photography world very quickly came around to its vision for these telephoto primes. We gave them glowing report cards and they made it onto our list of best Canon telephoto lenses (opens in new tab).

As the saying goes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery – so I am sure that Canon will be taking note that it might have started a trend for more affordable telephoto primes with narrower constant apertures. Canon itself said that we will be seeing other similar lenses added to its lineup in the future.

We do not mind lens manufacturers being 'inspired' by each other one bit, if we get more interesting new lenses. The camera market is hotly contested, and with an ever-decreasing number of photographers as camera phones sap hobbyists away, we are increasingly seeing new designs that capture people's attention and push the boundaries of what we would normally expect.

Take the well-trodden ground of 24-70mm lenses, for example. The Canon EOS R (opens in new tab) came out of the gates with the unprecedented Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM (opens in new tab) lens in 2018. And more recently, Sony has expanded the wide-angle view of a standard kit lens with its Sony FE 20-70mm f/4 G (opens in new tab). Third-party manufacturers aren't sitting this one out, either, with the Tamron 17-70mm F/2.8 Di III-A VC RXD (opens in new tab) making waves for APS-C shooters.

We hope to see more of these lenses from Canon, Fujifilm and all the rest, as more choice is always beneficial – especially when it can hit multiple price points and opens up new photographic opportunities to more people.

Read more about Fujifilm in our guides for the best Fujifilm cameras (opens in new tab), the best Fujifilm lenses (opens in new tab), and the best Fujifilm GF lenses (opens in new tab).

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Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.