Canon RF 100-300mm F2.8L IS USM review

A trinity of four? The Canon RF 100-300mm F2.8L IS USM tags onto Canon’s threesome of regular f/2.8 zooms, boosting telephoto reach

5 Star Rating
Canon RF 100-300mm F2.8L IS USM
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Sometimes a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom just doesn’t cover the distance. This lens gives extended telephoto reach with no reduction in aperture, along with super-speedy autofocus and highly effective optical image stabilization. It’s ideal for action, sports and wildlife photography, as well as for portraiture when you want to keep a discrete distance. All in all, it’s tremendously versatile. Image quality is to die for, more like you’d expect from a collection of top-notch primes. The versatility and performance come at a price though. It’s very expensive to buy and weighs in at more than 2.5kg.

Pros

  • +

    Spectacular image quality

  • +

    Lightning-fast autofocus

  • +

    Feature-rich with exotic handling

Cons

  • -

    Necessarily big and weighty

  • -

    Very large 112mm filter thread

  • -

    Eye-wateringly expensive

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The Canon RF 100-300mm F2.8L IS USM is a telephoto extension to Canon’s RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM, RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM and RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM ‘trinity’ zoom lenses. We’re very much accustomed to trinity wide-angle, standard and telephoto lenses, which maintain a maximum f/2.8 aperture throughout their zoom ranges, from all major camera manufacturers but this lens is more like a D’Artagnan to Canon’s existing Three RF Musketeers.

There’s not been anything quite like this lens before, at least not from Canon. There was a relatively tiny, low-budget Canon EF 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 USM hailing from the 35mm film era but that had a slower, variable aperture, lacked image stabilization and definitely didn’t class as an L-series lens. The RF lens is more akin to the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM prime, but with the added versatility of being a zoom, and billed as having ‘prime lens’ performance and image quality. Both of the EF lenses have since been discontinued.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.