Canon RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM review: all hail the new superzoom king

The Canon RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM is a super-telephoto lens that offers (mostly) super performance

Canon RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM lens on a Canon EOS R5 camera held in up to a man's face
(Image: © Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Canon RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM is the reigning superzoom champion in terms of focal range and is impressively lightweight and compact for its reach. However, its mediocre maximum aperture does limit its usefulness in low-light performance. But, in good lighting conditions, it delivers sharp results throughout most of the zoom range, although 800mm sharpness drops off somewhat. The lens also features lightning-fast and accurate autofocus. While it's an impressive lens, the price may be steep unless you truly need the extra reach.


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    Massive zoom range

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    Relatively lightweight (for a lens of its scope)

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    Super fast and quiet autofocusing

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    Compatible with 1.4x and 2x teleconverters


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    Narrow maximum aperture limits low-light performance

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    Aperture reduced even further with converters

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    Image quality at 800mm end could be stronger

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Every so often, a new big superzoom telephoto lens pops up to grab everyone's attention. Mostly it’s third-party lens makers like Sigma and Tamron, duking it out over different stratospheric focal lengths or huge apertures. It seemed like Canon was content to focus on sensible quality and let other companies make the headlines. But no longer! The Canon RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM has arrived on the scene as a serious challenger to the superzoom throne.

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AutofocusNano USM
Lens construction17 elements/11 groups
Special Optics3x UD, Super Spectra
Diaphragm blades9
ApertureMax f/6.3-9 / Min f/32-54
Closest focusing distance0.8m (200mm) 3.3m (800mm)
Maximum magnification0.25x (at 200mm) 0.2x (at 800mm)
Image stabilization5.5 stops optical (7.5 stops at 200mm with IBIS)
Dust/moisture resistanceYes
Filter diameter95mm
Size (diameter x length)102.3 x 314.1 mm (4.03 x 12.37 in)
Weight2050 g (0.55 lbs)
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FeaturesOne range to rule them all, and some solid image stabilization★★★★★
DesignWeatherproofed reliable Canon build but missing some switches★★★★★
PerformanceFantastic image quality that only falls short at the longest end★★★★
ValueA pricey purchase, but offers value for the sheer range this lens covers★★★★
Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

If you want some serious reach on your RF system, but don’t have a lot of money to spend, then the Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM is the best you can get. Although the top length pales in comparison to the 200-800mm, 400mm will still get you very close to the action, and you can boost this even further on an APS-C camera with a 1.6x crop like the EOS R7.

Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM

The Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM again doesn’t have nearly the reach of the 200-800mm lens, but if you want Canon’s zoom lens with the absolute best quality then this might be the one for you. Although you will pay a premium, with the 100-500mm lens coming in several hundred dollars more expensive. The lens is also compatible with Canon’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters.

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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.