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Canon launching pair of pro RF super-telephotos next year (with EOS R1)?

Canon launching pair of pro RF super-telephotos next year (with EOS R1)?

Canon will be launching a pair of professional super telephoto lenses for the RF mount next year, likely alongside the new pro Canon EOS R1 body, according to the latest reports. 

It is said that the first of these will be the Canon RF 300mm f/2.8L, though there is no firm feeling on the second. While these long pro lenses will certainly be of interest to Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) and Canon EOS R6 (opens in new tab) shooters, their primary purpose will be to equip with the Canon EOS R1 (opens in new tab) – the anticipated successor to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark III (opens in new tab) flagship DSLR. 

Rumors of a Canon RF 300mm f/2.8L first emerged last June, with Canon Rumors noting that (opens in new tab) it "will come with a 'new and unique' feature for super telephoto lenses", though no suggestion was given as to what this could be. 

The same report noted that Canon had no plans to update the EF-mount versions of the 300mm f/2.8L and 500mm f/4L, which many interpreted as Canon scrapping its DSLR designs for those lenses and upcycling them into RF-mount models instead. 

As such, it is possible that the second lens could be an RF 500mm f/4L or even f/2.8L. Others have pointed out that, historically, Canon has launched 300mm and 400mm lenses almost in tandem, so if that tradition continues then an RF 400mm could well be on the way. 

Of course, all these proposed focal ranges are covered by the new Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM (opens in new tab), and both the Canon RF 600mm f/11 (opens in new tab) and Canon RF 800mm f/11 (opens in new tab) provide more extreme super-tele coverage – though none of these are suitable for professional sports photography, which is what this pair of new lenses is targeting.

Indeed, Canon Rumors reported that (opens in new tab) they would both be launched alongside the EOS R1 in time for the 2021 Olympic Games – though the camera itself, and perhaps the lenses too, will likely be unavailable to the public until the end of 2021.

One thing is for sure: after a dynamite 2020 for its RF system, Canon clearly has no signs of slowing down in 2021!

Read more: 

Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM review (opens in new tab)
Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM review (opens in new tab)
Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM review (opens in new tab)

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James Artaius
James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.