Canon recently announced the launch of two new L-series RF super telephoto prime lenses, the RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and RF1200mm f/8L IS USM. For the 1200mm lenses, they are very few in existence and Canon is a rare manufacturer of 1200mm lenses. Both L-series RF super telephoto prime lenses support autofocusing and image stabilisation even with extenders, achieving their impressive reach while weighing just over 3kg. As compared to their EF lens counterparts, the RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and RF1200mm f/8L IS USM are significantly smaller and lighter, yet they maintain the superior image quality of L series lenses. With the announcement of these new lenses, Canon’s RF lens lineup now provides the most comprehensive focal range for users, from an ultra-wide-angle 14mm to an unparalleled super telephoto 2400mm (1).

RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM

“The RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and RF1200mm f/8L IS USM leverages Canon’s RF design technology to offer super telephoto lenses with unprecedented quality and increased usability, with a significant reduction in size and weight. Be it wildlife, sports, or astrophotography, these lenses have been engineered to meet the exacting requirements of photographers shooting in the super telephoto range,” said Edwin Teoh, Head of Marketing, Singapore Operations, Canon Singapore. “The addition of these lenses is a testament to Canon’s commitment to grow and strengthen the RF lens ecosystem, and continue providing photographers with a comprehensive focal length coverage to meet their needs.” 

Behemoths Downscaled: Size and Weight Reductions Up To 80% 

The RF1200mm f/8L IS USM cuts 13kg in weight (approx. 80%) and 299mm (approx. 35%) in length from its 16.5kg predecessor, the EF1200mm f/5.6L USM, even with the inclusion of an in-lens Optical Image Stabilizer (Optical IS). Meanwhile, the RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM achieves a 1.36kg (approx. 30%) weight reduction over its predecessor, the EF800mm f/5.6L IS USM. 

The significant downscaling was achieved by adding magnification optics towards the back of the optical designs of the EF400mm f/2.8L IS III USM and EF600mm f/4L IS III USM, two lenses which had also achieved significant size and weight reduction while maintaining high optical performance. 

Both lenses feature a highly durable vibration and shock-proof structure, with dust- and drip-resistant weather sealing to prevent moisture from entering. 

RF1200mm f8L IS USM

Reach Further with Extenders, Bolstered by AF Support 

Both the RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and the RF1200mm f/8L IS USM are compatible with the Extender RF 1.4x and the Extender RF 2x. The focal lengths with the extenders are as follows: 

Extender RF 1.4x Extender RF 2x
RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM 1120mm 1600mm
RF1200mm f/8L IS USM 1680mm 2400mm

It is hard to find other camera systems which offer the ability to reach focal lengths of more than 1600mm on an autofocus-capable super telephoto lens and extender. 

When the lenses and extenders are combined with the EOS R system’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, AF is possible over a wide coverage area even beyond maximum aperture f/8—up to 100% coverage on the EOS R3, EOS R5, and EOS R6 (2). With this, user can enjoy the benefits of AF, such as Animal Detection AF, in more situations than possible on a DSLR camera. The lenses also support continuous shooting of up to 30 fps (electronic shutter) when paired with a high-performance camera like the EOS R3. 

Incorporating Canon’s Proprietary Technology for Superior Image Quality 

Leveraging on the flexibility of the RF mount, the RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and the RF1200mm f/8L IS USM lens configurations are optimised to achieve the signature outstanding L-lens image quality within a smaller, lighter lens body. This includes the use of fluorite, Super UD (Ultra Low Dispersion), and UD lens elements to combat the chromatic aberration that super telephoto lenses are particularly susceptible to, achieving crisp, clear images all the way to the edges of the frame. 

Enhanced Image Stabilisation for Super Telephoto Shooting 

Both lenses are equipped with the in-lens Optical IS image stabilisation system, which significantly corrects the camera shake that becomes particularly visible at ultra-long focal lengths. On the RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM, the equivalent of up to 4.5 shutter speed stops3 of image stabilisation is achieved (Predecessor: 4 stops); on the RF1200mm f/8L IS USM, the image stabilisation effect is up to 4 shutter speed stops equivalent [3] (Predecessor: no IS). 

Unprecedented Portability Expands Application Usage 

Professional super telephoto lenses are traditionally associated with bulky heft. The unprecedented portability achieved by the RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and the RF1200mm f/8L IS USM will make them more appealing to new markets and new applications, especially when combined with the ever-increasing capabilities of the EOS R mirrorless camera system. 

Pricing and Availability

The RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and RF1200mm f/8L IS USM are priced at $26,899 and $31,639 respectively, and will be available from May 2022. 

Product Specifications

RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM and RF1200mm f/8L IS USM

Focal Length 800mm 1200mm
Maximum Aperture f/5.6 f/8
Minimum Focusing Distance 2.6m 4.3m
Maximum Magnification 0.34x 0.29x
Lens Construction 26 elements in 18 groups 26 elements in 18 groups
Special Low Dispersion Glass 2 x fluorite

1 x SuperUD

1 x UD

2 x fluorite

1 x SuperUD

1 x UD

Filter Size Diameter Ø52mm (drop-in) ø52mm (drop-in)
Aperture Blades 9 9
IS (CIPA Standard Correction Effect) Yes (up to 4.5 stops) Yes (up to 4 stops)
Maximum Diameter and length approx. 163mm x 432mm approx. 168mm x 537mm
Weight approx. 3140g approx. 3340g


(1) With the Extender RF 2x

(2) On RF800mm f/5.6L IS USM with Extender RF1.4x 

(3) In the Yaw//Pitch directions; according to CIPA standards. When using the EOS R/R5/R3  

* Information and pictures of Canon Singapore and GLOO *

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *