A Long-Awaited Canon Lens Is on the Way

A Long-Awaited Canon Lens Is on the Way

Canon's RF lens library has been steadily growing, with a wide variety of standard lenses and more extreme options for a range of photographers' needs. Nonetheless, there are still a few lenses that professionals are looking for, and thankfully, another one will likely be on its way soon, with some major improvements in tow. 

Canon Rumors is reporting that Canon is readying the RF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM for release soon, with prototypes of the lens out for testing as we speak. What's particularly interesting is that the new version is about a third lighter and shorter than its EF predecessor, which is always good news for any sports or wildlife photographer who has to carry large supertelephoto prime lenses around. As the second longest lens in the company's lineup with an f/2.8 aperture, it has been quite popular among people like bird photographers, who need a lot of reach in tandem with a wide maximum aperture that allows them to keep their shutter speeds fast. No doubt, an RF version of the lens would be highly popular. There is not an exact timeline for the lens yet, but it looks as if Canon is aiming for the first half of 2023. I believe that with the EOS R1 also expected sometime next year, Canon is placing high priority on their supertelephoto prime lenses at the moment. We'll see what next year brings! 

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Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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I'd like to see a RF 300/4 IS lens. My guess is that it should be significantly lighter than the EF version, which dates from 1997. They managed to get the 70-200/4 smaller, so I guess they should be able to do that again.

The EF 300mm f/4 has been out of production for at least a decade. Canon evidently saw no need to replace it with an update long before the transition to mirrorless. With the latest improvements in high ISO sensor performance and the usability of apertures narrower than f/5.6 with MILC AF systems, I highly doubt we'll ever see an RF 300mm f/4.

Likewise, the very recent EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS II that was one of the last L series lenses introduced in the EF mount has already been discontinued, though the EF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS III rolled out at the same time has not.

Canon is concentrating on the extreme high end and also working to fill out the low end of the RF lens system. There doesn't appear to be any intention to ever make any significant attempt at selling any mid-grade primes that had all but disappeared, in terms of new lens introductions, from the EF system over a decade ago.

I'm still waiting on an RF 400mm f/4.

Maybe, though I would hardly attribute Canon’s moves towards sport and wildlife photographers. Quite the contrary, most of their promotions are focused on videographers and all of the firmware updates for the R5 have been aimed at them too.

Different products are aimed at different users and use cases. The 300/2.8 series combined with the EOS 1 Series has long been a stalwart among professional sports shooters.

The original 300/2.8 L, the first lens in the world with USM, was THE lens that pulled the professional sports and photojournalist market away from Nikon, who had 75%+ of that market in 1987 when the EOS system was introduced. The all electronic camera/lens interface and the totally new mount cost Canon some customers between 1987 and the very early '90s, but the far superior AF performance, both in speed and accuracy, gave Canon a majority of the pro market by the mid-90s that they held for the next 20+ consecutive years.

Canon markets different products to different users. With the R1 on the horizon, it makes perfect sense to roll out an RF 300/2.8 at the same time.

Again, Canon's marketing strategy has shifted towards the video end of the business rather than sports and WL photographers. If the 300 f/2.8 L is released as described, then it is the first longer RF prime designed for that format. All of the other longer RF primes have been hold overs from the EF formats with integrated EF/RF adapters. No one is calling into question Canon's legacy or quality, rather the assertion that Canon was squarely focused on sports/WL photographers. If the later was the case, the 300 f/2.8 would have been one of the first RF lenses released. FWIW, my R5 and R7 function quite magnificently for stills though I would encourage you to look at Canon's marketing materials. A primary focus has been on videography and that is undeniable.

The R5 was arguably the best stills camera in the world at introduction. There hasn't been much of any *need* to update its performance in taking still images. Video, however, had some significant issues that needed to be addressed, and most of them have been addressed.

I would respectfully disagree. The absence of availability of real time "zebras" in stills mode (available on video), lack of ability of decreasing the ES rate other than the default 20 FPS, and lack of full programability of the buttons are huge deficiencies to say the least.