Canon’s new mirrorless lenses come with impressive specs — and high costs

Previously announced as in development, Canon officially detailed two new lenses for its full-frame mirrorless camera system on Thursday, October 24. The RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and RF 85mm f/1.2L IS USM DS are both high-end L-series lenses and bring the total number of RF lenses up to 10. While the two models are very different from each other, both feature unique designs that separate them from existing lenses of their focal lengths — and both will be expensive.

Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM with zoom barrel extended

The RF 70-200mm f/2.8L will be available in late November for a price of $2,699, $500 more than the latest EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens for Canon DSLRs. However, the RF version incorporates an entirely new design that makes it 27% shorter and 28% lighter than its EF counterpart, something that owners of compact R-series cameras will certainly appreciate. That design moves more of the glass elements closer to the lens mount to keep the weight balanced, but it also introduces a telescoping lens barrel that changes length as the lens zooms. By contrast, EF L-series 70-200mm lenses use internal zooming.

But it isn’t just the size and weight that makes this new telephoto zoom appealing. It uses 17 elements in 13 groups including two aspherical elements. It also features dust and weather-sealing, two ultrasonic focus motors for quiet and smooth autofocus, and an optical stabilization system rated at five stops of shake reduction.

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L IS USM DS on white

The RF 85mm f/1.2L IS USM DS will ship in late December for $2,999, $300 above the existing non-DS version of the lens to which it is otherwise identical. DS stands for Defocus Smoothing, a new type of lens coating from Canon that acts like an apodization filter, similar to what we’ve seen in lenses like the Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2R APD. This coating reduces transmission of off-axis light, which basically means it softens out-of-focus areas for better bokeh.

The RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM and 85mm f/1.2L IS USM DS join an expanding lineup of premium RF lenses — seven of the 10 cost over $2,000 — but Canon has yet to introduce a truly premium R series body to rival the likes of the Sony A7R IV or Nikon Z 7. The company teased that such a product was in the works last year, but has so far offered no details.

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