Canon tirelessly continues to develop its RF mount for 24×36 mirrorless cameras. On the menu of the latest announcements, the RF 800mm F5.6 L IS USM and RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM, two fixed focal lengths as long as they are expensive.
Two super TVs at once
After Nikon announced the development of its Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S, Canon did not intend to be left behind and drew two super-televisions at once: the RF 800mm F5.6 L IS USM and the RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM. If we could expect an 800 mm since Nikon's announcements, the release of a 1200 mm is a small event. Indeed, the last 1200 mm of the L series was launched for film SLRs in EF mount… in 1993.
A monster lightened by 13 kg
Using the optical formula of the RF 600mm F5.6 L IS USM, the RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM offers 26 elements divided into 18 groups, while the diaphragm has nine blades. The large front lens is treated with fluorite to reduce chromatic aberrations. The lens gets rid of a stop compared to the reflex version, but above all loses more than 13 kg! It now weighs 3.34 kg, compared to almost 17 kg for the original.
It is also 30 cm shorter. With its 53 cm long (for almost 17 cm in diameter), it remains a very imposing optic, but which becomes usable more or less easily. The focus distance now stands at 4.2 m, as for the 600 mm, while it was impossible for the reflex model to focus at less than 14 m. The lens has a 53mm filter holder placed close to the mount.
Plethora of controls
The lens is richly endowed with controls. We thus find function buttons on the front of the optics, a customizable control ring, a huge focusing ring, and a control panel equipped as follows:
Manual focus speed selector
Auto/manual focus switch
Focus range selector
Of course, the 1200 mm is protected from bad weather and dust projections by numerous seals. Optical stabilization allows up to four stops of gain. Note that with such a long focal length, the mechanical stabilization of the sensor is not of much help. Premium product requires, the 1200 mm is delivered in a dedicated protective case. It is compatible with 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, for anyone who needs a 2400mm (f/16)!
An 800 mm that takes stock at 2.6 m
We talked a lot about the RF 1200mm, but the RF 800mm F5.6 L IS USM is also a very interesting lens. It is 43 cm long with a diameter of 16 cm and weighs 3.14 kg. It is therefore quite close in terms of size to the RF 600mm F4 L IS USM and is also close to the 1200 mm. As with the latter, the optical formula includes 26 elements divided into 18 groups and the diaphragm has nine blades. The focusing distance is rather close for an optic of this type, at 2.6 m. The filter holder goes to 52 mm, against 53 for the 1200 mm. It is also protected against the elements.
Price and availability
The RF 800mm F5.6 L IS USM and RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM will go on sale from April 2022. The 800mm will retail for €19,999, while the 1200mm will cost €23,499. Very high prices, which is however logical when compared to other products of this type. As a reminder, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR for reflex cameras, dating from 2013, is still sold for €20,490. Obviously, although produced in series, the two optics will only be available in very limited quantities.