Canon Announces a Trio of RF Zoom Lenses11/02/2023
Canon is making a big splash with a trio of new zooms for its EOS R mirrorless system: the RF 24-105mm f/2.8 L IS USM Z, the RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM, and the RF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM. Each of these lenses suits a different application and shooter type. The 24-105mm f/2.8 features a speedy f/2.8 maximum aperture and is compatible with an optional Power Zoom Adapter; the 200-800mm hits the sweet spot in the portable, hand-holdable super-telephoto world; and the APS-C-specific 10-18mm combines ultra-wide performance with a compact design to meet the needs of vloggers.
There's bound to be a lens for everyone in today's announcement, so let's learn more about each unique zoom.
The RF 24-105mm f/2.8 L IS USM Z stands out for a few reasons; namely, the bright f/2.8 lens is an impressive feat compared to the f/4 speed typically associated with this zoom range. This is the first 24-105mm lens to have a constant f/2.8 maximum aperture, giving it the speed you'd associate with professional 24-70mm lenses, along with the extra reach at the telephoto end. It's going to be the go-to lens for many creator types, especially those working in a hybrid capacity with a substantial emphasis on video.
Besides being speedier, you'll notice a few more letters at the end of the lens name, including a new "Z" that indicates its compatibility with optional Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E2 or PZ-E2B. These auxiliary accessories mount on the side of the lens, draw power directly from the camera, and give easy access to both rapid and low-speed power zoom control over the lens via a built-in DC motor, ideal for single-person productions and handheld shoots. The PZ-E2B is distinct from the PZ-E2 with its inclusion of a 20-pin port that affords compatibility with the cine and broadcast lens accessories, like the Zoom Servo Grip ZSG-C10, Zoom Demand ZSD-300D, and Focus Demand FPD-400D.
The other characters in the lens name—the L, IS, and USM—are familiar terms for Canon shooters. First off, this is an L-Series lens, indicating its impressive optical quality, use of ASC and SSC coatings, and robust weather sealing. The "IS" indicates an Optical Stabilizer that supports Coordinated IS with compatible EOS R bodies for up to 8 stops of shake control. And the "USM" points to the fast-focusing performance brought by dual Nano Ultrasonic Motors, along with floating focus that maintains sharpness throughout the focusing range and helps to control focus breathing. This 24-105mm has a 1.5' minimum focusing distance throughout the zoom range, too, which translates to a maximum magnification of 0.3x at the telephoto end for strong close-up shooting performance.
Among other unique design traits of this standard zoom, it's the first RF lens to feature a dedicated manual aperture ring for direct stepless exposure control via the barrel. The lens zooms and focuses internally, making it ideal for gimbal use, and it has two lens-function buttons on the barrel along with an IS Mode switch and Iris Lock switch. It's not the lightest lens, weighing nearly 3 lb, nor the smallest, measuring 7.8" long, but its versatility and performance make up for its substantial form factor.
It will be interesting to see all of the ways this lens will be used. Canon is deeming it suitable for portraits, journalism, events, weddings, fashion, and video productions; it's a jack-of-all-trades lens that is bound to be a staple in a working professional's lens lineup.
The second lens of the day is an impressively versatile super-telephoto zoom, the RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM. Aimed squarely at enthusiast wildlife, nature, sports, and bird photographers, as well as those looking to produce some dramatic compositions of distant landscapes, this is a relatively compact and portable lens offering a huge focal length range in a manageable package. It weighs 4.5 lb, measures just over 12" in length, and has 5.5-stop effective optical IS at 800mm—it's a lens that can be handheld, especially in midday conditions, but also features an integrated mount for sure use atop a monopod or a tripod.
In the RF lineup, this lens fills a gap in the already pretty deep telephoto range: it sits next to the 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L, offering greater reach with a slight penalty on weight and speed, and serves as a faster, more versatile alternative to some of the lightweight prime super-telephoto options, like the 600mm f/11 and 800mm f/11.
In case the reach of this zoom isn't long enough, this 200-800mm f/6.3-9 is compatible with the optional Extender RF 1.4x and Extender RF 2x teleconverters, resulting in effective 280-1120mm f/9-13 and 400-1600mm f/13-18 options, respectively.
Though it isn't an L-Series lens, it still features several upgraded design assets, including a weather-resistant design, UD glass elements, SSC multicoating, a Nano USM AF system, and the characteristic white paint exterior.
This is going to be a very enticing lens for budding wildlife and sports photographers, especially those looking to invest in super-telephoto optics without the hefty price tag of some of the more exotic primes. This lens gives a high degree of versatility in a very practical configuration.
Finally, we close out Canon's trifecta of new zooms with the smallest option, the RF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM. Compared to the other two, this is a decidedly petite option built for vloggers and content creators working with APS-C-format RF-mount cameras, like the EOS R100, R50, R10, and R7, and offers a 16-28.8mm equivalent focal length range.
Canon is positioning this lens for vlogging and selfie video productions, due to its light weight and ultra-wide field of view, but it also makes a great compact option for travel, landscape, and cityscape shooting. It also has an impressive minimum focusing distance of 5.5" with AF or 3.4" with MF, making it an interesting choice for ultra-wide close-up shooting.
The lens has 4-stop effective optical IS, supports up to 6 stops of shake control with Coordinated IS, and can be used in conjunction with Movie Digital IS for stable handheld video footage. Also, the STM AF system offers smooth and silent focusing performance that's great for stills and video. This 10-18mm matches other RF-S-series lenses with a sleek and retractable design; it weighs just 5.3 oz and measures 1.8" long.
For more information about the new lenses, including additional features, specs, and highlights, be sure to check out the detailed product pages for the RF 24-105mm f/2.8 L IS USM Z, the RF 200-800mm f/6.3-9 IS USM, and the RF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM. Or drop us a line below, and we'll do our best to reply to your comments and questions.