Canon’s RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM lens introduces the longest ever focal length for unparalleled close-ups. Featuring industry-leading optics in a durable, lightweight design, this super-telephoto lens offers a premium shooting experience. With 4 stops of image stabilisation, an F8 aperture and a ring-type USM AF system, the Canon RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM lens provides more versatility than ever before.
Canon RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM Lens Key Features:
- 1200mm super-telephoto length ideal for sport and wildlife
- Full-frame format with the RF-Mount Lens for mirrorless cameras
- Air Sphere and Super Spectra Coatings improve image quality
- Optical Image Stabilisation compensates for 4 stops of shake
- Compact lens weighing just 3.4kg for improved handheld use
- Large F8 aperture benefits results in low-lighting environments
- Minimum focusing distance of 4.2m suits working with nearby subjects
- Fluorite and Super Ultra Low-Dispersion elements for outstanding clarity
- Rounded nine-blade diaphragm provides a smooth bokeh quality
- Ring-Type USM AF System delivers fast, accurate, and near-silent autofocus
- Rotating tripod mount for switching between shooting orientations
- Weather-sealed design for reliable use in punishing conditions
New Canon RF 1200mm and 800mm | First Look Review
Expanded Canon RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM Lens Key Features:
Unparalleled Focal Power
Exceptional focal power and unparalleled performance. This beast of a lens is equipped with a highly advanced optical structure that enables that huge 1200mm reach.
The lens is made up of 26 elements in 18 defined groups, including one Super Ultra Low-Dispersion (UD) and two Fluorite elements that significantly reduces chromatic aberrations, resulting in outstanding clarity and colour accuracy. Additionally, the lens uses Air Sphere and Super Spectra Coatings that are added to maintain high contrast and colour accuracy while reducing lens flare and ghosting, resulting in improved image quality.
Conversely, despite its huge focal reach, the lens features an impressively close 4.3-meter minimum focusing distance and a maximum magnification of 0.29x. This means that you can work with a wide range of subjects, all with exceptional detail and image quality.
Accompanying that huge focal range, this lens offers exceptional autofocus performance and effective image stabilisation.
First up is the AF system. This is lens is equipped with a powerful Ultrasonic Motor that is designed to offer fast, accurate, and near-silent autofocus performance that benefits both photographers and videographers. It is fitted with a focus range limiter that improves responsiveness by constraining the usable focusing range, and you can even store up to two focus presets for immediate recall. This mechanism also offers variable speed manual focusing with three options allowing for a greater focusing control.
Aiding the AF system is the Optical Image Stabilisation system. This system benefits both handheld and monopod-base shooting, effectively compensating for up to 4 stops of camera shake, resulting in sharper images.
Please Note: Due to the length and size of this lens, the in-body image stabilisation and Coordinated IS from the EOS R-series is not supported.
While we may be used to seeing new lenses released with wide f1.4 apertures etc., this lens features a comparatively impressive f8 maximum aperture. This is an incredible feat considering the focal range of this lens. This aperture offers an impressive amount of light control and its 9 rounded-blade diaphragm contributes to a smooth and natural bokeh quality.
L-Series Build Quality
Considering this lens’s optical capabilities, it is relatively compact and lightweight. The lens weighs just 3.3kg and is 54cm long, making it a suitable lens for use atop a monopod or used handheld for short shooting sessions.
Of course, as a Canon L-Series lens, it is built to the highest possible standards and offers intuitive handling and professional reliability. The lens is fitted with a built-in rotating tripod mount for attaching to a monopod or tripod, as well as allowing for quick transition from vertical and horizontal shooting orientations. It's finished with a distinctive heat-resistant white paint finish and is weather-sealed for use in adverse weather conditions.
The front and rear lens elements feature a fluorine coating that helps to repel moisture, dust and debris, as well as making it easier to clean in general. The lens accepts drop-in style 52mm filters via its filter slot at the rear of the barrel, and the lens is compatible with optional RF 1.4x and 2x teleconverters an even further optical reach!
Why we love the Canon RF 1200mm f8 L IS USM Lens:
This lens is extraordinary for variety of reasons - its focal length, the comparatively compact size and weight, but more so, the story of its predecessor that’s led to this iteration.
The 4 stops of image stabilisation are very welcome. When shooting at this length, any slight movement can ruin an image.
It’s compatible with the Canon RF 1.4x and 2x teleconverters meaning you can get up to 2400mm - that’s some incredible reach!
The minimum focusing distance of 4.3 meters which seems a lot but for the length of this lens, that’s amazing.
The AF performance is excellent - it maintains all the speed and accuracy we expect from Canon’s RF lenses and R Canon systems.
Use this lens for:
This isn’t a lens for your everyday user. It definitely has very specific applications, partly due to the sheer focal reach but also the price point.
This RF lens is going to be well suited to the Canon R3 or R5 and is ideal for high-end wildlife and sports photography.
This lens will also be useful for Police purposes, the Ministry of Defence and other industry professionals.
Look and feel:
There’s no doubt that this is a big lens. But that said, at just under 55cm long it’s actually 30cm shorter than the original. It’s also significantly lighter at just 3.34kg – only a fifth of the weight of the original!
This lens exhibits every bit of quality and professionalism we expect from Canon’s RF lens line-up. It’s extremely well built and offers intuitive handling
It’s built to withstand the elements with its weather-sealed design and distinctive heat-resistant white paint finish. And, the front and rear lens elements feature a fluorine coating that helps to repel moisture, dust and debris.
Is it better?
Better than the original Canon 1200mm from 1993? Yep, we’d say so
This is a big lens but it is much smaller than the original. The updated design is very well balanced and you could even shoot handheld if you wanted to!
The specialised lenses offer exceptional detail and image quality
Its aperture is narrower than the original (the original had an f5.6) but with Canon’s current technology and when using this lens on the likes of the R3 - the couple of stops aren’t going to make a difference.
What’s in the box?
- 1 x Canon RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM Lens
- 1 x Canon Drop-in Screw Filter Holder 52 (WIII) with 52mm Protector Filter
- 1 x Lens Cap E-185C
- 1 x Canon Lens Dust Cap RF
- 1 x Lens Hood ET-160 (WIII)
- 1 x Lens Soft Case LS1200
- 1 x Lens Wide Strap B
What is the difference between RF and EF lenses?
RF and EF refer to the mounts of the Canon lenses. Canon introduced a range of RF lenses for use on their lineup of full-frame mirrorless cameras. The EF range of lenses refers to an older mount used by Canon in their film SLR and digital SLR cameras.
What cameras are compatible with this lens?
The Canon RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM lens is designed for use with:
- Canon EOS C70
- Canon EOS R
- Canon EOS R3
- Canon EOS R5
- Canon EOS R5 C
- Canon EOS R6
- Canon EOS RP
- Canon EOS Ra
What accessories are compatible with this lens?
The Canon RF 1200mm F8 L IS USM lens is compatible with the following optional accessories:
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- Canon 1.4x RF Extender
- Canon 2x RF Extender
- Canon Drop-In Circular Polarizing Filter 52 (WIII)
- Canon Lens Drop-In Gelatin Filter Holder 52 WIII
- Canon Lens Short Hood ET-155B