Canon has just unveiled its first ever 100-300mm f2.8 zoom lens, the RF 100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM, for its mirrorless RF mount cameras. This lens has the potential to be a game-changer for sports, wildlife, and event photographers who need a fast and versatile telephoto zoom that can rival prime lenses in image quality and performance.
While there have been similar lenses around for some time (See Nikon’s 120mm-300mm f2.8 F mount lens, or Sigma’s 120-300mm f2.8 lenses) this is Canon’s first attempt at a lens with this focal range and aperture.
Sports and wildlife photographers in particular will be excited to get their hands on this lens which will offer fantastic opportunities to capture action with great versatility with the hugely useful focal range offered.
The RF 100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM offers a stunning range of focal lengths that can cover everything from portraits to landscapes to action shots. The constant f2.8 aperture ensures excellent low-light performance and beautiful bokeh throughout the zoom range, while the optical design features one fluorite element, four UD elements, and one aspherical element to minimise chromatic aberrations, distortions, and flare.
The lens also boasts a dual Nano USM autofocus system that combines a ring-type USM and an STM mechanism for fast, smooth, and silent focusing. The lens has two separate focusing groups that are independently actuated for optimal sharpness at any distance and zoom setting. The lens also has a focus range limiter switch that can speed up the autofocus performance by limiting the focus range to either 1.8m to infinity or 6m to infinity.
One of the most impressive features of the RF 100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM is its optical image stabilisation system that can compensate for up to 5.5 stops of camera shake. When paired with an EOS R camera that has in-body image stabilisation, the lens can achieve up to 6 stops of coordinated IS for even sharper handheld shooting.
The RF 100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM is built to withstand the rigours of professional use, with a dust and drip-resistant construction, a fluorine coating on the front and rear elements to repel oil and water, and a thermal barrier coating that reduces heat buildup from sunlight. The lens also has a function/focus preset selector switch that allows users to assign various functions or focus presets to the control ring on the lens barrel.
The lens can also be paired with Canon’s 1.4x and 2x extenders, increasing the range to 140-420mm f4 and 200-600 f5.6 respectively.
The RF 100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM is expected to be available in June 2023 for an estimated retail price of $9500 USD, which will obviously push it out of the availability of the everyday shooter, but will definitely excite a variety of professional sports and wildlife photographers looking for a more flexible and lightweight lens above the 70-200mm range.