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5 Must-Know Facts About the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM

On 4 November 2020, Canon announced a new telephoto zoom lens for the RF mount: the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM. Canon’s EF-mount 70-200mm f/4L lenses have been extremely popular for balancing the high L lens image quality within a compact body, and the new RF mount version capitalises on the advantages of the RF mount to promise improvements to portability and image quality.

1. Lighter than a standard zoom
2. Upgraded L lens quality thanks to the RF mount
3. Fast, precise AF powered by dual Nano USMs
4. Powerful image stabilisation
5. 60cm closest focusing distance

 

1. It is lighter than most L-series standard zoom lenses 

The RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM employs a retractable design: the lens barrel extends to shoot at longer focal lengths, and then retracts significantly for storage and shooting at the wide angle end. Users worried about durability can rest assured that the extending part of the lens barrel is built to be shock and vibration resistant.

As of November 2020, the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM is the world’s shortest and lightest 70-200mm f/4 lens*. While the EF70-200mm f/4L IS II USM is around 176mm long and weighs 780g, the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM is approximately 57mm (or 30%) shorter at 119mm when fully retracted, and 10% lighter at 695g. This also makes it around the same length as the RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM standard zoom lens, but about 5g lighter. What this translates to is a telephoto zoom lens that not only fits easily into your camera bag but also offers great mobility.

* For interchangeable lens cameras (SLR cameras and mirrorless cameras). As of November 3, 2020. Based on Canon's research.


Size and weight comparison

 

2. It boasts upgraded L-lens quality thanks to the RF mount

Telephoto landscape with waterfall

EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 70mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4, 1/100 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: 5000K

 


Close-up of the area framed in red

The large mount diameter and short back focus distance of the RF mount have made it possible to design lenses that are significantly smaller but capable of better image quality than before. The RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM incorporates four UD lens elements that effectively correct the chromatic aberration that telephoto lenses are prone to, achieving edge to edge sharpness and clarity over the entire zoom range starting from the f/4 maximum aperture.

 

Portrait with background bokeh
EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 70mm/ Manual exposure (f/4, 1/640 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto


Close-up of the area framed in red

The design of the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM took bokeh quality into account. Not only was a 9-blade circular aperture adopted, the lens construction was also optimised to ensure that sufficient light reaches all corners of the image. The result: bokeh circles that are beautifully round and less likely to become rugby ball-shaped due to optical vignetting. Flaring and ghosting are kept under control by Air Sphere Coating (ASC), ensuring high image quality even when backlight or strong point light sources are in the frame.

 

3. Its AF is powered by not one but two Nano USMs

Bike stunt

EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 176mm/ Manual exposure (f/4, 1/2000 sec)/ ISO 640/ WB: Auto


The autofocus on the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM is powered by not one but two Nano USMs (Ultrasonic Motors), which make it possible to achieve fast, precise AF during still shooting as well as smooth, silent focus tracking during video recording. Each Nano USM works independently to control the focusing and floating lens groups: They prevent shifts in the focus position during zooming, and during close-up shooting, they conduct flexible lens position control which effectively prevents image quality from deteriorating.

The electronic floating focus control system like the one on the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM enables excellent control while reducing reliance on a mechanical system, contributing to a smaller lens design. 

 

4. It offers up to 5 stops’ built-in image stabilisation, and achieves up to 7.5 stops with the EOS R5/R6

The RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM features a built-in Optical Image Stabilizer (Optical IS). When attached to the EOS R or EOS RP, the Dual Sensing IS system is active, detecting and analysing camera shake using information from the lens-based gyro sensor as well as from the image information from the camera’s CMOS image sensor to effectively perform up to 5 shutter speed stops’ equivalent image stabilisation.

Attaching the lens to the EOS R5 or EOS R6 activates the Coordinated Control IS system, where Optical IS coordinates with the In-Body Image Stabilizer (In-Body IS) to achieve up to 7.5 shutter speed stops’ equivalent image stabilisation.

EOS R/RP EOS R5/R6
Optical IS Coordinated Control IS (Optical IS and In-Body IS)
approx. 5 shutter speed stops’ equivalent Up to 7.5 shutter speed stops’ equivalent

*At focal length 200mm. According to CIPA standards. Yaw/Pitch direction.

 

Stabilizer Mode 3 included

To meet the need of professional photographers and advanced users shooting sports and wildlife, the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM includes IS Mode 3, where image stabilisation is performed only during exposure. This makes it suitable for observing subjects with irregular movement through the viewfinder.

IS mode Suitable scenarios
1 Stationary subjects
2 Panning shots, e.g. motorsports
3 Subjects with intense, unpredictable action e.g. ball sports


EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 70mm/ Manual exposure (f/5.6, 2 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto/ IS ON

 

EOS R6 / IS ON

 Thanks to the 7.5-stop Coordinated Control IS system, this handheld 2-second slow shutter shot looks sharp and free from camera shake, almost as though a tripod was used.

EOS R6 / IS OFF

The same scene shot with IS disabled. The camera shake is so strong that it’s difficult to identify the subject.

 

5. It offers 0.28x telephoto macro and a relatively short 60cm closest focusing distance

One of the advantages of the Nano USM-powered electronic floating focus system (see point 2) is a shortened closest focusing distance of 0.6m over the entire zoom range. This is one of the closest focusing distances offered by a Canon telephoto zoom lens and makes it possible to create telephoto macro images with even greater impact.

 

Flower telephoto macro
EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 200mm/ Flexible-priority AE (f/4, 1/320 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto

Lens at closest focusing distance from subject
At focal length 200mm, shooting at the 60cm closest focusing distance lets you achieve the maximum magnification of 0.28x.

Find out about what else you can do with a telephoto zoom lens in:
5 Things to Try with a Telephoto Lens

 

Other notable features

Heatshield coating

The white heat shield coating prevents the temperature inside the lens from getting too high when shooting on a hot day. This helps to maintain high image quality.

Dust and drip-proof structure

The rings, switches, and extending/retracting parts of the lens are all weather-sealed to prevent dust and water droplets from entering the lens, contributing to the lens’ reliability.

 

RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Key specifications
Lens construction: 16 elements in 11 groups
Closest focusing distance: 0.6m
Maximum magnification: 0.28x
No. of aperture blades: 9 (circular blade)
Filter diameter: 77mm
Size: φ83.5 x 119mm
Weight: approx. 695g

 

Lens construction

A: UD lens elements
B: ASC

Smudge-resistant fluorine coating on the front lens surfaces


Lens Hood ET-83G (WII) (included)

 

Sample images


Hay field blue sky

EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 79mm/ Flexible-priority AE (f/11, 1/100 sec)/ ISO 200/ WB: Daylight


Close-up portrait

EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 191mm/ Manual exposure (f/4, 1/125 sec)/ ISO 320/ WB: 4400K


close up of pigeons

EOS R6/ RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM/ FL: 200mm/ Manual exposure (f/5.6, 1/1000 sec)/ ISO 12800/ WB: Auto


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