Review Canon RF 70-200mm F/2.8 L IS USM

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EISA LENS OF THE YEAR 2020-2021
Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM sets a new standard for professional telezoom lenses, and is Canon’s best to date. Its all-new construction is tailored to Canon’s RF mirrorless system, and together with a new optical design, delivers impressive image quality in a very compact lens. It’s also well sealed against dust and splashes, and can therefore be used in challenging situations. In addition, the lens offers very effective 5-stop image stabilization. It is without doubt the best lens the EISA jury has tested in the past year.

The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM was awarded an EISA Award 2020-2021.
Visit eisa.eu for an overview of all winning products from all categories.z

 

The RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM for Canon’s EOS R system is a unique lens. It is the shortest and lightest full-frame lens with aperture F2.8 and this zoom range. Is it optically unique as well?

Click on the lens for specifications, prices and test results.

TEST RESULTS CANON RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM:

PROS

CONS

  • compact and light
  • optically excellent
  • more expensive than an EF-equivalent

The 70-200mm is the first RF lens with the recognizable white, heat-resistant coating.

The new telephoto zoom completes the trio of professional zoom lenses with RF lens mount. Together with the RF 15-35mm F2.8L and the 24-70mm F2.8L, you have a range of 15 to 200mm with a brightness of F2.8.

The 70-200mm is the first RF lens with the recognizable white, heat-resistant coating. The zoom range makes it suitable for various subjects, from portraits, reports, concert and event photography to indoor sports.

BUILD 

When introducing the EOS R system, Canon emphasized that the large lens mount and the short register distance gave lens designers the freedom to calculate lens designs that are not possible with the EOS EF lens mount of SLR cameras. The RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USM proves that it was not just talk.

Thanks to a telescopic design, the new lens is more than a third lighter and a quarter shorter than the EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS III USM. When zooming in, the lens tube extends, so that the length increases from 146 to 212 mm. Due to the lower weight, the lens fits well with the EOS R cameras. As can be expected from a Canon L lens, it is dust- and splash-resistant finished. The lens is equipped with a new type of tripod collar that can be removed.

The lens design consists of 17 elements including a Super UD element and a UD element to minimize chromatic aberrations, and two aspherical elements to correct spherical aberrations and distortion. The optical image stabilization offers a gain of five stops according to the CIPA standard.

OPERATION

On the front is the wide zoom ring that runs through the entire zoom range in a quarter turn. A narrower ring is used for focusing, and the control ring sits completely against the lens mount. With this you can set the aperture, the shutter speed, the sensitivity or the exposure compensation as desired. Due to its position, you are unlikely to twist this setting ring unintentionally, but you can turn it off if you wish.

On the left side of the lens there are a number of buttons, such as for the focus limiter and for setting the image stabilization. In addition to the normal setting, there is a mode for panning and a mode in which the stabilization only works when you print. This mode is particularly suitable for unpredictably moving subjects.

 The autofocus with eye detection works quickly and accurately, even for statues. F3.2, 1/250S, ISO 100, 200MM

ResultS

The autofocus mechanism in the RF 70-200 mm consists of two lens groups, each driven separately by a Dual Nano USM motor – a first for Canon. This makes the autofocus ultra-fast and silent. The optical design ensures that the focus hardly changes when zooming in or out. In my test with the EOS R, the focus worked flawlessly. Face and eye detection is an undisputed advantage in portrait photography.

The image quality is impressive. The sharpness is excellent over the entire zoom range even with an open lens. There’s no sign of chromatic aberrations. The built-in lens deviation correction eliminates any trace of vignetting, both in RAW and in jpeg images. At 70mm, there remains a minimal barrel-shaped distortion, but unless you photograph brick walls, you won’t notice them in real situations.

 There is no trace of chromatic aberration. F6.3, 1/400S, ISO 100, 70MM

SpecificatiONs: Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

field of view34° – 12°
sensor formatfull-frame
shortest setting distance0.7 m
filter diameter77 mm
diaphragm blades 9
image stabilizationyes, 5 stops
length146 mm
weight1,070 g
mountEOS RF
particularsAdjustable control ring
importercanon.nl/.be
list price2,899.00
  
resolution 10
contrast10
chromatic aberration5
distortion4.5
vignettting5
autofocus5
flare4
finish9
  
final score9.5

ConclusiON: CANON RF 70-200MM F2.8L IS USMON REVIEW

This lens delivers top performance over the entire zoom range.

This lens delivers top performance over the entire zoom range and can be used without reservation with the largest aperture. The image stabilization is effective, and the dual focus motors ensure fast, accurate focusing. Thanks to the lighter design – a third lighter than comparable lenses – you can work with this lens for a long time. If I have to name a downside, it’s the price; the newcomer costs 500 euros more than the Canon EF 70-200 mm F2.8 L IS III USM.