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Canon RF 70-200 F2.8L IS USM Review
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Canon RF 70-200 F2.8L IS USM Review

As far as I know, this is the first legitimate review from a site that does actual measurements on the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM.  I've personally trusted OpticalLimits aka Photozone.de for .. what seems like decades.

The Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM core features include;

  • Versatile telephoto zoom lens is designed for use with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless cameras.
  • Bright f/2.8 constant maximum aperture maintains consistent illumination throughout the zoom range and suits working in low-light conditions as well as affords increased control over depth of field for working with selective focus techniques.
  • One UD (Ultra-Low Dispersion) element and one Super UD element help to minimize chromatic aberrations and color fringing in order to provide greater clarity and color accuracy.
  • Two aspherical elements are used to correct spherical aberrations and distortion for improved sharpness and accurate rendering.
  • An Air Sphere Coating (ASC) has been applied to lens elements to reduce backlit flaring and ghosting for maintained light transmission and high contrast in strong lighting conditions.
  • An Optical Image Stabilizer helps to minimize the appearance of camera shake by five stops to better enable working in low-light conditions and with slower shutter speeds. Three distinct IS modes are available: standard single-shot mode, a panning-optimized mode, and a mode that only activates the Image Stabilizer during the exposure.
  • Dual Nano USM system utilizes both a ring type USM and an STM mechanism to realize quick and accurate focusing that is also smooth and nearly silent to suit both photography and video applications. This focusing system also affords full-time manual focus control when working in the one-shot AF mode.
  • Configurable Control Ring can be used to adjust a variety of exposure settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation.
  • Protective fluorine coating has been applied to the front and rear element to resist fingerprints and smudges and to make cleaning these elements significantly easier.
  • As a member of the esteemed L-series, this lens has a weather-resistant design that protects against dust and moisture to enable its use in inclement conditions.
  • Rounded nine-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.
  • Removable rotating tripod collar is included and benefits working with the lens atop a tripod or monopod.

OpticalLimits finished their tests of the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM and they found it excellent - but a bit pricey.  They gave it their highly recommended rating and broke down their ratings as;

Optical Quality: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Mechanical Quality: 4.5 out 5 stars
Price/Performance: 3 out of 5 stars

Their conclusion;

Upon the first contact, you can't be anything but impressed by the size of the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS especially at a time when lens dimensions tend to super-size rather than shrink. However, even Canon can't do miracles thus while the lens has a substantially reduced length and weight, it uses an extending zooming mechanism. It's a matter of personal taste whether you are in the love or hate camp regarding this change. However, this doesn't have a negative impact on image quality (mostly). The results are tack sharp throughout the zoom range and at all relevant aperture settings. Lateral CAs are very low. The same goes for image distortions. Vignetting is a bit of a weak spot though unless you prefer to keep image auto-correction activated. The light falloff in the upper range is too heavy for such a lens. The quality of the bokeh is generally very good - the smooth out-of-focus highlights are especially impressive here. The bokeh fringing is present but quite well controlled. A bit of an ugly aspect are focus shifts (RSAs) when stopping down. This is nothing to worry about when using autofocusing - so most users will never notice it - but the issue can hit you in manual focus mode.

The build quality is great. Canon may have moved away from an outer metal shell but except for the lack of the "cold" haptic feedback, you just won't notice the difference. While the zoom mechanism does extend towards longer focal lengths, everything just feels rock solid. If you don't use a tripod, you can also remove the (metal) tripod mount making the lens even more compact than it already is. Another outstanding feature of the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS is the AF speed. We have been extremely impressed by Canon's "Nano USM" in the past, but it's even faster on this lens thanks to two AF motors. The image stabilizer is rated at 5 f-stops. Yours truly never reaches the claimed rating but you should be able to come close at least.

Despite the few little issues, it's a no-brainer to decorate the Canon lens with our "highly recommended" badge

Read the entire review here


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