Introducing the Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM and RF 50mm F1.8 STM

Canon’s full-frame mirrorless RF system keeps on growing, and today sees the addition of two much-requested new lenses. The RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM is a compact, more affordable alternative to the previously-announced RF 70-200mm F2.8, and the RF 50mm F1.8 STM is a low-cost standard prime for photographers that don’t need F1.2 (i.e. most photographers).

Click through this article for a walkthrough of their key features (hands-on images courtesy of Canon).

Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM

Let’s look first at the RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM. Spiritual successor to the popular EF 70-200mm F4 family of tele-zooms, one of the main selling points of this new RF zoom is its size (it’s both smaller, 32% shorter than the EF equivalent, and 11% lighter). In fact, at its 70mm position, the new RF 70-200mm F4 is only slightly bigger than the RF 24-105mm. The zoom can be locked at 70mm for storage.

Despite its medium/long-tele reach, minimum focus is a respectable ~0.6m (2 ft) at all focal lengths.

Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM

Like its big brother the RF 70-200mm F2.8, however, the lens gets considerably bigger when zoomed-in towards 200mm. Despite the extending design, the RF 70-200mm features ‘L-series dust and weather-resistant build,’ which includes a fluorine coating on the front element to repel water and dirt.

Optical construction consists of 16 elements in 11 groups, including four UD (ultra low dispersion) elements that mitigate chromatic aberration. The new lens also features Canon’s Air Sphere Coating, to reduce flare and ghosting.

Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM

On the barrel of the RF 70-200mm F4 you’ll find the usual array of switches, for focus (and focus limiting) and image stabilization. The RF 70-200mm F4 offers three I.S. modes: 1, for general use, which stabilizes in all directions, 2, which is intended to offer best performance for panning shots, and 3, where stabilization only activates once you fully depress the shutter button.

The RF 70-200mm F4’s rated I.S. performance is impressive: 5EV from the lens alone and up to 7.5EV when used in conjunction with the in-body image stabilization system in the EOS R5 and R6.

Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM

You might need that stabilization because unlike the RF 70-200mm F2.8 (and previous EF designs) there’s no provision for a tripod foot. Potentially also frustrating for some photographers is that just like its ‘big brother’ the RF 70-200mm F2.8, this new lens is not compatible with Canon’s RF 1.4X and 2X extenders.

Focus elements are driven by a pair of Nano USM motors. Based on our previous experience with Canon’s Nano USM technology, we expect autofocus performance will be very fast, and silent as well.

The Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM will be available in early December for $1,599.

RF 50mm F1.8 STM

Next up is the RF 50mm F1.8 STM, a low-cost prime lens for RF shooters. Essentially a native RF equivalent to the older EF 50mm F1.8 STM, the new lens is tiny (weighing only 160g / 5.6oz) and at $199, considerably more budget-friendly than the RF 50mm F1.2L.

RF 50mm F1.8 STM

Optical construction is all-new, consisting of six elements in five groups, with one aspherical element. Minimum focus of ~0.3m (1ft) works out to a maximum magnification ratio of 0.25X.

The ring you can see in this picture (and the previous one) is a customizable control ring, which can be set for direct control over manual focus, or in it’s ‘control’ position to provide access to other settings like aperture control or exposure compensation, via the menu system of RF cameras.

RF 50mm F1.8 STM

Seven rounded blades deliver a near-circular diaphragm at wide aperture settings, and the new lens features a front filter diameter of 43mm. Canon’s SSC (Super Spectra Coating) should help reduce flare and ghosting. The RF 50mm F1.8 STM will be available next month.

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