More “up close” than ever: Canon launches world’s longest focal length AF lens for mirrorless cameras

Canon Europe has announced the launch of two new super-telephoto lenses, the RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM and the RF 1200mm F8L IS USM. Pushing the boundaries of the RF lens range, these lenses set new standards for the category, offering unrivalled shooting of distant subjects.

A staggering 800mm and 1200mm focal lengths are claimed by Canon to be the world’s longest AF focal length lenses for mirrorless cameras without being a telescope.

Featuring an impressive Optical Image Stabiliser and wide apertures, these premium L-series RF lenses support a diverse range of photographers, from sport and wildlife to news gathering and surveillance – giving them kit that captures the action from far away, under exceptional circumstances and in extraordinary detail.

RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM

The RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM and RF 1200mm F8L IS USM (pictured top of page) unlock new possibilities for professional photographers capturing distant subjects

But that’s not all…

On top of their incredible reach, photographers can increase the focal length up to double when coupling the lenses with the RF 1.4 x or RF 2 x extenders, with AF shooting and IS function. With the RF 1200mm F8L IS USM this gives photographers the ability to capture incredible detail of subjects over 400 metres away.

The intelligently and newly designed optical system enables Canon to achieve these incredible focal lengths in a design that is smaller and lighter weight than traditional super telephoto lenses of this type. Significantly reduced in size from their EF counterparts, the RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM is Canon’s lightest and shortest 800mm L-series lens yet weighing just over 3.1kg, while the RF 1200mm F8L IS USM is what Canon claims is the smallest lens of its size ever released – at 3.34 kg it is 1/5th of the weight and more than 13kg lighter and 30cm smaller than its legendary predecessor the EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM.

Working in tandem with powerful Image Stabilisation, the RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM provides up to 4.5 stop benefit and the RF 1200mm F8L IS USM up to 4 stops to reduce shake and produce crisp detailed images. The 800mm lens also offers a large maximum f/5.6 aperture for this focal length, delivering excellent performance and image quality. In both models, the 9-blade circular aperture can move in 1/8th steps, achieving smoother transitions between apertures during video recording.

Featuring Fluorite, Super UD and UD elements, the RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM and RF 1200mm F8L IS USM offer impeccable image resolution and excellent correction of chromatic aberration. ASC coatings combine with the improved lens design to minimise ghosting and flare. Even with the extra optics in these lenses, Canon has managed to reduce the focusing distances to a class leading 2.6m in the RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM – less than half the distance of other 800mm f/5.6 lenses – and 4.3m in the RF 1200mm F8L IS USM, allowing subjects to be tracked over a great range of distances.

RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM Optical Diagramme

RF 1200mm F8L IS USM Optical Diagramme

Built to complement the EOS R system

With their super-telephoto capabilities and light weight, these lenses are the perfect companion for the EOS R3 – Canon’s powerhouse for sports photography. Working with the camera, the RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM and RF 1200mm F8L IS USM work with the AF system in the EOS R3 to keep track of subjects up to 30fps. With a Ring USM Drive, Dual Power Drive, high-speed CPU and optimised AF algorithm, these lenses provide fast, yet quiet autofocusing – perfect for capturing fast moving wildlife.

The EOS R3 has quickly become a great support for sports photographers

The customisable AF stop buttons on the lens also give photographers enhanced control when focusing on subjects. As part of the RF lens range, photographers receive the added benefit of being able to use the same components, such as filters and hoods, across the range, for enhanced flexibility.

RF 800mm F5.6L IS USM Key Selling Points:

  • Compact lens with max. diameter x length of 163mm x 432mm
  • 3.14kg in weight
  • Large f/5.6 aperture

RF 1200mm F8L IS USM Key Selling Points:

  • Compact lens with max. diameter x length of 168mm x 537mm
  • 3.34kg in weight
  • Dust and drip proof design


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