Facebook Pixel Canon's Rumored Super-Telephoto Lens: The RF 200-500mm f/4L 1.4x

Canon’s Rumored Super-Telephoto Lens: The RF 200-500mm f/4L 1.4x

Canon is rumored to launch an RF 200-500mm f/4L lens

Canon’s professional super-telephoto lens lineup is nearly complete.

Since the launch of the RF-mount, the company has released a series of class-leading ultra-telephotos to suit professional sports and wildlife photographers, including the RF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM, the RF 600mm f/4L IS USM, the RF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM, and even the (ridiculously expensive) RF 1200mm f/8L IS USM

The April debut of the RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM further rounded out the lineup, but with a notable gap: Canon has yet to develop a 500mm f/4L. Sure, you can grab the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1, but the zoom’s variable aperture is a major limitation, especially for folks who frequently shoot in low-light scenarios. A pro-level 500mm lens should feature an f/4 maximum aperture, outstanding build quality, top-tier optics, and blazing-fast autofocus – and while the 100-500mm zoom is a powerful option, it can’t quite compete.

Fortunately, while Canon hasn’t teased an upcoming 500mm f/4 launch, Canon Rumors promises “an official announcement later in 2023” for “an RF version of the EF 500mm f/4L IS USM II.”

The lens may not be a simple RF-mount 500mm f/4 prime, however; instead, CR writes, “The most consistent bits of information that we have received suggest that the RF version of the 500mm will…be a zoom in the form of an RF 200-500mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x. With the TC engaged, you’ll get a 280-700mm f/5.6L IS USM.”

Assuming that the 200-500mm f/4L boasts all the characteristics of the original 500mm f/4L, just with zoom capabilities, it would be an unprecedented release. An f/4 super-telephoto zoom that reaches 500mm has not, to my knowledge, ever been developed – and with the built-in 1.4x teleconverter, it’ll extend to a whopping 700mm, perfect for photographing birds, small wildlife, and distant athletes. Plus, thanks to the shorter telephoto focal lengths, you’ll be able to capture a variety of subjects and compositions without needing to switch lenses at critical moments.

Of course, a pro-level super-telephoto zoom will presumably come with a pro-level price tag. Canon Rumors suggests that “we’ll be getting another five-figure lens from Canon,” which certainly seems plausible (I’d predict an MSRP in the $11000-14000 range). 

In other words, while a high-quality 200-500mm f/4L zoom would be hugely effective for pro and semi-pro wildlife photographers, sports photographers, and more, it’s unlikely to be accessible to most beginners and enthusiasts. Still, the lens would certainly make waves in the industry, and for serious shooters, it could be a game-changer!

Now over to you:

What do you think of a 200-500mm f/4L zoom? Would you be interested? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Jaymes Dempsey
Jaymes Dempsey

is the Managing Editor of Digital Photography School, as well as a macro and nature photographer from Ann Arbor, Michigan. To learn how to take stunning nature photos, check out his free eBook, Mastering Nature Photography: 7 Secrets For Incredible Nature Photos! And to see more of Jaymes’s work check out his website and his blog.

I need help with...