Canon L Series 70 200 F4

By | 21/10/2022

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM is almost a miniature marvel – it’s so small that it tin can fit into a sling bag while still mounted on a camera. Center sharpness at 200mm is as good every bit at 70mm, and with upward to seven.5 stops of stabilization it delivers rock-solid functioning for both stills and video. Unfortunately, the price of its compactness is incompatibility with teleconverters, and corner sharpness isn’t what information technology might exist – both of which come as a sting in the tail, when it costs as much as 50% more than the EF equivalent,


  • +

    Shortest (FF) 70-200mm e’er

  • +

    Keen center sharpness

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    Quick, quiet autofocus


  • Teleconverters not supported

  • Pricey for an f/iv lens

  • No tripod foot

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The Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM arrived with far more fanfare than traditional f/iv zoom lenses. For starters, information technology’s the shortest and lightest 70-200mm f/4 in the world – it’s only slightly larger than a soda can when collapsed!

Yes, it’s even shorter (past 18%) and lighter (35%) than the already tiny Catechism RF 70-200mm f/two.8L IS USM
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– modest enough to slide into a small sling bag. And it delivers an amazing maximum of 7.5 stops of stabilization, making it truly formidable for handheld shooting.

On paper, and then, information technology’south one of the best 70-200mm lenses
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effectually – but there’southward the small issue of cost, as this RF lens is significantly more expensive (as much equally l% more than) than the existing Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM 2
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, which can of course be mounted to EOS R cameras.

Then, does the overall performance justify the price? Permit’s find out…

Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM video review

Lookout video: Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM review

Catechism RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM – Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Total frame: Aye
Autofocus: Dual Nano USM
Image stabilization: 5 stops (7.5 with Canon EOS R5
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/ Canon EOS R6
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Lens construction: 16 elements in 11 groups
Angle of view: 29° – 10° (horiz), nineteen° 30′ – seven° (vert), 34° – 12° (diag)
Diaphragm blades: 9
Minimum focusing distance: 0.6m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.28x
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 83.five 10 119mm (collapsed)
Weight: 695g

Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM

Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM – Key features

Without doubt, the headline feature of the RF seventy-200mm f/4L is its size – or, rather, the lack of it. At just 83.5 x 119mm (complanate) and 695g, information technology’s 27mm shorter and 375g lighter than the 89.9 x 146mm (complanate) and one,070g heft of the RF lxx-200mm f/ii.8L

Compared to its straight DSLR equivalent, it’south even more impressive. The EF seventy-200mm f/4L is 780g and 176mm – and that’southward before you add the extra size of the Canon mount adapter, which you’ll need to put an EF lens on your EOS R camera.

When attached to a non-stabilized body – the Canon EOS R
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, Canon EOS RP
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or Catechism EOS Ra
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– this lens delivers a solid 5 stops of stabilization. However, mount it to the IBIS-enabled R5 and R6 and the combination IS delivers an enormous 7.v stops of stabilization – that’s half a stop less than the RF seventy-200mm f/ii.8L, but is still incredibly impressive.

The floating dual Nano USM autofocusing system also produces speedy, snappy AF for stills along with smooth and near-silent focus for filming video. In brusque, there’s a whole lot to like about this lens.

Catechism RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM – Build and handling

Dimensions can be a bit nebulous when y’all merely read them out. So to put them into context, not simply can yous stand the RF 70-200mm f/4L upright in your normal camera bag – you can besides mount it to your camera and put the whole affair into a small-scale sling handbag. And that’s just

As yous’d expect from an L lens, the optic is weather sealed and built to last with vibration and shock-resistant construction. Of course, like the trinity version before it, this lens features a telescoping zoom mechanism that extends the lens butt as you zoom in.

This features a perforated seal on the moving inner butt, to enable air movement while keeping dust and moisture out. While we previously had reservations about whether water and particulates would penetrate the seals (especially if zooming in and out in wet or dusty conditions), we’ve yet to hear any such complaints about the f/two.8 version so we’ve no reason to believe information technology will be an result here.

An consequence that
carries over from the trinity lens, withal, is the incompatibility with the Canon RF Extender RF 1.4x
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and Canon RF Extender RF 2.0x
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. This is a physical limitation, due to the collapsing nature of the lens, and is a big drawback for a seventy-200mm lens.

Canon EOS R5 + Canon RF lxx-200mm f/4L IS USM (131mm, 1/6 sec, f/8, ISO100)

(Image credit: James Artaius)

Some other drawback is the lack of a tripod human foot. While this optic isn’t every bit heavy as its f/two.8 analogue, we’d still exist much happier taking the strain off the mount past being able to adhere a tripod to a lens collar – and of form, some people notice that having a foot helps with handling a telephoto lens.

Like all Catechism RF lenses, this one features a customizable control ring on the nose. This tin exist mapped to adjust exposure values such as ISO, white residual, shutter speed and aperture – the latter existence of item interest to videographers, though note that the ring is not clickless by default.

Elsewhere on the lens you will find sliders that command the locking mechanism (to terminate the machinery from telescoping in your bag), toggle between automatic and manual focus, and switch between the total focus range or limit it to 2.5m-∞.

Finally, over again like its big brother, the RF lxx-200mm f/4L features three image stabilization options: Way 1 is for general shooting, Way 2 is for panning shots, and Mode 3 only engages the IS system when the shutter is released (giving a more than ‘honest’ view of subject motility, and only turning on the stabilization when a shot is taken, which conserves bombardment every bit the IS isn’t constantly running).

Canon EOS R5 + Catechism RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM (200mm, 1/8 sec, f/eleven, ISO100)

(Epitome credit: James Artaius)

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Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM – Performance

The RF 70-200mm f/4L is a bit of a tale of two halves. On the one hand, centre sharpness is uniformly splendid – even shooting at the full 200mm extension, which is where telephotos often fall brusk.

While total zoom is sharpest at f/5.half-dozen, the lens otherwise sees top performance broad open at f/4 – which is incredibly helpful, if you’re shooting in low light conditions, handheld or desire to achieve the greatest bailiwick separation.

Corner sharpness, however, falls somewhat curt of expectations at the wide end and midrange. Depending on how you lot compose your shots this may exist less of an issue, but the inconsistency is disappointing for an L lens.

In terms of autofocus, the f/4L seems to perform every bit snappily as the trinity version thank you to the same dual floating Nano USM pattern. Even when photographing darting subjects similar squirrels and birds, the AF didn’t miss a shell – and on human subjects, the Eye AF is as ungodly adept as it is with any other optic.

Some other advantage of the floating focus arrangement is this lens’ power to focus at just 0.6m beyond the unabridged zoom range – an improvement over the 1m minimum focus altitude of the EF 70-200mm f/4, and information technology fifty-fifty beats the 0.7m of the RF 70-200mm f/2.8 as well.

While the focusing system doesn’t entirely suppress focus breathing, the miracle is controlled pretty well and makes this lens well suited to videography, particularly with the near-silent AF performance.

Canon EOS R5 + Catechism RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM (200mm, 1/640 sec, f/eight, ISO6400)

(Image credit: James Artaius)

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Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM – Lab data

We run a range of lab tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Principal testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.

We utilize Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the centre of the image frame, corners and mid-indicate distances, across the range of discontinuity settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths. The tests also measure distortion and colour fringing (chromatic aberration).


(Image credit: Future)

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(Image credit: Futurity)

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As we’d expect for a Canon RF-mount lens, center sharpness is first-class at all focal lengths and commonly used apertures. Particularly impressive is sharpness at 200mm; well-nigh telephoto zooms tend to tail off in terms of sharpness at full zoom, simply the RF 70-200mm f/4 bucks that trend.

Corner sharpness is more of a mixed bag. Sharpness is disappointingly soft in the corners at 70mm, but speedily becomes sharp when you lot zoom in to 100mm. However, corner sharpness slips once again at 135mm, before condign respectable again at 200mm. This blip at 135mm is unusual, and there’s a chance information technology could exist unique to our test sample. At least corner sharpness is consistent throughout the lens’ aperture range.


(Image credit: Future)

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Fringing is noticeable at all focal lengths autonomously from 135mm, though these results are obtained with in-photographic camera aberration correction disabled. You tin can look significantly reduced fringing if yous enable in-camera lens corrections.


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Negative scores indicate barrel baloney, positive scores indicate pincushion. A score of zero signifies no distortion.

With in-camera distortion correction deactivated, there’southward balmy barrel distortion at 70mm, transitioning to minimal pincushion at 100mm. This then increases in severity at 135mm and 200mm. However, at no bespeak in the focal range is distortion distracting.

Canon RF lxx-200mm f/4L IS USM – Verdict

The Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens is an impressive all-rounder – though this jack of all trades does come with a couple of compromises.

Information technology’s small-scale enough to fit into almost whatever camera handbag you have, and is light enough to be a truly accept-anywhere lens – which is an astonishing achievement for a 70-200mm, and finally delivers on the hope of mirrorless cameras actually being smaller cheers to similarly graceful lenses.

It delivers incredible image stabilization, too, along with autofocus that squeezes every ounce of performance out of your camera whether its the original EOS R or the cutting-edge R5. And center sharpness is fantastic, even at 200mm, even though corner sharpness tin be disappointing.

The caveats, though, are familiar to the f/2.8 version: this lens is not uniform with teleconverters, which many photographers volition find unfathomable for a 70-200mm, and it’s very pricey compared to the (admittedly far less sophisticated) EF version.

At the end of the twenty-four hours, this is a not bad technological achievement and a lens you’ll be glad to own and use. Notwithstanding, the cost of entry and inability to make the lens equally versatile every bit it can exist remain reasons to bristle.

Read more:

Best Canon RF lenses
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Best Canon lenses
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Canon RF 70-200mm f/ii.8L IS USM review

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Catechism EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM 2 review
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The editor of Digital Camera Globe, James has 21 years experience as a mag and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Primary Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients every bit diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L’Oréal, in improver to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine
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, PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine
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, N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine
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, Digital Photographer
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and Professional Imagemaker, as well every bit hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show
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. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.