Six Canon RF Lenses Under Development

Alongside the headline-stealing EOS RP announcement, Canon also released details on six upcoming RF mirrorless lenses: a 15-35mm f/2.8 L IS, 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS, 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS, 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS, and two 85mm f/1.2 primes (one normal, one “Defocus Smoothing” version optimized for bokeh). These are great additions to Canon’s growing RF lens lineup, especially for photographers interested in pro-level glass. The lenses will be released throughout 2019, but Canon hasn’t announced specific dates yet.

15-35mm f/2.8 L IS

Although most of the discussion online has centered around the 85mm f/1.2 DS and the 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS, I find the 15-35mm f/2.8 L IS to be equally interesting. Not only does it cover a very useful range of focal lengths for a wide-angle lens, but it also has image stabilization and takes regular 82mm screw-in filters! Image stabilization is underrated for tripod-based work in windy conditions, where it can be invaluable.

One of the closest lenses on the market to this one is the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC, which does have stabilization, but only goes to 30mm and doesn’t take standard filters. Canon’s own EF-mount 16-35mm f/2.8 is also a relatively similar lens, and it does take filters, but it doesn’t have image stabilization and only goes to 16mm! So, there isn’t actually a lens on the market today which covers such a range of focal lengths with standard filters and IS.

24-70mm f/2.8 L IS

It was a matter of time before Canon released a 24-70mm f/2.8 for their mirrorless system. Their current 28-70mm f/2, though no doubt an impressive lens, is massive in both size and price. Not many photographers need an f/2 zoom, so this more reasonable f/2.8 version is a welcome sight.

70-200mm f/2.8 L IS

This lens, the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS, attracted quite a bit of interest when revealed, since it is astonishingly compact – the smallest 70-200mm f/2.8 full-frame lens we have ever seen. Although weight specifications have not yet been released – for all we know, it could be extremely dense – it is very exciting to see how small and portable this lens really is. Hopefully Nikon and other camera companies will take notice when designing their own mirrorless 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses.

24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS

This lens seems tailor-made for the recently announced Canon EOS RP, covering a wide range of focal lengths in a compact package. It’s a lens that could complete most of a photographer’s kit in one swoop, especially if coupled with something like the 35mm f/1.8 for photos that require a wider aperture. As a superzoom, it is unlikely to match primes or more standard zooms in image quality, but its 10x ratio is not outrageous. (We have seen much more than that before, such as the 22.2x 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Tamron lens for crop sensor cameras.) We’re excited to test this lens at Photography Life to see how it performs. If its quality is reasonable on the RP’s 26 megapixel sensor, I suspect the 24-240mm f/4-6.3 will soon be one of Canon’s most popular RF lenses.

85mm f/1.2 L and DS Version

Lastly, Canon announced development of two 85mm f/1.2 lenses, one of which has a special “DS” (defocus smoothing) option for higher quality bokeh. Prices and samples have yet to be released for either lens, but it is interesting nonetheless to see Canon split the lenses up like this. At the end of the day, the better one for your needs might come down to a difference in sharpness versus background blur quality.

Press Release

New Lenses Under Development Cover a Range of Core Focal Lengths

MELVILLE, N.Y., February 13, 2019 – Continuing with the message of “optics at its core,” Canon U.S.A. Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced that its parent company, Canon Inc, is developing six new RF-series lenses, further displaying the company’s commitment to the EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera system. Canon’s new RF mount allows for fast, light, and high-performing optics with a large opening diameter and short back focus distance. Each new lens in development will help fulfill the needs of amateur and advanced amateurs to professional photographers and videographers, covering critical focal lengths. In 2019, Canon’s already well-established optical lens heritage will celebrate a production milestone of 140 million EF and RF lenses and the celebration starts with the development announcement of these six lenses[i].

The six new RF lenses under development include:

  • RF 85mm F1.2 L USM
  • RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS
  • RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM
  • RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM

“Optics are the critical piece of the visual puzzle that bend light and capture an image as the artist envisioned,” said Kazuto Ogawa, president and chief operating officer, Canon U.S.A., Inc. “That is why it is so important for us to strengthen our family of RF lenses for the EOS R camera system. With this collection of new lenses, customers will have more of the tools they need, for the images they desire to create.”

All six RF lenses under development are built around Canon’s new RF mount, which features a large 54mm diameter and shorter back focus distance than on current EOS DSLR cameras. In addition, the RF mount enhances communication and power transmission between the lens and camera body, which has helped Canon to achieve the world’s fastest autofocus speed for a full-frame mirrorless camera system[ii].

The details of the new Canon RF lenses under development are as follows:

The RF 85mm F1.2 L USM is a large aperture mid-telephoto prime lens. It offers excellent performance for advanced and professional portrait photographers and is a widely popular focal length and aperture speed combination for users.

The RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS, with Defocus Smoothing lens technology, is a uniquely designed lens that offers a combination of beautifully smooth defocused bokeh. Featuring a super-fast F1.2 aperture, the lens will help produce breathtaking portraits that will surely stand out from the crowd.

The RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM is a high-performance, standard zoom lens for professionals and photo enthusiasts alike – ideal for shooting portraits, landscapes, documentaries or weddings.

The RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM, offering a wide angle and fast aperture in a single package, is ideal for a variety of shooting applications including architecture, interiors or landscapes.

The RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM is a must-have for any professional photographer, especially for those shooting weddings, sports or wildlife. This lens is a great all-around, high-speed, medium telephoto zoom lens and does well to round out any camera bag.

The RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM is the ideal lens for amateurs and advanced amateurs who love to travel, no matter the destination. The versatile, all-purpose lens offers a range of focal lengths for capturing extraordinary shots in a form factor that is both compact and lightweight.


All six of the new Canon RF lenses under development are expected to be available later in 2019*. To learn more about the lenses under development and to follow along for the official announcement, please visit usa.canon.com

[i] 140 million milestone figure is the accumulated production as at 19th December 2018. Figure includes RF lenses and Cinema lenses

[ii] As of 13 February 2019, among interchangeable lens digital mirrorless cameras incorporating a 35mm full frame equivalent image sensor with contrast detection AF and phase detection AF on the image plane. Calculated from the results of measured AF speed, based on CIPA guidelines (differs depending on shooting conditions and lens used). Measured using internal methods. Measurement conditions: EV12 (ambient temperature/ISO 100), Manual Mode, using the RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM (at a focal length of 24mm) with the following settings: shutter released using the shutter button, 1-point AF (Center AF), One-Shot AF)

*Specifications, availability and prices are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.

News Reporter

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