Canon has introduced an ultra-telephoto zoom for its RF-mount mirrorless cameras, the Canon RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS STM. Designed for such things as sports and wildlife photography, it’s built for full-frame cameras but can also be used on APS-C models such as the EOS R7, on which it will deliver a remarkable 320-1280mm equivalent range.

In the unlikely event that’s not long enough on its own, the lens is also compatible with Canon’s 1.4x and 2x teleconverters.

Canon would like to describe this optic as compact and lightweight, but in reality it’s a hefty beast that measures 31.4cm long and weighs over 2kg. It extends significantly on zooming, too. Hand-held shooting is aided by the built-in optical image stabilisation, which is rated to 5.5 stops of shake reduction, increasing to 7.5 stops when used on a camera with in-body image stabilisation.

Canon RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS STM on Canon EOS R5, in-hand

The lens is 31.4cm long and weighs in at over 2kg. Credit: Andy Westlake

While this isn’t an ‘L’ series lens, it has a white barrel to reflect heat and boasts weather-resistant construction. The controls aren’t quite as comprehensive as Canon’s pro lenses, though. There’s a combined AF/control ring whose function is set by an AF/Control/MF switch, a pair of function buttons for portrait and landscape shooting, and a stabiliser on/off switch. You also get a dial to adjust the tension of the zoom ring, which should help prevent it retracting under its own weight when pointed upwards, for example.

Canon RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS STM controls

Canon RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS STM controls. Credit: Andy Westlake

The optical design employs 17 elements in 13 groups, including 3 ultra-low dispersion (UD) glass elements to suppress colour fringing. Meanwhile, the minimum focus distance ranges from 80cm at the 200mm position to 3.3m at 800mm. Unsurprisingly, the lens requires large filters, fully 95mm in diameter.

The Canon RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS STM is due on sale in December 2023 for £2,299.99.

Canon RF 200-800mm F6.3-9 IS STM full specifications:

  • Price: £2,299.99
  • Filter Diameter: 95mm
  • Lens Elements: 17
  • Groups: 11
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Aperture: f/6.5-9 – f/32-54
  • Minimum focus: 0.8m – 3.3m
  • Length: 314.1mm
  • Diameter: 102.3mm
  • Weight: 2050g
  • Lens Mount: Canon RF
  • Included accessories: Caps, hood, tripod mount

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