Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS - Test Report / Review - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length135.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/1600s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/13s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length100.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/80s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length100.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/40s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed200
Focal Length100.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/40s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed1600
Focal Length111.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/50s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length92.0mm
Aperture:f/11.0
Exposure1/200s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length89.0mm
Aperture:f/11.0
Exposure1/160s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/320s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/5.6
Exposure1/800s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length200.0mm
Aperture:f/4.0
Exposure1/640s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length70.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed100
Focal Length158.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/3200s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R
ISO Speed1600
Focal Length111.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/125s

Verdict

Camera manufacturers have to offer a first killer product when starting a new system. Nikon decided to do it via a manual focus 58mm f/0.95 for $7000 ... not sure whether this worked out for them ... whereas Canon chose a different approach - they decided to disrupt our expectations of how a 70-200mm f/2.8 should look like. Upon the first contact, you can't be anything but impressed by the size of the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS especially at a time when lens dimensions tend to super-size rather than shrink. However, even Canon can't do miracles thus while the lens has a substantially reduced length and weight, it uses an extending zooming mechanism. It's a matter of personal taste whether you are in the love or hate camp regarding this change. However, this doesn't have a negative impact on image quality (mostly). The results are tack sharp throughout the zoom range and at all relevant aperture settings. Lateral CAs are very low. The same goes for image distortions. Vignetting is a bit of a weak spot though unless you prefer to keep image auto-correction activated. The light falloff in the upper range is too heavy for such a lens. The quality of the bokeh is generally very good - the smooth out-of-focus highlights are especially impressive here. The bokeh fringing is present but quite well controlled. A bit of an ugly aspect are focus shifts (RSAs) when stopping down. This is nothing to worry about when using autofocusing - so most users will never notice it - but the issue can hit you in manual focus mode.
The build quality is great. Canon may have moved away from an outer metal shell but except for the lack of the "cold" haptic feedback, you just won't notice the difference. While the zoom mechanism does extend towards longer focal lengths, everything just feels rock solid. If you don't use a tripod, you can also remove the (metal) tripod mount making the lens even more compact than it already is. Another outstanding feature of the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 USM L IS is the AF speed. We have been extremely impressed by Canon's "Nano USM" in the past, but it's even faster on this lens thanks to two AF motors. The image stabilizer is rated at 5 f-stops. Yours truly never reaches the claimed rating but you should be able to come close at least.
Despite the few little issues, it's a no-brainer to decorate the Canon lens with our "highly recommended" badge, of course. Even so, it's worth noting that the pricing is nothing short of excessive. Professional photographers may not mind too much but it's probably over the top for most enthusiasts. If this trend continues, the manufacturers will destroy the (mirrorless camera) market that they are just trying to create. Hopefully, Canon will at least provide a more affordable f/4 lens following the same design approach for "the rest of us".

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★

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