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Test report Canon RF 70-200mm f2.8
Reading time: 8 minutes - January 18, 2024 - by Marc Jeworrek

Testing the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM

FOTO KOCH was kind enough to provide me with the Canon RF 70 - 200mm f/2.8 L IS USM for a long weekend in the Harz Mountains, which resulted in three firsts for me: it was my first time in the Harz Mountains, my first time with a 70-200mm lens and my first time testing one of the new RF lenses on my Canon R6:

Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM

  • High-performance telephoto zoom
  • very fast due to aperture 2.8
  • extremely short, therefore can be placed vertically in the bag
  • fast Nano-USM autofocus motor
  • 5-stop optical image stabilizer
  • outstanding 70 cm close focusing distance
  • full dust and splash water protection
  • suitable for professionals with outstanding imaging performance
  • detachable tripod clamp included in the scope of delivery
  • suitable for the Canon EOS R system
Picture: Marc Jeworrek

As usual with other Canon L lenses, the lens has a white heat protection look, but with a newer, more modern RF look. The newly designed RF mount literally welds the lens and camera body together, makes a very stable impression and, like the rest of the lens, is dust and splash-proof. The scope of delivery includes the pre-assembled tripod clamp, a lens hood, a matching lens bag and, of course, a lens cap.

Picture: Marc Jeworrek
Picture: Marc Jeworrek

With a length of 14.6 cm when retracted, the lens with its maximum focal length of 200 mm is surprisingly compact and therefore always finds a suitable place in the photo backpack. Despite its weight, the lens feels good in the hand and makes a harmonious impression, especially in combination with the Canon R6.

The control rings - especially the one for the focus - are easy to reach and run as smooth as butter. The white lens control ring for ISO, aperture or shutter (depending on the preset), which is new to the RF model, provides pleasant haptic feedback thanks to its click stops and is, in my opinion, much more pleasant to operate than the EF-EOS R lens adapter, whose control ring is unfortunately much too smooth for me.

Picture: Marc Jeworrek

The lens has switches for limiting the focus, switching between autofocus and manual focus, for image stabilization and three different stabilization modes - although I did not use these in my test. As usual, the AF mode can be overridden by turning the focus control ring.
What really left me speechless compared to the lenses previously used with the EF-RF adapter was the incredibly fast and precise performance of the (eye) autofocus delivered by the RF lens and R6. Whether people, animals or landscapes: the focus is spot on - even in difficult lighting conditions.

Picture: Marc Jeworrek

Conclusion

All in all, the Canon RF 70 - 200mm f/2.8 L IS USM has completely convinced me: The main plus points for me are the high-quality construction, the pleasant feel, the many different application possibilities, a close focusing distance of only 70 cm at 200 mm focal length and, last but not least, the impressive performance of the autofocus. A great addition to the other lenses, especially for landscapes and when traveling.
The only really serious criticism of the Canon RF 70 - 200mm f/2.8 L IS USM is its price. With a focus on nature and landscapes, the significantly cheaper Canon RF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM would be a more affordable alternative, but if you can get over losses in terms of weight, pack size, autofocus and use of the EF-RF adapter, the lenses from Tamron and Sigma (both with f/2.8 aperture) would also be a good choice.

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