The Canon RF 200-500mm f/4L IS USM has been rumoured for some time now, and it is definitely in the pipeline. This will be the RF replacement for the highly-regarded EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x. There will not be a built-in teleconverter in the RF version, which will help reduce weight, size and complexity, sadly its omission won't reduce the price.

We have been told that the Canon RF 200-500mm f/4L IS USM will be announced in Q4 of 2023 with a price tag of $15,999 USD. The Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x was announced in May 2013 for a price of $11,799 USD. If you use one of those inflation calculators, the price of the 200-500 is pretty much the same in today's dollars, which doesn't make it any less painful.

Canon is still having issues meeting demand for certain lenses, such as the RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM and RF 100-300mm f/2.8L IS USM. These production issues don't seem to be delaying announcements, but they're definitely frustrating potential customers.

The image associated with this post is the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM 1.4x

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196 comments

  1. Hmmm.... Without an built in extender a little bit to much pricy, isn`t it? Canon knows how to milk their customers.
    The RF desing does not jutify the big plus in price. Still my copy of the 600mm RF is not as sharp as my old EF Mark II.
    Reducing wheigt is welcome, but it has to be as sharp as the old 200-400 with extender. I sold it back in 2017 (sadly)....
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  2. The fiscal reality is that Canon can't make cheap super wites any more. This is the current cost of develeopemnt and production for the next generation of superwhites, regardless of focal length. The new RF 200mm f2.0 LIS is going to be in a similar price ball park. Buy a well priced used EF 200mm f2.0 LIS while they are available because the RF version's super high price will rally the price of the EF version on the used market.
    Gone are the concept for the internal tele converters, coming is the vastly complicated and expensive universal converter that can flick between 1.4 and 2x internally.
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  3. Hmmm.... Without an built in extender a little bit to much pricy, isn`t it? Canon knows how to milk their customers.
    The RF desing does not jutify the big plus in price. Still my copy of the 600mm RF is not as sharp as my old EF Mark II.
    Reducing wheigt is welcome, but it has to be as sharp as the old 200-400 with extender. I sold it back in 2017 (sadly)....
    I'll put my money on the new 200-500mm f/4 being at least as sharp as the old EF 200-400mm at 560 f/5.6, especially as the 1.4xTC does degrade the image to some, albeit small, extent. The reason why the RF 600 f/4 and the EF 600mm f/4 III not being as sharp as the older 600 f/4 II appears to lie in the middle optics being made smaller and further back in the lens. This type of design wasn't done in the new RF 100-300mm f/2.8, which is spectacularly sharp. I bet it will be nearly as sharp as the old EF 500mm f/4.

    I won't put my money on buying it though - too heavy for me.:(
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  4. $16k? No way could I ever justify that. There are some sources selling the 500 f/4 II for about $4k. I'll probably just keep an eye out for a deal on an EF 600 III.
    I have no issue spending silly money on a lens, but it has to get used. This sort of lens would sit in my closet 50 weeks of the year. Definitely a rental lens for most of us if we're lucky enough to have a rental house that stocks it.
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  5. The rumored price if correct is more than I anticipated by about $1-2K and at the upper end of my estimates. With that said, it is still a lens that I will consider especially if it is reasonably sharp with a RF 2x extender. For general wildlife photography I could see mounting a 1.4x TC on this lens and having a 280-700 mm f5.6 lens. Such as lens would be extremely versatile to me.

    My greatest concern is the weight and size of the lens. If it is too heavy or too large to travel with by plane I will pass.
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  6. Hmmm.... Without an built in extender a little bit to much pricy, isn`t it? Canon knows how to milk their customers.
    It's a full stop faster at the long-end without any degradation from a teleconverter or the need to switch it on or off, having a bigger 2.5x zoom range instead of 2.0x, not sure how that's directly comparable.
    If Sony or Nikon made a lens like this, pricing would have been pretty much the same.
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  7. I have no issue spending silly money on a lens, but it has to get used. This sort of lens would sit in my closet 50 weeks of the year. Definitely a rental lens for most of us if we're lucky enough to have a rental house that stocks it.
    The ability to zoom makes it more useful than a 500 f/4.
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  8. Hmmm.... Without an built in extender a little bit to much pricy, isn`t it? Canon knows how to milk their customers.
    The RF desing does not jutify the big plus in price. Still my copy of the 600mm RF is not as sharp as my old EF Mark II.
    Reducing wheigt is welcome, but it has to be as sharp as the old 200-400 with extender. I sold it back in 2017 (sadly)....
    That’s a shame on the sharpness, I sold my 500mm F/4ii which was fantastically sharp and got the RF 600mm F4 as well, I’m happy to see it’s just as sharp with my R5. Yes the weight saving is beautiful. It’s even lighter then my 500 was.
    Shame to see you’re not happy (sadly)
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  9. Now that the big boys are out, dear Canon can you design a RF 50mm 1.4 for me please?
    Regards
    I was just talking to an independent camera dealer, and he was saying Canon is on a "growth" push with their dealers. Your thinking was basically his response to the Canon rep... "howabout you make the stuff masses of people will actually purchase so we don't feel handcuffed?"
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  10. Without the built-in tele-converter this seems more like a zoom replacement for the EF 500 than the 200-400 EF. It was the built-in converter that made the 200-400 unique and versatile and worth the additional cost.
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  11. I was just talking to an independent camera dealer, and he was saying Canon is on a "growth" push with their dealers. Your thinking was basically his response to the Canon rep... "howabout you make the stuff masses of people will actually purchase so we don't feel handcuffed?"
    I’m sure for a company canon’s size will have multiple design personal/departments working on different lines of canon lenses at the same time. I guess there will always be people frustrated with what they haven’t released yet
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  12. Sadly, this is also the price of some high-end mountain bikes.
    Since Covid, many prices have gone crazy. :(
    Funny you say that. I bought my daughter a titanium frame back in 2000. It was about $1400 (Dean). The frame is still perfect. Good thing as the price of titanium has skyrocketed. From what I understand, most titanium comes from Russia. That frame now is thousands of dollars.
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  13. Hmmm.... Without an built in extender a little bit to much pricy, isn`t it? Canon knows how to milk their customers.
    The RF desing does not jutify the big plus in price. Still my copy of the 600mm RF is not as sharp as my old EF Mark II.
    Reducing wheigt is welcome, but it has to be as sharp as the old 200-400 with extender. I sold it back in 2017 (sadly)....
    As I've remarked in other threads, Canon has been less than innovative seems to be targeting either the high end or entry level offerings. I tried the RF 600. Yes, it was lighter weight than my EF 600 II though its sharpness, as you observed was not as good as the older versions. At $13k, it's $2.5k cheaper than the Nikon with the built in 1.4 TC though its wider, longer, and about the same weight. The 200-500 will be interesting, and I imagine it will be sharp, though I don't know if it will be $16k interesting? Sure, some sports and nature photographers might welcome the zoom f/4 lens, in place of a faster 400 f/2.8. I am curious as to the size/weight and wonder if that went into the equation as to why they didn't include a TC (perhaps the dual TC isn't ready for prime time?) The rest of us will be relegated to older and soon to be unsupported EF primes or the wonderful but wonky 100-500 f/4.5-7.1.
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  14. That’s a shame on the sharpness, I sold my 500mm F/4ii which was fantastically sharp and got the RF 600mm F4 as well, I’m happy to see it’s just as sharp with my R5. Yes the weight saving is beautiful. It’s even lighter then my 500 was.
    Shame to see you’re not happy (sadly)
    No one wants my 500 f/4 at any price including resellers. It's an amazing lens (bare) and still has great sharpness with a 1.4x tc.
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