The RF 70-200 f2.8 L IS

Dec 8, 2019
4
4
I took a few test shots with my RF 70-200 just now, all of them hand held, at close distances at 200mm. From what I can see, the focus isn’t all that consistent. Some where in perfect focus, others where slightly out of focus. I can’t rule out user error, but it seems that focus can be a bit hit and miss at close focus distance, and 200mm.

I haven’t had enough experience with the lens to tell if this will be an issue for me, or not.

Edit: I did a better test, sitting down supporting my hands. At 200mm and 0,7 meters, I get sharper focus when using MF and focus peaking. When using AF in the same scenario, it does seem to front focus a few mm. The sharpness difference though, isn't that significant. I am not sure I would ever notice it if I didn't look for it. The "out of focus" shot still shows much finer detail than I am able to see when using my own eyes, going as close as I can. I doubt that this will be a real world issue to me.
I tried to do a test 1meter distance, tripod. And I used a sort of "scale".
I am really really enthusiastic with the Canon r , my RF 35 and the RF 24-70mm are superb.

But to be honest, there rest some doubts about the RF 70-200mm lens and I will be sure if this huge amount of money will be worth it, or better to send the lens back...
 

Larsskv

EOS 7D MK II
Jun 12, 2015
789
213
I tried to do a test 1meter distance, tripod. And I used a sort of "scale".
I am really really enthusiastic with the Canon r , my RF 35 and the RF 24-70mm are superb.

But to be honest, there rest some doubts about the RF 70-200mm lens and I will be sure if this huge amount of money will be worth it, or better to send the lens back...
Since the focus peaking in the camera can accurately show best focus, I would be surprised if this AF issue can’t be solved with a firmware update.

In any instance, I have very rarely need to shoot at 200mm at closer distances than a meter, and if I do, and focus is critical, I can most often rely on focus peaking.

This issue is annoying, of course, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker to most of us.
 

Memdroid

EOS 80D
Nov 12, 2013
122
37
Since the focus peaking in the camera can accurately show best focus, I would be surprised if this AF issue can’t be solved with a firmware update.

In any instance, I have very rarely need to shoot at 200mm at closer distances than a meter, and if I do, and focus is critical, I can most often rely on focus peaking.

This issue is annoying, of course, but it shouldn’t be a deal breaker to most of us.
While true, it should not be acceptable on a brand new $3000 lens. I'll jump on this as soon as the FW update is available.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Muggili

jdavidse

EOS T7i
Sep 13, 2012
66
48
Would greatly appreciate if you post here when you hear from Canon (y)
Canon has had my lens in the shop for 4 business days. They called me today to explain that they cannot reproduce the problem and the lens tests out perfectly fine. She confirmed that they tested it at 2.8 and at all focal lengths and at MFD. I am very skeptical. However that is their verdict so they have shipped it back to me and it arrives tomorrow.

I will run the tests again tomorrow when I get it. I fully expect the problem to still be there.

I didn't follow the drama too closely on the 600mm III, but I've read that after 7 months they finally released a firmware update, after telling everyone during that time that the lens was within spec. It's funny because I do believe this is the first time I've jumped on being an early adopter.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Viggo

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,291
884
Canon has had my lens in the shop for 4 business days. They called me today to explain that they cannot reproduce the problem and the lens tests out perfectly fine. She confirmed that they tested it at 2.8 and at all focal lengths and at MFD. I am very skeptical. However that is their verdict so they have shipped it back to me and it arrives tomorrow.

I will run the tests again tomorrow when I get it. I fully expect the problem to still be there.

I didn't follow the drama too closely on the 600mm III, but I've read that after 7 months they finally released a firmware update, after telling everyone during that time that the lens was within spec. It's funny because I do believe this is the first time I've jumped on being an early adopter.
Thanks for the update! So sorry they’re not going to do anything, sadly that’s not the only case of exactly that happening... I was a VERY early adopter when the 1d3 came out, they denied it all forever also. Finally they had a lot of firmware and hardware fixes, but only helped slightly..
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,740
891
Southeastern USA
Thank goodness I have the ef version II and my 5D IV. For now. I'm sure the issue will be addressed, but until then, I wouldn't buy one, and if I had one still in a return-policy period, I'd send it in and wait for the refresh. If enough people follow suit, it has more effect on Canon than PetaPixel!

Untill all is worked out, I just have to get by with the ef version on my old-school dSLR. Here's an example, minimum focus distance, AF point on her lips. ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/250th, 88mm. Last month.

Cheers!88mm mfd.jpg
 

Larsskv

EOS 7D MK II
Jun 12, 2015
789
213
Thank goodness I have the ef version II and my 5D IV. For now. I'm sure the issue will be addressed, but until then, I wouldn't buy one, and if I had one still in a return-policy period, I'd send it in and wait for the refresh. If enough people follow suit, it has more effect on Canon than PetaPixel!

Untill all is worked out, I just have to get by with the ef version on my old-school dSLR. Here's an example, minimum focus distance, AF point on her lips. ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/250th, 88mm. Last month.

Cheers!View attachment 187783
A nice picture! However, and other than that, I think it is time for some perspective. Your EF 70-200 has a mfd of 1,2 meters. The RF version has a barely real world noticeable issue at 200mm at 0,7 meters, that fades away and is more or less gone at 1,0 meters, so the RF version actually does at least as good as the EF version when shooting at the same parameters.

And I would like to add that I found no issue at all at mfd and 135mm with the RF lens.

This “issue” shouldn’t be a show stopper for the most of us.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,740
891
Southeastern USA
A nice picture! However, and other than that, I think it is time for some perspective. Your EF 70-200 has a mfd of 1,2 meters. The RF version has a barely real world noticeable issue at 200mm at 0,7 meters, that fades away and is more or less gone at 1,0 meters, so the RF version actually does at least as good as the EF version when shooting at the same parameters.

And I would like to add that I found no issue at all at mfd and 135mm with the RF lens.

This “issue” shouldn’t be a show stopper for the most of us.
Maybe Canon overstated the MFD specs for the entire focal-length range? But tried to make it work anyway?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Berowne

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,443
425
just thinking. the dual focusing group - first time ever utilised in this lens by Canon... could this be the source of the issue? would a forum member with optical engineering background be available to comment?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Viggo

Larsskv

EOS 7D MK II
Jun 12, 2015
789
213
I felt the same way about it, 0.7m mfd, it’s small and lighter than my 85, seems like nicer bokeh than the EF’s, so I’m tempted .. I’m also tempted by the other 2/3 of the trinity ..
I compared the RF 70-200 with the RF 85 today, taking a few hand held portraits of my daughter. As far as portraits go, that 85 is so damn good that I will have a hard time choosing the 70-200 over it, unless I know I will need the flexibility the zoom provides. If I needed to prioritize, I would save my money for the RF 24 mm f 1.x that I expect next year. :)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Viggo

Viggo

EOS 5D SR
Dec 13, 2010
4,291
884
I compared the RF 70-200 with the RF 85 today, taking a few hand held portraits of my daughter. As far as portraits go, that 85 is so damn good that I will have a hard time choosing the 70-200 over it, unless I know I will need the flexibility the zoom provides. If I needed to prioritize, I would save my money for the RF 24 mm f 1.x that I expect next year. :)
Haha, oh yes, I wouldn’t trade my 85 for the 70-200, or anything else really. But, AF I suspect the 70-200 is much faster and better, and that is always good.
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon
Nov 6, 2019
134
75
Does ANYONE leave the tripod ring on this lens that's such a handy hand-held shooter. 6" long and under a kilo.

I'd suggest they knock $50 off the price and charge $100 for the ring.
 

SecureGSM

2 x 5D IV
Feb 26, 2017
1,443
425
Same as with any one-kilo lens like the 85 or a mid range zoom. You use the camera’s tripod mount screw.
At 200mm extended it would apply quite a bit of a torque to the mount resulting in a poor balance on tripod.
From that perspective, I suggest that Tripod mount is nice to have feature when on tripod.
 

Optics Patent

Former Nikon
Nov 6, 2019
134
75
Too bad no reviewers report this easily measured data. In reality, the 200 extension does not shift the center of mass alarmingly.

Using a highly calibrated "balancing across a finger" test, the lens has a center of mass 3.0" forward of the flange when fully retracted and 4.0" forward when fully extended. 1.0" (within a 1/16th) shift. No biggie. The torque applied to the mount is about 0.50-0.67 foot pounds.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Viggo