Review: Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM by CameraLabs

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Gordan Laing from CameraLabs has completed his review of the Canon RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM, in which he compares it directly to the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM II and the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM. I mean, you’re comparing 3 amazing lenses against each other, you can’t lose.
From CameraLabs
What makes the RF lens really special though is its size, little larger than a 330ml can when zoomed to 70mm and considerably more portable than the EF version, particularly when the adapter’s fitted for EOS R bodies. The extending barrel is a double-edged sword though as it’s way too soon to know about long-term sealing. Like the RF 2.8 version, the optical design sadly rules out the use of RF teleconverters and also results in significant focus breathing where the magnification reduces at...

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Normalnorm

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Dec 25, 2012
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I like the review, but.....

What portrait and/or event photog is going to opt for f4 over f2.8?

Not many I imagine.
As a portrait photographer I use f4 almost all the time on my 70-200 2.8 because the last little bit of OOF BG is not worth the annoyance of a focus miss on the end of a nose as opposed to the eyes. Wiht the R5 I know this is not much of an issue compared to the DSLR cameras.

I often use f4 and even 5.6 for events on stage where bright lighting is present.
Weddings are the venue where a fast zoom would be welcome but even now we can get a way with a bump in ISO and the excellent IBIS now available to us. The lighter weight would actually be very welcome for someone on their feet with a lot of gear.
 

bbasiaga

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Nov 15, 2011
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I like the review, but.....

What portrait and/or event photog is going to opt for f4 over f2.8?

Not many I imagine.
Studio portraits or portraits using lots of flash/strobe are often shot at smaller apertures in order to better control ambient light. Subject separation is handled with the lighting and choice of background.

But I see this lens as more of a travel lens, despite its ability to be used in studio. And that is where it has its most attraction for me. So small and light.

Gordon's review on youtube seemed more positive than I read the comment clipped above. IQ wise its a wash with the EF version, but AF wise it is faster. So if you're going to upgrade, you'll do it on the size. If you don't have one, you've got a choice to make to trade off the cost for the larger size plus adapter, or go with the native.

I'm torn, as I have the V1 EF version and have always liked it. But when I ultimately upgrade to an R body this will call to me. I could also instead upgrade to the EF 2.8 V2 or 3 for about the same price. Just not sure I'd really benefit much from the 2.8 for a travel/walk around lens.

-Brian
 

Random Orbits

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Studio portraits or portraits using lots of flash/strobe are often shot at smaller apertures in order to better control ambient light. Subject separation is handled with the lighting and choice of background.

But I see this lens as more of a travel lens, despite its ability to be used in studio. And that is where it has its most attraction for me. So small and light.

Gordon's review on youtube seemed more positive than I read the comment clipped above. IQ wise its a wash with the EF version, but AF wise it is faster. So if you're going to upgrade, you'll do it on the size. If you don't have one, you've got a choice to make to trade off the cost for the larger size plus adapter, or go with the native.

I'm torn, as I have the V1 EF version and have always liked it. But when I ultimately upgrade to an R body this will call to me. I could also instead upgrade to the EF 2.8 V2 or 3 for about the same price. Just not sure I'd really benefit much from the 2.8 for a travel/walk around lens.

-Brian
Canon definitely had a different strategy for its RF 70-200s than what it had with EF or what Nikon has done with with its Z 70-200. Gone are compatibility with extenders and constant length, and instead what Canon produced were variable length lenses that are compact and lighter. I think I like the tradeoff that Canon made. Even with the EF variants, I rarely used extenders with the 70-200s. If I needed more reach, I chose the 100-400.

I do think that the RF versions of the 70-200s may have effectively killed off the 70-300L. The 70-300L's advantage was a shorter package than the fixed length 70-200s, and with the RF 70-200 f/4 as small and light as it is, I'm not sure there is a big market for a 70-300L for RF, which may be why there are rumors of a non-L 100-400.
 
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Aug 6, 2018
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Good review. I miss the old days, though, when people -especially writers/journalists- knew how to use the English language.
“...focuses twice as close as...” The correct terminology is: FOCUSES HALF AS CLOSE. It’s insulting to assume readers are too stupid and we can’t figure it out. Or are fractions really that difficult for otherwise smart writers to comprehend? What happened to our education system? Same goes for when you hear a commercial for a “3 Times” zoom lens (3X). It’s called a 3 Power lens. X refers to power, not “times”.
 

GreenViper

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Good review, fair and balanced. Can't quibble with any of his observations.

Have mine on order - looking forward to size and weight. Planning on using it as the alternative lens in my 2 lens/camera set ups - 16-35F4 & 70-200F4 for landscapes & 400 DO II or 100-400 and 70-200 for wildlife. I'd have gone for the 70-200 F2.8 if I was still doing indoor sports and I have the 85 F2 for occasional portraits so the F4 fits my use case perfectly. Suspect it'll be a step up from my 70-200 F4 non-IS which was my first L lens back in the day.
 
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IcyBergs

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May 31, 2016
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As a portrait photographer I use f4 almost all the time on my 70-200 2.8 because the last little bit of OOF BG is not worth the annoyance of a focus miss on the end of a nose as opposed to the eyes. Wiht the R5 I know this is not much of an issue compared to the DSLR cameras.

I often use f4 and even 5.6 for events on stage where bright lighting is present.
Weddings are the venue where a fast zoom would be welcome but even now we can get a way with a bump in ISO and the excellent IBIS now available to us. The lighter weight would actually be very welcome for someone on their feet with a lot of gear.
I didn't say those photogs wouldn't use smaller apertures, just said they'd probably buy the 2.8. And after reading this anecdote, it appears you've confirmed my suspicions. Especially the part where you say "my 70-200 2.8" ;)
 

stevelee

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“...focuses twice as close as...” The correct terminology is: FOCUSES HALF AS CLOSE. It’s insulting to assume readers are too stupid and we can’t figure it out.
I don’t think either expression is particularly logical, so better just rephrased. But I suspect people can figure out what he means.

Neither is as bad as “It is half as cold today as it was yesterday.”
 

stevelee

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For studio work, might one not prefer a prime lens?

Size and weight are lesser concerns in the studio, as is price if you are making enough money with it over time. The extra stop would be of less value for studio portraits, I’d assume.
 

Act444

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May 4, 2011
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I do think that the RF versions of the 70-200s may have effectively killed off the 70-300L. The 70-300L's advantage was a shorter package than the fixed length 70-200s, and with the RF 70-200 f/4 as small and light as it is, I'm not sure there is a big market for a 70-300L for RF, which may be why there are rumors of a non-L 100-400.
I sure hope not. As a user of the 70-300L I opted for that over the 70-200 f4 not because of size, but due to the 100mm extra reach. For indoors/low light, that's what the 70-200 2.8 is for.

In this case, it appears that the f2.8 version would already be compact and light enough (by my standards) for me to not desire the f4 version. I would like to see a 70-300 or 80-400 L-class lens in the same size category, personally.
 

SteveC

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Sep 3, 2019
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I don’t think either expression is particularly logical, so better just rephrased. But I suspect people can figure out what he means.

Neither is as bad as “It is half as cold today as it was yesterday.”

what do those people do when it's 10 one day and -5 the next? (Question exists whether you use Celsius or Fahrenheit, but not if you use Kelvins.)
 

Surab

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I think I'm too much of an amateur to see the appeal in a 70-200 F4: It's still kinda expensive, not crazy fast, and doesn't have much reach. But again that's on me really.

Same goes for when you hear a commercial for a “3 Times” zoom lens (3X). It’s called a 3 Power lens. X refers to power, not “times”.

I can't tell if this is sarcasm.
 
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