Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Review

This full review will be completed once we can get a copy of this lens in the lab, but I was able to spend some time with a production Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens at the end of October. All first impressions leave me thinking it is as awesome as we expected it to be.

The build quality of this lens feels superb, at least as good as the white telephoto L lenses you've used before.

I've seen RF 70-200 mock-ups prior to holding a production model but holding this lens in your hands really drives home how compact and light it is. New for a 70-200 L lens is that this model extends, allowing it to become considerably shorter at 70mm than the previous models. The volume difference noticed especially in a backpack is huge. With a retracted length of 5.75" (146mm), it will fit upright into many lens backpack/case slots. The extending portion of the lens feels solid with very little play.

The zoom ring is very smooth with the normal L-grade feel.

The lightweight tripod ring is not riding on steel bearings and the friction fit is not especially smooth during rotation. I originally feared that the compact tripod ring would have too much flex, but reality is that it is very solid, impressively so for the size. Replacement lens feet will require the entire ring to be replaced.

Image quality will be of utmost importance and to help with that early assessment, I've uploaded some full-size images for you to review. Keep in consideration that the models being photographed in these images were moving constantly. The handheld shutter speed was 1/500 (marginal for the action) and the lighting was not optimal, changing in brightness and often strongly-colored for effect (do not use these images for critique of color rendering). While these are not lab-grade samples, the results are still quite impressive.

Be sure to observe the sharp plane of focus for your judgments. Note the faces of the models are considerably off-center, showing performance toward the periphery of the image circle. All images were processed in DPP using the standard picture style with sharpness strength set to "2" (0-10 scale) with all lens corrections disabled. Images were saved as 70-quality JPGs in Photoshop. ISO settings were mid-level (not optimal for image quality discernment, light noise reduction has been applied (2,3 or 3,3) and I opted to brighten all images shared here (see setting and adjustments listed for each image). Still, I think you will like what you see.

200mm f/2.8

In a 70-200mm lens, I expect the 200mm focal length to deliver the softest results. Thus, I was especially interested to see how 200mm performed in this lens. The first example was captured at ISO 1000 and processed with +0.33 EV. Click on the image to download the full size file.

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens 200mm Sample Picture

Check out the sharpness of the model's face and follow the sharpness of the dress circles along the plane of sharp focus.

The second example was captured at ISO 1200 and processed with +0.67 EV. Again, click on the image to download the full size file.

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens 200mm Sample Picture 2

Again, check out the sharpness of the model's face and follow the sharpness of the black sweater along the plane of sharp focus. Also, check out the lack of color fringing that would be made apparent in the foreground and background blur of the white hairpiece and the reflective silver pieces on the dress.

70mm f/2.8

The 70mm focal length is also important and it is the other full extent of the zoom range, potentially another weak point. While the details being rendered smaller in the frame is disadvantageous from an apparent-sharpness perspective, the results still look great. Look at the netting in the hat. This example was captured at ISO 500 and processed with +0.82 EV.

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens 70mm Sample Picture

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Side View

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Angle View with Hood

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Angle Extended View

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Angle View

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Top View

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Hood

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Tripod Ring

Bringing you this site is my full-time job (typically 60-80 hours per week). Thus, I depend solely on the commissions received from you using the links on this site to make any purchase. I am grateful for your support! - Bryan

Buy Now  ►  I highly recommend B&H Photo – Shopping here supports this site!

My Recommended Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens Retailers

Where you buy your gear matters. You expect to get what you ordered and you want to pay a low price for it. The retailers I recommend below are the ones I trust for my purchases. Get your Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens now from:

B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon.com
(Using the links on this site to make any purchase provides support for this site)
The Tip Jar
This site and my family depend on your support. Can you help right now?

Please share this page!

Share on Facebook! Share on Twitter! Share on Pinterest! Email this page to a friend!
Help  |  © 2019 Rectangular Media, LLC  |  Bryan CarnathanPowered By Christ!