The Best Super Telephoto Lens Options for Canon Cameras


There are lots of lens options for Canon RF cameras. But if you’re looking for the best super telephoto lens, then you’ve come to the right place. Super telephoto lenses are great for sports, wildlife, astrophotography, and so much more. And lucky for you, we’ve tested them all in-house. Use this guide to help you figure out which lens you should get.

How We Selected the Best Super Telephoto Lens Options for Canon RF Cameras

Here’s some insight into who we chose the best super telephoto lens options for Canon cameras.

  • Please check out out Editorial Policies. They forbid us from talking about products that we haven’t reviewed. With that in mind, you should know that we’ve touched every single one of these products. What’s more, the sample images and the product images were all shot by our staff. So you can know that any one of these round ups is done with our actual knowledge and experience.
  • The best super telephoto lens for Canon RF cameras is widely down to what you need. But we’ve got budget and higher end options here for you.
  • The best super telephoto lens might not be weather-resistant depending on which one you pick up. Canon reserves that feature only for their L-glass.
  • Photographing birds? These lenses can help. What about sports? These lenses will help there too, and we’ve used them for a lot of that style of photography.

Canon RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 IS USM

Pro

  • Nice image quality!
  • Fast autofocus
  • Lightweight
  • Really affordable
  • Image stability is very good and noticeable for sure. You can shoot an extra stop slower on the Canon EOS R5 than you can on the Canon EOS R.

Cons

  • The smarts and subject recognition is nowhere as good as it is with the 100-500mm RF L lens.
  • Come on, Canon, no weather sealing? You have to stop reserving that feature for just your L-series lenses.
  • Frustrating to use on the Canon EOS R if you’re photographing birds or animals.

What to know

In our review, we state:

The Canon RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 IS USM is a good lens. But it will be a much more solid performer on any camera body that has built-in bird and animal detection. Those camera bodies tend to have weather sealing. However, this lens doesn’t. Still, it’s incredibly lightweight and only $649.

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Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 L IS USM

Pro

  • Pretty light
  • Fast-focusing
  • Image stability is awesome
  • Nice colors
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Super sharp

Cons

  • Expensive
  • F7.1 max aperture at the long end

What to know

In our review, we state:

“As stated before, the autofocus here is fantastic. Part of this is thanks to the work Canon has done to improve their autofocus. Better yet, it’s impressive on both the Canon EOS R and the Canon EOS R5. With the Canon EOS R, I was able to track the face of a woman walking all the way down the other side of my block. Every shot was sharp. That’s truthfully all any modern photographer can ask for.”

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Canon RF 400mm f2.8 L IS USM

Pro

  • Great bokeh
  • Beautiful color with little aberration
  • Excellent autofocus
  • Lots of physical controls
  • A bit more manageable than the larger 600mm

Cons

What to know

In our review, we state:

“To bring super telephotos to the RF mount quickly, Canon reused the optical design from the EF 400mm f2.8 IS III USM. It shares enough qualities of the EF mount lens that owners of the older optic who are switching to mirrorless will want to see how well the EF lens focuses on the RF camera before considering the RF mount. While this lens doesn’t offer any dramatic new technologies, Canon is adding more full-frame mirrorless super telephotos at a faster rate than Nikon or Sony.”

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Canon RF 600mm f11 IS STM

Pro

  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Nice build quality overall
  • Images are sharp
  • Colors rendered are natural
  • Image stability is excellent
  • Compatible with the new RF mount teleconverters
  • The control ring is there for those who like to use it
  • It’s incredibly affordable at just $699

Cons

  • No lens hood provided
  • Inconsistent autofocus performance
  • No weather sealing

What to know

In our review, we state:

“The RF 600mm f11 is much like the 800mm variant when it comes to autofocus. In excellent lighting conditions, the Canon RF 600mm f11 IS STM performs well with static subjects and moving targets. When it comes to focusing and tracking in low contrast/low light scenarios, the Canon RF 60mm f11 IS STM struggles. Getting the lens to focus on flying birds against an overcast sky can be maddening. You’ll ultimately miss shots. The focusing limiter switch does help, so use it, but AF performance is disappointing in less than perfect conditions. This is a shame. If you decide to buy it and use it in less than ideal scenarios, be ready for focus hunting.”

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Canon RF 600mm f4 L IS USM

Pro

  • Amazing soft backgrounds
  • Solid autofocus
  • Bright aperture
  • Great stability
  • Rich colors
  • Minimal aberration and distortion
  • Weather-sealed

Cons

  • Heavy and large (but not the heaviest or largest)
  • Not quite as sharp as shorter L glass
  • $13K at Adorama

What to know

In our review, we state:

“The Canon RF 600mm f4 is the kind of lens that produces backgrounds so soft, it looks as if it’s a solid color. The super-telephoto focal length mixed with the brighter aperture makes distant subjects pop. The focus is also solid considering how large the lens is. However, it’s heavy and large, and $13,000.”

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Canon RF 800mm f11 IS STM

Pro

  • Light and easy to manage
  • Balances very well on the camera
  • Nice build quality overall
  • Compatible with the new RF mount teleconverters
  • Images are sharp, and colors render nicely
  • Image stabilization does a great job
  • The control ring is there for those who like to use it
  • F11 is not a con, it’s a pro. Learn how to work with it and leverage high ISO performance from the EOS R cameras, and you’ll be fine.
  • For what this lens is, it’s incredibly affordable

Cons

  • No lens hood provided
  • Inconsistent autofocus
  • No weather sealing

What to know

In our review, we state:

“In terms of using the lens, the Canon RF 800mm f11 IS STM is simple. Attach it to the camera, unlock the ring closest to the mount, extend the lens, and lock the ring. At this point, the lens is ready to use. Make sure image stabilization is on, then you can make the most of the four stops of stabilization. The IS is actually rather good on this lens, and hand-holding posed no problems at all. I have been able to shoot down as low as 1/100th and could still get sharp images.”

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Canon RF 800mm f5.6 L IS USM

Pro

  • Super sharp
  • Lovely melted backgrounds
  • Exceptional reach for wildlife photography
  • Actually possible to use handheld
  • Weather-sealed
  • Lots of controls

Cons

  • It’s heavy
  • It’s $13k
  • The AF limiter switch is needed for the most speed and accuracy.

What to know

In our review, we state:

“The Canon RF series has only been around for a few years, yet they’ve managed to create an impressive super telephoto reach with the RF 800mm f5.6 L. While it’s not the only 800mm (Nikon has one in Z mount), it’s a rare focal length to find. But, what’s more impressive is that this 800mm, this nearly seven pound lens, can be shot handheld.”

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