Canon unveiled images of monster telephoto lenses that will compete with Nikon.

Canon has been teasing the introduction of its longest super-telephoto RF lenses for some time and a new leak hints that professional wildlife photographers won’t have to wait much longer.

The Canon RF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM and RF 1200mm f/8 L IS USM looks to have made their first public appearances, according to a fresh leaked photograph obtained by Photo Rumors (below). The image also includes a date, 24/2, implying that both lenses will be available on February 24.

The two lenses, along with the smaller RF 600mm f/11 and 800mm f/11 lenses introduced last year and the more high-end RF 600mm f/4L IS USM, will offer the greatest focal lengths in the RF system. Both of the new lenses are believed to be based on their EF predecessors, which are no longer available for Canon DSLRs.

Canon New monster lense to compete nikon
(Image credit: Photo Rumors)

This means that, as the leaked image suggests, the lenses will be extremely heavy and expensive beasts designed for professionals. For example, the original Canon EF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM lens weighed 4.5kg and cost $12,200 (£13,549) when it was new.

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The extremely niche RF 1200mm f/8 L IS USM, on the other hand, could be even more expensive, despite the fact that it should be smaller and significantly more affordable than the f/5.6 1200mm version of the lens that Canon made for the EF mount. It weighed 16.5kg and, due to its scarcity, commanded six-figure sums in the auction house.

If those lenses are any indication, then Canon’s natural successors should be a little more sensible, and it appears that we will find out for sure in the next few days – possibly during the CP+ 2022 show in Japan.

Despite the fact that Canon’s new super-telephoto lenses are unlikely to be on the top of the ordinary photographer’s wish list, they serve as an interesting gauge in the company’s ongoing war with its traditional rival, Nikon.

Photographers interested in wildlife have a new lens to consider: the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens, which retails for $13,999 (£13,499/AU$22,999) through Nikon. It is likely to follow that up with 600mm and 800mm super-telephoto prime lenses in the near future.

Canon, on the other hand, appears to be on the verge of beating it to the punch with its RF 800mm f/5.6 L IS USM, which will also reach the 1200mm threshold in this fight of focal length one-upmanship.

Although for most people, a 600mm lens with a 2x teleconverter would be more practical, such extreme lenses aren’t only about being useful in everyday situations. Also, they serve as a technological flex to professional photographers, as well as amateurs farther down the line, in terms of the mirrorless lens designs that are now conceivable, as well as the relative health of each company’s mirrorless systems.

But at the very least, we’ll be treated to some amazing wildlife pictures along the road, such as the one Nikon recently showcased for the debut of their Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens.

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