Canon 200-400mm f/4L With Built-In Tele-Extender Plus Two Updated Super-Tele Lenses

Canon Featured Lenses News Uncategorized

New Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS w built-in tele-extender plus new 500mm and 600mm super-telephoto lensesThe 60 millionth Canon EOS lens, an EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS zoom, rolled off the production line recently. Canon sent out a celebratory press release today and they also announced three new super-telephoto lenses, a 500mm f/4, 600mm f/4 and a very interesting 200-400mm zoom with a built-in tele-converter that increases the maximum focal length to 560mm. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER l.4x zoom lens is still in development but Canon plans to show a prototype at the CP+ tradeshow in Japan, this week (February 9-12, 2011).

Canon began updating their big pro glass last year with the introduction of the 300mm f/2.8 L IS II and the 400mm f/2.8L IS II, both of which were considerably reduced in both size and weight. That work is continued with the new Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM and 600mm f/4L IS II USM super-telephoto lenses. The new 500mm is 18% lighter than the previous version. That might not sound like much expressed as a percentage but that’s a pound and a half (680 g) off what was an 8.5 pound (3.85 kg) lens! The new 600mm L lens has also gone on a diet. The original version weighed nearly 12 pounds (5.4 kg). But Canon managed to reduce the weight by a whopping 27% – about 3.2 pounds (1451 g). That will make a real difference for wildlife photographers who have to pack that beast of a lens into the bush for critter photos.

Updated Canon 500mm f/4L IS II and 600mm f/4L IS II super-telephoto lenses

Besides significantly reduced weight, both lenses have also been improved optically and mechanically. They have new flourite elements as well as new anti-smear coatings protecting the front and rear elements. Both lenses have the latest image stabilization to bring them up to the current standard of four-stops of camera shake compensation. Canon also says lens durability is improved with better weather-sealing as well as more titanium and magnesium in the lens barrel assembly.

Of course, the new 200-400mm prototype is the most interesting of the new lens announcements. There are no photos of the new lens and Canon didn’t provide much detail other than it includes a built-in 1.4x tele-converter for a, “maximum focal length [of] 560mm for sports and wildlife photography”. It does have the L designation and the official press release said it would be weather sealed and include flourite lens elements. I am definitely very curious about how the integrated tele-converter works and the overall performance of the lens. If it works well, this could be how all big lenses are made in the future. Canon didn’t announce a price for the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER l.4x zoom lens – it is only a prototype, after all. But speculation on the Web is that the price will be about $7500. We’ll have to wait and see how close that price actually is. But $7500 for what is essentially a pro-level 200-560mm f/4-5.6L IS zoom lens is not a bad deal when you compare to what’s currently available.

As for the two super-telephoto prime lenses – put your kids and car up for sale on eBay now – the Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM lens will be available in May for $9499.00 and the 600mm f/4L IS II USM lens is scheduled to be available in June for $11,999.00. Don’t forget to also budget for a new wheelbarrow. You’ll need to cart those two monster lenses around.

Canon 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXTENDER l.4x Press Release >>

Canon 500mm f/4L IS II & 600mm f/4L IS II Press Release >>

Canon Celebrates 60 Million EF Lenses Press Release >>

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New Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II super-telephoto prime lens

New Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II super-telephoto lens

About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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