Canon Updates Classics – 300mm f/2.8L IS II and 400mm f/2.8L IS II Lenses

Canon Lenses News Uncategorized

New Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II & 400mm f/2.8L IS II LensesCanon has updated two of their most important pro-level super-telephoto lenses, the 300mm f/2.8L IS and the 400mm f/2.8L IS. Actually, it looks like more of a complete overhaul. Those lenses date back to about 2000 so they’re definitely due for an update. The new Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II and Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II super-telephoto lenses are lighter with a new finish, improved optics, better optical image stabilization and they’re supposed to be even better built than the previous versions. They also both cost as much as a good used car.

The Canon 300mm f/2.8L and 400mm f/2.8L are standard equipment for many pro motorsports and wildlife photographers. They pull you in close to the action and allow you to completely eliminate background detail with ridiculously shallow depth-of-field. But you pay through the teeth for this kind of performance – both literally and figuratively. Big telephoto prime lenses cost a fortune, they’re huge and they weigh a ton – 5.6 lbs. for the 300 and 11.7 lbs. for the 400. Canon hasn’t lowered the price but they have lightened the load. At 5.2 lbs., the new 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens is approximately 8%* lighter than the previous model; and the new 400mm f/2.8L IS II weighs about 8.5 lbs., almost 28% lighter than the old version.

New Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II & 400mm f/2.8L IS II super-telephoto lenses

Besides making them lighter, Canon also improved the optics and image stabilization on the new 300mm and 400mm lenses. Both lenses have added a second flourite element, “for improved image quality and reduced chromatic aberration.” They’re also using a new “flourine” coating that’s supposed to minimize fingerprints and help keep the outer lens element clean. The image stabilization system uses a new, “rolling-ball-friction system in place of sliding parts,” for improved efficiency and up to four stops of shutter speed compensation. Canon says they’ve even beefed up the build – in spite of making the lenses lighter. Finally, that white L lens finish – it’s changing. I can’t see a difference in the product photos, but Canon told me that the white color is being warmed up a bit. I’m not sure why and I don’t know if it will be obvious but apparently it is changing. Hello pink lenses?

The two new super-telephoto lenses should be available in December. The suggested retail price on the Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II is $7000. And the price for the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II is – maybe you’d better have a seat – it’s $11,000. Yup – eleven grand – [insert pricing wisecrack here]…

Canon 300mm f/2.8L IS II & 400mm f/2.8L IS II Press Release >>

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Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II lens

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L 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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  • Quazi Ahmed Hussain says:

    Great news for pros. Most impressive are the price tags for sure.

    I heard all super telephoto primes have been updated including the 500mm and 600mm L lenses. Is that a fact?

  • Cara Litberg says:

    Drooling over the new 300mm. Then again I drooled over its predecessor was well. I rented the 300 2.8 once and it was by far the sharpest lens I ever used.

    I may be mistaken about the current price of cars, but I believe the 400mm is not only the price of a good used car, but also the price of a low end NEW car.

  • Photo-John says:

    The only lenses I know about are the ones I’ve posted announcements for. That said, I think it’s a safe bet that Canon is revamping all of their older super-telephoto L lenses. I was surprised how long it had been since these two were updated. There was a lot of new technology to be added to them.

    Way back in 1995 or something like that, I made the mistake of renting an EOS 1 and the pre-IS 300mm f/2.8L. The next camera swap that came through town left with all my Canon FD gear and I came home with an A2E and kit lens. That’s how much of an effect that lens had on me :-D

  • Istvan Zalavary says:

    Who will tell Canon NOT to manufacture these lens monsters ONLY with white finish? They look like telescopes, not photographic gear. For wildlife photographers like me it is a highly creative task to camouflage this impractical colour

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