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News

February 2011

Canon has launched the two new super-telephoto lenses - the EF500mm f/4L IS II USM and the EF600mm f/4L IS II USM - that offer a potent combination of breakthrough performance, high-quality image performance and incredible mobility.

 

The EF500mm f/4L IS II USM lens features a completely redesigned optical system and the latest Canon Image Stabilizer technology.

The launch follows the development announcement of the two lenses in autumn 2010 and a showcase of their prototypes during the Photokina 2010 exhibition in Cologne, Germany.

Developed as part of Canon's acclaimed L-series of professional lenses, the new lenses replace the existing EF500mm f/4L IS USM and EF600mm f/4L IS USM lenses in the EF lens range. Both lenses include the highest-quality optics and the latest Canon Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, while magnesium alloy constructions with titanium components make each lens significantly lighter and more durable than their predecessors.

Launching as the lightest in its class the EF600mm f/4L IS II USM benefits from an exceptional 27% weight reduction (1.4kg) compared to its predecessor, whilst the EF500mm f/4L IS II USM offers an impressive weight reduction of 17% (680g) in comparison to its predecessor.

 

The EF600mm f/4L IS II USM lens features a completely redesigned optical system and the latest Canon Image Stabilizer technology.

New levels of performance

Both super-telephoto lenses feature completely redesigned optics, with 16 elements in 12 groups. Thanks to over 40 years of experience in manufacturing Fluorite lens elements Canon has utilised two high-performance Fluorite elements in both of these lenses to deliver high resolution, high contrast shots rich in detail across the frame.

Both lenses' optical elements feature Canon's Super Spectra Coatings and a SubWavelength Structure Coating (SWC), that's optimised to effectively reduce ghosting and flare. A water-repellent fluorine coating is also used on the surface of the front and rear elements of the lenses - this coating repels dust and dirt for clearer shots and keeps the front element free of marks by ensuring that water droplets run off the lenses quickly.

 

Side view of the EF500mm f/4L IS II USM lens - it is 680g lighter than its predecessor.

Enhanced IS, precise AF

Both models feature Canon's latest Image Stabilizer system, offering outstanding image quality during handheld shooting and allowing users to shoot at speeds up to four times slower than normally required. IS Mode 2 features new algorithms to improve performance when panning, and the new IS Mode 3 is also included, assisting users when switching between subjects by activating the IS unit only during exposure.

The constant f/4 aperture of the lenses allows photographers to achieve excellent image quality in low light and to capture clear, sharp shots of fast-moving subjects. The wide aperture also allows users to creatively isolate their subjects from the background, with a nine-blade circular iris capable of creating beautiful background blur that instantly adds atmosphere to an image.

Rapid, quiet autofocus (AF) is provided by a ring-type Ultrasonic Motor (USM). Photographers can also utilise full-time manual focusing functionality, which enables the fine-tuning of focus even when the AF system is activated, thus providing even greater control over image capture. Power Focus mode also assists users during video shooting, allowing the photographer to smoothly adjust focus during filming by twisting the focus recall ring.

 

Side view of the EF600mm f/4L IS II USM super-telephoto lens - it has been reduced by 1.4kg in weight compared to its predecessor.

Premium L-series design

Both lenses have been designed as part of Canon's renowned elite L-series, combining exceptional quality optics with stylish designs. Both also feature a revised layout, with carefully positioned controls that improve handling and operation. The AF stop buttons are now location-adjustable, improving ergonomics by allowing users to custom select the position of the lens grip where the AF stop buttons are located.

Mechanical improvements include optional long or short foot tripod mounts suitable for monopods or tripods. An improved tripod collar rotational mechanism provides a smoother movement when turning the lens from portrait to landscape orientation, and a Kensington-type wire security lock has also been included, to allow photographers to keep the lenses secure during location-based shoots. The robust design is also weatherproof, making both lenses suitable for use in extreme conditions when paired with a weatherproof EOS body.