RF 200mm f/2 Patent Filed in Japan to the Cheers of the Canon Faithful

Canon RF 200mm f/2 patent

In March, PetaPixel reported that Canon intends to release seven or eight RF lenses per year, which is a pretty aggressive release schedule, helping Canon catch up to the more than 70 EF lenses that were available when the EOS R system launched in 2018. A pair of EF lenses that have yet to make their way to the RF system are Canon’s EF 200mm f/1.8L USM and EF 200mm f/2L IS USM fast primes.

According to Canon Rumors, that might be changing soon, as Canon has patented an optical formula for an RF 200mm f/2 lens.

The patent describes a lens with a 195mm focal length, f/2.05 aperture, and a full-frame image height. In included representative drawings, the lens includes an image stabilization lens group sandwiched by a pair of focusing groups, although another graphic shows a slightly different optical arrangement.

Canon RF 200mm f/2 patent
Canon RF 200mm f/2 patent diagram

A commenter on Canon Rumors, SwissFrank, suggests that patents such as this new one are for “recipes for lenses,” rather than for specific, precise lens designs, which would help explain how there are different optical arrangements in a couple diagrams.

That said, another commenter, neuroanatomist, points out that Canon’s patent application for a 24mm f/1.8 lens looks the same as the eventual RF 24mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM lens’ optical design.

In any case, Canon has patented a 200mm f/2 lens and it is reasonable to expect that, at some point, Canon will release an RF 200mm f/2 lens with optical image stabilization.

Canon RF 200mm f/2 patent
Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

“I don’t understand the point of a new RF version of this lens when it’s already well covered with the EF version. Sure, it’ll have the latest Image Stabilizer and control ring. But it’s still an f/2 like the current EF version,” writes GMCPhotographics on Canon Rumors. “Size and RF integration aren’t really top priority for users of a 200mm f/2 lens. So I’m not seeing much benefit for quite an expensive ‘sidegrade.'”

As fellow commenter padam suggests, a good reason for Canon to release an RF version of the popular 200mm f/2 lens is that it will actually be available. The EF version, released in 2008, has been discontinued. While Canon has confirmed that the lens will have service support until at least the end of 2027, it is inevitable that, at some point, there will no longer be parts to service existing EF 200mm f/2 lenses.

Canon RF 200mm f/2 patent
The Canon RF 400mm f/2.8L and RF 600mm f/4L lenses are ports of the most recent EF versions of the lenses.

Besides, just because there are good EF lenses like the EF 200mm f/2, Canon is not precluded from releasing RF versions. In some cases, Canon has ported existing EF lenses to the RF mount, as in the case of the RF 400mm f/2.8L and 600mm f/4L telephoto primes.

In an ideal world, an RF 200mm f/2L lens will represent more of an upgrade than those super-tele lenses, given that the EF 200mm f/2 is very long in the tooth, but only time will tell. At the very least, it appears that Canon is actively designing an RF 200mm f/2 lens, which should serve as good news to fans of the EF 200mm f/2 in the advent of its discontinuation and limited availability.