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Canon updates 300mm f/2.8L and 400mm f/2.8L super telephotos

Canon has updated two of their super-telephotos with new barrel designs, with some components made from titanium no less, and improved optical, AF and IS systems. The 400mm f/2.8, once the real heavyweight compared with Nikon's rival offering, is now the lightest available (the current model weighs 5.37 kg (11.8lb), the Nikkor 4.62Kg (10.18lb) and the new Canon 3.85Kg (8.5lb)). Both the new Canon lenses will be available during December priced at £7500 and a staggering £11,499 inc. Tax, respectively.

Press release:

EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM

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EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM

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Outstanding design, exceptional performance – Canon sets new standards with the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM

United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland; August 2010 – Canon today enhances its premium L-series with the launch of the new EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM – two high quality super-telephoto lenses designed to meet the demands of professional photographers. Offering optical excellence and consistently high performance, the new lenses combine super-telephoto focal lengths, fast aperture and outstanding image quality, providing photographers with reliability and exceptional results.

Succeeding the well-respected EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM and the EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM, both new models will appeal to nature, wildlife and sports photographers. Each features a completely redesigned optical system and the latest iteration of Canon’s original Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, while an all-new magnesium alloy construction and titanium components ensure the designs are both robust and lightweight. The EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM is the lightest lens in its class ( as of August 2010) offering unrivaled mobility due to an incredible 28% reduction in weight (1.5KG) compared to its predecessor, while the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM offers photographers an 8% weight reduction.

Ultra high performance optics
Manufactured using the very best optical components, the new EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM mark a significant step forward for Canon’s L-series, which is already renowned for its outstanding quality. Both lenses feature 16 elements in 12 different groups, using high performance fluorite lens elements that correct chromatic aberration to deliver high resolution and high contrast shots of the best possible quality – allowing photographers to capture images rich with edge-to-edge detail.

The optical elements also feature Canon’s latest Super Spectra Coatings, optimised for both the position and type of each lens element. A SubWavelength Structure Coating (SWC), which uses microscopic cone-shaped structures smaller than a wavelength of visible light, reduces ghosting caused by light bouncing back from the imaging sensor. Fluorine coating is also used on the front and rear elements of the lenses, repelling dust and dirt for clearer shots. The coating is also water repellent, keeping the front element free of water marks and smearing by ensuring water runs off the lens quickly.

New, improved IS and rapid AF
Both models feature Canon’s new Image Stabilizer system, providing outstanding results when the photographer is moving around and when capturing moving subjects. A 4-stop advantage offers greater image quality during handheld shooting, allowing users to shoot at speeds up for four times slower than normally required with minimal additional blur. Operation of IS mode 2 has been improved when shooting panning motion and a new third IS mode has been added, assisting users when quickly switching between subjects by activating the IS unit only during exposure.

Both lenses offer a constant f/2.8 aperture, allowing photographers to shoot at faster shutter speeds and capture clear 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 creating dramatic and striking background blur that instantly adds beauty to an image.

Fast, quiet Auto Focusing (AF) is provided by a ring-type USM, new dedicated AF algorithms and a new high-speed CPU, which offer quick and accurate focusing during shooting. Photographers can also utilise full-time manual focusing functionality, which enables the adjustment and fine-tuning of focus even when the AF system is activated, providing even greater control over image capture. A new Power Focus mode aids focusing during video shooting, allowing the photographer to smoothly adjust focus during filming by twisting the focus recall ring.

All-new premium L-series design
Developed in line with Canon’s philosophy for the elite L-series, both the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM and EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM boast a refined design that reflects their status as market-leading, benchmark lenses. Both feature a new design layout, with carefully-positioned controls that improve operation in everyday use. 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.

A choice of dedicated tripod mounts provides added flexibility, allowing photographers to use a long or short foot suitable for monopods or tripods. A new rotational mechanism for the tripod collar also provides a smoother movement when turning the lens from portrait to landscape orientation. In addition, both models feature a new high quality exterior texture, while a new shade of white casing indicates the new advanced design and higher precision that each lens offers. A new Kensington-type wire security lock has also been added, allowing photographers to keep their lenses secure during location-based shoots.

A robust weatherproof design makes both lenses suitable for use in extreme conditions when paired with a weatherproof EOS body.

Complementary, high quality lens extenders
Both new models are compatible with the new set of Canon lens extenders designed for L-series super-telephoto lenses – the Extender EF 1.4x III and Extender EF2x III. Manufactured to complement the new optical systems featured in both lenses, the Extender EF 1.4x III and Extender EF2x III will allow professionals to instantly extend the focal length of either lens by 1.4x or 2x respectively – enabling the capture of high quality, detailed images of subjects that may typically be beyond reach.

Pricing and Availability
The EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM is available from December priced £7499.99 / ¤8929.99 RRP inc VAT
The EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM is available from December priced £11499.99 / ¤13689.99 RRP inc VAT9.99 R

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