Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 USM L - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published April 2022


The Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 USM L was one of the first lenses for the RF-mount cameras. You may also say that it was nothing short but a STATEMENT because it's the world's first full-format standard zoom lens with a constant max aperture of f/2. It supplements the RF 24-70mm f/2.8 USM L IS so Canon users are blessed with two high-speed zoom lenses in this range class. The two lenses are fairly different so each one has its place with the RF 28-70mm f/2 USM L surely being the more exotic choice. Both lenses are expensive, of course, but the RF 28-70mm f/2 USM L is actually relatively affordable ... in the grand scheme of things. As a rule of thumb, the price tends to double per extra full stop but the difference between the two is "merely" 1/3rd although you have to take the slightly reduced range and the lack of an image stabilizer into account here. At $3100/3500EUR, it's still far from what normal mortals tend to spend on a standard zoom lens. However, this lens may just be the right thing for professional users who want the speed of prime lenses while having the flexibility of a zoom lens.

However, upon first contact, you may understand why this is more of a niche product. It's huge by standard zoom standards - or to be precise - it is both heavy and FAT. The filter diameter of 95mm may give you an idea here. In terms of build quality, the Canon RF 28-70mm f/2 USM L IS delivers everything you expect from such a professional-grade lens. The materials are top-notch and everything is tightly assembled. Both the super-sized zoom and focus rings operate smoothly. Typical for many RF lenses, it features a dedicated, configurable control ring at the front. e.g. if you like to have aperture- or ISO-control on the lens, just go for it. The inner lens tube extends when zooming towards the long end of the range which is not ideal for protecting it against the elements. However, Canon claims that the lens is weather resistant. Fluorine coating on the front element is supposed to repel dust and fluids. A petal-shaped hood is part of the package.

The ring-type USM (ultrasonic) combines extremely high speed and noiseless operations. Manual focusing works "by-wire" thus you drive the AF when turning the focus ring. The lens is not ideal for videos - changing focus results in substantial focus breathing.

Optical construction19 Elements in 13 Groups inc. 1xSUD, 3xUD & 4x aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.39m (max. magnification ratio 1:5.55)
Filter size95mm
Hoodpetal-shaped (bayonet mount, supplied)
Other featuresweather-sealing, additional control ring, fluorine coating