This ultra-rare, insanely cool 1200mm Canon lens could be yours… for just US$165,000!


posted Friday, August 15, 2014 at 6:39 PM EDT


Is your camera bag too light? Do you often find yourself wishing you could see clean into next week? Well, now you can solve both problems at one fell swoop, for a snip at the price of £99,000 (US$165,000 or thereabouts).

All kidding aside, the Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM is one absolutely incredible, monster of a lens. With less than a hundred believed to exist worldwide -- the rumor mill has it that the number's actually closer to 20 -- it's pretty rare to see one on the market. The last one we spotted was sold by IR affiliate B&H Photo Video a few years ago for around US$120,000, and whomever the buyer was, they joined one very exclusive club. Current owners are believed to include James Jannard, founder of both Oakley sunglasses and digital cinema legend RED, who apparently has not one, but two of these beauties.

The Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM lens, currently being sold by MPB Photographic in the UK.

The EF 1200mm lens was first developed as an FD-mount optic for the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, way back in the summer of 1984. According to Canon's Chuck Westfall, quoted several years ago in a review by, all five FD-mount lenses were then shipped back to Canon Japan and converted into EF-mount optics. They went on sale in mid-1993, priced at ¥9,800,000 apiece -- close to US$150,000 in today's money.

That makes the lens now being sold by MPB Photographic in the UK surprisingly affordable, given its near-mint condition and extremely limited availability. In over 20 years, the optic has appreciated in value by around 10%, so you won't be buying this as an investment -- and that's as it should be. A lens this stunning deserves to be out in the field, shooting great photos!

B&H Photo Video's Zevi Slotkin and Bryan Carnarthan of look at the spectacular Canon EF 1200mm lens. Incredibly, B&H has gotten its hands on two of these in the last few years, and not surprisingly both sold pretty swiftly!

If you think you've got what it takes to do it justice -- not to mention some friends to help you haul its 37-pound, 33-inch body and a suitablly tank-like tripod to your chosen shooting locations -- it's time to get on the phone to your bank manager. It's likely to be quite some time before you get another chance at a lens like this...

(via Shutterbug)