This Week’s “Fabulous Excess” Award: Canon’s $165,000 1200mm Lens – Used!

by Hugh Brownstone2 Comments

News of the Canon 1200mm lens brought to us courtesy of the team over at Imaging Resource

Perhaps you’ve heard the old saw, “The difference between men and boys is the price of their toys.”

Take, for an imperfect example, the two paper cups attached by a string you (or more likely your parents or grandparents) used to communicate over long distances with as a kid – like the distance from one bedroom to the next.

Then compare it to this mother (to make an imperfect example even more imperfect) of all sports and wildlife lenses — which collapses grown-up sized long distances — the magnificent Canon 1200mm /5.6.

Canon's 1200mm lens is 33 inches and 36 pounds of optical excellence, first created for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and incredibly rare.

No wonder, given its price; the fact that only a handful were ever made; and that they are no longer in production.

You want to know how good it is?

James Jannard, founder of RED and Oakley, reportedly owns one.

Want to see for yourself?

Check out the video (courtesy of B&H Photo) at 3:17 and again at 3:40 — though admittedly the camera’s sensor has just a little something to do with it.

Don’t you wonder what the footage looks like when this monster is attached to a RED?

Canon's 1200mm lens at US$165,000!

Via Imaging Resource:

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.

The Canon EF 1200mm lens

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

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!

Canon 1200mm 5.6 L Super Telephoto Lens

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!

Read full article at Imaging Resource “This ultra-rare, insanely cool 1200mm Canon lens could be yours… for just US$165,000!”

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from Imaging Resource)


  1. I noticed they put this thang on a fluid head. Good choice! HOWEVER…
    both the head and the tripod are WAY to light weight for this focal
    length. In a stiff breeze the image will vibrate like… welllllll…. like a

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