Canon’s newly announced RF100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens is going to be an exceedingly rare optic for a while: the company doesn’t expect to be able to deliver lenses this year, even to those who already ordered.
Due to the nature of corporate laws in Japan, photographers generally get what appears to be a lot more transparency around product availability than would be normal in the West. When a product is delayed for any reason, corporate has to issue a statement. While the details of that statement rarely say much new, it is still helpful information for prospective buyers.
That’s basically the case with Canon’s latest notice for the RF100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens.
“Currently, we have received more orders than expected for each of the following products, and due to the impact of global supply of parts, delivery delays are occurring. We apologize for the inconvenience caused to our customers and business partners,” Canon says, translated from Japanese.
“The products are scheduled to be shipped sequentially, but it is expected that the new product RF100-300mm F2.8 L IS USM will take a lot of time.”
It’s not unusual to hear of a manufacturing delay in the last few years, but the length of delays has varied from a few weeks to a few months. What makes the 100-300mm f/2.8 delay notable is that Canon isn’t even certain it can ship units in 2023.
“Even if you have already placed an order, it may be difficult to deliver it within 2023,” the company says.
“We apologize again for making our customers wait so long. We will continue to take measures for stable product supply so that we can deliver products as soon as possible. Thank you kindly look forward for your understanding.”
Since camera and lens manufacturers don’t provide any further context beyond “global delays” and “parts shortage,” it’s difficult to parse why a delay of this magnitude actually occurred. Many might jump to the conclusion of “poor planning,” but in all likelihood it is a mix of factors. For one, Canon will likely need a large number of these lenses on hand with Canon Professional Services worldwide, especially considering major sporting events that are taking place this year such as the Women’s World Cup.
Additionally, manufacturing lenses of this quality is exceedingly difficult. Making the glass optics in particular is a slow, methodical process that often results in errors that will see those elements tossed right back into the furnace as soon as they are examined.
Combine all these factors and add in a healthy number of pre-orders and it’s easy to see how Canon just doesn’t have a lot of supply and likely won’t until next year. Those that are interested in picking up a RF100-300mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens should still probably pre-order one. Even though there is going to be a long wait, Canon is going to be fulfilling orders sequentially, meaning it will be even longer before there are enough units on the market to see one sitting on a store shelf.
Image credits: Canon