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Canon preps two high-end telephoto lenses

Canon's two upcoming fixed-focal-length lenses--a high-speed 200mm model and massive 800mm model--are geared for pros.

Canon's upcoming 200mm f/2.0 lens Canon

SLR leader Canon announced Monday it's developing two high-end image-stabilized telephoto lenses, the EF 200mm f/2L IS USM and the EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM.

The company is showing prototypes of the lenses at the PhotoPlus Expo in New York, but didn't release any price and availability information. Both are "L"-grade lenses, higher-priced models designed with better optics, weatherproofing and durability.

The 800mm lens surpasses the focal length of Canon's current biggest lens, the EF 600mm F/4 IS USM. It was developed in response to requests by sports and news photographers, Canon said. And though you might covet such a behemoth, think carefully: it's sure to be bigger, heavier and more expensive than the 600mm model, which measures 18 inches long, weighs 11.8 pounds and costs $7,200.

Canon's upcoming 800mm f/5.6 lens Canon

The 200mm model employs a relatively wide f/2.0 aperture, which lets in more light to aid shooting in dimmer conditions such as weddings or indoor sporting events. News of its development could come as good news to fans of Canon's discontinued 200mm f/1.8 lens, which was brighter but lacked image stabilization.

For those of you who want to decode Canon's lens-naming nomenclature, "EF" means the lens will work on full-frame camera bodies such as the EOS 5D or imminent 1Ds Mark III; "USM" means it has an ultrasonic motor for quiet and faster focusing; and "IS" means image stabilization can counteract some camera shake, particularly useful in telephoto lenses.