So high end Canon lenses are white. This is to reduce heat, correct? If so why is this something that only appears in really high end Canon lenses. I wouldn't think that painting a lens white increases production costs in any measurable way, why don't all lenses (and maybe by extension DSLR bodies) come in white, or at least have the option of buying them in some off-white color?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Canon EF 24-70mm 2.8 is high end , like as in , super , and it is black. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 15:38

2 Answers 2


White lenses absorb less heat but it also has the disadvantage of being more noticeable under general circumstances. This is the reason most DSLR and cameras are made black.

For Canon high-end lenses, the main factor is the presence of elements made of fluorite which is much more sensitive to heat than standard optical glass. The second factor is size, as the difference in heat absorption is proportional to surface area. So, the lenses which are big and incorporate fluorite elements are made to be white.

You may notice that a few other manufacturers also produce white lenses, notably Sony and Pentax. Those white lenses are also the largest ones in their respective lineups, with the except of a Pentax white kit-lens which is bundled with their white entry-level DSLRs.

  • \$\begingroup\$ At my local pro-Football and pro-Baseball stadiums, they allow cameras but "no professional lenses". They have a soft definition of a professional lens, but white Canon L lenses are always professional. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 2:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I am not sure that the white of Canon L lenses is done because of heat. Nikon is now producing lenses with fluorite (the new 800mm), however it is still a black design. I think the white is simply part of Canon's professional L-series telephoto prime signature, and nothing more. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 2:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jrista Canon have stated that as the reason, and there will be a marginal benefit, but it's mostly down to marketing these days. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 8:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jrista I duck-tape my white lens (70-200mm) black anyway and I haven't noticed any difference even when i shoot in Australian summers :/ \$\endgroup\$
    – NULLZ
    Commented Jun 23, 2013 at 12:37

Canon made their lenses 'Off White' because many years ago they decided theirs would stand out in the crowd if they weren't black; look at photos of lots of snappers from the Olympics and you can see instantly who is using Canon! Simple.


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