Last Updated on 09/14/2021 by Chris Gampat
For more stories like this, please subscribe to The Phoblographer.
Canon’s early RF mount lenses focused on pro rather than budget photographers. But, the company’s latest glass expands Canon’s list of under $700 mirrorless lenses. The Canon RF 16mm f2.8 STM is a lightweight pancake lens (sort of) that’s priced at $299.99. The new RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 IS USM, meanwhile, offers a lot of zoom for under $700. Despite Canon’s budget RF cameras like the Rp being weather-sealed, however, both of the newest cheap Canon RF lenses are not made for rain.
Canon RF 16mm f2.8 STM
- Maximum and minimum aperture: f2.8 to f22
- Lens construction: 9 elements in 7 groups
- 7 aperture blades
- No stabilization
- STM focus motor
- Minimum focusing distance: 5.1 inches
- Weighs 5.8 ounces
- Lens hood is sold separately
The Canon RF 16mm f2.8 STM is a compact, lightweight lens. With the same basic chassis, it’s almost the same size as Canon’s 50mm f2.8. Like similar small lenses from Canon, the focus dial can be switched to a control dial using a switch.
Canon isn’t calling it a budget lens. But, it’s missing the red ring of the brand’s high-end optics and has a list price of $299.99. Canon’s likely attempting to disband the concept that pros and high-end users can’t enjoy a budget lens sometimes. At $299, I think the word budget is appropriate here. We’ve tested similar “budget” lenses in the past. The RF 35mm f1.8 STM we called almost worthy of the L line except for the build. The RF 50mm f1.8 STM similarly had few complaints.
The biggest feature that’s missing is weather-sealing. Canon’s budget-friendly bodies like the EOS Rp have weather-sealing. The sealing isn’t as robust as high-end models, but if you don’t have a weather-sealed lens you might as well not have a weather-sealed camera. Wide-angle lenses like 16mm are great for both indoor and outdoor use. Weather-sealing could significantly expand the ways to use this lens, even if it raised the cost by $50 or $100.
Canon RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 IS USM
- Max aperture: f5.6 (200mm) – f8 (400mm)
- Minimum aperture: f/32 (200mm) – f45 (at 400mm)
- 5.5 stops of image stabilization (6 with IBIS)
- 9-blade aperture
- Constructed from 12 elements in 9 groups
- Nano USM focus motor
- Minimum focusing distance: 34 inches at 200mm
- Compatible with the RF 1.4 and RF2 extenders
- Weighs 1.49 pounds
- Lens hood sold separately
Like the RF 16, the new telephoto is designed as both a more affordable and lightweight option. The Canon RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 IS USM has a narrower aperture. But, the $649.99 lens still includes stabilization. It’s rated to 5.5 stops or six with in-body stabilization. That’s a must-have for telephoto and nice to see on a lower-priced optic.
The lens weighs in at just under a pound and a half. It incorporates a control ring as well as an auto-to-manual focus switch, giving it more controls than the pancake-like 16mm. Again, however, the lens is not weather-sealed. It’s going to need a cover for shooting sports or wildlife in the rain. And, like the 16mm, it doesn’t ship with a hood.
The 70-300mm is a more common focal length for budget-friendly telephotos. That extra 100mm at the long end, however, may be more usable for photographers who are considering a lens like this. It’s going to be enticing for photographers that can’t afford the extra $2,050 for the Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 L IS USM.
Both lenses are expected to start shipping next month.