3 Fantastic Canon RF Lenses We Tested Showing True Innovation

Is it time to get a new lens? If it is, then you’re probably wondering what lenses are doing that makes them stand out from the others. In truth, not many lenses are very innovative. But since the Canon RF mount came about, we’ve seen some exceptional Canon RF lenses. In fact, Canon RF lenses are incredibly innovative most of the time. Lucky for you, we’ve reviewed most of them. Be sure to check out our Reviews Index or Canon RF lens guide. And now, take a look at some of our favorites.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Pro Tips on Making the Most of Canon RF Lenses

Here are some pro tips on using Canon RF Lenses:

  • Canon RF lenses have a few rings: there’s a zoom ring if it’s a zoom lens, a focusing ring, and a control ring. Some folks like to make the control ring manipulate their aperture setting. 
  • We’re only showcasing Canon RF Lenses with the L designation. The joke is that the L stands for luxury. But it’s really just their highest end glass.
  • In the higher end, Canon has traditionally put an emphasis on zoom lenses over prime lenses. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have great primes!
  • Canon RF lenses are typically big and heavy. But at the same time, Canon is doing things no one else is. There’s innovation at a cost!
  • Canon RF lenses render beautiful image quality. It’s seriously hard to beat!

Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM

Tech Specs

  • High Image Quality and Bright f/1.2 Aperture L Lens for EOS R System Cameras
  • Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics (BR) Reduces Chromatic Aberration.
  • Minimum Focusing Distance of 2.79 ft./0.85m.
  • Control Ring for Direct Setting Changes.
  • One Aspheric Element and One UD Lens.
  • 12 pin Communication System.
  • Dust- and Weather-resistant with Fluorine Coating.
  • Air Sphere Coating (ASC) Minimizes Lens Flare and Ghosting.
  • Fixed Mirrorless FL: Focal Length: 85mm
  • Lens Format: Lens Format: Full-Frame
  • Maximum Aperture: Maximum Aperture: f/1.2
  • Lens Type: Telephoto Lens
  • Special Features: Aspherical, Weather Resistant

In our review, we state:

“If you’re a card-carrying member of the Canon color science fan club, then you’ll be glad to know that the Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM doesn’t disappoint one bit in terms of color rendition. This lens produces images with vibrant and accurate colors, and ooze micro contrast. For most people, shooting in auto white balance will be more than adequate. I personally prefer the added control that custom white balance offers and the results when shooting in daylight (5600K) or tungsten (3200K) white balance are equally impressive.”

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Canon RF 28-70mm f2 L USM

Tech Specs

  • Bright, Constant f/2.0 Zoom Lens
  • L-series Lens with High Image Quality
  • Control Ring for Direct Setting Changes
  • 12 pin Communication System
  • Dust- and Water-resistant with Fluorine Coating
  • Air Sphere Coating (ASC) Minimizes Lens Flare and Ghosting
  • Two UD Elements and One Super UD Element
  • Lens Mount: Lens Mount: Canon EOS RF
  • Fixed Mirrorless FL: Focal Length: All Zooms
  • Mirrorless: Zoom: Focal Length: 28-70mm
  • Lens Format: Lens Format: Full-Frame
  • Maximum Aperture: Maximum Aperture: f/2
  • Lens Type: Wide Angle To Standard Zoom Lens
  • Special Features: Weather Resistant
  • Image Stabilization: Image Stabilization: No
  • Filter Size: Focal Length: 95mm

In our review, we state:

“The Bokeh of the Canon 28-70mm f2 L USM is very creamy on the longer end and hazy enough to still be gorgeous on the shorter end. With an f2 aperture, you get a full stop more of extra bokeh than you would from competing lenses. Combine this with an off-camera flash, and what you’ll get is a subject that really stands out against the background due to the effects of the nine aperture blades. This is going to be very important to portrait photographers and documentary style shooters. Those who really wish to isolate elements of a scene will appreciate the f2 aperture. If you also want to keep your ISO down, f2 gives you a lot of extra light.”

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Canon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1 L IS USM

Tech Specs

  • 5 stops of image stabilization within the lens
  • Weather sealing
  • Customizable control ring
  • Compatible with teleconverters
  • 9 aperture blades
  • 20 elements in 14 groups
  • Three-foot minimum focusing distance
  • 6 ultra-low dispersion elements
  • 8.2 inches in length
  • Weighs 3lbs

In our review, we state:

“Something else worth talking about is image stabilization. We tested this lens on the Canon EOS R5 and the Canon EOS R both. With the latest firmware updates, both did an impressive job. The Canon EOS R5 can deliver at least seven stops of image stabilization at the long end of this lens. However, generally speaking, I shoot with it at ISO 1600 and above. In aperture priority, I can get a faster shutter speed this way. What absolutely amazed me, though, is how the Canon EOS R and this lens worked together. At 1/60th of a second, I was able to get acceptably blur-free photos. Considering the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds, that isn’t easy. And for Canon users, it’s nice to know that you don’t necessarily need to upgrade camera bodies.”

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Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.