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RF Lens Benefits And Why You Should Make The Switch

Canon offers one of the largest range of lenses in the market to suit all types of photography and videography. Canon EF lenses for EOS DSLR cameras have a long-standing history of high-performance, however in recent years there has been huge growth in Canon’s new generation of the RF lens range for EOS R full frame mirrorless cameras. With so many choices now available, how do you know which lens system is best for your needs? If you already have reliable favourites amongst the EF range, why should you consider upgrading to the RF range for your full frame mirrorless? How do you choose? Here we run through the main advantages of RF lenses and some other factors to consider.

1. Superior image quality and sharpness

At the heart of Canon’s EOS R full frame mirrorless system is the RF lens mount. RF lenses use the same optimised 54mm inner diameter as Canon’s EF lens range but the flange distance (the distance between the lens mount and the camera sensor) has been reduced by more than half to just 20mm.

Superior image quality and sharpness Superior image quality and sharpness

With large elements now being placed closer to the sensor as possible, light hits the sensor straighter, which in turn minimises ghosting and flaring. This provides better image quality and sharpness, especially near the edges of the frame.

Another advantage of adopting the RF lens system is that you can achieve larger apertures for a given focal length. For example, the RF 28-70mm f/2L has constant f/2 aperture throughout the entire standard zoom range compared to the EF equivalent EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM.

Image of model with flowy dress taken using Canon EOS

2. Faster communication

RF mount lenses feature 12-pin connection, compared to EF mount lenses which have 8-pins. This helps to increase the speed and volume of data transmission between the camera body and lens, resulting in extremely fast autofocus, real-time Digital Lens Optimisation (DLO) and enhanced Image Stabilization. DLO uses the lens’s built-in memory capacity to allow it to store data on any aberrations that occur, meaning it can quickly and automatically correct these aberrations while you shoot. DLO can also be used during continuous shooting without affecting continuous shooting speed or the number of shots.

Both the Canon EOS R5 and Canon EOS R6 feature In-Body Image Stabilization (IBIS). IBIS works in tandem with lens-based Image Stabilizer to deliver coordinated control and reduce camera-shake blur up to an incredible 8 stops of shutter speed for selected RF lenses. This makes it possible to capture great footage and longer exposures even during handheld shooting.

Model holding Canon EOS R6 Mirrorless Camera

3. Focusing designed for video

Large elements used in a fast RF lenses require strong auto focus motors. New Nano USM motors strike a great balance between fast focus for stills and smooth, near-silent focus transitions when shooting video. This is great for shooting movies, particularly when recording audio with a camera-mounted microphone.

4. Compact size

RF lenses strike a great balance between high performance and compact lightweight design. For example the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM lens has been designed to achieve the much loved 70-200mm zoom range in just 146mm (at its shortest length). This makes the lens approximately 27% shorter and 28% lighter than it's EF equivalent. Combined with the compact Canon EOS R bodies, the RF lenses make a great choice for when you’re on the move such as during travel, street and wildlife photography.

Model using Canon EOS with telephoto lens

5. Broader creative possibilities

If you’ve previously invested in EF lenses and moved over to full frame mirrorless, the good news is that these can still be paired with the EOS R system of camera bodies using the EF-EOS R lens mount adaptor. The adapter offers additional creative control, with full compatibility and no loss in performance.

But keep in mind expanding your lens range to include the newer pioneering RF lenses allows you to take full advantage of the RF mount's capabilities. There RF lenses have been designed to offer higher quality and speed with a performance system optimised for EOS R cameras.

RF lenses also offer new innovations such as the RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS which is the first lens which features Canon's original DS (Defocus Smoothing) coating. This enables you to achieve significant soft and smooth bokeh, expanding the possibilities of portrait shooting even further.

Image of model taken using Canon EOS

5. Intuitive control

The RF lenses are equipped with a lens control ring that enables fast intuitive shooting - offering customisable control over shutter speed, ISO or exposure compensation. This unique function allows you to accurately adjust these settings without having to take your eye from the viewfinder.

The good news is that you can also get this same new functionality when shooting with EF lenses on EOS R system cameras by using the EF-EOSR Control Ring Mount Adapter.

Product image of Canon EOS mirrorless camera

So, with the growing range of Canon lenses available and the continuous innovation, the creative possibilities in both photography and videography are endless!

Take full advantage of your EOS R Mirrorless camera and explore the options of RF lenses which have been designed to optimise performance.

Find out more about Canon’s RF range of lenses