The Complete Guide to Canon RF lenses

Whether you’re already sold on upgrading to Canon’s EOS R mirrorless system, or are perhaps just flirting with the idea, one of your first questions is likely to be: “What are the lenses like?”

After all, no matter how great a body is, however many extra features like silent shooting or 6K movies it manages to cram in, none of it means a thing if the glass isn’t up to snuff. And while you can use your EF glass on RF bodies with ease and full functionality, thanks to the impressive EF to RF adapting system (see our blog for a breakdown of how this works), if you’re going to be using a system long term then you want to know what the native lens selection is like. Has Canon done a good enough job filling it out? Are they sharp enough, long enough, fast enough?

The answers to these questions will of course differ for everybody, depending on what kind of shooting they do, but we’ve had a look through the RF lens catalogue and in our considered opinion, there’s a cracking selection there for pretty much any photographer. So, we’ve put together this complete guide to native RF lenses, which we’re going to keep up to date with all the latest releases, so you can use it as a handy reference point to see whether the RF system has the lenses you need.


Canon’s RF-mount for its EOS R system uses a 12-pin connection system, as opposed to the 10-pin connection on EF mount. This allows for much faster communication between lens and camera, which enables all sorts of useful features. Not only is RF autofocus faster, but the image stabilisation is much more effective (up to eight stops with the right combination of lens and camera), and it also allows cameras to store and use correction profiles for the characteristics of specific lenses, making distortion a thing of the past.

Our guide to Canon RF lenses

We’ve divided our guide into zoom lenses and prime lenses, and ordered the individual entries from wide to telephoto, so it should be easy to find the type of lens you’re looking for. We may also add third-party lenses into the guide as well in the near future, but for now, let’s get started on our complete guide to Canon RF lenses!

RF Prime Lenses

Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM

Canon RF 35mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM

Blending speed and 1:2 macro capability, this wide-angle prime lens is a great choice for documentary photographers and macro shooters alike. Weighing in at 305g, it’s a good choice for those who like to travel light, and a construction of nine elements in nine groups ensures that images are pin-sharp from corner to corner. The inclusion of a 5-stop image stabiliser isn’t bad either!

Best for: Architecture, documentary, macro


Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

No one can argue with a nifty fifty! The Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM is a shining example of this all-purpose focal length, as implied by that “L” tag, which any Canon-head knows is the mark of the firm’s best lenses. The RF 50mm F1.2L USM delivers outstanding quality and sharpness right to the edges of the frame, with a professional-grade f/1.2 aperture and USM autofocus, and that L-series build means it’s a pro-spec lens inside and out.

Best for: All-purpose street shooting, everyday professional use


Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS

Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM DS

A portrait lens designed for those who want the ultimate in sharpness, this large-aperture lens has been treated with Canon’s DS coating – “DS” stands for “Defocus Smoothing”, and is specifically designed to modulate out-of-focus highlights when the lens is used wide open, rendering them smoother and more pleasing. This coating is used on two elements in the lens, the overall effect being that this is one of the finest, sharpest, most aesthetically pleasing portrait lenses around.

Best for: Portrait shooters demanding uncompromising sharpness

Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM

Canon RF 85mm F1.2L USM

The slightly stripped-back version of the DS lens, this is still a fabulous portrait optic in its own right, just without the Defocus Smoothing coating. Equipped with a wide f/1.2 aperture and a  ground aspheric lens element designed to eliminate the spherical aberrations such a wide aperture typically causes, as well as Blue Spectrum Refractive (BR) optics to deal with colour aberrations, this is a sublime portrait lens.

Best for: Portrait shooters

Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM

Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM

A portrait lens that’s significantly more affordable than the F1.2 optics, the Canon RF 85mm F2 MACRO IS STM also provides the added bonus of being a 1:2 macro lens. Weighing just 500g and packing an optical construction of 12 glass elements in 11 groups, the RF 85mm F2 can focus at close distances of down to 35cm, so you have real versatility in terms of subject position.

Best for: Portrait shooters on a budget; macro and close-up photographers

Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM

Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM

The first of a duo of new telephoto primes for RF-mount, the Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM raised eyebrows on announcement. A fixed aperture of f/11, that you can’t go above or below?! This may seem bonkers, but it’s a choice with many practical upsides – the lens is incredibly lightweight for a super-telephoto at 930g, and the fixed aperture also allows the lens to produce perfectly circular bokeh. It’s an intriguing concept, and available at a really impressive price. 

Best for: Wildlife or sports photographers looking for a light setup


Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM

Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM

The second of the super-telephoto RF duo also sports the fixed f/11 aperture, and as such is impressively light for an 800mm lens at just 1,260g. Equipped with a four-stop image stabiliser that works with both stills and video, this is an amazing lens for bringing distant wildlife into sharp focus. 

Best for: Super-distant safari-shooting on a budget

RF Zoom Lenses

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8L IS USM

Fast, ultra-wide, well-stabilised and portable – this wide-angle zoom really has it all. It’s an ideal optic for when you need to shoot in cramped or difficult spaces, thanks to its slim form factor, and the nano USM motor inside means the autofocus is smooth and practically silent! Shoot wide scenes in any weather conditions with this highly capable and weather-sealed lens.

Best for: Documentary work, landscapes, architecture


Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8L IS USM

Any pro worth their salt knows the value of a 24-70mm standard zoom, and Canon has come up with a great example of the genre for RF mount. The RF 24-70mm f2.8 is part of a trilogy with the aforementioned 15-35mm lens and Canon’s RF 70-200mm lens (more on which below), the idea being that almost any pro shooter with these three lenses will be covered for all situations.

Best for: Documentary, close-up work, day-to-day shooting


Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Alternatively, if you don’t fancy shelling out for a trio of lenses, this wide-ranging zoom is a good everyday all-in-one lens for the roaming photographer or videographer. More affordable than many of the flashier L series lenses, this optic is built for travel, balancing versatility with toughness. Want flexibility? This is your one-stop-shop.

Best for: Travel, single-lens setups

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM

If you’re a new user to the EOS R series, this is the place to start. The most affordable lens in the catalogue, the RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM is very similar to the above 24-105mm lens, sacrificing the constant aperture and the Nano USM motor in favour of a much more friendly price tag. You still get plenty of the EOS R system features like 5-stop image stabilisation, and the handy 13cm close focusing distance really expands your shooting flexibility.

Best for: Beginners, newbies to the system, travellers on a budget

Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM

Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM

If 24-105mm just isn’t enough zoom range for you, why not try this on for size? Canon’s RF 24-240mm is a 10x optical zoom, the broadest-range native zoom currently available for the system. Weighing an impressively slender 750g, this is a travel photographer’s dream come true, offering sharp performance throughout the zoom range, and also has clickless aperture control, which comes in handy when shooting movies.

Best for: Travel shooting, travelling light, shooting movies on the go


Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM

Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM

Canon promises that this mid-range zoom sets new “standards” in photography (do you get it? Eh?) and while that’s a question for the historians, from our vantage point we can say this is an excellent standard zoom lens for all sorts of applications. Having f/2 opens up all sorts of possibilities, particularly in wedding photography and journalism, and with the ring-type USM motor present and correct, autofocusing is quick and quiet.

Best for: Weddings, travel, reportage

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM

The standard workhorse – no lens selection would be complete without a 70-200mm! Completing the aforementioned trilogy with the 15-35mm and 24-70mm, the RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM forms part of a setup that practically any working pro would be more than content with! The five-stop image stabiliser really comes into its own with this type of lens, and the fact that the lens works in near-silence does wonders for the user’s professional versatility.

Best for: Everyday professional use

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM

More and more pro photographers are discovering the wonders of 100-400mm lens for all sorts of work – see our interview with Times photographer Richard Pohle [article url tk] to discover why he rates them so highly – but Canon went one better for the RF mount and produced this amazing 100-500mm optic! With professionally-grade performance in a lightweight body, this is a superb lens for pros of all stripes.

Best for: Professional shooting, events, sports photography

EOS R Teleconverters for RF Lenses


Extender RF 1.4x

Extender RF 1.4x

A useful way to give your RF lenses a little extra reach, the Canon  Extender RF 1.4x is a good tool to have in your back pocket for sports and reportage photography, just in case your setup doesn’t quite get you close enough. The extender controls for curvature of field and chromatic aberration, and also uses advanced lens coatings for superior light transmission. Its exterior is even coated with the same white heat shield coating as used on the RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM and RF 70-200mm lenses, allowing it to be used in high temperatures.

Extender RF 2x

Extender RF 2x

Extend your reach even further with this teleconverter, which doubles your effective focal length without compromising image quality. Built just as tough as the 1.4x converter, the Extender RF 2x has also been made with the same level of care and attention to image quality, so you can shoot away at distance without worrying about your images being sub-par.



Using Canon EF lenses with EOS R bodies

Tempted by the new Canon EOS R mirrorless cameras but worried about all your Canon EF lenses gathering dust? In this article, we’re going to be running through the adapter options for mounting EF lenses to EOS R bodies and explain how you really can get the best of both worlds.

We know that it does sound too good to be true. The idea that you might be able to bring all any old EF lenses with you when migrating to a new system, and have everything work just as it’s designed to may seem a pipe dream.

Photographers have been swapping lenses between systems for many, many years now, but it is generally accepted that this will involve a trade-off in terms of features and functionality. Things like autofocus or image stabilisation will either work less effectively than usual, or simply not work at all.

Canon’s new EOS R system, however, is a different story.

With the introduction of the full-frame mirrorless cameras such as the Canon EOS R. Canon turned many heads and signified that it was taking mirrorless seriously. This was a serious tool for serious professionals, and was clearly built and marketed as such – but many pros worried about their considerable collections of EF compatible lenses. Was Canon asking them to effectively throw these investments in the trash and start again?

Short answer: no.

Do Canon EF lenses work with EOS R camera bodies?

It was a given that Canon would produce an EF to EOS R adapter, however what’s impressive is just how comprehensive a job they’ve done of ensuring the lens and cameras can communicate.

This is not a coincidence. Canon has specifically designed the EF and RF systems to be what it calls “bilingual”. When most lenses are adapted between systems, the device is converting the electronic signals from one device to the other.

Even when the communication is sophisticated enough for the devices to understand each other thanks to the latest firmware updates, it still has an inherent latency, which causes lag and impacts on performance. On EF-EOS R adapters, the information can pass straight through.

What this means in practice is that, for the vast majority of models, everything that your EF lens can do on an EOS body, it can also do on an EOS R body when they are connected using an adapter. Indeed, now that the cameras have been around for a couple of years, photographers have been able to test them out. Some are even reporting that, anecdotally, their EF lenses seem to perform better with the Canon R, with faster autofocus.

The Canon EOS R bodies are able to store a large number of lens profiles in their internal memory, allowing them to correct known aberrations and distortions in many EF lenses, back to the 1990s. This functionality can be disabled if you don’t require it and it won’t overpower the character of an old lens if you’re going for a specific “look” over technical perfection.

The compatibility really does extend right across the range of EF lenses. You might be wondering, out of more than 150 EF lenses made by Canon, how many have functions that don’t work when they’re paired with EOS R bodies? Answer: eight.

In all cases, it’s a pretty minor thing – the Canon EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6 PZ lens from 1991 can’t use its Power Zoom when paired with EOS R, and the AF Stop button doesn’t work on seven telephoto prime lenses from the late 90s and early 00s. In all other respects, EF lenses work on EOS R bodies exactly as they were designed to work on the original DSLRs.

From left to right: EF-EOS R standard adapter, Control Ring adapter, Drop-in filter adapter.
EF-EOS R adapters

The EF-EOS R adapter range is made up of three models, each of which is a little different. Let’s take a look at the main features of each one…

Canon EF-EOS R Mount Adapter

This is the simplest, most affordable mount adapter for converting EF lenses to EOS R bodies. It allows for full communication between lens and camera, meaning all functionality like AF points and image stabilisation will work as advertised.

Lightweight and compact, the EF-EOS R mount adapter contains no optical elements, so it won’t compromise the quality of even the sharpest L-series lenses. It’s also dust- and water-resistant, so if you’re using the more rugged lenses in harsh weather conditions, the adapter won’t be a weak spot in your setup.

Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R

Similarly to the standard EF-EOS R Mount Adapter, the Canon Control Ring Mount Adapter EF-EOS R converts EF lenses to EOS R bodies with no lag or optical elements to compromise quality, and is also equipped with weather sealing.

The key difference, as the name implies, is that this Canon EF adapter comes with a customisable control ring, and it’s not hard to see why many photographers say this is their favourite of the three adapters. Adding a lens control ring to the setup makes using the lens incredibly intuitive. What’s especially good about this adapter is the extent to which the control ring can be customised to the individual user’s preference – essentially it mirrors the control ring found on native RF lenses.

The control ring can be programmed to adjust all the major settings, including shutter speed, ISO, aperture, exposure compensation and white balance. The ring can be set to change values positively or negatively when it’s turned to the right or left. It can also be set to only kick in when the shutter button is half-depressed, if you’re concerned about accidentally knocking it at a crucial moment.

Canon Drop-In Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R

The third option of mount adapters for EF-EOS R is an interesting one, allowing for the use of a select number of drop-in filters. This is especially useful if you’re planning to shoot with a lot of larger lenses or wide-angles with a bulbous front element that doesn’t allow for the easy attachment of filters on the front.

While it doesn’t have the control ring option, this adapter does have all the functionality of the other adapters – it retains full autofocus and image stabilisation capabilities of the attached lenses, and also has the same dust- and weatherproofing.

Below are the filters you can use with this mount adapter

Canon Drop-In Variable ND Filter A: This variable ND gives you tremendous flexibility in controlling the amount of light reaching the camera, with a variable ND effect that runs from 1.5 stops all the way up to 9 stops. Use wider apertures or slower shutter speeds even in bright light conditions, and easily alter the intensity of the ND effect with the rotating wheel.

Canon Drop-In Circular Polarizing Filter A: Minimise reflections and glare with this drop-in polariser, which also has a rotating wheel that allows the user to modulate the intensity of the polarising effect. Made with high-quality glass, it ensures that the final image is still pin-sharp

Canon Drop-In CL Filter: This is a clear filter that’s used if you want to use the adapter without any of the above filter effects. Made from high-quality glass, it’s designed to effectively transmit light without any additional effects. This is useful if you want to have the option of using or not using the Drop-In filters without having the hassle of buying multiple adapters.

So the reality is that the best of both worlds truly is possible! We hope you’re encouraged to see the possibilities of shooting with EF glass and EOS R bodies, but if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team! You can email or call 020 7582 3294


Canon Week

Exclusive deals on Canon

For this week only we have special offers on a wide range of Canon equipment. Get great deals on your next purchase. Only available this week 29th July – 2nd August

To find out more come in to see us in London and Manchester, call our sales team on 0207 582 3294 or email

Half-Price Sensor Cleaning

While you are with us, take advantage of our half price Sensor cleaning offer for Canon crop sensor, full-frame and mirrorless cameras. Running throughout Canon Week in London and Manchester our technicians will save you hours of retouching time. For more information visit our Sensor Cleaning page.

EF Lenses

L Series lenses from Canon are at the heart of the Canon brand. Offering fast autofocus, incredible sharpness and some of the fastest apertures in the industry, their zoom, prime and super telephoto lenses are the go-to tools for professional photographers around the world. The EF mount has one of the widest ranges of focal lengths available including specialist optics for macro and perspective control There are discounts on a lot of L series lenses, here are some of our Canon Week highlights…

Tilt & Shift Lenses 10% discount

Canon TS-E lenses give you precise control over converging lines and depth of field via movements similar to those seen in technical cameras. The workhorse of the architecture and interiors photographer they are also used by time-lapse producers and videographers for their depth of field effects.
TS-E lenses are Manual focus lenses the E in TS-E stands for electronic aperture as the lens is wide open while composing and stops down automatically when the shutter is released.

Macro Lenses 10% Discount

There are two stand out lenses in the Canon Macro range the EF 100mm ƒ2.8L IS USM is phenomenally sharp, a mainstay of product and beauty photographers alike for it’s fantastic rendition of detail.
Second up is a real curiosity: The MP-E 65mm ƒ2.8 1-5x Macro is more microscope than traditional lens. Starting at a 1:1 reproduction ratio the lens can focus so close to your subject it can produce images at 1:5 to reveal details almost imperceptible to the human eye.

Super Telephoto 10% discount

Canon are so well established in sport and wildlife because of their high speed bodies and lenses that are fast enough to match. Pioneers of high speed lens technology Canon keep making their super tele lenses faster and to the relief of users lighter with each new version. Available for Canon week with 10% discount are the primes:
EF 300mm ƒ2.8 L IS II USM
EF 400mm ƒ2.8 L IS III USM
EF 400mm ƒ4.0 DO IS II USM
EF 500mm ƒ4.0 L IS II USM
EF 600mm ƒ4.0 L IS III USM

And Zoom lenses:
EF 70-200mm ƒ2.8 L IS III USM
EF 70-300mm ƒ4-5.6 L IS USM
EF 100-400mm ƒ4.5-5.6 L IS II USM

More discounts are available, to find out more call our sales team on 0207 582 3294 or email

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