(Pocket-lint) - On 5 September 2018, Canon announced a major new product to its line-up: the EOS R full-frame mirrorless. In so doing the Japanese company created a whole new lens line-up: EOS RF.
What EOS RF lenses are available?
Back in 2018 there were just four EOS RF lenses available, but since the range has expanded considerably. All lenses in this range are designed to cover the R's full-frame sensor size - each has a 54mm diameter and 12-pin RF mount - but don't confuse the EOS M cameras series, which have smaller APS-C sensor sizes and use EF-M lenses.
Unlike full-frame EF lenses, as used in Canon DSLR cameras, the company's RF lenses are designed to cater for the shorter 20mm flange back distance of the EOS R mirrorless system. This opens up new imaging and resolution resolve possibilities at a smaller scale than DSLR equivalents. But they come with often considerable asking prices.
Here's the current EOS RF lens line-up at the time of writing:
- RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
- RF 50mm f/1.8 STM
- RF 85mm f/1.2L USM
- RF 85mm f/1.2L USM DS
Prime Long Focal Length:
- RF 800mm f/11 STM
- RF 600mm f/11 IS STM
- RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
- RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
- RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
- RF 28-70mm f/2L USM
- RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM
- RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM
What do those acronyms mean?
There's a whole lot of acronyms in among that, so here's what they stand for:
- USM = Ultra Silent Motor
- As its name suggests, this is great for quiet focus and/or zoom operation
- STM = Stepper Motor
- Invariably noisier than the pricier USM, as above
- IS = image stabilisation
- Effectiveness varies per lens
- DS = Defocus Smoothing
- A lens coating for portrait lenses, which further softens the bokeh
- L = Luxury
- The white Canon lenses, with superior optical quality
All EF lenses via adaptor
In UK and Europe, the EOS R only ships with an EF lens adaptor included in the box. Canon's hope here is that existing DSLR customers will be pleased all its existing EF and EF-S lenses will be compatible from the off.
We, however, read it as a bend in confidence: if the new RF lenses are so great, then why not simply offer the option to include the adaptor or not? It can be bought separately, however, which is equally perplexing (who will need two?).
What of Canon's future? EF-M, EF-S, EF and RF
The other consideration with RF is that it's pitched at the high-end; Canon already has a mirrorless range, the EOS M, which is designed for the consumer market and there's no cross-over between the two. Mirrorless doesn't mean direct compatibility: EF-M won't function with RF and there's no adaptor available.
The big question, really, is what the EOS R meant for the future of Canon? Back in 2018, when the EF lens line-up was 31 years into life, the Japanese company was keen to show ongoing support - even launching the world's lightest 400mm f/2.8 and 600mm f/4 lenses for EF mount. But that was little more than a gesture, really, as of 2020 Canon has called time on EF lenses, confirming that its mirrorless market is its sole future intent.