Canon’s range of native mir­ror­less lens­es cov­er every need today, from land­scapes to sports. Pho­to: canon.fr

The time has passed when there was only one way to choose a lens for a Canon full-frame mir­ror­less cam­era — by installing an EF-“glass” through an adapter. Now the com­pa­ny has native mir­ror­less lens­es for every taste and col­or, but it has become more dif­fi­cult to nav­i­gate the line. Let’s sort out the best RF lens­es togeth­er.

Four years ago, Canon intro­duced a new line of mir­ror­less cam­eras and RF mount lens­es. After that, she released an aver­age of six “glass­es” annu­al­ly and col­lect­ed a fair­ly exten­sive port­fo­lio. Now in the RF line­up there is only no fish­eye (you can read about the best fisheyes for Canon and oth­er brands here).

If you also include a decent line­up of cam­eras, from top mod­els like the Canon R5 and R3 to the more afford­able but still advanced R7 and R10, you can eas­i­ly put togeth­er a cam­era and lens kit for any genre of pho­tog­ra­phy.

Below we will con­sid­er the best options for RF lens­es for dif­fer­ent shoot­ing direc­tions.

The best Canon RF lens­es for land­scapes
The best Canon RF lens­es for sports and wildlife
The best Canon RF lens­es for por­traits
The best Canon RF lens­es for blog­ging and social media con­tent

The best Canon RF lenses for landscapes

Usu­al­ly wide-angle lens­es are cho­sen for land­scapes (they allow you to cap­ture more of the land­scape in the frame). It is desir­able that the optics be com­pact — such a “glass” is more con­ve­nient to car­ry with you.

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM. Despite the ultra-wide angle, it is prac­ti­cal­ly a “pan­cake” in size. Pho­to: digitalcameraworld.com

The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is great for land­scapes thanks to its “innate” data: it is small, light and has an ultra wide-angle field of view — as many “moun­tains, forests, fields and rivers” as you want will fit in the frame.

This is not the fastest lens in the line, but the max­i­mum aper­ture of f / 2.8 is the best bal­ance between large aper­tures (Canon only has faster aper­tures in the SLR line, for exam­ple, Canon EF 24mm f / 1.4L II USM — they can be installed on RF- cam­era through an adapter) and a com­pact body (the larg­er the aper­ture, the larg­er the lens).

Canon RF 14–35mm f/4 L IS USM. This wide-angle zoom is already big­ger, but it still fits in a bag with­out any prob­lems. Pho­to: lesnumeriques.com

If you’re look­ing for a slight­ly more ver­sa­tile option, zoom lens­es are worth a look: “glass” is suit­able for many gen­res of pho­tog­ra­phy and videog­ra­phy. In addi­tion, here you can change the focal length (zoom), which sim­pli­fies fram­ing.

An excel­lent option is the RF 14–35mm f/4 L IS USM. At the wide end of focal lengths, this mod­el has a slight­ly wider angle of view than the RF 16mm f/2.8. And at the far end, it deliv­ers the clas­sic 35mm, a ver­sa­tile choice for a vari­ety of gen­res (casu­al pho­tog­ra­phy, street pho­tog­ra­phy, envi­ron­men­tal por­traits).

Of course, win­ning in ver­sa­til­i­ty, you have to com­pro­mise on weight and size (540 grams for a zoom ver­sus 165 grams for a 16mm prime).

How­ev­er, it is worth not­ing: this lens has image sta­bi­liza­tion, which is con­ve­nient when shoot­ing hand­held. Plus, unlike the 16mm f/2.8, the zoom has pro­tec­tion from bad weath­er — rub­ber pads under the rings and bay­o­net.

Canon RF 24–240mm f/4–6.3 IS USM. This range of focal lengths is the dream of any trav­el pho­tog­ra­ph­er. Pho­to: Canon/techradar.com

And final­ly, the most ver­sa­tile in terms of focal lengths in the entire RF line­up is the RF 24–240mm f/4–6.3 IS USM zoom.

The option should be of inter­est to land­scape trav­el­ers who need one mul­ti-task­ing lens. There is:

  • fair­ly wide — 24 mm — view­ing angle, which is suit­able for most land­scapes;
  • a huge range of focal lengths for cre­at­ing more selec­tive com­po­si­tions (for exam­ple, if you are only inter­est­ed in a small part of the land­scape);
  • the abil­i­ty to “reach out” to the far­thest objects (for exam­ple, if you want to shoot the top of a moun­tain).

The mod­el is not as fast as the “glass­es” with f / 2.8, but it has built-in sta­bi­liza­tion. It will help to avoid blur­ry images when increas­ing the shut­ter speed.

The best Canon RF lenses for sports and wildlife

Sports pho­tog­ra­phers and wildlife pho­tog­ra­phers tend to look for the same char­ac­ter­is­tics when choos­ing a lens. For them, the main thing is the length and speed of focus­ing.

Both gen­res involve shoot­ing mov­ing objects at a great dis­tance, so the tra­di­tion­al choice here is tele­pho­to zooms (with a focal length of about 100–500mm) and super tele­pho­to (> 500mm) primes.

The Canon RF 100–400mm F5.6–8 IS USM is a wild game hunter for begin­ners. Pho­to: fr.canon.be

It is bet­ter to start acquain­tance with “large-cal­iber” tele­pho­to zooms with Canon RF 100–400mm F5.6–8 IS USM. It com­bines ver­sa­til­i­ty, range and com­pact body (a nice bonus for trav­el­ers).

But the price of the mod­el is espe­cial­ly impor­tant for begin­ner pho­tog­ra­phers: this bud­get option by the stan­dards of RF lens­es will cost $549.

Canon RF 100–500mm f/4.5–7.1L IS USM. It is already prob­lem­at­ic to use such a “gun” with­out a tri­pod. Pho­to: techradar.com

If you’re look­ing for a mod­el that’s more advanced in terms of optics and aper­ture, and is also weath­er­proof, check out the RF 100–500mm f/4.5–7.1 L IS USM. Zoom from the pro­fes­sion­al L‑line will be an excel­lent option for skilled pho­tog­ra­phers.

Canon RF 600mm f/11 IS STM. A rare super-tele­pho­to lens can be held so com­fort­ably in one hand. If f/11 does­n’t suit you, Canon has a f/4 pro option. True, a cou­ple of kilo­grams heav­ier. Pho­to: canon.se

If you need to shoot dis­tant objects — birds, archi­tec­tur­al ele­ments — pay atten­tion to tele­pho­to lens­es with a fixed focal length. For exam­ple, RF 600mm f/11 IS STM. This is a unique mod­el of its kind. Its aper­ture is sac­ri­ficed for the max­i­mum com­pact­ness and light­ness of the body (930 grams), so you do not need a tri­pod (in the case of such focal lengths, this is rare).

But you can’t say the same about the RF 600mm f / 4 L IS USM (3090 grams). But it has excel­lent aper­ture and a more advanced uni­ver­sal design with a tri­pod foot (allows you to flip the lens to por­trait mode with­out remov­ing it from a tri­pod).

If the RF 600mm f/11 is a lens for ama­teurs who shoot in bright day­light, then the RF 600mm f/4 is a true pro. It is suit­able for work in the evening, shoot­ing indoors and sports are­nas.

The best Canon RF lenses for portraits

A tra­di­tion­al por­trait lens has two main char­ac­ter­is­tics:

  • focal length between nor­mal (50mm) and medi­um tele­pho­to (100–120mm);
  • high aper­ture (from f / 2).

Such focal lengths cre­ate a per­spec­tive that is favor­able for shoot­ing faces, and a high aper­ture makes it pos­si­ble to sep­a­rate your sub­ject from the back­ground with the help of bokeh.

Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM. Dual pur­pose lens: por­traits and macro pho­tog­ra­phy. Pho­to: dpreview.com

The RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM has every­thing you need in a por­trait lens. It has a ver­sa­tile focal length of 85mm, suit­able for both head­shots (close-ups of the head) and full-length por­traits. And the f/2 max­i­mum aper­ture is bright enough to make your sub­ject stand out by blur­ring the back­ground.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM. A great option for every­day shoot­ing — very com­pact and fast aper­ture. Pho­to: canon.fr.

If you are look­ing for some­thing more wide-angle (for exam­ple, for por­traits in an envi­ron­ment or infor­mal shoot­ing), then the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM is a great choice.

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM. “Mon­ster bokeh”. Pho­to: phototrend.fr

In the elite L series, you’ll find the RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM, one of Canon’s fastest lens­es, with flaw­less­ly sharp optics and pow­er­ful out-of-focus blur. But Canon does not stop there and offers a new ver­sion of the “glass”: RF 85mm f / 1.2 L USM DS with a spe­cial DS-coat­ing (Defo­cus Smooth­ing — “soft­en­ing the out-of-focus area”), which guar­an­tees an even soft­er “creamy” bokeh on open diaphragm.

The best Canon RF lenses for blogging and social media content

Blog­gers, stream­ers and oth­er con­tent cre­ators are a spe­cial cat­e­go­ry of users that are increas­ing­ly influ­enc­ing the mar­ket for pho­to and video equip­ment. Of course, the require­ments for lens­es here are indi­vid­ual, but most often the “glass­es” should be suit­able for self­ies and sim­ple every­day shoot­ing.

For more ver­sa­til­i­ty and ease of use, you can add:

  • wide field of view;
  • the pos­si­bil­i­ty of zoom­ing;
  • com­pact body.
The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is a great lens for self­ie vlog­ging too. Pho­to: canon-cna.com

The RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is not only a great lens for land­scapes, but also a handy option for vlog­gers. It is well suit­ed for both full-frame and com­pact crop cam­eras. It has a wide field of view, a short min­i­mum focus­ing dis­tance (13 cm) and a light­weight body (165 grams). All this makes it a suit­able “glass” for self­ie shoot­ing at arm’s length.

Canon RF 15–30mm f/4.5–6.3 IS STM. Equipped with opti­cal sta­bi­liza­tion for shoot­ing hand­held video on the go. Pho­to: phototrend.fr

Anoth­er wide-angle lens great for blog­gers is the RF 15–30mm f/4.5–6.3 IS STM. It com­bines zoom ver­sa­til­i­ty with wide-angle focal lengths suit­able for self­ies.

Zoom­ing gives you room to change the com­po­si­tion. A good option to switch from cap­tur­ing sub­jects to hand­held self­ies on the go.

Canon RF 24mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM. Anoth­er dual pur­pose lens: macro and blogs. If you need a slight­ly more ver­sa­tile “look”, this mod­el is for you. Pho­to: store.canon.fr

Two more “glass­es” from the RF line are suit­able for cre­at­ing video con­tent. The RF 24mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM and RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM may be of inter­est to vlog­gers who film prod­uct reviews. Both mod­els are able to repro­duce the object in macro with a mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 1: 2 for detailed close-up shoot­ing. At the same time, they are wide enough to cope with a dif­fer­ent angle: for exam­ple, to record a video from a mas­ter class or a video stream.