Best Canon RF Lenses for Stunning Photography in 2023

Canon’s RF lens system has revolutionized the world of mirrorless cameras, offering exceptional image quality and versatility for photographers and videographers alike.

The RF lens mount, introduced with Canon’s EOS R series of cameras, has allowed for the development of new lens designs that deliver superior optical performance and faster autofocus than their EF counterparts.

Whether you’re a professional shooter or a passionate hobbyist, investing in a high-quality RF lens can significantly enhance your photography experience.

The Canon RF lens lineup is rapidly expanding, catering to different shooting styles and needs.

Considering factors such as focal length, aperture, image stabilization, and autofocus capabilities is essential when selecting the perfect RF lens for your camera.

Additionally, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each lens, as factors like size, weight, and price can significantly impact your decision.

When evaluating the best Canon RF lenses, we kept the aforementioned factors in mind while focusing on the lenses with superior performance and value for money.

Our goal is to help you find the perfect lens that not only suits your photographic needs but also complements your camera and your creative vision.

In this informative guide, we’ll explore the top Canon RF lenses currently available, highlighting their key features and benefits, so that you can make an informed decision and elevate your photography game.

Let’s dive in and discover the ideal RF lens for your Canon camera setup.

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Best Canon RF Lenses

We have carefully curated a list of the best Canon RF lenses available in the market. These lenses cater to various photography needs and excel in their respective categories, so you can capture moments with precision and quality.

1. Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM Lens

Bestseller
Canon RF35mm F1.8 is Macro STM Lens, Black
Image from Amazon
Best for Macro Photography & Everyday

An affordable yet high-performing prime lens with macro capabilities, perfect for enthusiasts looking for versatility.

Price at publication: $499.00

Pros
Excellent image quality with F1.8 aperture
Compact size with 0.5x magnification for macro photography
5-stop image stabilization for crisp hand-held shots
Cons
Some chromatic aberration in high contrast situations
Noisy stepper motor for autofocus
Not suited for those seeking professional build quality

The Canon RF 35mm F1.8 lens is an ideal choice for photographers looking for versatility without breaking the bank.

With its unique wide-angle and macro capabilities, it offers remarkable flexibility for a range of shooting scenarios, from landscapes to intricate close-ups.

We appreciate the lens’s compact design and lightweight body, perfect for those long photography sessions where weight matters. Moreover, the 0.5x magnification ratio in macro mode adds a whole new level of creativity, allowing you to capture stunning details often unseen by the naked eye.

One notable feature of this lens is Canon’s Optical Image Stabilization system, providing up to 5 stops of shake correction. This allows users to capture sharp images, even at slower shutter speeds, and avoid camera shake when shooting hand-held.

Canon RF35mm F1.8 is Macro STM Lens, Black
Canon RF35mm F1.8 is Macro STM Lens, Black (Image from Amazon)

Though the lens performs well in most situations, it does have some limitations. In high-contrast lighting or backlit conditions, it can exhibit noticeable chromatic aberration. This is common for lenses in the more affordable category but may be an issue for those who demand perfection from their gear. Additionally, the stepper motor for autofocus can be a bit noisy, which may be distracting in quiet environments or video recording situations.

In conclusion, the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 is an excellent choice for photographers who want an affordable, versatile, and capable lens.

Its wide-angle and macro capabilities make it perfect for both general photography and close-up details, while its image stabilization allows for confident hand-held shooting.

However, those who demand professional-grade build quality and flawless performance under all conditions may want to look at more expensive alternatives.

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

Best Allrounder
Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens, Black - 2963C002
Image from Amazon
Best for a Wide Range of Photography Needs

A versatile all-purpose zoom lens that caters to a wide range of photography needs.

Pros
Compact, high-quality lens for EOS R system
Constant f/4 aperture for various shooting conditions
Offers up to 5 stops of image stabilization
Cons
Not as powerful as some telephoto lenses
Occasional focus hunting in low light
Heavier than some competing lenses

The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens is perfect for those who seek versatility in their photography, capturing everything from landscapes to portraits.

The RF 24-105mm proves to be a fantastic choice for photographers using the EOS R system. Its compact design and broad zoom range make it an excellent option for various shooting situations, from wide-angle scenes to short telephoto shots.

The constant f/4 aperture ensures you have consistent performance and control over depth-of-field throughout the zoom range, accommodating different lighting conditions.

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens, Black - 2963C002
Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens (Image from Amazon)

Being part of Canon’s prestigious L-Series, this lens carries the reputation for high-quality optics, solid build, and excellent image quality.

The Nano USM technology incorporated in this lens provides fast, accurate, and near-silent autofocus performance, making it ideal for both stills and video work. A control ring on the lens barrel enables direct setting changes for exposure, aperture, and other functions, improving usability on the fly.

In addition, the optical image stabilization system offers up to 5 stops of shake correction, ensuring sharp handheld images even in low light situations.

However, it is important to consider that this lens might not be as powerful as dedicated telephoto lenses when it comes to capturing distant subjects or zooming in very close.

In conclusion, the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens is a reliable and versatile choice for EOS R system users looking to simplify their setup with a lens that covers a wide range of photography needs. Its constant f/4 aperture, image stabilization, and L-Series quality make it a compelling choice for those seeking a combination of functionality and performance.

3. Canon RF 24–240mm F4-6.3 IS USM Lens

Also Great
Canon RF 24–240mm F4-6.3 is USM Lens, Black
Image from Amazon
Ideal for travel and everyday photography

A comprehensive solution that provides a range from wide-angle to telephoto focal lengths, delivering exceptional image quality.

Price at publication: $899.00

Pros
Compact, lightweight 10x zoom RF lens
High-quality images with f/4-6.3 aperture
Optical image stabilization with up to 5 stops of shake correction
Cons
Not weather-sealed
Some vignetting at wide angles
Control ring placement may be inconvenient

This compact, lightweight lens is perfect for travelers who want to pack light without sacrificing image quality.

It provides a broad range of focal lengths, from wide-angle at 24mm to telephoto at 240mm, making it ideal for capturing everything from landscapes to close-up portraits with ease.

One of the standout features of this lens is its optical image stabilization, which offers up to 5 stops of shake correction. This means you can capture sharp images, even in low light conditions or when shooting handheld. The Nano USM autofocus motor is another highlight, providing fast, smooth, and quiet autofocus for both still images and movies.

Though the lens delivers excellent image quality, it’s worth noting some drawbacks. Users may experience vignetting at wide angles, which can be expected with a lens of this range. Additionally, the control-ring placement may not be ideal for all users, as it is easy to inadvertently adjust settings during operation.

In conclusion, the Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 is USM lens is a great option for those looking for a versatile, all-in-one lens for their EOS R series camera. It’s perfect for travel, everyday photography, and even movies, making it a valuable addition to any photographer’s toolkit.

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

Canon Rf 15-35mm F2.8 L is USM
Image from Amazon
Best for landscape and architectural photography

A top choice for landscape and architectural photographers looking for a high-quality wide-angle lens.

Price at publication: $2199.00

Pros
Bright f/2.8, ideal for various lighting conditions
Optical image stabilization with up to 5 stops of shake correction
Smooth and quiet Nano USM autofocus
Cons
Slightly heavier compared to other wide-angle lenses
Fuzzy corners when wide
High price point

Transform your landscape and architectural photography with the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L is USM lens. This L-series lens is engineered with a focus on versatility and quality, bringing out the best in your EOS R series camera.

One of the standout features of this lens is the bright f/2.8 aperture, which ensures brilliant performance in various illumination scenarios. Whether you’re capturing images under bright daylight or dimly lit environments, the lens will help you achieve sharp and vibrant results with ease.

In addition to excellent light management, the optical image stabilization system offers up to 5 stops of shake correction. This translates to a significant reduction of camera shake, allowing you to shoot hand-held or in challenging situations without compromising image sharpness.

Canon Rf 15-35mm F2.8 L is USM
Canon Rf 15-35mm F2.8 L is USM (Image from Amazon)

The built-in Nano USM autofocus is another noteworthy feature. It guarantees high-speed, smooth, and quiet operation, making the lens suitable for both stills and video work. The autofocus system is also beneficial for capturing fast-moving subjects or situations where focus accuracy is critical.

The only real drawbacks of this lens are its weight and somewhat fuzzy corners when shooting at its widest setting. However, these do not outweigh the numerous benefits and overall performance of the Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L is USM lens.

In conclusion, this lens is a powerful addition to your gear, offering a combination of wide focal length, low-light performance, and effective image stabilization.

If you’re a landscape or architectural photographer, investing in this high-quality lens will elevate your photos and provide you with the tools needed to create breathtaking imagery.

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

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L is USM Lens, Black
Image from Amazon
A versatile, all-purpose lens

An excellent choice for a versatile zoom lens that performs well in various photography situations.

Price at publication: $2199.00

Pros
High image quality and bright f/2.8 aperture
Optical image stabilization of up to 5 stops
High speed, smooth, and quiet autofocus with Nano USM
Cons
A bit heavy compared to some other lenses
Minimum focusing distance could be better
Potentially costly investment for some photographers

The Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM lens has proven its versatility as a high-quality zoom lens designed with the EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera system in mind.

Its compact L-series design and bright f/2.8 maximum aperture make this lens suitable for various photography ventures, from portraits and landscapes to travel and everyday moments.

In addition to its outstanding image quality, this lens also features optical image stabilization of up to 5 stops of shake correction. This ensures that your images remain sharp and steady even when shooting handheld or in poorly-lit conditions. The high-speed, smooth, and quiet autofocus with Canon’s Nano USM technology further enhances the lens’s performance, especially when tracking moving subjects.

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L is USM Lens, Black
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L is USM Lens, Black (Image from Amazon)

However, it’s worth mentioning that the lens can be a bit heavy for some photographers’ liking. Additionally, its minimum focusing distance could be improved.

Despite these minor setbacks, the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L is USM lens stands out as a top choice for photographers who need a versatile and dependable lens for various situations, offering great value for the investment.

To sum it up, we highly recommend the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L is USM lens for those looking to expand their EOS R camera system with a versatile, all-purpose lens capable of delivering fantastic image quality and performance in a wide array of photography scenarios.

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

Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L is USM Lens, Telephoto Zoom Lens, 3792C002
Image from Amazon
Perfect for Sports, Wildlife, and Portraits

A fantastic addition to your gear, offering outstanding performance and exceptional image quality across multiple photography genres.

Price at publication: $2,599.00

Pros
High image quality with f/2.8 aperture
Compact, lightweight design
Fast, quiet autofocus and 5 stops of shake correction
Cons
Expensive
Shorter zoom turn
Quite heavy

As a versatile lens, the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 complements the EOS R System, excelling in sports, wildlife, and portrait photography. This impressive L-series lens offers a long telephoto zoom focal length to bring faraway subjects closer.

With its compact and lightweight design, this lens is perfect for photographers who need to travel with their gear. Additionally, it features a dust- and weather-resistant construction for added protection and durability.

The f/2.8 maximum aperture allows for capturing sharp, vivid images and videos, even in low light conditions. The fast and virtually silent autofocus, thanks to Canon’s dual Nano USM technology, and up to 5 stops of shake correction make it a preferred choice for various photography genres.

On the downside, the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 comes with a hefty price tag that might not suit all budgets. Although it has a shorter zoom turn compared to older models, some users may find this lens a little heavy for prolonged shooting sessions.

In conclusion, the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L is USM Lens is a remarkable investment for avid photographers and professionals looking for superior performance and image quality in a telephoto zoom lens. Its practical features, such as weather resistance and autofocus capabilities, make it even more desirable.

7. Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Super-Telephoto Lens

Super Tele
Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L is USM Super-Telephoto Lens
Image from Amazon

Ideal for those who need a versatile super-telephoto lens, particularly for wildlife and bird photography.

Price at publication: $2,699.00

Pros
High-quality L-series construction
Effective 5-stop optical image stabilization
Dual Nano USM autofocus ensures quick and quiet performance
Cons
Slightly heavy for prolonged handheld use
Can struggle with initial focus at times
On the expensive side

The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens is a fantastic addition to the EOS R system, offering a versatile range that is perfect for capturing sports, wildlife, and aviation photography. Its compact size and travel-ready weight make it an essential tool for those on-the-go, while still delivering impressive image quality and performance.

Constructed with one Super UD and six UD lenses, this lens is part of Canon’s respected L-series, which ensures resistance to dirt, moisture, and oils. The fluorine coating on the front and rear lens elements makes for easier cleaning, and the dust and weather-resistant construction provide reliability in challenging environments.

With its built-in 5-stop optical image stabilization system, photographers can capture sharp images even in low-light conditions or while hand-holding the camera.

This lens also offers three different image stabilization modes, adding creative flexibility for various shooting situations.

Furthermore, the high-speed Dual Nano USM autofocus makes the focusing process smooth and quiet, which is a significant advantage when photographing wildlife.

However, some users have found the lens to be a bit heavy for prolonged handheld use, and it can occasionally struggle with initial focus. But despite these minor drawbacks, the Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM is a top choice for those seeking a versatile and high-performing super-telephoto lens.

8. Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM

Budget Pick
Best for Everyday Photography

A versatile and budget-friendly lens perfect for various photography needs.

Price at publication: $179.00

Pros
Compact and lightweight
Large f/1.8 aperture for low-light photography and creative background blur
Accurate and quiet autofocus
Cons
Plastic build may not be as durable
No image stabilization
Not ideal for close-up macro photography

The Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM lens offers superior image quality and versatility at an affordable price.

We appreciate that this lens is compact and lightweight, making it easy to carry around when traveling or exploring different shooting locations. With its large f/1.8 aperture, you can capture stunning low-light images and achieve creative background blur. The stepping motor (gear-type STM) also ensures smooth and quiet continuous autofocus during video recording and photography.

However, some may find the plastic build less durable compared to more expensive lens options. Additionally, while the RF 50mm F1.8 STM is not specifically designed for close-up macro photography, it can handle a variety of other photography styles.

Overall, this Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM lens is a great starting point for anyone looking to add a versatile and budget-friendly lens to their Canon full-frame mirrorless RF mount camera setup. Its compact size, low-light capabilities, and smooth autofocus make it a valuable addition to any photographer’s toolkit.

9. Canon RF 70-200mm F4 L IS USM

Canon RF70-200mm F4 L is USM (4318C002)
Image from Amazon
Best for Telephoto Enthusiasts on the Go

The Canon RF70-200mm F4 L is USM is a fantastic option for those who want a lightweight and portable telephoto zoom lens without compromising on image quality.

Price at publication: $1,499.00

Pros
Compact, lightweight, and portable
Excellent image quality
Effective image stabilization
Cons
F/4 aperture may not be ideal for low light situations
Slightly more expensive than some alternatives
No tripod collar included

Capture stunning images with this compact and lightweight telephoto zoom lens that offers impressive image quality and convenience.

Weighing in at just 1.53 pounds, the Canon RF70-200mm F4 L is USM lens is designed for the EOS R system and takes advantage of the large diameter mount and short back focus distance. This results in a more compact and portable lens that is easier to take with you wherever you go, making it perfect for travel and on-the-go photography.

The lens features 4 UD lenses to help correct chromatic aberration, producing vivid colors and reduced ghosting. With AirSphere Coating (ASC) and Optical Image Stabilization, this lens ensures clear, crisp images and videos in various shooting situations.

The RF 70-200mm F4 L is USM lens also boasts smooth and quiet autofocus performance, thanks to the dual Nano USMs. This feature makes it ideal for both still photography and video shooting, and its short minimum focusing distance allows for flexible framing options.

However, the F/4 aperture may not be ideal for low light environments, making it less versatile than some competing lenses with faster apertures. It’s also worth noting that the lens does not come with a tripod collar, which may be a minor inconvenience for some users.

Overall, the Canon RF70-200mm F4 L is USM lens is a fantastic choice for those who prioritize portability and image quality in a telephoto zoom lens. Its lightweight and compact form factor make it ideal for photographers who are constantly on the move, while its exceptional performance ensures stunning images in a variety of situations.

10. Canon RF 100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM

Canon RF100mm F2.8 L Macro is USM
Image from Amazon
Best for Macro Photography

A superb choice for macro photography enthusiasts seeking top-quality close-up performance and versatility.

Price at publication: $1,099.00

Pros
World’s first medium telephoto macro lens with 1.4x magnification
Bright f/2.8 aperture for improved low light performance
Impressive optical image stabilization with Hybrid IS
Cons
Autofocus can occasionally be slow
Spherical aberration control may impact overall image clarity
Some users may experience difficulty with the touch-sensitive zoom

Canon's RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM lens offers stunning image quality and incredible magnification for capturing the smallest details. Designed for full-frame EOS R series cameras, this lens boasts a bright f/2.8 aperture that is perfect for low light shooting and creating beautiful bokeh effects.

When it comes to stabilizing your shots, the built-in optical image stabilization combined with Canon’s Hybrid IS system ensures sharp, stable images and video.

Perfect for handheld macro photography, this lens allows you to get up close and personal with your subjects without the need for additional stabilization equipment.

The RF100mm F2.8 L Macro IS USM lens features a unique Spherical Aberration (SA) Control Ring, which gives photographers the ability to adjust the shape and character of the foreground and background bokeh. This can help create dreamlike or romantic images with a soft focus look, giving your macro shots a creative edge.

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While the autofocus is highly precise, some users may find it slow in certain situations. Additionally, the touch-sensitive zoom control can take some getting used to.

However, the lens’s exceptional image quality, magnification, and versatility make it a fantastic addition to any Canon user’s collection, especially those who are passionate about macro photography.

11. Canon RF 14-35mm F4 L is USM Lens

Canon RF14-35mm F4 L is USM Lens
Image from Amazon
Best for Landscapes, Architecture, and Video

This lens is a top choice for those seeking an ultra wide-angle option, packed with impressive features in a compact design.

Pros
Ultra wide-angle coverage from 14mm to 35mm
Highly versatile and compact design
Excellent image quality at constant f/4 aperture
Cons
Not the sharpest at very close focusing distances
Vignette requires post-processing correction
Slight distortion at wider focal lengths

The Canon RF14-35mm F4 L is USM lens has been well-received for its dramatic wide-angle coverage and compact construction. Weighing only 1.2 pounds, this lens is perfect for capturing landscapes, architecture, and video.

The constant f/4 aperture and L-series optical construction ensure high image quality across the entire zoom range. While some users have reported that the lens isn’t particularly sharp at close focusing distances, its overall performance is still highly praised.

The built-in Image Stabilization capabilities offer up to 5.5 stops of shake correction, making this lens suitable for both photo and video applications. However, it is important to note that there may be slight distortion at wider focal lengths and some post-processing will be needed to correct vignetting.

Overall, the Canon RF14-35mm F4 L is USM Lens is an outstanding choice for photographers seeking a compact and versatile wide-angle option for their EOS R series cameras.

12. Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM

Canon RF16mm F2.8 STM
Image from Amazon
Best for Landscapes and Astrophotography

A highly recommended choice for enthusiasts seeking an affordable ultra-wide prime lens for landscapes and astrophotography.

Price at publication: $249.00

Pros
Ultra-wide angle and compact design
Bright fixed f/2.8 maximum aperture
Smooth and quiet autofocus for video
Cons
Image quality requires software correction
Corner performance might not meet high expectations
Not as durable as high-end lenses

Buy this lens for its portability, ultra-wide perspective, and great value, especially for shooting landscapes and night skies.

The Canon RF16mm F2.8 STM is a versatile and affordable addition to the EOS R series cameras, providing new possibilities for capturing expansive landscapes, stunning night skies, and tight interior spaces.

Its ultra-wide angle of view combined with a bright f/2.8 aperture ensures excellent performance in low-light environments or when shooting wide vistas.

Weighing just 5.7 ounces, this compact lens is perfect for travel and all-day use, without adding much bulk to your camera bag. The stepping motor (gear-type STM) offers smooth and quiet autofocus, which is particularly useful for video recording and vlogging.

However, it’s important to note that this lens relies on software correction to achieve high image quality, which may bother some users who prefer lenses that perform well without digital assistance. Additionally, the corner performance might not meet the expectations of photographers who require exceptional sharpness across the entire frame.

In conclusion, the Canon RF16mm F2.8 STM is a fantastic ultra-wide prime lens for those who value portability, affordability, and the ability to capture a unique perspective.

With its lightweight design and strong performance in various settings, it’s an excellent companion for enthusiasts who enjoy landscape photography and astrophotography.

Buying Guide

When choosing the best Canon RF lens for your needs, it’s essential to consider several factors to ensure you make the best investment. In this buying guide, we will discuss the key features and criteria you should keep in mind when making your decision.

Focal Length

Consider the type of photography you intend on doing. If you’re into landscape or architecture photography, you might want to look for wide-angle lenses (lower focal length). On the other hand, if you love capturing sports events or wildlife, a telephoto lens (higher focal length) would be more appropriate.

Aperture

A lens’s maximum aperture is essential for capturing images in low-light conditions and creating a shallow depth of field. Lenses with wider apertures (lower f-number) allow more light to enter the camera, which results in better low-light performance and more background blur.

Image Stabilization

For those who shoot handheld or in low-light conditions, image stabilization is a crucial feature to have in your lens. It helps to reduce camera shake, resulting in sharper images. Some Canon RF lenses come with built-in image stabilization, which can be a significant advantage.

Autofocus

A lens with fast and accurate autofocus is essential for capturing the perfect moment, especially when shooting moving subjects. Look for lenses with good autofocus performance to ensure your images are always sharp.

Build Quality

Lenses that have a robust build quality can withstand the test of time and various shooting conditions. Weather-sealed lenses are generally more reliable as they offer protection against dust, moisture, and minor impacts.

Remember to consider your photography needs and budget carefully when selecting the best Canon RF lens. By focusing on the key features mentioned above and understanding your requirements, you can make an informed decision on which lens will suit your needs best.


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About the Author

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Andreas De Rosi

Andreas used to develop black & white films at the age of 14 by turning his bathroom into a darkroom. After getting his master's degree in economics, he worked as a marketing consultant in Asia. Today he lives in Berlin and is in charge of the editorial process here at PhotoWorkout. You can connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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