A System Guide to Canon EOS RF

bythom canon full frame

Items on same line indicate model updates. Different lines indicate varying model levels.

The EOS RF mount is designed for full frame cameras, of which we have two right now. To some degree, Canon is mimicking their DSLR lineup with these cameras: the RP is basically equivalent to the 6Dm2 DSLR, the R is a variation of the 5Dm4 DSLR. Indeed, the sensors in the mirrorless cameras are the same as in the equivalent DSLRs (microlenses above the sensors may have changed).

Neither full frame mirrorless EOS is a top-end model; both appeal mostly to consumers, not pros (though a pro might value some of the things mirrorless provides over the DSLRs, such as silent shooting).

As with the M series, the RF cameras can use EF DSLR lenses via an adapter. Canon actually makes three EF-to-RF adapters: a basic one, one that adds an additional control ring to the lens, and one that allows drop in filters within the adapter. All three adapters work quite well with virtually every EF lens Canon has made, and with most third party EF lenses, too. Note that the current RF bodies do not have sensor-based image stabilization, so you probably want to stick with EF lenses with IS in them.

Speaking of lenses, there's not a lot available in the RF mount at the moment, and three of those are L lenses (high-end). Most buyers are going to get the 24-105mm f/4 L IS. That's very definitely the appropriate kit lens for the R, as it matches up in quality and price fairly well (e.g. high consumer, low prosumer). The other three available lenses are an odd bunch for a new body line launch that emphasizes affordable (consumer) bodies:

  • 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS — This is definitely a consumer oriented lens, particularly in features and price. But 35mm is a wide angle for a macro capability. It makes sense if you want this focal length, but not if you're looking just for macro capability.
  • 50mm f/1.2L — A very fast, big, expensive, and high quality normal lens. To me it seems a bit out of place with the current camera bodies.
  • 28-70mm f/2L — Another very fast, big, expensive, and high quality lens, this time a restricted mid-range focal range zoom (doesn't go to 24mm, which is the norm these days). Also very out of place on the two current camera bodies, IMHO.

Obviously, Canon will have higher-end RF camera bodies at some point, otherwise those last two lenses and the other fast aperture L lenses Canon has in development would be a complete mismatch. Curiously, we only know of one lens in development that seems to match up with the RP level of body: the 24-240mm f/4-6.3.

One thing to be aware of is that Canon M and Canon RF mounts aren't compatible in any way. If you're thinking about buying a crop sensor and full frame mirrorless from Canon, you're going to either need to lens sets (M and RF) or dip heavily in the DSLR EF lenses.

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