Canon announces 2 new RF mirrorless lenses: RF 16mm f/2.8 STM and RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM
posted Tuesday, September 14, 2021 at 6:00 AM EDT
Canon has announced a pair of new lenses for its mirrorless EOS R system, and they are quite distinct from one another. One of them is a wide-angle prime lens, the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM, and the other is another telephoto zoom, the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM. The latter lens is a more affordable and lighter alternative to the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM.
Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM
Looking first at the wide-angle prime lens, it joins the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM as an affordable prime lens option in Canon's RF lens lineup. At $300, the new RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is one of the least expensive RF lenses. It should be well-suited to landscape, architecture and travel photography.
The RF 16mm f/2.8 STM has a similar size and weight as the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM. The 16mm f/2.8 lens is 40.1mm (1.6") long and its max diameter is 69.2mm (2.7"). The lens weighs 165g (5.8 oz.). For reference, the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM is the same size and weighs 160g (5.6 oz.). Unsurprisingly, the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM takes the same size filter, 43mm, as the RF 50mm f/2.8 STM.
In terms of optics, the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM has nine lens elements in seven groups. Among these elements is a single aspherical element. The lens incorporates Canon's Super Spectra Coating (SSC). The lens has a seven-bladed circular aperture diaphragm.
Autofocus is provided by a gear-type Canon stepping motor (STM). The minimum focus distance is 0.13m (5.1"), providing a maximum magnification of 0.26x, which is quite impressive for a full-frame 16mm lens. Manual focus is available using the dual-function manual ring. When the camera is autofocusing, the same ring is used as a control ring, providing the user with an easy way to adjust key camera settings using the lens.
The RF 16mm f/2.8 STM doesn't include a dust and weather-resistant construction, although it does include a metal lens mount. It also doesn't incorporate image stabilization, which is instead provided by IBIS-equipped Canon camera bodies. The lens has an available lens hood, although it's sold separately.
The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM will be available in October at an estimated retail price of $299.99.
Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM
The second new Canon RF lens is the 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM. It is a spiritual successor to the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens for the Canon EF mount. It's not the same focal length range or maximum aperture. Still, the goal is the same for the new RF lens, providing an affordable telephoto zoom option for budget-conscious photographers. Within the RF system, the 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM ($650) is also a much more affordable option compared to the RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM lens ($2,800). The target uses are similar for both lenses, including sports, wildlife and portrait photography. The 100-400mm focal length should prove quite versatile.
The RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM is quite light given its focal length range. At 635g (1.4 lbs), it's under half the weight of the RF 100-500mm lens (1,365g / 3 lbs). The RF 100-400mm lens is 164.7mm (6.48") long and has a maximum diameter of 79.5mm (3.13"). The lens has a 67mm filter thread.
The lens has a dozen elements across nine groups, including a UD-glass element and an aspherical lens element. Like the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM, the RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM lens includes Canon SSC. The lens has nine aperture blades.
Autofocus is provided by a rear-focusing Nano USM system. Canon promises fast, smooth and quiet autofocus performance. The lens's minimum focus distance varies with the focal length. At 100mm, the minimum focus distance is 1.2m (3.94'). At 200mm, it's 0.88m (2.89'). At 400mm, it's 1.05m (3.44'). Maximum magnification is achieved at 400mm, and it's an impressive 0.41x. At 100mm, it's 0.09x, by the way.
The lens is compatible with Canon's RF 1.4x and RF 2x teleconverters, too, increasing the maximum magnification to 0.58x and 0.83x, respectively, at the cost of maximum aperture. Using the 1.4x extender, the lens becomes equivalent to a 140-560mm f/8-11 zoom lens. With the 2x extender, the lens becomes a 200-800mm f/11-16 lens. Autofocus is possible with either extender across the entire focal length range on EOS R series cameras.
Digging further into autofocus, using the EOS R and EOS RP cameras, autofocus coverage is approximately 88% horizontal and 100% vertical. With the RF 1.4x, that changes to 80% x 80%. With the RF 2x, the AF area decreases further to 40% x 60%. On the EO R5 and R6, AF coverage starts at 90% x 100%, although it's 100% x 100% using Face+Tracking AF area mode. The AF coverage with the teleconverters is the same across all currently available EOS R cameras.
The RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM, as evidenced by its model name, includes built-in image stabilization. At 400mm, the lens promises up to 5.5 stops of optical IS correction using the Canon EOS R. Using coordinated IS on bodies with IBIS, the lens delivers up to 6 stops of shake correction. The IS system has a single mode that can automatically switch to panning correction IS when panning motion is detected.
The lens includes a Control Ring (with click stops) and a manual focus ring that offers full-time manual focus. The focus ring has no physical stops. There's no focus limiter switch on the lens. Further, it doesn't include dust and weather-resistant construction. Like the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM, there's a lens hood available, although it's a separate optional purchase.
The Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM lens will also be available in October. Its estimated retail price is $649.99.