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The 7 Best Canon RF Lenses in 2023!

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Best Canon RF lenses

If you’re a fan of Canon’s new mirrorless cameras, then you need the best Canon eos RF lenses to go with your high-tech gear.

The lens at the top of the list of the best Canon RF lenses is the Canon RF 24-70 mm f/2.8 L IS USM. This lens is great for a first RF lens, professional photography, and just about every style. There are so many more lenses to explore for the RF mount!

Here are the Top Canon RF Lenses!

1

BEST OVERALL CANON RF LENS

Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Canon

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2

BEST CANON RF WIDE-ANGLE LENS

Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Canon

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3

BEST CANON RF TELEPHOTO LENS

Canon RF 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Canon

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4

BEST CANON RF PRIME LENS

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

Canon

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5

BEST CANON RF MACRO LENS

Canon RF 100 mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM Lens

Canon

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6

BEST CANON RF LENS FOR PORTRAITS

Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

Canon

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7

BEST BUDGET CANON RF LENS

Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Canon

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Canon has a decades-long reputation for making some of the best lenses in all of the photography, but how do they stack up in the world of mirrorless cameras? We’ve found the 7 RF lenses that prove that Canon still has it when it comes to glass!

1. Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens — It’s The Best Overall Canon RF Lens

Why Buy The Lens?

  • Great depth of field thanks to the f/2.8 aperture
  • Wide range of focal lengths thanks to the 24-70 mm standard zoom range
  • A great started lens for Canon mirrorless cameras due to its performance and flexibility
  • The USM image stabilization is fast and good for both photo and video and handles up to five stops of camera shake

If you’ve been looking for the best everyday Canon RF lens, you need to pick up the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens.

This lens has a powerful suite of features that make it ideal for just about every style of photography. This lens is going to be your go-to choice whether you want to photograph weddings or you’re headed outdoors for a long expedition into the backcountry.

The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens is also the best Canon RF lens for travel. It’s got wide-angle and telephoto coverage meaning you can instantly switch from sweeping landscapes to portraits all in one lens!

What You’ll Love About The Lens

  • This is the best Canon RF lens for wedding photography thanks to the focal length range, fast aperture, and responsive autofocus motor
  • This is Canon L glass which means durable, professional build quality thanks to the weather-sealed barrel and the fluorine coating on the glass
  • You’ll get some high-tech features without being bogged down with too many buttons thanks to the Customizable Control Ring
  • Portrait and event photographers will enjoy the smooth bokeh created by the 9-blade diaphragm

What You Won’t Love About The Lens

  • The cost of this lens might be too high for some and could even cost more than your camera body
  • Fewer high-tech features—like an OLED screen—than competitors lenses at the same price point

The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM is at the top of our list of lenses and one of the best Canon RF zoom lenses overall.

This is a perfect first lens for people looking to upgrade to the Canon mirrorless camera system, and it’s a great all-around lens if you don’t have one already.

2. Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens — The Best Canon RF Wide Angle Lens

Why Buy The Lens?

  • This lens has a great focal length range that allows you to shoot really wide or tighten things up to the iconic 35 mm focal length range
  • Since this is a Canon L series lens, you know you’re getting a build quality that is weather-sealed and able to withstand demanding shoots
  • Documentarians and videographers will enjoy cleaner audio thanks to the reduced noise of the USM focusing system
  • You won’t have to worry about shooting handheld since you get five stops of image stabilization

A wide-angle lens doesn’t have to make you feel limited. The Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8 L IS USM is our best Canon RF lens for astrophotography, and landscapes, and you can even use this lens for video or street photography.

In fact, this is our best Canon RF lens for video. That flexible focal length, bright aperture, and image stabilization are going to be the videographer’s best friend whether you’re shooting locked-off interviews for social media or you’re running and gunning at a busy event!

What You’ll Love About The Lens

  • Shooting in low-light conditions like early morning landscapes and difficult documentary shoots is much easier with a constant f/2.8 aperture
  • Videographers will love the reduced flare and ghosting thanks to the new Air-Sphere coating
  • This is the best Canon RF lens for vlogging thanks to the bright aperture and the wide-angle zoom focal lengths
  • We love that this lens goes up to 35 mm since that lets you use this as a true all-in-one lens that can handle wide-angle shots and even 35 mm portraits

What You Won’t Love About The Lens

  • This lens is not budget friendly
  • The 35 mm focal length is great on its own, but some might not like the overlap this lens has with the 24 mm to 70 mm lens

The Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8 L IS USM is our best Canon RF lens for landscape photography, astrophotography, and even an all-around solid choice for documentarians or videographers.

You could even make the case that this is a great first lens since it has a focal length that goes all the way up to 35 mm!

3. Canon RF 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens — Our Pick For Best Canon RF Telephoto Lens

Why Buy The Lens?

  • On-lens controls let you toggle image stabilization modes, the focus limiter, and even other features
  • This is a powerful Canon L lens with a weather-resistant build that boasts several weather seals and a shock-resistant lens barrel
  • This RF lens delivers reduced chromatic aberration and improved sharpness thanks to the mix of Optical elements selected by Canon

The Canon RF 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS USM best Canon RF lens for wildlife and nature photography. The weather-resistant body and 200 mm focal length range are ideal for capturing wildlife without getting too far off the path.

This is also the best Canon RF lens for sports. The Canon RF 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS USM is bright enough and responsive enough to capture all of the action during the game.

What You’ll Love About The Lens

  • The redesigned body and lower weight of this lens make it arguable the first 70 to 200 mm lens that actually feels good on a mirrorless camera body
  • You’ll get super-fast focusing with Canon’s Dual Nano USM AF System—ideal when shootings sports or wildlife
  • You can leverage the focus limited to get even quicker autofocus while working with fast-moving subjects

What You Won’t Love About The Lens

  • This lens is one of the most expensive 3 on this list

The Canon RF 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS USM is the best Canon RF lens for bird photography, wildlife, and sports.

This lens is light enough to easily travel with. Canon has pushed the envelope when it comes to designing a lightweight telephoto zoom that’s actually easier to carry around with you.

4. Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens — This Is The Best Canon RF Prime Lens

Why Buy The Lens?

  • The ultra-bright f/1.2 aperture on this lens is going to make it the best Canon RF lens for low light
  • We’re picking this as the go-to choice for an all-around prime lens since 50 mm is widely considered to be the closest to what the human eye naturally sees
  • The fast aperture of this lens also allows you to have refined control of your selective focus and depth of field which is perfect for portrait photographers and anyone getting creative
  • As always, you’re getting Canon’s L lens build quality which means a weather-sealed body and durability you can rely on

The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM is the best Canon RF lens for night photography, street photography, and maybe just about everything else.

Really, the only things that this lens can’t do are telephoto photography and wide-angle shooting. However, you can still do portraits, and you can even create panorama images in post-production using photo editing software.

Canon has always produced some of the best 50 mm lenses on this market and the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM is no exception to the quality that we’ve always seen.

What You’ll Love About The Lens

  • Canon is using a rounded 10-blade diaphragm design for the smoothest bokeh this side of vintage film lenses
  • This lens delivers some of the sharpest images that Canon currently has to offer due to the prime lens design and multiple optical elements
  • The 50 mm focal length is one of the most flexible out there and unlocks everything from social media videos all the way to over to professional events and portraits
  • Canon’s ring-type USM autofocusing motor is the perfect mechanical device to pair to their new autofocusing algorithms which improve speed and accuracy

What You Won’t Love About The Lens

  • Zoom lenses have gotten incredibly impressive over the last few years and there’s a strong argument for just buying one of the zoom lenses on this list instead
  • The cost of this lens is a bit higher than we would like to see especially considering Canon’s competition
  • If 50 mm isn’t right for you, you’re going to want to pick a different

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM is our pick for the best Canon RF lens for street photography. This lens is bright, and lightweight, it’s going to deliver crystal-clear images in just about any condition.

5. Canon RF 100 mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM Lens— The Best Canon RF Macro Lens

Why Buy The Lens?

  • This lens unlocks up to eight stops of image stabilization when coordinating with a Canon mirrorless camera that has body image stabilization
  • This is a professional-grade Canon lens with a weather-resistant seal and a programmable control
  • You can gain precise control over the foreground and background bokeh with the spherical aberration control ring

The Canon RF 100 mm f/2.8 L Macro IS USM is our pick for the best Canon macro lens for the RF mount system. However, as long as it’s also going to excel at portraiture.

All of the features that make this lens stand out for macro photography are also going to help you take some truly astonishing portraits.

Yes, this is a specialty lens designed for a specific purpose, but if you’re looking to shoot portraits or macro you really can’t go wrong with this choice.

What You’ll Love About The Lens

  • You need a bright aperture when it comes to macro photography and f/2.8 is a perfect choice for getting awesome light for your subjects
  • Macrophotography is all about getting close to your subjects and the 10.2″ focal distance allows you to get less than a foot away while focusing in
  • Macro lenses are defined by their ability to magnify your photographs and this lens delivers 1.4x magnification
  • Canon built a hybrid image stabilization system into this lens that compensates for shift and shakes while shooting macro

What You Won’t Love About The Lens

  • This is a specialty lens and if you’re not interested in macrophotography or portraits at the 100 mm focal length, there are better lenses for you on this list

Macrophotography has gotten really popular among artists as well as commercial photographers. This is the best macro lens currently offered by Canon which makes it the perfect choice for anyone looking to get true-to-life magnification for some of the most interesting photographic subjects out there.

6. Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM Lens — The Best Canon RF Lens For Portraits

Why Buy The Lens?

  • Photographers considered 85 mm to be the ideal focal length for portraiture and this is Canon’s best 85 mm prime lens
  • The f/1.2 aperture combined with the 9-bladed diaphragm allows you to create stunning bokeh and all of your portraits
  • You can use the customizable control ring to quickly adjust your exposure settings to make sure that you can quickly capture portraits in the moment
  • Event photographers are going to appreciate the weather-resistant design that allows you to handle outdoor weddings and events without worry

The Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM is the best prime portrait lens for Canon RF cameras.

Canon makes no secret that this lens was purpose-built to help people capture better portraits when shooting on their new mirrorless cameras. The bright aperture, the unique blend of optics, and the impressive diaphragm are all going to help you unlock your full potential while shooting portraits.

The overall build quality of the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM is also impressive. It really does live up to the standard set by the Canon L family of lenses.

What You’ll Love About The Lens

  • This lens virtually eliminates color fringing and chromatic aberration thanks to the blue Spectrum refractive optics
  • You’ll get quick and quiet focus with this lens’s Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Additional coatings like the Air Sphere Coating helps to reduce distortion in your portraits

What You Won’t Love About The Lens

  • This is another purpose-built lens which might not be the right choice for all styles of photography
  • This is also one of the most expensive ones on this list which makes it a big investment with a narrow payoff

If you want to shoot portraits, the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM is the single best lens you can buy for the Canon RF system. There really is no exception to the quality that you’ll get with this lens.

7. Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens — The Best Budget Canon RF Lens

Why Buy The Lens?

  • This lens cost somewhere between 1/10 and 1/20 the price of the other lenses on this list which makes it the best budget choice you can get for Canon RF
  • Despite the budget cost, you still get an incredibly bright f/1.8 prime lens
  • If you’re a fan of the high-tech features in more expensive lenses, you’ll be happy to know that this lens also features a programmable control ring

Look no further for the king of the best budget Canon RF lenses!

Canon has always excelled at making affordable 50 mm lenses for their entire product line. We’re happy to say that Canon is still at the top of the game when it comes to making prime lenses that have a low cost but deliver a high value.

This lens has everything going for it. It’s got a great aperture, some decent optical stats, and even a programmable control ring which we usually only see on higher-cost lenses.

Everyone needs a cheap 50mm lens in their kit and if you use a kind of mirrorless camera—the Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is yours.

What You’ll Love About The Lens

  • This is an incredibly small and lightweight lens which makes it a perfect choice for throwing a prime in your bag as an everyday lens or to give you some versatility while traveling
  • You can get some great portraits with this lens thanks to the rounded seven-bladed diaphragm and the close focusing distance
  • Canon added a Super Spectra Coating which delivers a lot of benefits like improving color and reducing flare

What You Won’t Love About The Lens

  • Canon had to lower the cost by making cuts somewhere, and you’ll notice fewer optical elements, less impressive coatings, and other cost-saving cuts on this

When it comes to affordable lenses for Canon RF cameras, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens should be your first purchase!

Canon RF Lens FAQ

What does Canon RF stand for?

The term “RF mount” stands for Re-Imagined Focus and is Canon’s newest line of lenses built for their mirrorless cameras. Their mirrorless cameras are called EOS R which stands for Electro-Optical System Re-Imagined.

What does the L stand for in Canon RF lenses?

The “L” in Canon RF lenses stands for “Luxury.” This marks the highest standard for Canon lenses. Canon L lenses have professional-grade features and unbeatable quality.

Are Canon RF lenses worth it?

Canon RF lenses are definitely a step up from the previous generation of EF lenses. If you’re shooting on a Canon mirrorless camera, you should definitely pick up some RF lenses. However, we don’t recommend getting RF lenses if you need to use an adapter to shoot with them, which would be the case if you have Sony cameras or an older Canon EF camera.

Is STM or USM better?

USM and STM have their trade-offs. USM is faster and more affordable but can be noisy. STM costs more and is physically larger, but makes less noise. It really comes down to which of those features you put more value in.

What 3 lenses should every photographer have?

There are three lenses that every photographer should have. These are the wide-angle Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8, the normal focal length Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8, and the telephoto zoom Canon RF 70-200 mm f/2.8. These three lenses let photographers handle pretty much any subject.

Why are RF lenses more expensive than EF?

Canon RF lenses are the newest line of lenses produced by this company which also makes them the most expensive. They also have the most high-tech features as well as some impressive stats which drives their cost up even more.

Are There Third-party RF Lenses?

There are no current plans for Tamron RF lenses. Sigma has stated that they would like to start making Sigma RF lenses, but they are having trouble getting Canon to support their efforts. Canon has been notoriously slow in giving third-party lens companies the resources they need to make RF lenses.

Conclusion – The Best Canon RF lenses

Finding the best Canon RF lenses for you comes down to considering the features of the lens and the types of photography you want to shoot the most. Any of the lenses on this list would be a perfect addition to your camera bag.

Which of our best Canon eos RF lenses are you taking home? We recommend starting with the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens and then rounding out the Canon RF Holy Trinity with the Canon RF 15-35 mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens and the Canon RF 70-200 mm f/2.8 L IS USM.

Will you be picking up any of this new Canon gear? Let us know your picks for Canon RF lenses and don’t forget to check out our other articles on the best lenses for Canon cameras!

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Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been photographing for the past 20 years and my mission is to simplify this misunderstood art of taking and processing photographs I love. I invite you to say “hey” on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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