Best lenses for the Canon R5: great zoom and prime lenses for this top camera

Best lenses for Canon EOS R5: Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
(Image credit: Canon)

The Canon EOS R5 is a full-frame mirrorless camera that sits near the top of Canon’s new mirrorless range. It can be used with an increasing range of RF-mount lenses (opens in new tab), so there is now a good amount of choice for R5 owners.

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The bulk of RF lenses are available exclusively from Canon, which sells a mix of ultra-wide zooms, prime lenses, and telephoto options. However, there are a handful of other third-party lens manufacturers that provide RF lenses, with the hope that others such as Tamron and Sigma will release RF-compatible lenses soon.

The main factors to consider when choosing a lens for the Canon EOS R5 are focal length, aperture range, image stabilization, and size or weight. If scenic landscapes is your thing it might be worth considering wide-angle lenses in order to capture a wider field of view. But if it’s important to get close to a distant subject such as wildlife or sports then a telephoto lens is required to reach far-away subjects and bring them larger in the image.

For those interested in capturing photographs with shallow depth of field then a wide aperture is essential. This also helps when capturing images in low light situations as it will allow more light to pass through onto the R5’s image sensor, thereby creating good exposures even in dark situations. Also, a lens’ ability to focus closely may also appeal to photographers shooting macro wildlife subjects such as flowers or insects, but is equally at home in the commercial studio when photographing small products such as clothing or jewelry.

Whatever your choice, we’ve rounded up the best lenses for the Canon EOS R5 you can buy today…

Best lenses for the Canon R5

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

(Image credit: Future)
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A bright wide-angle zoom lens with superior autofocusing

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
Dimensions: 88 x 126mm
Weight: 840g
Filter size: 82mm

Reasons to buy

+
Useful ultra wide-angle zoom range
+
5 stops of hybrid image stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Heavy compared with wide-angle primes
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Large filter size requires bigger filters

This lens’ incredibly useful focal length zoom range of 15-35mm makes it suited to a wide range of applications from landscapes, travel photography, street, and even astrophotography thanks to its bright f/2.8 aperture which is constant throughout the zoom range.

Fast autofocus is powered by the Ultrasonic Motor in this lens, a step above the standard STM equipped in many other, slightly cheaper models. A real treat to use in low light conditions this lens combines with the R5’s in-body image stabilization to provide a maximum of 8 stops of IS (5 in the lens).

Read our full Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM review for more details 

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
The standard trinity zoom tackles almost any situation

Specifications

Autofocus: Nano Ultrasonic
Stabilizer: 5-stop
Min focus distance: 0.21m (at 24mm) / 0.38mm (at 70mm)
Max magnification: 0.3x (at 32mm)
Filter thread: 82mm
Dimensions (WxL): 88.5x125.7mm
Weight: 900g

Reasons to buy

+
Superb stabilization
+
No focus breathing

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
Average edge sharpness

This is the standout choice as the everyday standard zoom for the Canon R5. It’s snappy, it’s sharp, it’s stabilized and it even suppresses focus breathing… but it's a little rough around the edges, literally, and at this price point, that's enough to stop it short of greatness.

Depending on your usage, the issue of middling edge sharpness found in our lab tests may not be a factor. Portrait photographers will likely have no problem with unrefined corners, but those intending to put this to general-purpose use for things like landscapes may be a little less forgiving. That's really more a reflection of the price than the performance, though. It feels snappier and more responsive than its EF predecessor, and the addition of IS is a real game-changer - increasing the 5-stops of stabilization you get from the R5 camera body alone to a phenomenal 8-stops.

Read our full Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM review (opens in new tab) for more details

(Image credit: Canon)
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This fast telephoto zoom is perfect for professional photographers

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
Dimensions: 89 x 146mm
Weight: 1070g
Filter size: 77mm

Reasons to buy

+
Flexible telephoto zoom range
+
5 stops of image stabilization
+
Small for a telephoto with this focal range

Reasons to avoid

-
Cheaper RF 70-200mm f/4 available

Professionals and serious amateurs with a good chunk of change behind them should take note of this third of Canon’s holy trinity of lenses. Designed to be taken anywhere it’s considerably smaller than any 70-200mm EF counterpart and is comparatively lightweight, too, all the while retaining excellent weather sealing to protect it from the elements.

This fast L series telephoto zoom appeals to many types of photographers, whether favoring landscapes, portraits, or even concert/gig photography where light is minimal and often inside which this lens shoots easily thanks to five stops of hybrid IS and a fast f/2.8 aperture.

Read our full Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM review for more details

(Image credit: Canon)
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Super sharp, incredible magnification macro lens with superb image stabilization

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
Dimensions: 81 x 148mm
Weight: 730g
Filter size: 67mm

Reasons to buy

+
1.4x magnification higher than true macro
+
5 stops of hybrid image stabilization
+
Variable spherical aberration control ring

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky and quite expensive

This is truly a unique macro lens no matter what camera system you’re considering. It takes heritage from the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM but builds on it enormously for the RF range, compatible with the R5 body. Up to eight stops of hybrid image stabilization steadies the frame while a bright f/2.8 aperture lets light soak into the image sensor.

It has better magnification with a reproduction ratio of 1:1.4 (1:1 is required for genuine macro performance) which means more detail in macro subject capture. And there’s even a spherical aberration control ring on the lens to control a soft focus effect, adding flattering bokeh to images. It also doubles as a standard lens as it can focus to infinity.

Read our full Canon RF 100mm f/2.8 Macro IS USM review for more details 

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
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Likely the best portrait lens you can buy on any system

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/1.2
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 13 elements in 9 groups
Dimensions: 103 x 117mm
Weight: 1195g
Filter size: 82mm

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible sharpness, minimal distortion
+
Flattering focal length for portraits
+
F/1.2 aperture for low light and bokeh

Reasons to avoid

-
Big and expensive

An 85mm prime lens has always been touted as one of the best prime focal lengths for portraiture due to the perspective compression it gives for flattering facial compression, but the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L is probably the best portrait lens you can get for the Canon EOS R5, possibly of any camera system. 

Razor sharp and with incredibly fast autofocus the ultra-fast f/1.2 aperture produces effortlessly smooth bokeh and shallow depth of field. Not only that, but it makes it ideal for low-light conditions, such as indoor wedding photography and more.

Read our full Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM review for more details

(Image credit: Laowa)
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The fastest ultra wide-angle prime RF lens available

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/2
Image Stabilization: No
Lens Construction: 12 elements in 9 groups
Dimensions: 77 x 82mm
Weight: 500g
Filter size: 72mm

Reasons to buy

+
Minimal optical distortion
+
Reasonably priced

Reasons to avoid

-
No image stabilization
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Manual focus only

Listed as the fastest wide-angle prime RF lens you can buy right now, this manual focus prime is an excellent addition to any kit bag for the Canon EOS R5 owner. Relatively lightweight considering the wide field of view and perfect for astro or other low light situations thanks to the bright f/2 aperture it’s equally adept at shooting in the day, providing next to no image distortion.

There’s no autofocus in this 15mm though, so it might be best for subjects such as landscape and architectural photography where autofocusing on moving subjects isn’t important. 

Read our full Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D review for more details 

(Image credit: Canon)
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A great lens for street and travel photographers

Specifications

Maximum aperture: f/1.8
Image Stabilization: Yes
Lens Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
Dimensions: 74 x 62mm
Weight: 305g
Filter size: 52mm

Reasons to buy

+
Great value for money, optical clarity
+
0.5x macro magnification for close-ups
+
Wide f/1.8 aperture good for low light

Reasons to avoid

-
Not the best autofocusing system

This 35mm prime performs well on the Canon EOS R5 and it won’t break the bank, either. Lightweight at just over 300g it’s compact in design and inconspicuously mounts to the front of the camera with its slim build.

A fast aperture combines with the wide-angle focal length for images that are contextual but also evocative. The STM autofocus, while not the flagship for RF lenses, performs well under most situations and the lens can use the R5’s in-body image stabilization for steadying shots. It also utilizes a 0.5x magnification ratio for the close-up shooting of details or smaller subjects.

Read our full Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM review for more details 

(Image credit: Future)
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This superbly-sharp standard prime is perfect for the R5

Specifications

Autofocus: USM
Aperture: 10-blade
Min focus distance: 0.4m
Filter thread: 77mm
Dimensions (mm): 89.8 x 108
Weight: 950g

Reasons to buy

+
Superior sharpness
+
Versatile focal length
+
Build quality is excellent

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive
-
Heavy and unwieldy

There is no mistaking how sharp and fast this lens is. With a huge f/1.2 aperture, you can get beautiful subject isolation in a focal length that allows more of the environment to be included in the photo. And with lightning-fast autofocus with eye tracking, if you take a lot of fashion and portraits, this really is the lens that you need.

The only drawback is the size, with it being a heavy lens at 905g - but this is less of a problem on the R5 than on smaller EOS mirrorless models. This lens is certainly not the cheapest but the quality and precision you get from this lens more than justify the high price. 

Read our full Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 USM lens review (opens in new tab)for more details 

How we test lenses

We test lenses using both real-world sample images and lab tests. Our lab tests are carried out scientifically in controlled conditions using the Imatest testing suite, which consists of custom charts and analysis software that measures resolution in line widths/picture height, a measurement widely used in lens and camera testing. We find the combination of lab and real-world testing works best, as each reveals different qualities and characteristics.

Read more:

Best Canon camera
Best Canon RF lenses
Canon EOS R5 review

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Jason Parnell-Brookes is an Internationally award-winning photographer,  writer, and an optics specialist. He currently serves as the Channel Editor for Cameras and Skywatching over at Space.com and is the former Technique Editor of N-Photo magazine. He won Gold in the Nikon Photo Contest 2018/19 and was named Digital Photographer of the Year in 2014. Jason is a qualified teacher, Masters graduate and works with many high-profile international clients.