The best lenses for the Canon EOS R50 in 2024

The EOS R50 is one of Canon's cheapest EOS R mirrorless cameras to date, and is perfectly priced for beginners. With its 24MP sensor and Dual Pixel CMOS AF autofocus, it's a really attractive option for anyone just getting started in photography. But what are the best lenses for the Canon EOS R50?

Canon lenses designed specifically for its smaller-format cameras are designated 'RF-S', while those for its full frame cameras are simply 'RF' lenses. The lens mount is physically the same, so you can fill full frame RF lenses on the smaller camera bodies without any problem, though the smaller sensor format effectively 'crops' the image to give a narrower angle of view. This so-called 'crop factor' means that you have to multiply a lens's actual focal length by 1.6 to get its effective focal length on the EOS R50. Don't worry, though, because we've quoted these effective focal lengths in our specs for each lens.

Normally, the best Canon RF lenses are a big, heavy and expensive option for APS-C cameras, but that's not the case here, because Canon makes a range of lightweight and affordable full-frame RF prime lenses that work really well on the EOS R50, and we have included three of them in our list.

Unlike Canon's full-frame models, like the EOS R6 II and the EOS R5, the EOS R50 does not have in-body stabilization, so it's an advantage to have lenses with their own in-built IS. All three of the Canon RF-S lenses in this list do have IS, but some full-frame Canon RF primes don't.

Rod Lawton
Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews Editor. He has used practically every interchangeable-lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium-format cameras, so he has the expertise to select the best Canon lenses for you.

The Quick List

The best lenses for the Canon EOS R50 in 2024

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 how we test.

Best starter lens for the R50

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan)
The standard kit lens for the EOS R50 is small, light, and rather good

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF-S
Effective focal length: 29-72mm
Stabilizer: 4 stops
Min focus distance: 0.2-0.35m
Max magnification: 0.26x
Filter thread: 49mm
Size: 69 x 44.3mm, 130g

Reasons to buy

+
4 stops of IS
+
Super small and light
+
Quick, quiet autofocus

Reasons to avoid

-
Slow aperture
-
Not weather sealed

This is the standard kit lens for the Canon EOS R50, so if you've bought this camera, you probably have this already. But if you've yet to buy and you're still weighing up the options, you probably want to know whether this lens is any good or not. Well, it is! 

As a compact companion to the R50, or Canon's other APS-C EOS R models for that matter, the RF-S 18-45mm is a fantastic option for everyday stills and video shooting. It's obviously not going to give the same performance as L-series or even mid-range glass, but it still delivers solid image quality, along with with fast autofocus and solid stabilization. Best of all, it's really compact and light.

Read more: Canon RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM review

Best telephoto lens for the R50

(Image credit: Future)
The ideal telephoto for the R10

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF-S
Effective focal length: 88-336mm
Stabilizer: 4.5 stops
Min focus distance: 0.73-1m
Max magnification: 0.28x
Filter thread: 55mm
Size: 69 x 135mm, 270g

Reasons to buy

+
Very compact and light
+
Good performance and image quality
+
4.5-stop stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
No weather-seals or supplied hood
-
Restrictive f/5-7.1 aperture rating

If you're interested in longer-range sports or wildlife photography, you can fit any of Canon's full-frame telephoto zooms straight on to the EOS R50. But that's a pretty expensive option, especially when you've got this much cheaper telephoto option designed specifically for the smaller format.

This telephoto zoom is entirely in keeping with the compact, lightweight theme while adding serious reach, equivalent to 88-336mm in full-frame terms. That’s no mean feat for a lens that weighs in at just 270g (9.5oz) and fits in the palm of your hand. It has fast autofocus and highly effective optical stabilization, the only real downsides being that it has a fairly ‘slow’ aperture rating and pretty basic handling.

Read more: Canon RF-S 55-210mm f/5-7.1 IS STM review

Best wide-angle lens for the R50

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

3. Canon RF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM

The best wide-angle zoom for the EOS R50

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF-S
Effective focal length: 16-28mm
Stabilizer: 4.5 stops
Min focus distance: 0.14m (AF), 0.086m (MF)
Max magnification: 0.23x (AF), 0.5x (MF - 10mm)
Filter thread: 49mm
Size: 69 x 46.3mm, 150g

Reasons to buy

+
4 stops of stabilization
+
Unique wide-angle zoom option
+
Pairs well with kit lens

Reasons to avoid

-
Maximum aperture is not that wide
-
Not weather sealed

It is finally here! A wide-angle zoom has been the missing link in the RF-S lens line-up for some time, but now the EOS R50 has an affordable option for shooting interiors, landscapes and buildings. The wide angle of view also makes this the option for vloggers. 

The 10-18mm delivers sharp, high-contrast photos, although it does exhibit some distortion, especially at the widest setting. Fortunately, this is easily correctable in-camera or through minimal post-processing. The lens' narrow aperture can be a limitation in low-light situations.

Read more: Canon RF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM hands-on review

Best general-purpose lens for the R50

(Image credit: James Artaius)
Need a longer zoom range than the regular kit lens? Here's your answer!

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF-S
Effective focal length: 29-240mm
Stabilizer: 4.5 stops
Min focus distance: 0.17-0.45m
Max magnification: 0.31x
Filter thread: 55mm
Size: 69 x 84.5mm, 310g

Reasons to buy

+
4.5 stops of stabilization
+
8.3x zoom range
+
0.59x macro

Reasons to avoid

-
No weather sealing
-
Average corner sharpness

The regular Canon RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM kit lens is a great general purpose kit lens, but what if you want a longer zoom range? The RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is a bigger and more expensive alternative, but it does give you the equivalent of a 240mm telephoto at its longer focal length. You may see this lens as a bundled option for the EOS R50, but it's more likely you'll have to buy it separately. 

You might think that no lens with a focal length this broad is ever going to produce sensational image quality, but the Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM nevertheless performs very well for a superzoom optic. It's a great all-purpose, all-in-one lens for Canon APS-C cameras.

Read more: Canon RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM review

Best landscape photography lens for the R50

(Image credit: Alistair Campbell)
This pocket-sized full frame lens offers a wide angle of view on the R50

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Effective focal length: 26mm
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.13m
Max magnification: 0.26x
Filter thread: 43mm
Size: 69.2 x 40.2mm, 165g

Reasons to buy

+
Pretty fast aperture rating
+
Amazingly compact and light
+
Very well priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Lens hood sold separately
-
No weather-seals or IS

This is really a popular lens with full-frame Canon users, because it offers a really wide angle of view and a really low price! It works really well on the smaller-format EOS R50 too, with a slightly wider angle of view than the kit lens and a much wider maximum aperture. Despite its pocket-sized build, this lens delivers impressive image quality and boasts a speedy, unerringly accurate autofocus system. 

When you use this lens on full-frame cameras, the definition drops away somewhat at the edges of the frame, but the advantage of using it on the R50 is that you're only using the central part of the lens, where any lens performs at its best.

Read more: Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM review

Best portrait photography lens for the R50

(Image credit: James Artaius)
Canon's super-affordable 'nifty fifty' becomes a perfect portrait lens on the R50

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Effective focal length: 80mm
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.3m
Max magnification: 0.25x
Filter thread: 43mm
Size: 69.2 x 40.5mm, 160g

Reasons to buy

+
Small and light
+
Impressive image quality
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Not weather sealed
-
No image stabilization

A cheap 'nifty fifty' is a popular first buy for camera owners building a system, but while this is a full-frame lens, it's equally useful on the smaller-format EOS R50, where it can take on a completely different role. The smaller sensor means that this lens has an effective focal length of 80mm – and this, combined with the fast maximum aperture of f/1.8, makes it a great portrait lens for the EOS R50. 

The Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM is quite simply an essential lens for every camera bag; small and light enough to go anywhere, fast enough to shoot in low light and snap into focus in a heartbeat, and silent and smooth enough to be used for video work.

Read more: Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM review

Best macro lens for the R50

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Future)
Canon's unusual full frame wide/macro lens works rather well

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Effective focal length: 56mm
Stabilizer: 5 stops
Min focus distance: 0.17m
Max magnification: 0.5x
Filter thread: 52mm
Size: 74.4 x 62.8mm, 305g

Reasons to buy

+
0.5x macro capability
+
'Nifty fifty' angle of view on R50
+
Image stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Can be expensive

Here's another full-frame Canon prime lens that's well worth a look. This one is a little more expensive because it has a couple of extra features. The first is in-built image stabilization, which is really useful on a camera like the EOS R50 which doesn't have IBIS, and the second is a 'macro' capability that offers up to 0.5x magnification. That's not quite as much as a genuine 1x macro lens, but it still lets you get very close to small subjects. 

We do see some price variations, so that this lens can be significantly more expensive in the UK than the US, for example, but you are getting a lot for your money in terms of a wide maximum aperture, image stabilization and that 0.5x close-up capability.

Read more: Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM review

Best compact lens for the R50

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan)
This pint-sized pancake lens could be the perfect fit for your EOS R50

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Effective focal length: 45mm
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.23m
Max magnification: 0.17x
Filter thread: 55mm
Size: 69.2 x 24.7mm, 120g

Reasons to buy

+
Pocket-sized pancake lens
+
Useful 45mm effective focal length
+
Very affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
Very thin focus ring
-
Pricier RF 24mm is more versatile

This is another full-frame Canon RF prime lens, and one of the newest. What's interesting about this one is that it's a super-compact 'pancake' design, so that if you fit it to the EOS R50, which is pretty small itself, you've got a combination you can just slip into a coat pocket. The 28mm focal length gives you an effective 45mm angle of view on the EOS R50, so this could be a great general-purpose 'standard' lens. 

The Canon RF 28mm f/2.8 STM has really captured our hearts. It's pocket-friendly in terms of both size and price, but doesn't compromise on performance.

Read more: Canon RF 28mm f/2.8 STM hands-on review

How to choose the best lens for the Canon EOS R50

Do all Canon lenses fit the EOS R8?

The R50 uses the Canon RF mount, which means it works with all RF and RF-S lenses. RF-S lenses are tailored for use with APS-C Canon cameras such as the R50; they are typically small and light, which makes them a good physical match for the R50. RF lenses tend to be larger and heavier than RF-S lenses.

The R50 can also use Canon's older EF and EF-S lenses for DLSRs, but you have to buy a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R to fit the lenses.

The R80 can’t use EF-M lenses, which are made for the Canon EOS M series of cameras. No adaptor has been released for EF-M lenses. 

How do I know which lens to get for my R50?

The reason there are so many types of lens in the first place is that different scenes demand different lens designs, particularly when it comes to focal length and aperture rating.

Usually, you will decide what you want to photograph, then get a lens with the focal length that suits the situation. For example, to shoot landscapes you will need a wide-angle lens, while for sports and wildlife you will need a telephoto.

You can watch this video that explains focal length: it helps you work out what kind of lenses you need for different genres of photography. 

How we test lenses

The lens experts in our testing lab run a range of tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.

We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the centre of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths.

There's more to it than just the technical side, though! Beyond the lab, our reviewers test lenses in real-world environments – and sometimes on professional shoots! We work with lenses both indoors and outdoors, in studio conditions and in natural light, with as many different subjects as is possible (or appropriate – there's no point testing a landscape lens' ability to shoot a portrait!). 

We take into account everything from handling and ease of use to speed of autofocus and the overall quality of the images produced. 

Find out more about how we test and review on Digital Camera World

Rod Lawton
Contributor

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com



With contributions from