Best lenses for the Canon EOS R6 in 2022

Best lenses for Canon EOS R6
(Image credit: Canon)

Choosing the best lenses for the Canon EOS R6 (opens in new tab) means weighing up its abilities and the kind of photographers and videographers it will appeal to. Resolution nuts will bypass it completely in favour of the EOS R5 (opens in new tab), but the R6 does have advantages of its own.

For a start, its 20MP resolution is modest by today’s standards, especially amongst full frame mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab), but still perfectly adequate for sports and wildlife, wedding, social and event photography.

We do hear camera rumors (opens in new tab), as we write this, that the EOS R6 may soon be replaced. If that’s true, we’re pretty sure it will be with a like-for-like model that builds on the R6’s strengths, so our list of recommended lenses isn’t likely to change.

The lower pixel count means improve burst speeds and buffer capacity for sports and wildlife, improved image quality at higher ISOs in indoor venue, night-time events and other challenging situations – and let’s not forget that it’s a lot cheaper than the R5!

If you're still deciding which is right for you, check out our guide to the Canon EOS R5 vs EOS R6, and also the best Canon cameras right now.

So here we’ve picked a selection of lenses that suit this camera and the things it’s good at doing. We do have a bigger list of the best Canon RF lenses, but this is more selective and aimed at this particular model.

We’ve also covered a range of focal lengths and uses to represent the many different subjects this camera is capable of capturing.

Best lenses for the Canon EOS R6 in 2022

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(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
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Every photographer needs a standard zoom, and this is the best

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
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

The 24-70mm f/2.8 has become the standard 'pro' lens for every full-frame camera system, offering a constant maximum aperture and first-rate image quality. We'll admit it's not quite perfect with somewhat average edge sharpness, though this might be a lot less obvious on the 20MP EOS R6. Otherwise, it’s snappy, it’s sharp, it’s stabilized and it even suppresses focus breathing, so this makes it an especially capable lens for videographers too. It also has image stabilization, and while this is perhaps less important with the R6, which has IBIS, every little helps, as they say. The alternatives to this lens are the monster-sized Canon RF 28-70mm F2L USM, but that lacks stabilization and only goes to a 28mm wide-angle view rather than 24mm. Or there's the Canon RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM, but that's quite big too and one f-stop slower.

(Image credit: Future)
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This Canon ultra-wide constant aperture zoom is a no-brainer for most pros

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Autofocus: Nano Ultrasonic
Stabilizer: 5-stop
Min focus distance: 0.28m
Max magnification: 0.21x
Filter thread: 82mm
Dimensions (WxL): 89x127mm
Weight: 840g

Reasons to buy

+
Super-wide viewing angles
+
Removable hood

Reasons to avoid

-
Corner-sharpness could be better

If you're after a native RF zoom lens that is wider than a standard 24-70mm, you're only option is the Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8. It's perfect for landscape, architectural, and travel photography as well as close-up sporting action thanks to its super-fast Nano USM autofocus system. You can really exaggerate the perspective between background and foreground areas when shooting at the wide end of the zoom range though it's worth noting corner sharpness does drop off a bit. An ultra-wide zoom might not be an essential buy for all Canon EOS R6 owners, but this is the second of three 'trinity' lenses that practically every pro will have on their list. The constant f/2.8 maximum with a 5-stop image stabilizer to enable great handheld performance under low-lighting conditions. Unlike with some ultra-wide-angle lenses, another bonus is that the hood is removable, so filters can be easily fitted via the 82mm attachment ring.

(Image credit: Future)
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A 70-200mm f/2.8 is practically an essential accessory in a pro's kit bag

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Elements/groups: Dual Nano Ultrasonic
Stabilizer: 5-stop
Min focus distance: 0.7m
Max magnification: 0.23x
Filter thread: 77mm
Dimensions (WxL): 90x146mm
Weight: 1,070g

Reasons to buy

+
Super-fast autofocus
+
Triple-mode 5-stop stabilizer

Reasons to avoid

-
Weighty
-
Expensive

A 70-200mm f/2.8 is the third 'trinity' lens at the heart of most pro camera systems, especially a camera like the EOS R6, which is perfect for sports, wildlife and event photography. And while Canon’s RF lenses are often criticized for feeling big and heavy on mirrorless bodies, but this one remains reasonably slim and svelte. Compared with the latest EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens for Canon's D-SLRs, it’s significantly smaller and only about two-thirds of the weight – mostly because this RF edition has an extending inner barrel rather than a fixed physical length. Autofocus is amazingly rapid, based on dual Nano USM actuators, and three switchable modes are on offer for static and panning shots, plus a third option that applies stabilization only during exposures. This makes it easier to track erratically moving objects in the viewfinder, or via the camera’s rear screen.

(Image credit: Future)
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If the Canon 70-200mm isn't long enough, this powerful supertelephoto is the next logical choice

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Autofocus: Nano Ultrasonic
Stabilizer: 5-stop
Min focus distance: 0.9-1.2m
Max magnification: 0.33x
Filter thread: 77mm
Dimensions (WxL): 93.8 x 207.6mm
Weight: 1530g

Reasons to buy

+
Stellar build and image quality
+
Versatile focal range

Reasons to avoid

-
Narrow maximum aperture
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Works best on R5 and R6 bodies

The Canon EOS R6 is perfectly equipped for sports and wildlife, with sophisticated AI subject recognition and a super-fast burst rate. But very often your subjects are some way off, and you need a more powerful telephoto. The Canon RF 100-500mm is a superb addition to the rapidly expanding range of RF-mount lenses for Canon's EOS R-series cameras. It combines Canon's legendary L-series build quality with premium optical performance that's up there with the very best Canon zoom lenses we've tested. Its autofocus is also optimized to match the AF and in-body stabilization of the EOS R6, and while this is a big lens with a comparatively modes f/4.5-7.1 aperture range, it does offer an impressive 5x zoom range for quickly adapting to different subject distances out in the field.

(Image credit: James Artaius)
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Quite possibly the best portrait lens you can get, but it's not cheap

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Autofocus: Yes
Stabilizer: None
Min focus distance: 0.85m
Max magnification: 0.12x
Filter thread: 82mm
Dimensions (WxL): 103.2 x 117.3mm
Weight: 1195g

Reasons to buy

+
The nicest portrait lens we've ever used
+
Breathtaking bokeh and blur

Reasons to avoid

-
It's enormous and heavy
-
Breathtakingly expensive

Switching away from sports and wildlife for the moment and back to commercial and events photography, the EOS R6's other great strength, there's this – perhaps the best portrait lens in the world. It's the pièce de résistance of the Canon RF lenses and possibly one of the finest portrait lenses we've ever used. It's fiercely sharp, even when shooting at f/1.2 and when shooting wide open, it delivers sublime subject separation and a beautifully blurred background. However, it's a beast of a lens weighing almost 1.2kg with dimensions of 103.2x117.3mm. As it's so heavy it's especially well suited to the Canon EOS R6 as it has in-body stabilization which will help to steady the setup while you're shooting. It's also probably not the best lens to invest in if you plan on taking it traveling or hiking as it's bound to weigh you down. Chances are if you're a pro you could justify the cost of this lens but if not, the Canon RF 85mm f/2 will still deliver beautiful images only at a fraction of the weight and price and has a handy 'macro' capability too. 

(Image credit: Future)
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Our last recommended lens for the Canon EOS R6 is a wildcard – this brilliant little 'street' lens

Specifications

Mount: Canon RF
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Stabilizer: 5-stop hybrid
Min focus distance: 0.17m
Max magnification: 0.5x
Filter thread: 52mm
Dimensions (WxL): 74x63mm
Weight: 305g

Reasons to buy

+
Small and lightweight
+
Relatively inexpensive
+
0.5x macro with hybrid stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Lacks zooming convenience
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Autofocus isn’t particularly speedy

The 35mm focal length has long been associated with street photography, but we reckon this great little prime lens would be equally useful for wedding, social or event photography, as a quick grab-and-go lens, maybe on a second body. The semi-wide 35mm focal length is versatile, the f/1.8 maximum aperture will give you decent shutter speeds in low light and good background blur, and while the macro facility only offers 0.5x magnification rather than true 1x macro, it still gets you close enough for frame-filling shots of the rings, wedding invites, cake decorations and all the other atmospheric details of social events. It’s wonderfully compact and lightweight, as well as only costing about a fifth of the price of Canon’s bulky f/1.2 lenses. Indeed, the relatively small and inexpensive build enabled by the more modest aperture rating makes you wonder why Canon hasn’t made more f/1.8 RF primes yet. 

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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 (opens in new tab) but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com (opens in new tab)