As has become de rigueur in the industry, Canon maintains an official Canon RF lens roadmap – a schedule put out by the manufacturer, which lets consumers know what's on the way and when.
Although it was late to the full-frame mirrorless fray, Canon ultimately gave us two of the best mirrorless cameras currently available: the Canon EOS R and Canon EOS RP, both of which use the new RF mount.
While Canon still fully supports the EF mount, which was introduced in 1987, the manufacturer has made clear that "for now, our focus is on RF.” So 2020 marks Canon's true shift away from its 30-year-old EF system to the cutting-edge RF mount that will see the company through the next 30 years.
The Canon RF mount has the same 54mm diameter, but boasts a flange focal distance (the space between the lens and the sensor) of 20mm (24mm shorter than that of the EF/EF-S mount, thanks to the lack of mirror) and 12 electrical contacts (4 more than EF/EF-S, providing faster communication).
So far Canon has delivered 10 RF lenses covering a broad spectrum, from the 'trinity' f/2.8 zooms to boutique portrait lenses to an affordable macro optic. That said, most of the RF lenses deliver premium image quality at a premium price, so a selection of cheaper glass would be very much welcome.
Keep this page bookmarked, as we'll update the story as Canon announces new RF lenses. For now, these are the first-party optics you can currently purchase for your EOS R or RP…
Current Canon RF prime lenses
The lightest, and currently only non L-series, lens in the RF mount lineup, this super compact lens is perfect for street and travel photography – and, thanks to its tiny size and weight, it pairs perfectly with the svelte Canon EOS RP.
Launched along with the EOS R, the first prime for the system is a truly lustworthy lens. Sharp enough to cut glass and with bokeh to die for, it's a great showcase for what the RF mount is capable of.
This super-fast lens went on sale in June, and will be the lens that professional portrait photographers, top wedding shooters and bokeh lovers will want to get their hands on. Half a stop faster than the usual 85mm f/1.4 lenses used by these photographers love, this is likely to become an instant classic. But its credentials will come with a price to match...
See our Canon RF 85mm f/1.2L USM review
One of our favorite lenses for the RF mount, or indeed any camera system, the RF 85mm Defocus Smoothing optic is almost a Lensbaby lens in the special effect it delivers. Thanks to a special DS Coating on two lens elements it produces the creamiest, dreamiest, silky smoothest bokeh you'll ever see – albeit at the cost of about 1⅓ stops of light (giving this f/1.2 lens an effective T-stop of T2.2). Check out our review for comparison shots with the standard RF 85mm f/1.2L lens.
Current Canon RF zoom lenses
Filling the wide-angle gap for landscape shooters, this is the first of the all-important 'trinity lenses' (which also comprise the 24-70mm and 70-200mm optics) and it's a truly fantastic lens for stills and video alike.
The second of the trinity optics – all of which are image stabilized, with a fast f/2.8 aperture – this is the all-purpose lens that everyone from average Joes to working pros want in their kit bag.
The Canon EOS R was bundled with this lens at launch, but that 'kit lens' designation belies how good this optic really is. The first zoom, and the first stabilized lens, for the RF mount, it's a great all-round performer.
One of only two non L-series lenses currently available, like the 35mm f/1.8 – both of which seem tailor-made for the Canon EOS RP. An ultra-compact 10x optical zoom with stabilization, it's a brilliant everyday and travel lens.
Arriving at the tail end of 2018, this is a great example of the kind of optic that simply wasn't possible on the EF mount. Though a formidable tool for professionals, this bulky, heavy lens feels a little mismatched with the current R system bodies.
Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM
The third pillar of the holy trinity, this telephoto zoom gives the EOS R and RP a native option for wildlife, birding and sports photography. It's remarkably small at around two-thirds the size of the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM, only coming up to the focus ring of its EF counterpart when stood side by side.
Third-party Canon RF lenses
Obviously there are plenty of other manufacturers making lenses for the Canon EOS R and RP as well. Here are some of the highlights of other, non-Canon, optics available for the RF mount.
Lensbaby Optics, such as the new Lensbaby Edge 35, aren't lenses in their own right, but are add-ons for the Lensbaby Composer Pro II housing – which is now available for the RF mount. In addition, the company's dedicated standalone lenses – including the Lensbaby Velvet 56, Lensbaby Velvet 85 and Lensbaby Trio – are also available for Canon's full-frame mirrorless system.
A mirrorless-fit version of Samyang's best selling ultra-wide angle prime lens. It is constructed from fourteen elements in ten groups, with one H-ASP element, one ASP element and two ED elements in its build, along with six aperture blades. Measuring 87 x 120mm, and weighing 800g, it does not have a front filter ring due to the bulbous nature of the front element.
The Laowa 15mm f/2 Zero-D is a fantastic optic, offering an ultra wide-angle lens with a fast f/2 aperture and an affordable price – making it a bit of a unicorn lens for architectural and landscape photographers. And for videographers, the ability to de-click the aperture by sliding a switch makes this an essential lens for shooting wide. It's all-manual, but the image quality and distortion control are both impressive.
An update of a well-respected lens available in other mounts, known for its bokeh characteristics. The fast telephoto prime has a total of nine elements in seven groups, with eight diaphragm blades. An H-ASP lens minimizes various aberrations and maximizes the image quality and contrast from corner to corner, even wide open. Ultra-multi-coating promises low reflectivity and excellent contrast, and is claimed to offer high transmittance of light while minimizing flare and ghosting. The lens measures 78 x 98.7mm, weighs in at 730g, has a minimum focusing distance of 1m and has a front filter ring measuring 72mm.