Chinese manufacturer Viltrox has become the latest third-party manufacturer to pull its Canon RF lenses from sale.
The company joins the likes of Samyang as a producer of affordable third-party optics that has withdrawn its Canon RF products from the marketplace with no official explanation as to why – though customers sharing their experiences with company representatives paint an interesting picture.
Conspicuously absent from the Viltrox website is the Viltrox AF 85mm f/1.8 RF II, a fast $400 prime lens with autofocus and a native Canon RF mount. According to a user on the DP Review forums, all mention of the lens – including its product page and firmware update section – vanished around two weeks ago.
Another user apparently followed up the issue by contacting Viltrox on Instagram, whereupon a representative explained that Canon had told the company to stop selling RF lenses.
"We have been told by Canon to stop selling all RF mount products, so we will not release RF related information on the official website," reads the exchange, as shared by DP Review.
"We're not the first company to be stopped. If Canon opens up permissions [sic] in the future, there may be changes."
This certainly jibes with rumors floating around last year, when Samyang likewise suddenly stopped selling Canon RF products, removing their listings from its website in June 2021.
Similarly, no official word was forthcoming, with only the company's Facebook and Instagram accounts giving any sort of explanation when asked why the RF products had been dropped.
"Due to technical difficulties, we are currently unable to provide you with this information," came the ominous reply on Facebook, while the Instagram response was a mysterious yet at least confirmatory "Yes, Samyang has stopped producing these lenses," (though interestingly, Samyang's sister brand Rokinon continues to sell them).
It seems entirely likely, particularly given Viltrox' comment about 'opening up permission', that these third-party companies had not officially licensed the RF mount from Canon – probably reverse-engineering the lenses instead. Since it is not an open mount, Canon would be within its right to ask the products to be withdrawn unless the RF technology is appropriately licensed.
Either way, B&H is currently still selling the Viltrox AF 85mm f/1.8 RF II and Amazon is still carrying the original Viltrox AF 85mm f/1.8 RF in the UK. If you want one, we'd advise buying it while you still can…