Canon's 10 most popular RF lenses – as bought by you in the last year!

Canon RF 100-500mm
(Image credit: Future)

If you're a keen photographer or filmmaker the best Canon cameras might have tempted you over to the system, be that the brand new flagship, the Canon EOS R3, or if 8K cameras are your thing, the Canon EOS R5 is probably sitting in your kit bag.

While cameras are the backbone of your work, lenses are an important and integral part of your creative career, and choosing them wisely to suit your needs is a time-consuming effort. So what do photographers actually buy? New York photo megastore B&H Photo Video has shared with us this list of the ten most popular Canon RF lenses it sold in 2022.

These range from the best Canon telephoto lenses to some of the best Canon wide-angle lenses for every budget so If you're looking to match optical performance with your Canon EOS R6, or you want to have a 'do-it-all' lens for your newly ordered Canon EOS R7 - each lens on this list is perfect for your budget and need, so scroll down and see what other customers are buying, and why maybe you should too. 

(Image credit: James Artaius)

1. Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Not a standard zoom, but even better in many ways

Mount: Canon RF | Elements/groups: 6/5 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Stepping motor | Stabilizer: None | Minimum focus distance: 0.30m | Maximum magnification: 0.25x | Filter thread: 43mm | Dimensions (WxL): 69.2x40.5mm | Weight: 160g

Very affordable
Impressive image quality
Truly pocket-sized
Not weather sealed

If you've got really deep pockets, then you won't go wrong with the stunning RF 50mm f/1.2L USM lens. However, for those of us with more modest budgets, Canon's pocket-sized RF 50mm f/1.8 STM costs a fraction of the price of its f/1.2 stablemate, and you don't even need to make many compromises. 

Sure, it's a little slower, but f/1.8 will still deliver nicely defocused backgrounds, and our tests show it's a match for the f/1.2 version in some areas. Focusing speeds are also very good, with the stepping motor (STM) AF offering quick and quiet focus. It's also better made than the EF equivalent lens, making this a must-buy for R series photographers.

Read our full Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM review for more details

(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

2. Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM

Canon’s pro-grade telephoto zoom for EOS R-series cameras

Mount: Canon RF | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Dual Nano USM | Stabilizer: 5-stops | Minimum focus distance: 0.7m | Maximum magnification: 0.23x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 90x146mm | Weight: 1,070g

Compact for a 70-200mm f/2.8
Top-notch performance 
Razor-sharp image quality
Very expensive to buy

The vast majority of 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lenses have a fixed physical length, which remains the same at all zoom and focus settings. While this RF-mount lens has internal focusing, it has an inner barrel that extends as you zoom from 70mm to 200mm focal lengths. 

This enables a much more compact stowage size, as well as more lightweight construction. Indeed, it’s only about two-thirds the weight of most 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms on the market, making it feel better balanced on R-series mirrorless cameras. High-tech thrills include super-fast Dual Nano USM autofocus and 5-stop optical image stabilization, all wrapped up in a solid, weather-sealed casing. It’s simply the best telephoto zoom for EOS R-series cameras, but it comes at a heavy purchase price.

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

(Image credit: Canon)

3. Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

A stunning macro lens - Canon R-series users are in for a treat!

Mount: Canon RF | Elements/groups: 17/13 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Yes | Stabilizer: 5 stops (2 stops at 1.0x) / 8 stops on Canon EOS R5 & R6 | Minimum focus distance: 0.26m | Maximum magnification: 1.4x | Filter thread: 67mm | Dimensions (WxL): 81.5x148mm | Weight: 730g

1:1.4 reproduction ratio
Ridiculously sharp
SA (bokeh!) control
Near-zero focus breathing
Possible 8 stops of IS
Expensive, inevitably

The Canon RF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM takes everything that was great about the EF version of this lens and makes it even better. Magnification is boosted to 1.4x. Stabilization and equipped with 8 stops (on the EOS R5 and R6). 

Bokeh? even more beautiful, thanks to a control ring that shifts the lens elements. Focus and breathing? Faster and more controlled than ever. It's a superb standalone portrait lens as well, with pin-sharp rendering and a flattering focal length. If you're an EOS R-series shooter and you want to photograph close-ups of small things and large things alike, you've just found your next purchase.

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

(Image credit: Future)

4. Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM

This is a pro grade wideangle zoom for Canon EOS R models

Mount: Canon RF | Elements/groups: 16/12 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Nano USM | Stabilizer: 5-stops | Minimum focus distance: 0.28m | Maximum magnification: 0.21x | Filter thread: 82mm | Dimensions (WxL): 89x127mm | Weight: 840g

Fast and constant f/2.8 aperture
Filter thread and removable hood
Fairly weighty
Expensive to buy

Rather than try to keep the weight down with a more modest aperture rating, Canon has gone for glory with this ‘trinity’ lens, adopting a faster f/2.8 aperture that remains constant throughout the zoom range. The net result is a comparatively large ultra-wide zoom that goes equally large on performance and image quality.

 Nano USM autofocus is fast and accurate, as well as being virtually silent in operation, while the image stabilizer gives a 5-stop benefit in beating camera shake. Aspherical and UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) elements enable impressive sharpness while keeping distortions and color fringing to a minimum, and both of Canon’s premium SWC (Sub-Wavelength structure Coating) and ASC (Air Sphere Coating) are applied to minimize ghosting and flare. It’s the wide-angle zoom of choice for EOS R cameras.

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

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

5. Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM

A stunning ultra-fast standard zoom for Canon EOS R cameras

Mount: Canon RF | Elements/groups: 21/15 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: USM | Stabilizer: 5-stop | Filter thread: 82mm | Dimensions (WxL): 125.7mm x 88.5mm / 4.95 in. x 3.48 in | Weight: 900g / 1.98 lbs

5-stop image stabilization
Fast f/2.8 aperture
Weather-sealed construction
Corner sharpness could be better
Expensive

In terms of pure performance, the RF 24-70mm is a classic workhorse lens that delivers amazing results. This has been a staple lens for all types of photographers for decades as it covers almost every focal length working photographers need in a pinch, all in one package. 

Canon finally added image stabilization to the RF version of the lens after leaving it off the EF version for so long, and it doesn't half make a difference. Being able to shoot in low light handheld with even lower shutter speeds is a very welcome addition. Every photographer needs a 24-70mm lens in their kit bag, and for Canin RF shooters, there isn't a finer one than this.

Read our review of the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM for more details

(Image credit: Future)

6. Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM

You'll pay a premium for this powerful performer but the image quality is worth it

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

Stellar build and image quality
Versatile focal range
Narrow maximum aperture
Works best on R5 and R6 bodies

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. 

There is, however, a catch: to really get the most from the autofocus system, especially for accurate action shots, you’ll need to pair it with the amazing AF and IBIS on the R5 or R6. Shoot with this lens on the older EOS R or RP and you can expect AF to be noticeably more sluggish, which is somewhat disappointing when you've just dropped big money on a lens like this.

Read our full Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM review for more details

(Image credit: Future)

7. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM

The best RF lens for street photography due to size, focal length and price

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

Small and lightweight
Relatively inexpensive
0.5x macro with hybrid stabilization
Lacks zooming convenience
Autofocus isn’t particularly speedy

If you’re only going to buy one own-brand prime lens for your Canon R-series camera, this is the one to go for. 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. 

The 35mm focal length is perfect for street photography and gives an entirely natural viewing perspective that works well for landscape and architectural photography, as well as for environmental portraits where you want to include a person’s surroundings. The versatility doesn’t end there, as the lens has a short 0.17m minimum focus distance that enables 0.5x macro shooting, complete with a hybrid 5-stop stabilizer that corrects for x-y shift in addition to the more usual angular vibrations.

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

(Image credit: Future)

8. Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM

Tiny, affordable and ideal for vlogging, interiors, landscapes, architecture or astro

Mount: Canon RF | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: No | Min focus distance: 0.13m | Max magnification: 0.26x | Filter thread: 43mm | Dimensions (WxL): 69.2x40.1mm | Weight: 165g

Ultra-wide viewing angle
Pretty fast aperture rating
Amazingly compact and lightweight
Very well priced
Huge uncorrected barrel distortion
Lens hood sold separately
No weather-seals or IS

Though not quite as wide as the Rokinon/Samyang MF 14mm f/2.8 RF (below), Canon's 16mm wide prime is just as affordable and packs the added bonus of autofocus. It's equally fast, too, yet at a mere 40mm long and 165g light, it's considerably more portable. 

In fact, like the RF 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm primes before it, this 16mm makes a convincing case for leaving a standard zoom lens out of the shooting equation and sticking to prime numbers. And even if you do generally shoot with a standard zoom, the RF 16mm is an excellent addition, delivering an ultra-wide viewing angle with convincing image quality and all-round performance. If ever a lens was a no-brainer, it’s this one.

Read our full Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM review for more details 

Best Canon telephoto: Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM

(Image credit: Future)

9. Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM

compact and affordable super-telephoto zoom for Canon EOS R-series cameras

Mount: Canon RF | Full-frame compatible: Yes | Autofocus type: Nano USM | Stabilizer: 5.5-stop Optical | Minimum focus distance: 0.88m | Filter thread: 67mm | Dimensions (WxL): 79.5 x 164.7mm | Weight: 635g

Fast autofocus and good stabilization
Features a focus-distance scale
Not weather-sealed
Pricier than non-stabilized lenses

The Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM is designed for EOS R-series full-frame bodies, on which it’s an excellent fit, making for a slimline and easily manageable overall package.

Autofocus is super-fast, image stabilization is highly effective and image quality is highly impressive in all respects. The aperture rating of f/8 will be limiting if you need a lens to shoot in low light, but that’s the price you pay for the conveniently downsized design – and the actual price is sensible as well.

Read our full Canon RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM review for more details

Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM

(Image credit: Future)

10. Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM

The best value L-series glass that Canon has ever made

Mount: Canon RF | Full-frame compatible: Yes | Autofocus type: Nano USM | Stabilizer: 5.5-stops (up to 7 stops with stabilized body) | Minimum focus distance: 0.20m | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 84 x 99mm | Weight: 544g

Incredible image stabilizer
Close focusing distance
Wide 14mm field of view
Feels a little plasticky
Still a pricey proposition

With the Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM, the manufacturer has essentially created a new category of lens. Yes, there are comparable optics, namely the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S(opens in new tab), but no other model matches the potential stabilization benefits and focal range. 

Image quality is superb, portability is hugely welcome and the close focusing ability is a big bonus. It's not the cheapest lens around but, compared to the RF 15-35mm f/2.8L trinity version, there is a significant cost saving. This winning optic represents excellent value for a balance of quality, size, and feature spec.

Read our full Canon RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM review for more details

As you can see this list features some of the best know lenses from Canon in very popular focal lengths, perfect if you want the best Canon lens for portraits or looking for the best Canon telephoto for sports photography.

Hopefully, this list would have helped in some way to make your purchase of some of the best Canon RF lenses on the market today. If this has been of interest why not take a look at what we think are the best cameras for sports photography, best cameras for wildlife or if filmmaking is how you make your bread and butter, why not take a look at the best 6K and 8K cameras.

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