Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM review: big viewing angle, small price

The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is tiny, affordable and ideal for vlogging, interiors, landscapes, architecture or astro

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM review
(Image: © Future)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM, like the RF 35mm, 50mm and 85mm primes before it, 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, from an unfeasibly small lens that’s unbeatable value for money. If ever a lens was a no-brainer, it’s this one.


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    Ultra-wide viewing angle

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    Pretty fast aperture rating

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    Amazingly compact and lightweight

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    Very well priced


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    Uncorrected barrel distortion is huge

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    Lens hood sold separately

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    No weather-seals or IS

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Canon faced some initial criticism for its big and hefty RF-mount lenses that somewhat negated the slimline advantage of mirrorless EOS R-series cameras. More recently, the pounds have dropped off with a spate of compact, lightweight lenses, including the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM, RF 50mm f/1.8 STM, RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM, RF 600mm F11 IS STM and RF 800mm F11 IS STM, as well as the RF 14-35mm F4L IS USM, RF 24-105mm F4L IS USM, RF 70-200mm F4L IS USM and RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS USM zooms. That’s quite a list!

The RF 16mm F2.8 STM is the latest prime to join the catwalk club, with slinky dimensions and a weight of just 165g, while delivering an ultra-wide viewing angle that’s ideal for shooting everything from cramped architectural interiors, through sweeping landscapes to the starry night sky above. And all at an incredibly competitive price.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.