The Canon RF 16mm f2.8 STM is a compact ultra-wide prime lens for the full-frame EOS R mirrorless system, aimed at landscape, architecture, astro-photography and vlogging. Announced in September 2021 alongside the RF 100-400mm, the new RF 16mm f2.8 costs around $299 or 319 pounds, and I had a brief chance to handle an early pre-production model, so I’ll keep this short.
The RF 16mm f2.8 STM doesn’t just become by far the widest prime lens in the RF system to date – it’s one of the smallest and cheapest too. Until now, ultra-wide coverage in the native RF mount has been left to often large and expensive L-series zooms. The new RF 16mm is a completely different proposition: smaller, lighter and much cheaper, bringing ultra-wide goodness to a broader audience.
I’ve got it mounted here on an EOS R6 body where you can see the internal barrel extends a little as it powers-up and focuses, like the RF 35 and RF 50 1.8 models. Speaking of the RF 50 1.8, the new RF 16 2.8 is almost exactly the same size at just 69x40mm and weighing 165g; it’s a very compact and light lens. There’s no optical stabilisation, and as far as I know, it’s not weather-proof either, but the STM focusing motor is quick and quiet, and it also takes 43mm filters.
Sadly I wasn’t allowed to take any sample photos with it yet, but Canon did let me film some video with it on the R6 to illustrate the coverage, depth of field and stabilisation for vlogging. So here’s a clip showing the 16mm at f2.8 on the R6 with sensor shift IBIS stabilisation only, and you can already see how the large field of view is perfect for environmental vlogs. Next with additional digital stabilisation where there’s a small crop applied, but it’s still very wide. And finally with the R6’s enhanced digital movie stabilisation which incurs a bigger crop to look more like 24mm coverage here.
The absence of optical stabilisation may seem like a downfall for a lens that’s partly aimed at vloggers, but in my experience, digital stabilisation often works better when walking and filming. Plus if you’re reasonably steady, you may not need any stabilisation at all at 16mm.
Either way, by giving you a taste of the exotic at one of the lowest prices in the system, the RF 16 2.8 looks set to sell like hotcakes, and I can’t wait to fully test it. I’ll link to my complete review here once it’s ready, but in the meantime, check out my reviews of the other RF lenses.Check prices on the Canon RF 16mm f2.8 STM at B&H, Adorama, WEX UK or Calumet.de. Alternatively get yourself a copy of my In Camera book or treat me to a coffee! Thanks!