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The Best Canon RF Prime Lenses for Stellar Photos

The Canon RF camera system isn’t as full and complete as some others, but it also offers some very unique lens options. Canon tends to make everything in-house, which also means they’re typically not sharing components with other manufacturers. That gives you unique image quality and means you have to do far less post-production to make your images stand out. They’re a favorite of a few staffers here. And so we dove into our Reviews Index to find the best Canon RF prime lenses.

Pro Tips on Using the Best Canon RF Prime Lenses

Here are some pro tips on using the best Canon RF prime lenses:

  • Canon RF prime lenses have two, sometimes three main control rings. One is for programmable functions, another is for focusing, and yet another could be for some special function that’s inherent to the lens.
  • We’ve tested all these lenses ourselves. The images you see in this roundup were shot by our staff. There are also links to our full reviews to supplement the quotes here. We recommend you dive into our full reviews to determine if these lenses are you for.
  • The best Canon RF prime lenses here are sharp, but they’re not clinical. If you don’t want the clinical look some other brands offer, then reach for Canon lenses.
  • Canon, as of this publishing in April 2022, reserves weather resistance for their L-branded lenses. These lenses have a red ring around the front and are affectionately called their Luxury lenses. Weather resistance helps with durability over the long run, even if you’re not going into inclement weather.
  • These lenses tend to be heavy, at least that’s the case with the “L” lenses.

Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 50mm f1.2 L USM RF Canon EOS R review product images 4

Avg

  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Weather sealing
  • Pretty fast autofocus, much faster than the DSLR versions
  • Build quality is solid.
  • The textured, matte feel is nice.
  • The control ring around the lens feels like an organic aperture ring.
  • People simply look good with this lens attached.

Cons

  • Expensive, but when you consider what this lens is, then it makes sense for what you do
  • Though it sort of isn’t needed, image stabilization would have been nice due to the size.

How’s the Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon RF 50mm f1.2 L USM sample images in Hawaii 33

In our review, we state:

“Look at that bokeh. It’s simply beautiful. Combine this with the micro-contrast this lens offers and you’re getting guaranteed gorgeous photos. ”

Worth the Price?

Our Editor in Chief bought this lens when it came out. And he hasn’t had a single regret about it. You can buy this lens at Amazon.

Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM first impressions product images Canon EOS RCanon RF 50mm f 1.2L USM2.81 50s100

Avg

  • Ultra-fast aperture
  • Snappy autofocus
  • Razor-sharp
  • Excellent image quality
  • Robust weather sealing

Cons

  • Lacks image stabilization
  • Heavy (hope you’ve been doing those bicep curls!)
  • Slight vignetting when wide open

How’s the Image Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM first impressions sample images Canon EOS RRF85mm F1.2 L USM21 800s100

In our review, we state:

“The Canon RF 85mm f1.2 L USM is one of the best 85mm lenses I’ve ever used, and between reviewing cameras and lenses for The Phoblographer and photographing headshot clients, I’ve used a hell of a lot of lenses.

Sure, it’s bulky and weighs a ton, but boy is the resulting images worth lugging the lens around. Portrait photographers will appreciate the f1.2 aperture, especially if you miss that from the old Canon EF lenses. ”

Worth the Price?

If you’re not a fan of the 50mm view, this is probably one of the best Canon RF lenses you can get for shooting portraits. Honestly, it’s also one of the best on the market. You can buy this lens at Amazon.

Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS USM Macro

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 35mm f1.8 RF IS USM review product images f2.8 1 100s ISO400 4

Avg

  • Small and lightweight
  • Fairly fast to focus
  • It’s a lens designed to always be on your camera
  • Image stabilization (very much needed in the system)
  • Gorgeous bokeh
  • Sharp enough for most uses but not as sharp as most L glass I’ve seen. Still, it’s a shocker
  • Pretty affordable at its regular price of $ 449.

Cons

  • We would have gladly paid more money for weather sealing.

How’s the Image Quality

In our review, we state:

“While the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 USM IS isn’t quite L quality, I’m impressed by what it can deliver. This lens is very much designed for an amateur and enthusiast so it is therefore not designed to render the best image quality.

If you’re a higher-end enthusiast or a professional you’ll need to reach for the company’s L lenses. Some of the best things about the image quality are the bokeh and, like many other lenses out there, you’ll need to use a flash to get the most sharpness.

However, as I say that, I went back into Capture One to look at the sharpness: it’s impressive for a lens this affordable and for a system this new. While folks may hate the new Canon RF system, and I really can’t deny it could be more innovative, the lenses and performance are more than good enough for most folks. ”

Worth the Price?

It’s not weather-resistant. However, this is insanely affordable for what it offers. You can buy this lens at Amazon.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a vegetarian lifelong. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product.

We only recommend gear we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it.

This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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