Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 and 100-400mm f/5.6-8 Announcements

Tips & Techniques

Today, alongside the big EOS R3 announcement, Canon announced two new lenses for their RF mirrorless mount: a 16mm f/2.8 and a 100-400mm f/5.6-8. Both aim to be lightweight and portable (at least for their type of lens) and pretty inexpensive at $300 and $650 apiece. They ship in October.

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM

Canon RF 16mm f2.8 Official Product Photo

The first of the two lenses announced today is an ultra-wide, full-frame 16mm f/2.8 that Canon says is aimed at everything from architectural interiors to usage as a webcam. But the biggest market is certain to be landscape photography, particularly among photographers who want a less expensive, lighter weight lens than Canon’s 15-35 f/2.8.

16mm is not the most common focal length for a full-frame prime lens, but it’s an exciting one. Wide enough to encapsulate more than a more typical 24mm prime, but not so wide that it’s highly specialized, 16mm is an excellent focal length for landscape photography. The f/2.8 maximum aperture means it’s also a good lens for Milky Way photography where every photon is precious.

Here are the lens’s full specifications:

  • Mount Type: Canon RF Mount
  • Focal Length: 16mm
  • Angle of View: 107°
  • Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum Aperture: f/22
  • Aperture Blades: 7, rounded
  • Filter Size: 43mm
  • Lens Elements: 9
  • Lens Groups: 7
  • Special Elements: One aspherical
  • Coatings: Super Spectra coating
  • Electronic Diaphragm: Yes
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • Internal Focusing: Yes
  • Focus Motor: Stepping motor
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.13 meters (0.43 feet)
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.26× (1:3.8)
  • Mount Material: Metal
  • Weather/Dust Sealing: Yes
  • Dimensions (Length × Diameter): 40 × 69 mm / 1.6 × 2.7 inches
  • Weight: 165 g / 0.36 lbs
  • MSRP: $300 (pre-order here)

What stands out the most to me is the extremely light weight. This lens is almost as small and light as a pancake lens, easily making it one of the most portable ultrawides on the market today. Travel photographers, hikers, and simply people who carry their camera around all day will find this to be very welcome.

The following is an official sample image from this lens, showing a perhaps unorthodox use of it, but emphasizing that it has surprisingly solid close-up capabilities for a 16mm lens:

Canon RF 16mm f:2.8 Sample Image
Canon 16mm f/2.8 sample image

Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS USM

Canon 100-400mm f5.6-8 Official Product Photo
Canon 100-400mm f/5.6-8

On the other end of the focal length range is the Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8, a supertelephoto zoom aimed at providing a lightweight option at an affordable $650 price. While there’s a lot to like about this lens’s specifications (especially the 635 g / 1.4 lbs weight), there’s no denying that f/8 is slow for a maximum aperture. You’ll have a difficult time focusing and keeping ISO values low if you’re using this lens at 400mm in low light. Here are the lens’s full specifications:

  • Mount Type: Canon RF Mount
  • Focal Length: 100-400mm
  • Angle of View: 24.4° to 6.2°
  • Maximum Aperture: f/5.6 at 100mm; f/8 at 400mm
  • Minimum Aperture: f/32 at 100mm; f/45 at 400mm
  • Aperture Blades: 9, rounded
  • Filter Size: 67mm
  • Lens Elements: 12
  • Lens Groups: 9
  • Special Elements: One UD glass, one aspherical
  • Coatings: Super Spectra coating
  • Electronic Diaphragm: Yes
  • Image Stabilization: Yes
  • Internal Focusing: Yes
  • Focus Motor: Stepping motor
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 0.88 meters (2.9 feet)
  • Maximum Magnification: 0.41× (1:2.4)
  • Mount Material: Metal
  • Weather/Dust Sealing: Yes
  • Dimensions (Length × Diameter): 165 × 80 mm / 6.5 × 3.1 inches
  • Weight: 635 g / 1.4 lbs
  • MSRP: $650 (pre-order here)

Even though 100-400mm lenses are typically the domain of budget wildlife photography, the f/8 maximum aperture at 400mm actually strikes me as ideal for landscapes instead. If you’re shooting nonmoving and slow-moving subjects from a tripod, there’s not nearly as much downside to a lens with slow maximum apertures. Granted, 400mm is longer than many landscape photographers need, but I’ve seen plenty of outstanding landscape photos at such focal lengths when the photographer chooses their subject carefully.

The 100-400mm f/5.6-8 lens also could be appealing for macro photographers given the excellent maximum magnification of 0.41×. If you’re trying to photograph distant, skittish subjects like lizards or butterflies, this lens checks a lot of the boxes. Granted, you need to have enough light on your subject – either via a flash or natural light – to counteract the narrow maximum aperture. But if you manage that, you could do a lot worse than this lens for close-up photography.

Regardless of the subject you focus on, the thing you’ll appreciate the most about the 100-400mm f/5.6-8 in the field is how light it is. A weight of 635 grams is kit lens territory – quite literally. (The RF 24-105mm f/4 weighs 700 grams.) Canon is making it easy to put together an inexpensive kit from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, with minimal weights at every step along the way. Pair this 100-400mm lens with the 16mm f/2.8 and the 24-105mm f/4-7.1, and you’ll break neither your back nor your wallet. Although you may need to bump up your ISO.

Canon 100-400mm f5.6-8 at 400mm
Canon 100-400mm f/5.6-8 extension at 400mm

Here’s an official sample image from the Canon RF 100-400mm f/5.6-8:

Canon RF 100-400mm f5.6-8 Official Sample Wildlife Image
Canon 100-400mm f/5.6-8 sample image

Pre-Order Links and Press Release

As with most popular products these days, there may be a shortage for the first couple months upon release of the Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 and 100-400mm f/5.6-8. The good news is that both lenses start shipping in October, but you may want to put your name on the pre-order list to be sure that you get yours as soon as possible. Here are our pre-order links to B&H:

And here is Canon’s full press release for these two lenses:

Canon Completes Another Chapter in the RF Lens Story – Introduces Two New Budget-Friendly Lenses for EOS R Full-Frame Mirrorless Users

MELVILLE, NY, September 14, 2021

Canon U.S.A., Inc., a leader in digital imaging solutions, today announced the RF16mm F2.8 STM and RF100–400mm F5.6–8 IS USM lenses. Both lenses invite current EOS R series users and those who are considering a move to Canon’s prominent mirrorless system, such as the EOS R or EOS RP, to expand their content creation abilities with the visual drama of an ultra-wide-angle lens and true telephoto-only zoom lens. As the “lens first” EOS R series continues to expand, these latest lenses open the door to a wide-range of imaging creators, encouraging them to test the powers and possibilities of their art.

Ultra-Wide Perspectives

Whether you are excited to start exploring the creative world of ultra wide-angle photography or someone who is looking to add another lens to expand your imaging offerings, the Canon RF16mm F2.8 STM is compact, lightweight and affordable. Long gone are the days of optical corrections or sharpness challenges – the new ultra-wide, 16mm RF lens, for full-frame cameras, comes with a fast and bright f/2.8 maximum lens aperture, as well as smooth and brisk AF (autofocus). This lens is a strong addition to the landscape, architecture or travel photographer — but it also provides the vlogging creator and the EOS Webcam Utility software user the power to integrate environments into their imagery, with its super-wide coverage.

Additional features of Canon’s new ultra wide-angle prime lens with 16mm focal length F2.8 include:

  • STM Motor for smooth focusing when recording video
  • Compact size and light weight — similar to RF50mm F1.8 STM
  • Minimum focus distance of 5.11”
  • Maximum magnification of 0.26x
  • 43mm filter thread

Truly Telephoto Possibilities

The Canon RF100–400mm F5.6–8 IS USM provides users with a versatile and popular zoom range that brings subjects closer with ease. It’s an affordable and easily hand-holdable entry into the world of super-telephoto, full-frame photography and video. Offering superb performance and sharpness, the 100–400mm focal length provides a versatile range for all types of telephoto opportunities — be it portraits and documenting events, to sports, birding and wildlife. And, for the first time in a non-L-series lens, the RF100–400mm will accept optional Canon RF 1.4x and 2x tele extenders, offering even more telephoto potential in a lightweight package. Yes, the Canon RF100–400mm is an excellent gateway into the world of wildlife, nature, and sports photography. However, this lens and its super-telephoto abilities can also be leveraged for the video content creator or vlogger when compiling b-roll type footage or for subjects who are at a distance.

Additional features of the Canon RF100-400mm include:

  • High image quality — similar to the well-regarded EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM
  • 100-400mm telephoto zoom range
  • Accepts optional Canon RF 1.4x and 2x extenders
  • F5.6 – F8 variable maximum aperture
  • Easy hand-held operation — lighter than EF70-300 IS II lens
  • Up to 5.5-Stops i optical IS and 6-stops ii correction with coordinated IS
  • Nano USM for high-speed and smooth AF
  • Smooth and nearly silent AF during video recording
  • Superb close-focusing — at 400mm, excellent 0.41x magnification
  • 9-blade aperture, for smooth backgrounds/foregrounds
  • 67mm filter thread

Pricing and Availability

The Canon RF16mm F2.8 STM and RF100–400mm F5.6–8 IS USM are scheduled to be available in October 2021 for an estimated retail price of $299.99 and $649.99, respectively*.

For additional information, please visit usa.canon.com.

About Canon U.S.A., Inc.
Canon U.S.A., Inc., is a leading provider of consumer, business-to-business, and industrial digital imaging solutions to the United States and to Latin America and the Caribbean markets. With approximately $30.4 billion in global revenue, its parent company, Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ), ranks third overall in U.S. patents granted in 2020† and is one of Fortune Magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies in 2020. Canon U.S.A. is dedicated to its Kyosei philosophy of social and environmental responsibility. To keep apprised of the latest news from Canon U.S.A., sign up for the Company’s RSS news feed by visiting www.usa.canon.com/rss and follow us on Twitter @CanonUSA.

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Based on weekly patent counts issued by United States Patent and Trademark Office.

*Specifications, availability and prices are subject to change without notice. Actual prices are set by individual dealers and may vary.

i Based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Associations) standards. Testing performed at focal length of 400mm using EOS R

ii Based on CIPA (Camera & Imaging Products Associations) standards. Testing performed at focal length of 400mm using EOS R5

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