Does the $299 Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 Lens Over-Deliver? This Review Tells You

The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 lens is the second cheapest in Canon's full-frame lineup, coming in at $299. Does this lens give you value for money or should you invest in something more expensive?

When I made the switch from Canon DSLRs over to the Canon EOS R5, one of my biggest considerations revolved around my considerable lens collection that I'd accumulated over many years. Despite being made for DSLR mounts, many were still high quality and I did not want to spend extra money on rebuilding my lens collection if I didn't have to. Thankfully, the Canon Mount Adapter works perfectly for using my EF mount lenses on the mirrorless RF body, and I saved myself the expense of having to start from scratch with an RF mount lens collection. That said, I have picked up a few cheaper RF mount lenses along the way, including the Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 lens.

And that brings us to this great video by Dustin Abbott, in which he thoroughly reviews the lens in a short, sharp, and punchy three minutes. He examines the strengths and the possible pain points of the lens and gives you an honest verdict on whether he thinks the lens is genuine value for money or not. Some issues I've found with the lens relate to vignetting and barrel distortion, so I was very happy to see him address these topics and offer his views. For me, the lens is a go-to now for most of my landscape photography, because I've found that most of the issues can be corrected very quickly and easily in post-production. What are your thoughts on this lens?

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Iain Stanley is an Associate Professor teaching photography and composition in Japan. Fstoppers is where he writes about photography, but he's also a 5x Top Writer on Medium, where he writes about his expat (mis)adventures in Japan and other things not related to photography. To view his writing, click the link above.

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Iain Stanley asked,

" What are your thoughts on this lens?"

My thoughts are that with a minimum focus distance of 5.1", and a maximum magnification ratio of 0.26, it will not be anywhere near good enough for the close-up work that I would want to do with a lens of this focal length.

I'll be far better off getting the Laowa 15mm f4 or the Laowa 14mm probe lens for wide-angle close-up work.


In case you use LR it does deliver a decent quality close up (no lens profile for C1, distortion was uncorrectable). Apart from that it's a fun lens. Can't speak for the Laowas, never tried.


I'm just going by the magnification ratio, which is what matters most when doing near-macro close ups of tiny critters that are as big as a quarter ... salamanders, grasshoppers, baby snakes, etc.

Really impossible to come anywhere close to filling the frame with such a tiny critter when you only get a 1:0.26 ratio. I don't think Lightroom or lens profiles or anything of the sort will make up for the lens just not being able to get anywhere near physically close enough to the subject.

I'm not expecting true 1:1 macro capabilities, but I sure would appreciate at least a workable 1:0.5 magnification in a lens with a 16mm focal length.


Yes, but this lens produces images like a fisheye lens, when uncorrected. That's not gonna help.

As far as I know the only wide angle macro lens of Canon is the RF 24mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM Lens which should deliver half size macros.

Hope you find the right lens.


Oh, there are other macro lenses that are truly wide angle, such as the Laowa 15mm 1:1 macro and the incredible Laowa 14mm probe with an unbelievable 1:2 magnification ratio!

If a wide angle lens is used properly, and held so that it is square and level to the horizon line and the subject is correctly centered in the frame, then there should not be fisheye effects.


"If a wide angle lens is used properly, and held so that it is square and level to the horizon line and the subject is correctly centered in the frame, then there should not be fisheye effects." Won't help with the RF 16mm. In case you crop to square, that would be negligible, of course. The problem was in the extreme corners, and I bought it for cool street shots and oblique architecture as it's small and seemingly versatile. Will stay with my 17mm TS-E for architecture, still good, but big.

I'm not sure what this title is supposed to be asking. This lens has been reviewed by a number of sources in the last 2 months. The optics are not good. It's not a good lens.

It really sucks still have to read these headlines where is asking obviously incorrect questions. Click bait foolishness. The headline could have very well been don't buy this lens, it's not very good, and still be correct. But because of seo, even good sites resort cities mentally challenged tactics to get somebody to click on a article.

I'm commenting just because I already knew this lens was trash. And just a call out the somewhat disingenuous nature of the clickbaity headline. Otherwise have a great day.