Canon's Ultra Affordable Wide-Angle Prime: Is the 16mm f/2.8 a Good Lens?

Last month, Canon announced a tiny, lightweight ultra-wide angle prime lens for its full frame mirrorless cameras: the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM. Given how affordable it is, can it offer decent performance?

Christopher Frost has put the RF 16mm f/2.8 through its paces and found that, while certainly very easy on the pocket, there are inevitably some compromises that Canon has made along the way. The reduced flange distance achieved by ditching the mirror in the move from DSLRs has offered manufacturers some significant advantages, but these are not enough for Canon to avoid some trade-offs in what is still an excellent lens and a bargain to boot.

Though perfect for holiday landscapes,16mm is a slightly odd choice as Canon’s second budget prime for its RF cameras, and I have speculated as to whether this is another hint that Canon might eventually release an RF-mount camera featuring an APS-C sensor. This lens is so small and lightweight that it would make an ideal 26mm equivalent prime lens on a crop-sensor camera, and Nikon’s success with the Z 50 and the Z fc suggests that an entry-level Canon APS-C body might not be such a bad idea.

Will you be ordering the 16mm f/2.8? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Andy Day is a British photographer and writer living in France. He began photographing parkour in 2003 and has been doing weird things in the city and elsewhere ever since. He's addicted to climbing and owns a fairly useless dog. He has an MA in Sociology & Photography which often makes him ponder what all of this really means.

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At $300 I'm buying it no doubt.

I’ve got mine already and really love it!

So, I pre-ordered this lens in mid September from Adorama..
I cancelled it on Oct 21st.. not because I didn't want it. But I needed a decent lightweight wide angle lens, but the lens ended up on backorder with no known date when it may be in stock.
Im disappointed because I really was excited to use it. I'll still probably order it when they're back in plentiful stock.
So what I ended up doing was, another pretty new lens did end up in stock for the RF mount. Not a 2.8.. It's the RF 14-35mm F4 L. I gotta say, I love that lens. It focuses fast, it’s light weight and sharp.
Im not getting the vignetting issues I hear others getting.

I will eventually get that RF 16 2.8 STM because of it's low cost & size. Going to check Christopher's video now to see what he thought of it.