Last Updated on September 10, 2022 by seanmichaelpritchard
Good prime lenses are an essential part of any Canon photographer’s kit and are just as important, if not more so, than your camera body.
No matter what RF prime lenses you’re searching for, from telephoto to macro, Canon has a whole host of the best ones which fit the bill.
Some of their latest top end releases such as the R5 and R6 are their best quality yet, with features like 8K video, IBIS and the best image quality ever seen.
There’s no point having the best camera if you buy a low quality lens, and in this respect, Canon has manufactured some extremely high performance RF prime lenses to go with the range.
The latest selection of Canon RF prime lenses are ideal for any shooting situation providing high image quality whether you’re capturing fast-paced sports or wildlife or need something understated for street photography.
The original Canon RF prime lenses came with high price tags, but now you can get your hands on great quality lenses at a reasonable cost, while retaining the same high specs.
Don’t forget, if all these different types of lenses are making your head spin, take a browse of the camera lenses explained guide!
Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS – Best portrait RF prime lens
Although it’s one of Canon’s most expensive RF prime lenses, if you’re a serious photographer in need of a trusty prime lens which is particularly good for portraits, this 85mm F1.2 might be a worthwhile investment.
The 85mm prime lens has a wide aperture and short focal length, allowing for beautifully shallow depth of field.
It also features defocus smoothing and a control ring for even greater flexibility when taking photos, making it a versatile lens for all situations.
At a hefty 1.1kg, the 85mm F1.2 lens is actually heavier than Canon’s R5 itself, but the weight hides high quality features that make it worthwhile.
For portrait photography pairing this lens with a lighting kit is always a good option!
- Aperture of F1.2 for great depth of field
- Control ring and focus limiter
- Sturdy body, dust and splash proof
- Extremely high image quality
- High-end price tag
- Very heavy, so inconvenient to carry and transport
Canon RF 35mm F1.8 IS Macro STM – Best all around RF prime lens
One of Canon’s staple RF prime lenses which is both light and effective, the RF 35mm is the perfect Macro lens not least because of its very modest price tag.
If you are looking for a standard RF prime lens or need something to round out your kit, this 35mm F1.8 lens works well for everything from travel to street photography.
If you’re someone who enjoys shooting buildings or video, this 35mm F1.8 may not be the best Canon prime lens for you as distortion can be an issue and although autofocus is excellent, it is also quite noisy.
However, for its very reasonable price tag, the crisp images, lightweight design and optical stabilisation – which isn’t included in some of Canon’s mirrorless bodies; elevate it to an essential 35mm Canon kit prime lens for every kind of photographer.
- Optical stabilisation
- Affordable price
- Very sharp image output
- No weather protection from dust or fluids
- Some image distortion and vignetting
- Autofocus can be noisy
Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM – Best wide angle RF prime lens
Another incredibly versatile, lightweight and extremely affordable RF lens, Canon’s 16mm is a wide angle which is perfect for both landscape and occasion photography.
The Canon R series cameras are already super lightweight, but you won’t even notice this 16mm prime lens during use.
The included control ring allows you to manage both focus and manual controls, and although it only has a maximum focal length of 16mm, it isn’t overcomplicated and is a staple for all kinds of situations.
If you’re searching for something lightweight and practical and you have a particular penchant for wide-angle photos, then you won’t find a better value RF lens than this, however with the low price tag comes issues such as vignetting and distortion which won’t be found if you’re willing to invest a little more.
- Super lightweight
- Very affordable
- Sharp image quality
- Reports of vignetting and chromatic aberration
- Limited on-lens controls
Canon RF 50mm F1.8 STM – Best affordable RF prime lens
A mid-range lens of 50mm, which is useful for a variety of situations, the Canon 50mm prime is both great in low light and even more affordable than the previously mentioned 16mm.
The 50mm F1.8 RF prime lens is very small and light, at only 160g, and affordable enough to be a solid choice for amateurs and enthusiasts.
Despite not having a lens hood included there is very little to fault with it for shooting basic landscapes or events.
Unfortunately, this is one 50mm RF prime lens which isn’t weather sealed, so considering it’s a low-priced lens you can take everywhere, this is a downside.
However, you’ll get sharp images at a low price and weight, making it a lens worth considering.
- Compact and lightweight
- Features a customisable focus ring
- Very affordable
- No AF/MF switch
- Doesn’t include a lens hood which can lead to flare
- Not weather sealed against dust or rain
Canon RF 600mm F11 IS STM – Best telephoto RF prime lens
If you’re searching for a telephoto prime lens that both won’t break the bank and isn’t as heavy as it looks, Canon’s 600mm will pleasantly surprise you.
In true mirrorless fashion, this RF prime lens weighs only 930g, which is nothing compared to most professional telephotos.
On top of this, it retracts down to 200mm and utilises Canon’s ‘Diffractive Optics’ which reduces chromatic aberration.
The RF 600mm F11’s reasonable price and 0.14x zoom combines to make a prime lens that will suit novice and semi-professional photographers looking to get into sports or wildlife photography.
Being far cheaper than most of its competitors, you may find some minimal lens flare, however investing in a separate lens hood will quickly dispel this, leaving you with a great value piece of kit.
- Excellent 0.14x zoom range
- Mid-range price
- Compact and lightweight for a telephoto lens
- Fixed aperture of F11
- Not weather protected
- Doesn’t include lens hood
Canon RF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM – Best macro RF prime lens
Canon makes this lens in both EF and RF versions, yet the RF has far better capabilities. It has an impressive 1.4x magnification, a control ring for bokeh and soft lighting images and super sharp output.
Unfortunately, it comes with a stereotypically RF price tag, but if you’re willing to invest you won’t be disappointed.
It also has excellent stabilisation which reduce shake by up to 5 stops, although if you’re in possession of one of Canon’s latest mirrorless bodies, you’ll have even more security when combined with their IBIS system.
- Very high image quality
- Spherical Aberration Control for shooting bokeh
- High 1.4x magnification
- Quite large and bulky
- Very expensive
If you own one of Canon’s mirrorless cameras, you already know the benefits and high specifications of their lightweight bodies, whether it’s the original R, new R5 or soon to be released R7.
In many cases, the RF prime lenses replacing their EF counterparts are undergoing tweaks and improvements by Canon, so often you’ll be getting more features and higher quality.
Go get shooting Canon fans!
Find more zoom lenses at the best Canon RF lenses blog!
And why not go one step further with the top camera flash for Canon.
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