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Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM Review (fun, flawed, and useful, D. Abbott)

Rf 16mm F/2.8 STM Review
The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8

Here is a Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM review by one of our favorite gear reviewers. This lens is inexpensive yet it delivers.

At a glance:

  • RF-Mount Lens/Full-Frame Format
  • Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
  • One Aspherical Element
  • Super Spectra Coating
  • STM Stepping AF Motor
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm

Dustin Abbott posted his exhaustive Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM review. Many so called “reviews” out there are nothing more than rewritten user manuals. Not Mr. Abbott; his reviews are professional, thoroughly, and answer all questions you might have. From Mr. Abbott’s conclusion:

[…] the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM is fun, flawed, and useful. It does have some severe flaws, but I love the flexibility of the focal length and the compact size of the lens. It does something that no other lens is really doing on the Canon RF platform right now, and does it at a truly reasonable price point.

The RF 16mm is not going to compete with L series lenses optically, but I also found that images had a certain pop to them that stood out when I compared them to images I was taking on the Canon EOS R7 and EF-S 18-150mm STM that I was reviewing at the same time.  This image, for example, is pretty lovely.

So, in conclusion, the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM is not only worth buying because it is cheap, but also worth buying because it is competent.  It will go anywhere with you and provides a nicely wide alternative to something like the 24-105mm or 24-70mm lenses.  It would also be a great focal length counterpart if your primary lens on an outing is a telephoto, offering the option to get a wider angle of view but with a minimum of additional size and weight.  It is for this reason that I’m considering a purchase even despite the RF 16mm’s many flaws.

Read the full review at

The review comes with test charts, sample pics, and much more. As usual, D. Abbott also posts a video-review that someone might prefer to the written review. It’s here for your viewing pleasure.

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM (sells at $299):

America: B&H Photo, Adorama, Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, Canon Canada, Canon USA
Europe & UK: Amazon DE, Amazon UK, Amazon IT, Canon IT, WEX Photographic, Canon FR, Canon UK, Canon DE

Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM Overview

Ultra-wide field of view mixed with a compact and portable design, the Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is a sleek everyday wide-angle prime. Blending a compact, lightweight design with a bright maximum aperture, this rectilinear ultra-wide comes in handy when photographing interiors and architectural subjects, as well as broad landscape views and astrophotography scenes.

One aspherical element is featured in the optical design, which limits distortion and contributes to a high degree of sharpness for accurate rendering. This unique lens also sports a close 5.1″ minimum focusing distance for close-up shooting and the STM AF motor enables smooth and quiet focusing performance to suit both photo and video applications. The lightweight design and broad field of view also make this lens an enticing option for vlogging and content creation.

Sleek ultra-wide-angle prime is designed for use with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless digital cameras.

Bright f/2.8 maximum aperture suits working available lighting conditions, helps control depth of field, and contributes to a sleek form factor.

One aspherical element helps control distortion and promotes a high degree of sharpness.

Super Spectra Coating has been applied to minimize flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color fidelity when working in strong lighting conditions.

STM stepping motor offers fast, quiet, smooth, and accurate autofocus performance that is ideal for video recording as well as still shooting.

Minimum focusing distance of 5.1″, along with a maximum magnification of 0.26x, makes this a unique option for close-up shooting while retaining great depth of field.

Configurable Control Ring can be used to adjust a variety of exposure settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation.

Rounded seven-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.

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