Canon EF vs. RF Lenses. What is the Difference?

Canon EF vs. RF Lenses. What is the Difference?

When Canon announced the release of their new RF mount lenses, photographers everywhere began to wonder how they differed from the older EF mounts. In this article, we will answer all of your questions about the differences between Canon EF and RF lenses. We’ll discuss everything from autofocus to image stabilization to give you a comprehensive understanding of how these two lens types differ. So, whether you’re considering making the switch to RF lenses or are just curious about them, read on for more information!

What are the Canon EF mounting characteristics?

Canon EF lenses have been around since 1987 and were designed for film cameras. The EF stands for “Electro-Focus,” which refers to the fact that these lenses use a motor inside the lens to drive autofocus. After the introduction of digital cameras by Canon, the EF mount was retained and simply adapted to work with their new DSLR line. As a result, all Canon EF optics are usable with all Canon DSLRs.

What are the Canon EF mounting characteristics?

The Canon EF mount is a bayonet-style interface for connecting a lens to a camera body. It was originally designed in 1987 by Canon with the EOS line of cameras, and it is still used on all current Canon DSLRs (including both full-frame and APS-C models). The primary benefits of the EF mount are its large diameter (54mm) and short flange distance (44mm), which enable for wide lenses with fast autofocus speeds. [1], [2]

What are the Canon RF mounting characteristics?

Canon’s RF mount was first introduced in 2018 together with the launch of the brand new EOS R mirrorless camera. The RF mount has the same inner diameter as the EF mount (54mm) but shorter flange distance (20mm) than the EF mount, which allows for even wider lenses and faster autofocus speeds. The “R” in RF stands for “radio frequency,” which refers to the fact that these lenses use a different type of autofocus motor than EF lenses. This allows for some pretty significant advantages in terms of focus speed and accuracy.

In addition, the RF mount has 12 electronic contacts that provide communication between the camera and lens, allowing for features such as autofocus and image stabilization. Finally, the RF mount uses a bayonet-style attachment system similar to the EF mount, making it compatible with existing Canon EF lenses via an adapter. [1], [2]

What camera models can use RF lenses?

Only Canon’s EOS R mirrorless cameras are compatible with RF lenses. This includes the Canon EOS RP, EOS R, and EOS Ra. You may use RF lenses on any camera that has an EF or EF-S mount without the need for any adapters if you have one of these camera models.

What camera models can use RF lenses?

However, if you have a Canon DSLR camera (such as the Canon EOS Rebel T100/4000D), you’ll need an adapter to attach RF lenses. The good news is that because Canons makes its own adapters, there won’t be any compatibility issues. [1], [3]

What camera models can use EF lenses?

EF lenses can not be used for RF mounts as they are not physically or electrically compatible. The design of the flange on a lens differs from that of other mounts. This prevents the lens from being attached directly to another camera body. In addition, there are differences in the number of electrical pins required to connect the lens and camera body.

The only way to do this is to use an adapter, which is actually pretty cheap all things considered. [1], [3]

The Benefits of RF lenses over EF lenses

Now that we know what the physical differences are between RF and EF lenses, let’s dive into some of the benefits that come along with using an RF lens.

Compact size and weight

One of the first things you’ll notice about an RF lens is that they’re significantly smaller and lighter than their EF counterparts. This is thanks to Canon’s new Mirrorless camera technology which allows them to do away with the bulky mirror box found in DSLRs.

Compact size and weight

This makes RF lenses a great option for travel photography, as well as anyone who wants to keep their gear light and portable. [4]

Auto focus motors

One of the major advantages that RF lenses have over EF lenses is that they feature more recent, and therefore quieter, auto focus motors. This is advantageous for a number of reasons.

First of all, if you’re using your camera for video recording, having a quiet autofocus motor will ensure that your audio doesn’t get picked up by the microphone and ruin your footage.

Second, if you’re attempting to shoot discreetly (for example, street photography), a quiet autofocus motor will assist you avoid drawing attention to yourself.

In contrast, EF lenses tend to have quite loud autofocus motors, which can be a major downside. [4]

They Have Shorter Flange Back Distance

Yet another con of RF lenses over EF lenses is that they have a shorter flange back distance. This term you definitely want to know more about. This is the distance between the lens mount and the sensor, and it’s important because it determines how big or small a camera can be and how fast of lenses the camera can use. A shorter flange back distance means that lenses can be designed to be smaller and more compact.

They Have Shorter Flange Back Distance

The RF lens uses a new form of stabilization that is more successful at reducing camera shake, particularly when shooting video. This is because the shorter flange back distance, which allows for a more compact and lightweight stabilization system, reduces the amount of glass in the design of the RF lens.

RF lenses have a shorter flange back distance, which means they can be designed with shorter minimum focusing distances. This is because the lens elements can be positioned closer to the sensor, making it possible to focus on subjects that are closer to the camera.

RF glasses have shorter flange back distances, which also have advantages for image quality. To begin with, because the lens elements can be positioned closer to the sensor, there is less vignetting. Second, chromatic aberrations are reduced since the light path is shorter. Finally, distortions are reduced as a result of better lens element alignment with the sensor. [1], [5], [6], [7]

Superior image stabilization

One of the biggest advantages of RF lenses is that they offer superior image stabilization. This is thanks to Canon’s in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system, which is built into all RF-mount cameras. IBIS works by moving the sensor around to counteract camera shake, and it’s significantly more effective than the lens-based image stabilization found in EF lenses.

As a result, you’ll be able to get much sharper images when shooting handheld with an RF lens, especially in low light conditions. You’ll also be able to use slower shutter speeds without worrying about camera shake, which means you can capture action shots or shoot video without needing a tripod. [1], [3], [8]

Digital Lens Optimizer

One of the key benefits of RF lenses is that they can take advantage of Canon’s Digital Lens Optimizer (DLO) technology. This is a feature that’s built into Canon’s EOS R mirrorless cameras, and it’s designed to correct a number of optical aberrations that can occur when using certain types of lenses. [1], [3], [8]

Better image quality

Another advantage of RF lenses is that they produce superior picture quality than EF lenses. This is due to their larger diameter and shorter back focus, which allow for a bigger image sensor and more light collection. As a result, photographs taken with an RF lens will have less noise and greater dynamic range. [1]

Come with a control ring

One of the biggest advantages of RF lenses over EF lenses is that they come with a control ring. This ring can be used to adjust a variety of parameters, such as aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. Having this control ring makes it easier to change these settings on the fly, without having to take your eye away from the viewfinder or take your hand off the camera body. [1]

Fast lens to camera communication

RF lenses have a major advantage over EF lenses in that they allow for faster communication between your camera and yourself. This is due to the fact that RF lenses have more electrical pins than EF ones. As a result, information may be transmitted back and forth between the lens and the camera considerably quicker with RF versions having 12 pins while EF versions only having eight. [4], [8]

Larger apertures

The ability to offer larger apertures is one of the most important advantages of RF lenses. This means you’ll be able to achieve shallow depth of field and enhanced low-light performance. If you’re filming video, this also implies that your footage will be smoother due to the lens’ improved light gathering capacity.

Canon’s RF 28-70mm f/2L for example has constant f/2 aperture, and it’s a perfect example of just how much light these lenses are capable of letting in. [4]


Another important advantage of RF lenses is that they are future-proof. Canon will release firmware upgrades for the lenses that take advantage of the new features in their most up-to-date cameras as technology improves.

This is in contrast to EF lenses, which will never be able to take advantage of any new features released in future camera models.

So, if you invest in an RF lens now, you can be sure that it will still be usable with whatever new camera body Canon releases down the line.

On the other hand, if you buy an EF lens today, it will become obsolete as soon as a newer camera model comes out that has features that the EF lens can’t take advantage of, plus Canon stopped producing them all together in favor of the new RF technology.

In other words, by investing in an RF lens, you’re future-proofing your lens purchase. [8]

With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder that Canon is making the switch to RF lenses for their future camera releases. If you’re in the market for a new lens, be sure to check out Canon’s RF lineup!

Are EF lenses worth the investment?

Are EF lenses worth the investment?

Offer similar performance but less features

There isn’t much of a difference in terms of image quality between EF and RF lenses. Both types of lenses are capable of producing high-quality photographs, but the latter has more features. For example, some RF lenses have an aperture that allows for increased light to enter the camera, making it ideal for low-light shooting. However, this comes at a cost of $2000 or more.

EF lenses have proven to be quite popular, both among professional and amateur photographers. If you’re searching for a less expensive alternative that offers comparable performance, EF lenses may be the answer. RF lenses, on the other hand, might be worth considering if you’re prepared to spend a little more for added functions. Canon has a wide range of options for both types of lenses. [3]

EF lenses aren’t being produced anymore

Priorities change and eventually, all good things must come to an end. The same goes for the production of EF lenses. As Canon shifts its focus to RF lenses, it has stopped producing EF lenses. This means that you may have a hard time finding some of the older, more unique EF lenses in the future. Easiest way is to buy used EV lenses. However, there are still plenty of EF lenses available on the market, so this should not be a big problem. You might also be interested in Canon EF vs. EF-S Lenses comparison.

Canon will still continue to provide support for EF lenses, so you don’t have to worry about your lens becoming obsolete overnight. However, it is worth noting that the days of EF lenses are numbered and eventually, Canon will cut their support as well. [9], [10]

If you want to be a pro in photography, check related articles:


Are Canon EF and RF lenses interchangeable?

No, they are not. Canon EF lenses cannot be used with Canon RF cameras and vice versa. However you can use the EF to RF adapter to attach Canon EF lenses to Canon RF cameras.

What are the benefits of RF lenses over EF lenses?

The primary benefit of RF lenses is that they’re designed specifically for Canon’s mirrorless cameras. That means they can take advantage of the shorter flange distance of the RF mount to create smaller, lighter lenses. RF lenses also offer a few other advantages over EF lenses. One is that they can use Canon’s new Control Ring Mount Adapter, which allows you to add an adjustable control ring to any RF lens. This gives you more control over exposure settings like aperture, shutter speed, and ISO without having to take your eye away from the viewfinder.

Will a Canon RF lens fit an Eos?

No, a Canon RF lens will not fit an Eos. The mount is completely different and the lenses are not compatible.

Are RF lenses expensive

No, RF lenses are not necessarily more expensive than EF lenses. In fact, Canon has released a number of very affordable RF lenses, like the RF 24-105mm f/ and the RF 35mm f/.

So whether or not an RF lens is more expensive than an EF lens depends entirely on which specific models you’re comparing. But in general, you can expect to pay about the same for an RF lens as you would for an EF lens.

Can Canon EF lenses be used on RF mount?

Yes, a converter can be used with EF lenses to allow them to be used on the RF mount. However, using an adapter will result in a loss of functionality and some image degradation. For example, autofocus will not be available when using an EF lens on the RF mount. Therefore, we recommend using RF lenses on the RF mount for the best results.

What’s the difference between RF and EF mount?

The RF mount is a more recent and superior lens mount, whereas the EF mount is an older variant. The EF mount has a larger diameter and longer flange distance than the RF mount, allowing for smaller and lighter lenses. In addition, the RF mount supports Canon’s new line of mirrorless cameras while the EF mount does not.

So, if you’re looking to buy a new Canon camera, you’ll want to make sure you get lenses that are compatible with your camera’s mount. If you have an older Canon DSLR, then you’ll be limited to EF-mount lenses. But if you have a newer mirrorless Canon camera, then you’ll want RF-mount lenses.

Can I use EF lenses on mirrorless?

The answer is yes, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. First, using an EF lens on a Canon EOS R-series mirrorless camera will require an adapter. Second, you’ll want to be aware of the potential for reduced autofocus performance and image stabilization compared to native RF lenses.

If you’re considering making the switch from DSLR to mirrorless, or you’re already invested in Canon’s ecosystem, then it’s worth considering EF lenses as part of your kit. Just be aware of the potential limitations before making your purchase.

Can I use an RF lens on a DSLR?

No, you cannot use an RF lens on a DSLR. The two lens types are not compatible with each other. RF lenses can only be attached to Canon mirrorless cameras. If you try to use an RF lens on a DSLR, the camera will not be able to focus properly and you may damage the camera or the lens.

Are Canon RF lenses full-frame?

Yes, all Canon RF lenses are full-frame. It also means that they can be utilized on cameras with both full-frame and APS-C sensors. Keep in mind that using an RF lens on an APS-C camera will result in a smaller field of view.

if you want to use Canon EF lenses, your DSLR must have an EF mount. This includes both full-frame and APS-C sensor cameras. Although you will get a wider field of view with an EF lens on an APS-C camera, keep in mind that this is not as significant as using the same lens on a full-frame camera.

Do all RF lenses have image stabilization?

No, not all RF lenses have image stabilization. Some of the Canon RF primes don’t have IS, but most of the zooms do. The main exception is the Canon RF 85mm f/12 L USM lens which is a specialty macro lens that doesn’t need image stabilization since it has a very limited depth of field. Which one should I buy?

If you’re just getting started with Canon’s EOS R system, then you’ll want to get EF lenses since they’re cheaper and more plentiful. However, if you’re planning on staying with the EOS R system for the long haul, then you might as well invest in RF lenses since they offer better performance overall. Whichever route you choose, make sure to do your research so that you get the best lenses for your needs!

Can I use an EF lens on EOS R?

The adapter is the key and there are a few things to know. First, not all EF lenses are compatible with the EOS R. The list of currently compatible EF lenses can be found here. Second, when using an EF lens on EOS R you’ll lose some functionality. Specifically, you won’t have access to Canon’s new Control Ring or Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R accessories. Also, autofocus will be slower than it is with native RF lenses. And lastly, you may experience slight vignetting (dark corners in your photos) when using wide angle EF lenses on EOS R bodies with full frame sensors.

Are RF lenses for mirrorless cameras?

The short answer is yes, RF lenses are designed specifically for use with Canon’s EOS R-series mirrorless cameras. That said, there are a few key differences between RF and EF lenses that are worth noting.

For starters, RF lenses tend to be smaller and lighter than their EF counterparts thanks to the fact that they don’t need to accommodate a mirror box. This makes them a great option for travel and street photography where every ounce counts.

Additionally, RF lenses offer faster autofocus than EF lenses as well as higher maximum frame rates when used with compatible cameras. And because they lack a mechanical shutter, there’s also less risk of image shake or vibration when using an RF lens.

Is Canon 5D Mark IV EF or RF?

The Canon EOS R is a full-frame mirrorless camera that was released in October 2018. It uses the new RF mount, which is designed for use with Canon’s line of RF lenses. The Canon EF mount, on the other hand, has been around since 1987 and is compatible with all of Canon’s EF and EF-S lenses. So, what’s the difference between these two lens mounts?

For one thing, the RF mount has a much larger diameter than the EF mount (54mm vs 44mm). This means that RF lenses can theoretically capture more light than EF lenses. Additionally, the RF mount has a shorter flange distance (the distance between the lens mount and the sensor), which allows for smaller and lighter lenses. Finally, the RF mount uses a different bayonet system than the EF mount, meaning that Canon EF lenses cannot be used with the EOS R camera without an adapter.

Do RF lenses work on Canon 5D Mark IV?

Canon’s answer is a bit complicated. The short answer is that some RF lenses will work on the Canon EOS R, but not all of them. The reason has to do with the fact that the RF mount is a new lens mount designed for Canon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. As such, it has a different flange distance than the EF mount, which is designed for Canon’s DSLRs. This means that some EF lenses (especially older ones) may not be able to physically attach to the EOS R camera body. In addition, even if an EF lens can physically attach to the EOS R, it may not function properly because of incompatibilities between the two mounts. For example, an EF lens may not be able to achieve infinity focus on an EOS R body.

However, there are some adapters that allow you to use EF lenses on the EOS R. These adapters typically have a glass element in them that compensates for the difference in flange distance, and they also often have electronic connections that allow the lens and camera to communicate with each other. This means that you can usually still use all of the autofocus and image stabilization features of your EF lenses when you’re using them with an adapter on an EOS R body.

Useful Video: Canon RF vs EF Lenses – Which are the Best? | Comparative Review


EF lenses and RF lenses are the two main types of camera lenses on the market. EF lenses were first designed for film cameras but are now being used for digital photography as well, while RF lenses are a newer innovation, created specifically for Canon’s EOS R mirrorless camera when it was released in 2018.

So, what are the differences between EF lenses and RF lenses? The short answer is that EF lenses offer similar performance but RF lenses have more neat features making taking better pictures and videos easier. The longer answer is that RF lenses are better because of their compact size, auto focus motors, DLO, shorter flange back distance, better image quality, and larger apertures. If you’re looking for a camera system that offers the best in both worlds – great performance and lots of nifty features – then an EOS R camera with RF lenses may be just what you need. Thanks for reading!