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.

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!