As Canon moved forward with their R series mirrorless cameras, they have been releasing more and more of their RF mount lenses. One of the latest is the RF 16mm f2.8 STM lens. I jumped on the pre-order for this lens and was lucky enough to receive the lens two weeks ago. I held off on the review until I had enough time to do several real shoots with the lens. I did test the lens for both natural color and Infrared, but this review is going to focus on the Infrared capabilities.
First observations when you see the RF is 16mm is the compact size.
It is almost exactly the same size as the rf 50mm.
Right off the bat that sparks both positive and negative thoughts.
Positive: It will be easy to travel with.
Negative: Is it any good?
Prior to receiving the RF 16mm, I had a favorite ultra-wide lens, the IRIX 15mm f2.4 Blackstone. It is a high-quality lens that I have used for a couple of years with great success. It does have its downfalls though. It is rather large, more than a bit heavy, manual focus, and takes a 95mm filter.
Here is the lenses side by side for comparison.
Now for a little basic information about the lens.
Focal Length 16mm
Maximum and Minimum Aperture F2.8 – F22
Lens Mount Type RF Mount; Metal Mount
Minimum Focusing Distance 5.1 in. / 0.43 ft. / 0.13m
Pricepoint $299.00 (as of this post)
The full Specs for the lens you can find here
So, we’ve got a compact Ultra-wide lens, but how is it for Infrared??
Anyone into Infrared photography knows the first thing you need to know with any lens is
“Does it have a hotspot?”
The first test I did was with a Deep Black & White filter at 830nm, and I shot the image at f22.
Here it is.
If there was going to be a hot-spot issue, you would see the maximum impact at 830nm with an f22. There was nothing. I tested the lens on everything from Hyper Color at 470nm, all the way up to Deep Black & White at 830nm.
Here’s that same location on a less cloudy day in Super Color at 590nm.
It’s good for Infrared!
That made my day.
Now, shooting with the lens is very easy. It does not have image stabilization, but it is so light you shouldn’t have a problem.
If you are using the R5, the IBIS gives 5.5 stops of stabilization.
This little Prime lens is going to make a lot of landscape photographers happy, and would even work well for video.
Here’s a few more from the shoots.
Standard IR at 720nm
And another Black & White Infrared image from a 590nm filter.
The thing most people find annoying with Ultra-wide lenses is the way the image curves in at the sides.
Yes, there is a little of that with the RF 16mm, but it is very minimal compared to other Ultra-wide lenses.
After a couple of weeks of shooting with the RF 16mm f 2.8 STM lens, it now has a permanent spot in my camera bag.
Considering the ongoing supply chain issues, if you think you want this lens, I suggest ordering it right away.