April 23, 2024

New RF lenses from Sigma and Tamron

There are some new reasons to buy into the Canon RF mirrorless system. Seven new lenses are coming from third-party manufacturers

My journey with Canon cameras began with my very first DSLR, the 350D, and continues to this day with the Canon R5 and R6. I was initially drawn to Canon when a salesperson bundled the 350D body with an 18-55mm kits lens and a 70-300mm zoom lens made by Sigma. Third-party lenses are a cheap way for beginners to extend their lens kit. Back in the early 2000s, they weren’t quite as good as their manufacturer equivalents, but they were certainly good enough for most amateurs.

When Canon launched its RF mirrorless system, it made a conscious but unofficial decision not to allow any third-party lens maker to produce lenses for the system. I know from chatting with attendees at my Switch to Manual workshop that camera shops have actively discouraged people from buying the Canon RF system because they could only buy more expensive lenses made by Canon. Well, that has officially changed today! Sigma and Tamron have announced that they will launch lenses for the Canon RF range later this year.

Tamron RF announcement

Tamron has only announced one lens, which will only work on cropped sensor cameras, such as the Canon R50 and R100, perfect for newbies to photography. Hold your breath with the name of this lens; the Tamron 11-20mm F/2.8 Di III-A RXD features a wide-open aperture of f2.8 throughout the zoom. It weighs 335 grams and has a minimum object distance of just 15 centimetres at the 11-millimetre end of the zoom and 24 centimetres when zoomed to 20 millimetres. There’s no pricing information on the Tamron website, but you can expect to pay somewhere around seven to eight hundred pounds, which is what the current Sony and Fuji versions retail for at Wex.

Sigma launch for Canon RF cameras

The press release from Sigma is even more exciting. Six cameras have been announced, with the first hitting the shops in July of this year. Again, all these lenses have been built for cropped sensor cameras, showing that the demand for these cheaper lenses is at the entry-level market.

The first lens we’ll see for the RF system from Sigma is the 18-50mm f2.8 DC DN. Assuming it is priced the same as the Sony and Fuji versions, it will be around four hundred and seventy-nine pounds. It will be ultra-light at just 290g and can focus as close as twelve centimetres from the subject.

Coming later in the Autumn will be a further five lenses. An ultra-wide 10-18-mm f2.8 lens will complement the 18-50mm for landscape beginners. We’ll also see the introduction of four prime lenses with a large aperture of f1.4. There will be 16mm, 23mm, 30mm and 56mm added to the range, which will all be between £300 to £500 each, depending on the lens.

RF-S lenses on a full-frame camera

It’s great news that we are finally seeing the introduction of third-party options for the Canon RF system. It will be even better to see the addition of some full-frame options, which I am sure are on their way. Sigma lenses, in particular, have proven to be excellent quality, with some of them beating their manufacturer-made equivalents in tests. However, just because the lenses are designed for cropped sensor cameras, it doesn’t mean that full-frame users can’t take advantage. The RF mount on an RF-S lens is identical to that on all RF lenses, and RF-S lenses are compatible with all EOS R System cameras. However, when fitted with an RF-S lens, full-frame EOS R System cameras will automatically crop the image area to match the APS-C coverage of the lens.

For example, this means that the 16mm lenses on a full-frame camera will look like it has been shot on a 26mm lens. There will also be an impact on the bokeh or blurriness behind the subject. Don’t expect to see the same shallowness of depth of field if using these lenses. The f1.4 aperture on a full-frame camera will look more like it has been shot with a f4.5 aperture. So buyers, be aware you won’t get the optics of a fast lens by investing in these new third-party lenses and using them on a full-frame camera.

This is a very welcome addition to the Canon RF range of cameras, but it is only just a start. The second lens most beginners buy is a long-zoom lens, and at the moment, that purchase will still need to be a Canon lens – their 70-300mm lens retails at just under seven hundred and fifty pounds. That’s a lot of cash for someone who has just spent nearly a thousand pounds on a camera and lens. A third-party equivalent might come in closer to five hundred, so it would be great to see a longer zoom next in the queue of launches from Sigma and Tamron.

While we are talking about Canon RF cameras and lenses, put a note in your diary for the third week in May. Canon Rumours is sure there will be a new camera launch. It will likely be the upgrade to the camera I use, the R5. It also looks like there will be a development announcement on the much-rumoured R1 sports and news camera. I’m looking forward to sharing my views that week. Make sure you see my coffee break photography videos by clicking on the subscribe button in this corner. I would also appreciate it if you could like and share this video by clicking below. Whenever I get an interaction from you, it means that YouTube will show my content to a few more people.

My name is Rich Dyson and this has been an espresso Coffee Break Photography. See you next time!

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About the author

As well as running Edinburgh Photography Workshop, Rich Dyson is a professional photographer. His photographs are regularly used in newspapers such as The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph. He also had two solo exhibitions and was featured in a members sponsored exhibition in the Scottish Parliament. You can see and buy his photography at richdysonphotography.com.