We think it's safe to say one of the most frustrating things with Canon's EOS R system is the lack of autofocus third-party lenses from the likes of Sigma and Tamron, along with the glaring wide-angle L lens holes in the line-up. As we all know, the third-party manufacturers make great value lenses and fill the perceived holes in design and price point in Canon's own lineup.

Camera Beta recently had the chance to talk some folks from Canon in regards to this issue. The answer given is still a bit ambiguous, which will likely continue to frustrate RF shooters.

Canon says that they have opened the RF mount for third parties through licensing and that there are active conversations with various third-party manufacturers. Which is good news, but….

When a manufacturer applies for the a license for the RF mount from Canon, it seems that Canon treats each application on a case by case basis and that there are no rigid guidelines on how to qualify for approval. What are decisions based on? We don't want to guess, but there are likely some quick assumptions to be made.

Canon views the third-party licensing and building their own lineup of lenses as separate issues.

What isn't mentioned is what the licensing grants the third-party manufacturer. Are the manufacturers on their own to come up with the autofocus algorithms, or are those provided? Would there be ongoing Canon support through firmware compatibility updates? Perhaps there could be different tiers of licensing?

We don't know the answers to any of these questions, but at least we have a little bit more clarity on the situation, even if it's not as articulated as we'd like to see.

As a side not, there could be some opportunities here for the growing number of Chinese lens manufacturers to get in before the legacy Japanese makers such as the aforementioned Sigma and Tamron. They seem to be well funded and have the manufacturing chops to make it work. All of the major Chinese manufacturers are actively working on autofocus lenses.

Direct Quote from Canon (Google Translated)

Again, I can't reveal my specific R&D plans for the future. In addition, although it is still limited to some special companies, Canon has also opened the RF mount to third-party lens manufacturers through licensing. Now, if we receive a request from a third-party lens company to open the mount, we will study whether to license it based on Canon's own business plan and strategy. In fact, we are now communicating with several third-party lens companies in this regard.

You also asked just now whether we open the bayonet license, which means that our RF lens group is already complete. In fact, we have different considerations on this issue, whether to open the RF opening to third-party lens companies and whether Canon's own product line is complete.

In fact, since the launch of the RF system in 2018, we have been continuously expanding our lens lineup to meet the various levels of photography needs of our customers, and currently have 37 lenses. In order to maximize the advantages of the EOS R system and to better meet the needs of customers in different fields of photography, Canon will continue to strive to enrich its lens lineup.

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Go to discussion...

200 comments

  1. What they said: we will consider licensing specific lenses on a case by case basis.

    What I heard: our market research is good, but maybe you know something we don’t so thank you for the information!
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  2. I don't use primes very often, but I sure would love a super fast 3rd party 50 or 85 that was affordable, since it would mostly live in my case. the STM autofocus lenses are just too loud for film/tv work.
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  3. There are a whole bunch of things I would consider frustrations before I got to third-party lenses. Maybe I’m an outlier but I have little to no interest in third-party lenses.
    I think, it is always good when competition takes place.
    So I would welcome third party offerings.
    And it seems that Canon might open the door right now.
    Personally I don't have much third party lenses.
    But in other markets there are also (almost) closed ecosystems as well (Apple?).
    I don't here much complains there... :unsure:
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  4. we\'ll all be using sony by the time this happens
    From my personal experience with anything with a "Sony" brand on it (audio, video, TV, camera) and also from what I've heard from friends, I can tell you that there will be only one reason for me to ever switch to Sony:

    If it is the last and only brand selling cameras.

    Any (!) other I'll prefer.
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  5. I think that part of the issue here is that Canon spent a ton on R&D to develop a new mount with communications, autofocus, etc, and I don't believe that they want some third party reverse-engineering and stealing that technology. Once Canon has filled out its lens lineup, then it will start letting third party entities share.
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  6. I'm very fortunate that I can own exactly the lenses that I need for work and want to have for fun. But I look at someone like my cousin who is 10 years younger than me and trying to get his feet wet in photography (still not making that much on the side with it) and he's hit a fork in the road. He has all the lenses he can afford and then he looks over at Sony and sees that he can sell all of his current lenses and camera bodies to get a much better full f/2.8 system. I don't blame him and I wont discourage him. He looks at the Tamron and Sigma options for Sony and can't get over their value.

    This is a hill I will die on. Not allowing for affordable options will prevent amateur photographers from entering the Canon system. I didn't always have a bag full of L-series lenses - I had to work my way up to that over the past 20 years. No, I started with a mixture of Canon and Sigma lenses. Eventually, I wound up with nothing but Canon L-series glass and I'm very happy. However, would I have been able to get here without the help of Sigma's 70-200 f/2.8 when I was laid off of my magazine job and had to buy a new lens? Would I have been able to shoot all those low light events/weddings back in the day without the Sigma Art lenses that allowed me to get some really awesome shallow DOF images that looked great in my portfolio? I couldn't buy the EF 50mm f/1.2 or EF 35mm f/1.4 back then....

    Those are serious questions I have for all the people that think blocking third-party lenses isn't an issue at all. I view it as a major hurdle for up-and-coming photographers. At this point, I have to tell my cousin that it's probably a good idea for him to switch systems. As much as we Canon fans love to trash on Sony, it's also pretty ignorant to do so. Sony's cameras and lenses are all pretty fantastic at this point and to ignore that is stubborn.
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  7. Canon may license it if it is a net positive to their bottom line.

    This will likely occur when Canon already completed their lineup.

    The completeness of Canon's lineup would be based on Sony.

    Sony has the most number of lenses of any mirrorless brand. So it is likely Canon needs to match 99% of all focal lengths Sony has before they license their RF mount.
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  8. All we have now is heavy expensive 1.2 RF primes and cheap craps 1.8 primes which are all terrible for video. Can we get a set of 1.8 primes with fast auto focus and no focus breathing like Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic. Also can we get some light 1.4 L primes. Canon has great bodies but lack of lenses.
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  9. I'm very fortunate that I can own exactly the lenses that I need for work and want to have for fun. But I look at someone like my cousin who is 10 years younger than me and trying to get his feet wet in photography (still not making that much on the side with it) and he's hit a fork in the road. He has all the lenses he can afford and then he looks over at Sony and sees that he can sell all of his current lenses and camera bodies to get a much better full f/2.8 system. I don't blame him and I wont discourage him. He looks at the Tamron and Sigma options for Sony and can't get over their value.

    This is a hill I will die on. Not allowing for affordable options will prevent amateur photographers from entering the Canon system. I didn't always have a bag full of L-series lenses - I had to work my way up to that over the past 20 years. No, I started with a mixture of Canon and Sigma lenses. Eventually, I wound up with nothing but Canon L-series glass and I'm very happy. However, would I have been able to get here without the help of Sigma's 70-200 f/2.8 when I was laid off of my magazine job and had to buy a new lens? Would I have been able to shoot all those low light events/weddings back in the day without the Sigma Art lenses that allowed me to get some really awesome shallow DOF images that looked great in my portfolio? I couldn't buy the EF 50mm f/1.2 or EF 35mm f/1.4 back then....

    Those are serious questions I have for all the people that think blocking third-party lenses isn't an issue at all. I view it as a major hurdle for up-and-coming photographers. At this point, I have to tell my cousin that it's probably a good idea for him to switch systems. As much as we Canon fans love to trash on Sony, it's also pretty ignorant to do so. Sony's cameras and lenses are all pretty fantastic at this point and to ignore that is stubborn.
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  10. I don't use primes very often, but I sure would love a super fast 3rd party 50 or 85 that was affordable, since it would mostly live in my case. the STM autofocus lenses are just too loud for film/tv work.
    I agree. The stm lenses are junk. The Ef lenses with usm focus way faster. Canon dropped the ball with the rf 35mm 1.8, rf 50mm 1.8, rf 85mm f2, and rf 24mm 1.8. Garbage cheap slow auto focus, focus breathing lenses.
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  11. I smell absolute PR bullshit. The wild thing about Canon is that they barely respond to media pressure. I guess it's good for them sucks for everyone else.

    They keep claiming about filling out their lenses, but I rarely see questions about 1.4 lenses from anyone, I guess maybe there isn't much chances to even ask them, especially if they're just dodging and BSing like this.

    It's like they don't even give anyone the chance to ask them why the mid-range lenses don't exist and why the low end lenses are so damn slow.

    So much for choices ..literally almost every single manufacturer announced a 50 mm 1.4 in the last 6 months. Maybe they have different priorities.. for over 20 years(!!?). There's been two updates to their 35 mms in the same (long) time frame. I'm struggling to understand why the hell they won't bring this lens out.
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  12. This is defiintely progress. It went from 'we may consider this' to 'we're talking to a few people' to 'we're working with several people'.

    I do think the underlying message is that no one is beating Canon to market in a lens segment - so if Canon doesn't have a competitive offering in RF already, they aren't going to let someone else have it first. Though the good thing there is they have most of the major lenses complete already.

    We saw MF niche lenses first - where Canon is unlikely to try and compete. Maybe next we'll see some normal range AF lenses. One can hope. Sigma 150-600 update, a port of the nice 20mm Sigma prime lens, and maybe a 70-200 2.8 that doesn't break the bank would be high on my list of desires.

    -Brian
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  13. This is a hill I will die on. Not allowing for affordable options will prevent amateur photographers from entering the Canon system.
    There's no need. Canon has plenty of affordable options for amateur photographers to enter the system. Can you list a set of three FF zoom lenses spanning ~15mm to 400mm, in any OEM or 3rd party combination, that sells for less than the Canon 15-30/4.5-6.3 + 24-105/4-7.1 + 100-400/5.6-8? That trinity is currently $1550, but with various discounts over the past several months it could be had for $1350-1400.

    Those are serious questions I have for all the people that think blocking third-party lenses isn't an issue at all. I view it as a major hurdle for up-and-coming photographers.
    You are sharing anecdotes about you and your cousin as paid photographers. I don't think Canon is aiming their high end lineup at 'up and coming' professional photographers, rather they seem to be increasingly targeting advanced amateurs for whom photography is a hobby, not a job. According to the US Bureau of Labor, the median salary for a photographer is around $40K/yr. The median salary for a dentist, for example, is around $165K...people in that income bracket with photography as a hobby are far more likely to be able to afford RF L-series lenses.
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  14. There's no need. Canon has plenty of affordable options for amateur photographers to enter the system. Can you list a set of three FF zoom lenses spanning ~15mm to 400mm, in any OEM or 3rd party combination, that sells for less than the Canon 15-30/4.5-6.3 + 24-105/4-7.1 + 100-400/5.6-8? That trinity is currently $1550, but with various discounts over the past several months it could be had for $1350-1400.


    You are sharing anecdotes about you and your cousin as paid photographers. I don't think Canon is aiming their high end lineup at 'up and coming' professional photographers, rather they seem to be increasingly targeting advanced amateurs for whom photography is a hobby, not a job. According to the US Bureau of Labor, the median salary for a photographer is around $40K/yr. The median salary for a dentist, for example, is around $165K...people in that income bracket with photography as a hobby are far more likely to be able to afford RF L-series lenses.
    There's no need. Canon has plenty of affordable options for amateur photographers to enter the system. Can you list a set of three FF zoom lenses spanning ~15mm to 400mm, in any OEM or 3rd party combination, that sells for less than the Canon 15-30/4.5-6.3 + 24-105/4-7.1 + 100-400/5.6-8? That trinity is currently $1550, but with various discounts over the past several months it could be had for $1350-1400.


    You are sharing anecdotes about you and your cousin as paid photographers. I don't think Canon is aiming their high end lineup at 'up and coming' professional photographers, rather they seem to be increasingly targeting advanced amateurs for whom photography is a hobby, not a job. According to the US Bureau of Labor, the median salary for a photographer is around $40K/yr. The median salary for a dentist, for example, is around $165K...people in that income bracket with photography as a hobby are far more likely to be able to afford RF L-series lenses.

    That trinity definitely has an impressive price and focal range but if someone needs and or wants an f2.8 trinity this is the cost here in the UK (inclusive of our local VAT)

    Canon RF
    15-38mm L = £2499
    24-70mm L = £2519
    70-200mm L = £2999
    Total = £8017

    E mount (Sigma and Tamron mix)
    14-24mm DG DN Art = £1299
    24-70mm DG DN Art = £1049
    70-180mm Gen 1 = £1149
    Total = £3497

    There are many working pros doing both stills and video who are on tight budgets and simply can not afford Canon L/Sony GM/G prices but need professional results and features. Currently Canon doesn't provide/allow native RF solutions, Sony doesn't provide them either but they do allow Sigma, and Tamron to do so instead. I personally have the Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 Art DG DN as my main studio portrait lens and shot it on 60mp and it is more than capable of producing great IQ and for half the price of the Sony equivalent. Yes the GM II is better in everyday but the Sigma is 90% as good and that is more than good enough for me.

    I think Canon would do well to do their own cheaper alternatives to the classic trinity, similar to what Tamron have on emote.
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