A Delicious thought re. non-Canon RF-lenses

KirkD

EOS T7i
Nov 23, 2017
62
29
Canada
kirkdurston.wixsite.com
I have pre-ordered the Canon EOS R. Recently, some lens manufacturers, such as Sigma, have been releasing lenses in the EF mount that have impressive optical performance. Mostly, however, they are trying to get their foot in the door (so to speak) since Canon already has multiple lenses for each of the lens categories (e.g., 24-70 f2.8, 70-200 f2.8, etc.). Now they have an opportunity to "beat Canon to the punch" by releasing RF lenses before Canon has anything on the market in that category. I prefer Canon lenses for their build quality and other factors, but the advantage to us is that Canon undoubtably wants to get their RF lenses out there before the others steal some of the demand. In other words, we should expect a very rapid release of a lot of Canon RF lenses. Of course, it may be the case that Canon has patented the lens mount such that all other lens manufacturers are out of luck for the foreseeable future, in which case my thought is depressing rather than delicious.
 

jolyonralph

Kodak Brownie
Aug 25, 2015
1,094
310
50
London, UK
www.everyothershot.com
Have you noticed no-one* is doing third-party EF-M lenses (excluding manual focus)?

* Well, Tamron did try. They did an EF-M 18-200 zoom, but when the M3 came out it stopped working and they had to issue a firmware update. When the M5 came out it stopped working again, and I have no idea if it was ever fixed after that.

Long story short, no-one else has tried doing autofocus EF-M lenses since.

Would you risk buying a third-party RF lens that may just stop working with the next EOS R firmware update, or on your future RF mount bodies?

The EF mount is well-known enough that there's a good enough chance that your current Sigma EF lenses will work on future EF bodies. But RF is totally new to them, and even if it were technically possible for them to decode the RF communication there's no guarantee they'll be able to do it 100% right.

I wouldn't risk it!
 

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,462
705
No one knows what the communication protocol for RF lenses is. The adapter may pass thru the EF protocol, but the RF may be encrypted. It will also very likely be patented. The whole thing may end up in the courts, thats happened before, so I doubt that canon is doing anything to prevent reverse engineering, in any event, they can possibly produce a crippled RF mount lens using the EF protocol for reduced performance.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Michael Clark

Don Haines

Beware of cats with laser eyes!
Jun 4, 2012
8,123
1,639
Canada
Odds are that the RF communications protocol is the same as the EF..... just at a higher rate, and probably a few new commands..... but time will tell.....

As to third party lenses and future problems, both Sigma and Tamron are using docks for most new lenses and this allows easy firmware upgrades. Interestingly enough, Olympus has been doing that through the camera body for 15 years at least.....
 
  • Like
Reactions: Michael Clark

Mt Spokane Photography

I post too Much on Here!!
Mar 25, 2011
15,462
705
Odds are that the RF communications protocol is the same as the EF..... just at a higher rate, and probably a few new commands..... but time will tell.....

As to third party lenses and future problems, both Sigma and Tamron are using docks for most new lenses and this allows easy firmware upgrades. Interestingly enough, Olympus has been doing that through the camera body for 15 years at least.....
Yes, it is going to take time.

Its certainly possible that its just a bus speed change, the patents we've seen hint at it being the same or similar. Even if true, 3rd party lens makers could not put out a compatible lens unless they have a lot more information. Lenses have a code that is sent to the camera, and they select a existing Canon code that is similar enough that the camera handles it correctly as far as all the settings and AF points. Just determining the best code will require a camera and lens to test and make sure that nothing glitches. Even then, we see additional firmware updates.

We do not know the details of the sensor either, and how the pixels near the edges are configured to gather light and to allow autofocus. At the corners and extreme edges, of course, there is no autofocus.
 

jolyonralph

Kodak Brownie
Aug 25, 2015
1,094
310
50
London, UK
www.everyothershot.com
EF was designed in 1986. A lot has changed since then. It's highly likely that communication is encrypted and needs some kind of special 'key' chip within the lens (or adaptor) for the RF mount to acknowledge it. If so it's many orders of magnitude harder for anyone to create RF lenses without Canon selling them the special chip.

If Sigma or another wanted to licence RF mount for their lenses they'd have to buy those chips from Canon.
 

jolyonralph

Kodak Brownie
Aug 25, 2015
1,094
310
50
London, UK
www.everyothershot.com
As to third party lenses and future problems, both Sigma and Tamron are using docks for most new lenses and this allows easy firmware upgrades
Which is fine as long as the company in question still produce and support your lens. But look at this Tamron EF-M lens. How old is it? 5 years? And it doesn't look like they're going to support it with firmware updates any more. So you're screwed.

However, if you bought an EF lens for your Canon EOS 650 back in 1987 it will still work on any Canon EF body today. It may not be supported for spares or repair, but as long as the lens keeps working it will still work on your current camera body.