Canon explains RF lens technology and why bigger is better (sometimes)

BillB

EOS 6D MK II
May 11, 2017
1,053
289
Yes, with the RF version of the 35mm, Canon has managed to dramatically reduce the size of the front element compared to the EF 35/2 IS. In fact, they’ve managed to make the front element about as small as the one on the old EF 35/2 non-IS...

Now, you were saying something about the advantages of the RF mount? :unsure:
I said effect, advantage is your word.
 

rjbray01

Canon Forever
Jan 19, 2017
92
45
I would like to see Canon do like they did with many EFS lenses. There are some very sharp ones but inexpensive (10-18mm) and this could be translated into the RF mount. Most of us do not need the built like a tank lens just a good quality optically. Take out the IS once the IBIS is available in all the lenses that do not fully benefit from IS and IBIS is just fine. I would then like to see the lenses come down substantially in size and weight. Look at the old FD lenses for size inspiration, the FD 80-200mm is petite compared to the EF equivalent today. I have no problem with f4 lenses as we have insanely high ISOs available now. How did we ever survive with Kodachrome 64 and the slow lenses of the same period? Great shots were made then through real skill and talent.
Bottom line I would like smaller very sharp not super large aperture lenses to match the RF mount.
I can't help wondering if the evolution of cameras is going the way of cars ... where the price remains constant, whilst the features just keep getting better and better ...

or

the evolution of pocket calculators where they ran out of features and the price just went down and down

Obviously we want great IQ, great subject isolation/bokeh, great ease of use, and most of us would prefer small and lightweight too ...

How close are we to the point of diminishing returns ?

If the evolution of the mobile phone camera market is anything to do by then I think we are getting pretty close.

I am no optical technician, but I assume that the RF lens mount genuinely is better, although I for one can still remember IBM bringing out "Microchannel Architecture" in their PS/2 range ... which was driven far more by commercial objectives than technological gain ...

Is the RF lens just another attempt at a manufacturer to hold on to its commercial lead ... or does it represent improve the value proposition ...

I'm not in a position to judge who on this forum is correct from a technical perspective, but market forces will prevail eventually ...

Personally, I won't be making the very expensive shift from my 5D Mark iv and EF lenses to any mirrorless solution until I feel I'm getting better considerably better value for money than what I've currently got ...

As to whether the RF mount is really so much better ... well, if it is then surely all the camera manufacturers will be coming up with something similar as the science is now very well understood isn't it ?
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,360
1,701
I said effect, advantage is your word.
So the effect of the RF mount is to allow similar-sized front elements as EF lenses. I’d say that’s not much of an effect at all.

Note that I’m basing this on empirical evidence, not marketing statements. Honestly, I’d like to see these purported effects (preferably beneficial ones) of the RF mount. But outside of lens/body communication, I’ve not seen any actual evidence to date.
 

koenkooi

EOS RP
Feb 25, 2015
347
197
So the effect of the RF mount is to allow similar-sized front elements as EF lenses. I’d say that’s not much of an effect at all.

Note that I’m basing this on empirical evidence, not marketing statements. Honestly, I’d like to see these purported effects (preferably beneficial ones) of the RF mount. But outside of lens/body communication, I’ve not seen any actual evidence to date.
It's a bit strange the narrator says (paraphrasing) "Smaller front elements!" and the RF50 is about 5mm wider and the RF85 about 10mm wider than their EF f/1.2 counterparts.
The interview with the designers also had weird statements:

Q: Why f/1.2 instead of f/1.4?
A: Because it's harder to design.
 
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unfocused

EOS 5D SR
I can't help wondering if the evolution of cameras is going the way of cars ... where the price remains constant, whilst the features just keep getting better and better ...

or

the evolution of pocket calculators where they ran out of features and the price just went down and down...

...How close are we to the point of diminishing returns ?
I'd say "both and neither." And, we are past the point of diminishing returns.

While a car isn't quite a necessity, from a practical standpoint, it is in much of the developed world. Cameras however will never be a necessity for most people. Almost everyone wants to record and preserve moments from their lives, but not being able to do so would not have a major impact on the ability of most people to earn a living.

Pocket calculators, like cameras, have pretty much been replaced by apps that are readily available on everyone's phone. But calculators were always viewed by most people as something that was handy to have, but not generating a lot of desire. Cameras, like cars, are something that give people perceived joy to own. In fact, it is probably that desire to own that is driving the industry right now as the majority of consumers are finding their phone cameras to be a perfectly usable and a much more convenient replacement.

I do think we reached that point of diminishing returns several years ago. What is driving sales (in my opinion) now days is the desire to have small incremental improvements that we think will help us take better pictures, but which, in all honesty are unlikely to make much difference in most cases.

I'm as addicted as anyone (I recently ordered a Canon R), but I have to say, I have yet to see anything about this new lens mount that makes me think it will translate into better photographs for me.

I think Canon took a huge risk when they adopted the new mount. Adapters for EF lenses reduced the risk and cost of adopting the new bodies, but I'm just now sure how successful their RF lens sales will be as long as most R buyers also own a DSLR. I think the general discussion on this thread is a good illustration of the difficulty they face in convincing people of the benefits of the RF mount.
 
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gruhl28

Canon 70D
Jul 26, 2013
63
0
What an annoying video. Starts with a photo where the stars are badly trailed, then the annoying voice and music, content wasn't explained well. Canon couldn't do better than this?
 

Larsskv

EOS 7D MK II
Jun 12, 2015
759
178
Yes, with the RF version of the 35mm, Canon has managed to dramatically reduce the size of the front element compared to the EF 35/2 IS. In fact, they’ve managed to make the front element about as small as the one on the old EF 35/2 non-IS...

Now, you were saying something about the advantages of the RF mount? :unsure:
Referring to this and earlier posts about the RF mount. As I see it, the RF 50 proves advantages over the EF mount. It pretty much matches the Zeiss Otus 55 in a smaller package, despite being half a stop faster. The RF 28-70 f2 is also unmatched by the EF mount.
 
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FramerMCB

Canon 40D & 7D
Sep 9, 2014
376
75
52
Uh oh....Canon is trying to keep our attention on RF lenses with fancy videos....not fancy newly released lenses. I wonder if they've hit a hitch it releasing the lenses announced in February.
No. Just a hitch with the Camera body they wanted to announce with their release... ;-)
 
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FramerMCB

Canon 40D & 7D
Sep 9, 2014
376
75
52
Referring to this and earlier posts about the RF mount. As I see it, the RF 50 proves advantages over the EF mount. It pretty much matches the Zeiss Otus 55 in a smaller package, despite being half a stop faster. The RF 28-70 f2 is also unmatched by the EF mount.
Excepting this proposition/question: could Canon have made these 2 lenses in the EF mount? I'm sure, if they had felt a market was there for it, that they could have made a 50mm f/1.2L Mk III that matches the RF version. They could have probably also made the 28-70mm f/2.0L for EF but they chose to roll these out in the RF mount probably to help convince people to buy an EOS R (and later the RP: and whilst I do see the argument, "who's going to buy a $1,200USD RP and put a near $3,000USD lens on it?", I don't necessarily agree).
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,360
1,701
Referring to this and earlier posts about the RF mount. As I see it, the RF 50 proves advantages over the EF mount. It pretty much matches the Zeiss Otus 55 in a smaller package, despite being half a stop faster. The RF 28-70 f2 is also unmatched by the EF mount.
As @FramerMCB says, those RF lenses don’t mean an EF version isn’t possible. Would you argue an 800mm f/5.6 for RF is impossible? Incidentally, there are 2.5x T2 (f/1.9) cine zoom lenses in EF mount.
 

Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
75
75
As @FramerMCB says, those RF lenses don’t mean an EF version isn’t possible. Would you argue an 800mm f/5.6 for RF is impossible? Incidentally, there are 2.5x T2 (f/1.9) cine zoom lenses in EF mount.
Possible isn’t the same as probable. What would a 28-70 f2 in EF look like and what would it take to achieve the same performance, size, and price point?

I don’t know the answer but I would be willing to bet that front element and overall lens would be bigger, more expensive, and never have the benefit of a future IBIS body.

I don’t think marketing is the reason Canon was able to produce this lens on RF. What’s the excuse for all other manufacturers and Sigma for not producing the same type of lens? The best sigma could do is 24-35 f/2.

And further, can Canon produce the same RF 35 on EF and retain the same features? The advantages you’re waiting to see are already happening. The evidence is there whether you want to conclude so or not.

I also find it silly when people compare Leica and Zeiss lenses to Canon.... totally different price points. I mean really? When I see a manual focus lens that costs way more compared to Canon.... if that lens costs the same and has same size and performance as the Canon equivalent I’ll have an open ear.
 
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Del Paso

M3 Singlestroke
Aug 9, 2018
462
432
The challenge for the M lenses is that they were designed for film. On digital sensors other than Leica M series cameras the IQ at the edges suffers. If Canon were to make tiny little manual focus lenses with no IS they would still have the hurdle of edge smearing.
I strongly disagree!
The old M lenses suffer, this is true, but the new ones are tack-sharp right into the edges. I do use them on Leica digital bodies, and I guarantee you, they are really sharp!
 

BillB

EOS 6D MK II
May 11, 2017
1,053
289
Excepting this proposition/question: could Canon have made these 2 lenses in the EF mount? I'm sure, if they had felt a market was there for it, that they could have made a 50mm f/1.2L Mk III that matches the RF version. They could have probably also made the 28-70mm f/2.0L for EF but they chose to roll these out in the RF mount probably to help convince people to buy an EOS R (and later the RP: and whilst I do see the argument, "who's going to buy a $1,200USD RP and put a near $3,000USD lens on it?", I don't necessarily agree).
Why are you sure that they could have made an EF 50 F1.2 that matched the RF? Or made a comparable EF 2.0 L?
 

Photo Hack

Hi there
Apr 8, 2019
75
75
I would also add this to the marketing idea. Consider the EF mount to Nikon way back in the day. Manufacturers know they’re going to be married to this mount for possibly 30 years. Do you think Canon is going to make the same mistake Nikon did or have the future in mind the same way they did when they developed the EF mount?

Nikon sure learned from their mistake and went with a drastically different mount for mirrorless. You can only get so far with creative marketing before you’re faced with the problem of physics.

The 28-70 f2 I would argue is made a practical lens because of the new mount. I’m not sure what’s not obvious about that.

I see that Sony plays on the ability to interchange lenses on crop and FF. That’s one way to market, but the reality is, their choice to use the same mount has crippled their ability to compete with Canon and Nikons mirrorless lenses. Especially as the market continues to shrink leaving pros and serious hobbyists who are going to expect faster zooms in a smaller package as we all strive to do more with less gear.
 

Larsskv

EOS 7D MK II
Jun 12, 2015
759
178
As @FramerMCB says, those RF lenses don’t mean an EF version isn’t possible. Would you argue an 800mm f/5.6 for RF is impossible? Incidentally, there are 2.5x T2 (f/1.9) cine zoom lenses in EF mount.
I don’t believe that Canon could make EF versions matching the RF 50 or RF 28-70 without adding size and weight. I don’t believe Sony could either, with their narrow APS-C designed FE mount.
 
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BillB

EOS 6D MK II
May 11, 2017
1,053
289
Reading CR for the humor. It does seem funny that there are people speculating in cyberspace about how Canon lens designers might or might not be able to fit a dozen or so pieces of glass together and whether it would make any difference whether they used an RF or an EF lens mount. Slow day on the rumor front.
 
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