Nifty Fifty and/or a Pancake lens are coming to the RF mount in 2020 [CR3]

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,894
1,139
Southeastern USA
Love that lens, dude, it's really really good. I finally got to try a 50 prime with the near perfect wide open AF experience I had with the 85 f/1.4L IS. Canon pulled it off.

Money's not my hang up. Personally, I'm not ready for an EOS R migration, but even if I was, gear that big/heavy tends to stay at home rather than come out with me. When I migrate to EOS R, it likely will be more about being able to build an aggregate smaller bag of gear. So as much as that lens is amazing, I think I will use smaller, slower lenses more often and those options will more likely get my money.

- A
I understand the desire for compact. I belong to an ancient camera club with ancient members. I ain't no spring chicken, but I'm the youngest member by at least ten years! All around me, fellow members are buying Olympus. Then sort of missing the clean images they were used to working on in LR CC.

And I have an 80D with a permanently attached ef-s35mm f/2.8 IS Macro. Not the widest aperture, but better than a pancake for AF and IQ, imo. That's what I take out with the kids. But the 80D is fun with other lenses too.

But I believe it is possible that Canon threw up their hands, waved the white flag, and decided they could either compete against the smartphone era with mediocre compact gear or truly differentiate by making the best possible primes and mid-focal-lenght zooms regardless of size.

Have you seen how amazingly great the current generation of smartphones is right now? Even passionate, top photographers I know have decided that for their travel and family photography, their everyday compulsion type photography, it's just too easy to carry only the smartphone. I find this kind of sad, kind of like the passing of an era, but these days anything more than a smartphone seems cumbersome, seems like it intrudes on other activities, and creates something of a dedicated outing.

If I can't carry it in my pocket, then it might as well be a beast of a lens and body combo that gets the best possible results. You don't see a lot of people carrying ANY kind of SLR when out and about (outside tourist areas), but it no longer makes me self-conscious to do so myself. I go to the grocery store, or to pick up the kids, or whatever, I have a big or bigger combo. I don't care. If there is the chance of getting an outstanding photo, I want to be using my favorite gear. Snapshots, documented cute moments, etc., a smartphone works. And it is really not much more of an inconvenience to have a little bigger, heavier gear than what you have been talking about these past several years.

Does this make sense? Canon saw the death of point-and-shoot, and they are doing their best to sustain, and bring some new energy to hobby, enthusiast, and pro photography.
 
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ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,528
1,413
Does this make sense? Canon saw the death of point-and-shoot, and they are doing their best to sustain, and bring some new energy, to hobby, enthusiast, and pro photogrphy.

I hear you, and I really appreciate the post.

I was fully expecting Canon to push limits and put out sexy kit to establish RF as a top platform, and they did not disappoint. We will continue to see really high end glass come out over the next few years as they build up the RF portfolio, and our jaws will continue to drop as they put out some yowza glass -- a really high end 135, perhaps a coma obliterating astro UWA prime, etc.

But some of your argument above implies (and I could be misreading you) that the only people buying ILCs now are camera forum denizens and working photographers becuase casual shooters stopped buying cameras in favor of cell phones. Some of that surely has happened, but I think a lot of young people still want to make their IG pop, to make their food photography sing, or to get a really nice selfie-video quality for their youtube how-to / unboxing / whatever channel. And some of these people have disposable cash to burn -- all while FF bodies are getting more affordable than ever. Some of these folks wouldn't mind a less involved / obtrusive / burdensome thing to carry around to capture their lives and interests.

Consider: one of the first RF lenses for sale (35 f/1.8 STM) was not a high end staple at all. It was compact, relatively inexpensive, had a FOV not unlike a cell phone and offered a nice 1:2 macro for food / travel photography. People post pictures of the camera itself on social media and comment how wonderfully small it is.

I simply contend that there is money in decent smaller glass. Canon hasn't made it a priority for RF yet, but I'm confident it's coming.

- A
 

SirMcSquish

EOS R
Jan 1, 2020
2
2
42
NB, Canada
Was hoping they were going to update the 50mm 1.4 USM as well. I hope they at least improve upon the design in some way to make it worthwhile. Quieter, IS or something else nifty.
 
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Apr 17, 2017
214
242
Placitas, NM
www.flickr.com
I'm just saying that primes (esp. 35, 50 primes) went from fairly svelt little buggers to absoute beasts in the last 10 years.

[...edit...]

Canon did end up abandoning DG with the RF 50L to chase the sharpness beast, which is fine (it's an aweome lens). I'm just saying that they clearly gave up something to get it.

- A
They didn't just chase sharpness, they took the paradigm that modern "over-engineered" lenses have less character and turned that on its head.

One of the best painterly and pleasing bokeh of any lens I've ever used is generated by the Contax Zeiss 50 f/1.4 C/Y and the Classic ZE version as well (Contax is better at MFD and Classic at infinity, but bokeh is nearly identical). I simply don't reach for the Contax any more after getting the RF 50, it's that good – not just sharpness edge-to-edge even at f/1.2 and infinity, but bokeh quality that rivals retro designs. The combination of the RF 50 f/1.2's bokeh character with stunning sharpness from wide open to f/2 is a wonder to behold.

The only thing they "gave up" was size/weight, but as has been pointed out, this is largely offset by the balance of the rig as a whole. They basically took the bulk they removed from the 5D body by going mirrorless and moved the weight to the lens. Holding the R+RF 50 f/1.2 is nearly an identical feel to the 5D4 or 5DsR with the EF 50 f/1.2.

When I use the RF 50 f/1.2, I don't see it as a "they gave up something" kind of lens. I see it as a "thank God they left behind all the shortcomings of the EF version and kept a wonderful character to the rendering" kind of lens.
 

twoheadedboy

EOS R Fanboi
Jan 3, 2018
85
96
Kenosha, WI
Yes, RF 50mm f/1.8 IS for $500, please.
I would be really shocked if they didn't put out an RF 50mm f/1.4 with IS (if any), and then continue to use a cheap/light/small design for the f/1.8. I know Nikon has a fancy f/1.8 but it just doesn't make a lot of sense to me to have cheap AND expensive f/1.8's with no f/1.4, and it doesn't make a lot of sense to have four 50mm AF lenses either.

My preference would be the 50mm f/1.4 IS and a pancake wider than that, then I would sell my RF 50mm f/1.2, which is a fantastic lens but it's just not reasonable for me to have as my 50 prime if another option is available...I don't need f/1.2 that much.
 

YuengLinger

EOS 5D MK IV
Dec 20, 2012
2,894
1,139
Southeastern USA
I hear you, and I really appreciate the post...

But some of your argument above implies (and I could be misreading you) that the only people buying ILCs now are camera forum denizens and working photographers becuase casual shooters stopped buying cameras in favor of cell phones. Some of that surely has happened, but I think a lot of young people still want to make their IG pop, to make their food photography sing, or to get a really nice selfie-video quality for their youtube how-to / unboxing / whatever channel. And some of these people have disposable cash to burn -- all while FF bodies are getting more affordable than ever. Some of these folks wouldn't mind a less involved / obtrusive / burdensome thing to carry around to capture their lives and interests.

Consider: one of the first RF lenses for sale (35 f/1.8 STM) was not a high end staple at all. It was compact, relatively inexpensive, had a FOV not unlike a cell phone and offered a nice 1:2 macro for food / travel photography. People post pictures of the camera itself on social media and comment how wonderfully small it is...

- A
Thanks, ahsanford. You didn't completely misread me. I do think that the ILC's are becoming more of an upscale photography option now--for people who are purposefully into photography, who have a deeper than average interest and desire to produce better than average images.

But the customers you reference here, I believe, have it both ways. They want their ILCs for all the excellent examples you have mentioned, but they generally leave their ILC's at home. Yes, technically we can get better images of food in a restaurant, for example, with better gear, but only to a point. Beyond that we need lighting and backgrounds and lots of management cooperation to do tremendously better with an R than with the best smartphones on the market atm.

Sure, there is a market for budget lenses, but I don't think it is as profitable as you seem to think, because volume just isn't there anymore.

The Rf 24-105mm f/4L IS seems to be an interesting lens relevant to the discussion. Compared to so many "budget" options, this is an amazing lens for portrait and landscape. But it gets little respect from "forum denizens," and is seen as high-end by beginning photographers. It's a great walkaround too! But it was born with the limitation of f/4. Sigh...It's light. The AF is quick. The IQ is very good. The IS is excellent. And, by RF L-series standards, it's a bargain.

And I believe the rf 35mm is a bargain too, and there is nothing wrong with it as an entry level. We will see more. But if Canon's mission is to bring excitement again to FF ILC, the results (and specs) from the L primes are easier to market.
 

mb66energy

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 18, 2011
1,381
267
Germany
www.MichaelBockhorst.de
After trying the RF 35mm I think canon has understood what -I- want: A very flexible lightweight lens with very good IQ - flexibility due to the 1:2 Macro and the IS.
I would like to see an RF 100mm f/2.0 1:2 Macro with IS as a complementary lens also for landscape, but for closer portrait work and for generally more "concentrated" photos. This one would be a good fusion of EF 2.8 100 macro & EF 2.0 100 and would help me to avoid the decision which one to take ...
Think about two RPs with 35 + 100mm, stabilized, unlimited closeup photography, STM motors therefore well suited for video. A lightweight and universal package.
 

twoheadedboy

EOS R Fanboi
Jan 3, 2018
85
96
Kenosha, WI
100% yes an RF 35L will happen -- f/1.4 vs. f/1.2 remains to be seen. I'd be pretty surprised if Canon shot 1.2 all the way up and down the (not too long) prime spectrum. Some would get bonkers huge.

But I'd expect RF L lenses for what we have in EF, but surely they'll start with the staples:

24L = coming, lower priority​
35L = coming​
50L = done​
85L = done (twice!)​
100L Macro = coming, higher priority (no native 1:1 macro in the system yet)​
135L mondo pickle jar of destiny = eventually, no idea when (it's a prestige lens they might have led with, but it's not a 'must' so much as a bug zapper to draw folks to the brand)​

There will be more lenses of course, but above are the staples one would expect.

- A
I know I'm in the minority, but I really wish Canon would do a 28mm f/1.4 like Nikon. I have the Sigma and adapt it, and will probably convert or trade should they release an RF version because it's a great lens, but I love 28mm specifically and it also replaces the need for both 24 and 35 for me (I also carry a 24 - 105 so it's not like I can't get to those precise focal lengths).
 
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May 30, 2014
5
0
I'm not an expert but I thought that the pancake design works best if the focal length is approximately the flange distance of the mount. Thus we have a 40mm f/2.8 for the 44mm EF/EF-S mount, and a 22mm f/2 for the 18mm EF-M mount. Given that the RF mount is 20mm, can we assume that a pancake design would be in the ballpark of a 24mm focal length? Or does crop vs full-frame make a difference?

Personally, I'm more interested in a 85 or 100mm equivalent of my RF35. I have a few wider angle lenses already and the adapted EF 50mm/1.8STM is sufficient for my simple needs.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,528
1,413
After trying the RF 35mm I think canon has understood what -I- want: A very flexible lightweight lens with very good IQ - flexibility due to the 1:2 Macro and the IS.
I would like to see an RF 100mm f/2.0 1:2 Macro with IS as a complementary lens also for landscape, but for closer portrait work and for generally more "concentrated" photos. This one would be a good fusion of EF 2.8 100 macro & EF 2.0 100 and would help me to avoid the decision which one to take ...
Think about two RPs with 35 + 100mm, stabilized, unlimited closeup photography, STM motors therefore well suited for video. A lightweight and universal package.

Fascinating, thanks.

I think an 100mm f/2.8 1:1 macro is an automatic/certain add to the lineup (100 f/2 less so). The system simply has to offer a 1:1 macro solution, and Canon has excelled here for a long time (the old non-L was also quite good). And Canon has shown an aptitude for innovating here (didn't hybrid IS start on the 100L?).

- A
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,944
968
Germany
...
EF 50 f/1.4 USM = decently sharp, still compact but the AF hunts and getting useable output wider than f/2 is dubious
...
Don't forget the delicate mechanical built of the AF...
Main reason to me to never take this one into account.
 

ahsanford

Particular Member
Aug 16, 2012
8,528
1,413
Don't forget the delicate mechanical built of the AF...
Main reason to me to never take this one into account.

Yeah, my 50 1.4 never had it's micro USM / focusing ring function broken. Eight years old now (after buying it new), and it still works 'fine' -- the AF hunts, but it eventually locks.

I used to live really close to the (at the time) shiny new Canon facility in Burbank. I brought my 5D3 to get looked over and have the rubbery grippable material replaced. My 50 1.4 was with me when I brought it in and somewhat sarcastically asked the technician if they tune up lenses, improve the focusing, etc.

To my surprise, he took it from my hands and aggressively / rapidly cranked on the focusing ring back and forth. Rough-housing would be putting it kindly -- he was beating this thing up and I just cringed through the process. :oops:

He handed it back to me, saying [something to the effect of] 'Nope. Not much we can do unless you want us to tear it down, which will probably cost you as much as the lens is worth. I was just checking to see if you had already broken it, but it's indexing in and out just fine, so I think you're good!' (y)

He effectively was doing the routine 'yeah it's broken' assay he does on all the 50 1.4s. It was almost like he was a physio doing a Lachman (drawer) test on an injured player's knee to assess the ACL.

- A
 
Last edited:
Mar 14, 2012
2,373
257
Love that lens, dude, it's really really good. I finally got to try a 50 prime with the near perfect wide open AF experience I had with the EF 85 f/1.4L IS. Canon pulled it off.

Money's not my hang up. Personally, I'm not ready for an EOS R migration, but even if I was, gear that big/heavy tends to stay at home rather than come out with me. When I migrate to EOS R, it likely will be more about being able to build an aggregate smaller bag of gear. So as much as that lens is amazing, I think I will use smaller, slower lenses more often and those options will more likely get my money.

- A
I just hope that Canon doesn't copy Nikon's playbook and release a bunch of f/1.8 lenses at $800. Personally, I'm glad Canon went for L glass first rather than what Nikon did. Who wants to build a lens set of f/1.8 lenses at 800 apiece only to have the better stuff come out later at much higher prices. The EF 24, 28 and 35 IS were not very popular when they came out at 700-800 each...
 
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Architect1776

Defining the poetics of space through Architecture
Aug 18, 2017
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Agree with PBD. I personally love a compact FF setup with f/2 primes and f/4 zooms, but neither are considered premium and trying to do so will result in lower demand.
  • EF 24-70 f/4L IS was a wonderful design IMHO -- compact, 0.7x macro, hybrid IS, etc. Dropped from initial asking of $1499 down to ~ $900 pretty quickly. There was a rather loud user backlash to that initial asking, if I recall.
  • The 24/28/35 IS refreshes are wonderful lenses that in some case outperformed the last-gen L primes of the same FLs. Initial asking price was $749-849 if memory serves, and (we presume) they tanked commercially because the prices plummeted -- and within the first year.
As much as there absolutely is a push to make things smaller, it appears that Canon is trying to do that organically / across the board without it being a spec takeaway from the EF version. They dramatically reduced the size of the 70-200 2.8, but giving up a stop was never on the table -- so they switched it to an externally zooming design. The 24-105L was lovingly tweaked to reduce its size, but they didn't drop it down to a 24-70 or make it f/5.6 to do it.

I just don't think that Canon wants to gamble on small and premium. They may leave that business to the two fixed lens premium FF offerings (Leica Q, Sony RX1R, etc.).

- A
In spite of people on these sites demanding primes, I see from this string talking of prime prices plummeting as soon as introduced shows there is not that much call for primes contrary to a small vocal bunch. If they were in high demand the prices would not crash as they did and zoom lenses would not dominate so much. New cameras have ISO capabilities that can easily make up for 1-2 stops with no real or perceptible degradation of the image in the real world.
 
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Kit Lens Jockey

EOS 7D MK II
Nov 12, 2016
724
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That is my question. Why is the 1.4 being so ignored. Does not need to be L level but with computers etc. and modern manufacturing can still be outstanding IQ.
Like YuengLinger said, photography has changed. The 50mm 1.4 came out in 1993. That was about a decade before cell phones even had (awful) cameras on them. There just isn't enough of a market left in photography to design something as specialized as a mid-level prime lens and sell enough of them to make it worth it.
 
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