Can someone bring me up to speed on EF vs RF lenses?

luckydude

1dxII, 5DIII, 7DII, lots of glass, tolerant wife
Aug 3, 2013
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Hi, long time member but I've been busy with http://mcvoy.com/lm/boat and not really paying attention to photography.

I mostly don't care because I have pretty much all the EF glass I want, but what is up with all the EF lenses being discontinued? I get that RF is all the rage (I don't get why at all, they don't seem that much smaller, just a different mount, what's the point?). Does that mean Canon is basically done with the EF/EF-S mount? That seems like a fairly big deal.
 

neuroanatomist

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Jul 21, 2010
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I don't think we'll see any more EF or EF-S lenses launched. I also doubt that Canon will be producing any more higher-end EF or EF-S lenses, which is why many have been discontinued – they'll sell existing stock until it's gone. Canon will continue to produce EF-S kit lenses, since they still sell a lot of entry-level DSLRs. Likewise, any new DSLRs will be entry-level (and there will probably be one or two more of those).

RF lenses generally offer improvements over the EF counterparts, but there is a significant cost associated with those improvements and many find that disproportionate. For example, the RF UWA zooms are 1-2mm wider than the EF counterparts (14-35/4, 15-35/2.8), the 24-70/2.8 has IS, the 70-200/2.8 is much smaller and has better IQ. The 24-105/4L is the one case where the RF lens offers no real improvements, and in that case launch price was the same as the EF version.
 

takesome1

EOS 5D Mark IV
Aug 23, 2013
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None your business Alaska
“It is natural that mirrorless cameras will become the mainstream of digital cameras… The market needs are acceleratingly shifting to mirrorless cameras. In line with this, we are steadily shifting manufacturing” Mitarai says. (Mitarai is Canon's CEO)

Your statement "Canon is basically done..." may be over stated. I think a better statement might be gradually phasing out. It will be several years before you see Canon's service stop entirely on the EF line.
 

unfocused

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Jul 20, 2010
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Since you haven't been paying attention, here is a brief summation:

Digital single lens reflex technology is a mature technology that offers hope for mainly small incremental improvements. The current generation of DSLRs are not perfect, but they are very good and it has become difficult for companies to offer significant improvements.

Mirrorless technology offers new areas of advancement that could not be easily achieved with DSLRs. For Canon, they were able to offer new lens designs and new options for autofocus (for example) that could be more easily achieved with mirrorless technology. There is some size and weight savings as well, but not huge. Probably most important from Canon's perspective is that they can offer new options for photographers in a market that has been shrinking (thus preserving their profitability).

Probably the most common improvements for most photographers are that mirrorless bodies and lenses can achieve accurate autofocus at smaller apertures than f8, the autofocus systems can select the eye/face of the subject including birds and animals as well as people, the number of frames per second is greater because there is no need to have a mirror flipping up and down, and autofocus can be more accurate because it is directly linked to the sensor rather than going through a mirror assembly (so no need to fine tune your autofocus to specific lenses if you ever did that).

If you are happy with your DSLR's performance and with your current lens selection, then there is really no need to switch to the R system. It will be many years (if ever) before it becomes impossible to buy or service DSLRs and EF lenses. Canon has not definitively stated they are going to drop all DSLRs or all EF lenses, but it is assumed by many people that a gradual phaseout is occurring. When your current DSLR breaks or when you feel it is time to replace it, you can replace it with a Canon R system camera and by purchasing lens adapters, you can continue to use all your EF lenses as long as you want or you can gradually replace them with new model RF lenses (your choice).
 
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Mt Spokane Photography

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As Canon says in their annual reports, RF lenses are high profit. Canon has the market pretty much to themselves. As far as I know, no one has reverse engineered the RF protocol, the Compatible lenses have a RF mount but rely on EF compatible electronics, or at least, none of the NEW RF capabilities appear. That is one reason behind the push for RF.

Having the market to themselves is huge for Canon and they make no secret of it. RF lenses do have some advantages but not enough to upgrade from a EF lens. I have several EF L lenses and have bought a couple of smaller easy to carry consumer grade RF lenses. I like my RF 35 lens, but my RF 24-240mm is not very impressive. The main benefit is the ability to carry a do it all lens which is a reasonable weight and good enough quality for casual photos. There really isn't a comparable EF lens available.

So, keep your EF lenses, and buy RF lenses to replace broken ones or to add new capabilities. The EF lenses work better on a mirrorless, they don't need AFMA to get very accurate focus at all distances. Lens characteristics like focus shift still apply, you need to be aware of that. You can definitely get sharper focus my manually focusing them, but it's usually a pretty small increment.
 
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Czardoom

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Jan 27, 2020
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If you have all the EF lenses you want or need, then you can pretty much ignore everything else for the time being. Mirrorless cameraas - especially the higher end models, seem to be selling so well that there may not be any more higher end DSLRs coming out in the future. So it is possible that whenever you want or need a new Canon camera, it will be an R system mirrorless. But all your EF lenses will work just fine with a mount adapter.
 
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luckydude

1dxII, 5DIII, 7DII, lots of glass, tolerant wife
Aug 3, 2013
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Thanks for all the info, sorry for living under a rock (aka on a boat) while all this happened.

I shoot sports from time to time and the requirements are no post processing, no crappy pictures, no time to delete. So shooting burst is just not an option, I have to time the shot so I get the puck just about to go into the goalies glove or it is is a worthless shot.

I haven't looked at mirrorless recently, the last time I did, none of the bodies worked for that style of shooting, there was noticeable lag.

So my question is, for sports, is everyone still using mirror based cameras or has Canon made mirrorless bodies that are just as good as the older tech (or better somehow)?

On the adapters, either EF on RF body or RF on EF body (assuming they have both), is there any optical, aperture, or other loss that comes with using them or is it just extra weight (I shoot a 1DX with a 200mm f2.0, I'm already on a monopod so weight isn't that big of a concern for me).

Personally, I'm very, very happy with my 1dx II and my 5d III. If I knew that the 1dx III was the last one, I might be inclined to upgrade though I looked a while back and wasn't overwhelmed with the difference, anyone with a III care to comment on what they actually like enough that they would not go back to a II?
 
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takesome1

EOS 5D Mark IV
Aug 23, 2013
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None your business Alaska
For your sports I think I would hang with the 1Dx II for now.
Canon just released an R3, might do the job to. But why change from something that works?

You can always buy an R body and use the adapter on all your lenses. Updating lenses isn't necessary.
RF lenses will not fit on EF bodies, it only goes one way and that is EF to RF.
 
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Jethro

EOS R
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Jul 14, 2018
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On the adapters, either EF on RF body ... is there any optical, aperture, or other loss that comes with using them or is it just extra weight (I shoot a 1DX with a 200mm f2.0, I'm already on a monopod so weight isn't that big of a concern for me).
No losses like that resulting from the EF-RF adaptor - the results are pretty universally good, and some users report getting even better results for adapted lenses on R series bodies. An advantage to using adaptors is that one version of them includes provision for filters, and for some lenses (eg tilt-shift) that's a tangible advantage over normal EF use.
 
Jul 5, 2022
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If you go with using EF lenses, avoid the temptation of buying a cheap generic lens adapter. Having got rid of my 5D111 I wanted to try the Eos R6 without buying any R lenses, rather use my range of EF lenses with an adapter. I had nothing but problems with my Newell adapter. I kept getting lens communication errors, especially with heavier lenses. For me the worst was the issues I had with my 28-70 ef f2.8 lens. It was so bad I actually thought my lens had become damaged as it lost the ability to sharply focus and my photos looked globby for want of a better word. As a last resort (was thinking of going back to an EF camera), and bought the Canon adapter. It was the best €100 I have ever spent!