Review: Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM

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Bryan at The Digital Picture has completed his review of the brand new Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM, Canon’s ‘value’ wide angle zoom lens for full-frame and APS-C RF mount cameras.
If you’re like me, you may only use an ultra-wide angle lens on occassion, so this is a great option for minimal cost compared to the RF 14-35mm f/4L IS USM and RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM.
Is it worth owning? Bryan things so.
The Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens fills the previously open affordable, compact, ultra-wide-angle zoom lens position in the RF lens lineup. Most will find an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens to be one of the most important members of their kit, and the well-featured Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is a good option for that role.
Is this the highest-performing ultra-wide-angle RF zoom lens available? No. Is this the smallest, lightest, and most affordable ultra-wide-angle RF zoom...

Continue reading...


 

entoman

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Corner sharpness is mediocre. Colour fringing due to CA is pretty bad, as demonstrated in Bryan's shots of tree bark, as well as in the test charts. The lens will be fine for people who are only going to produce fairly small prints, or images for social media, but this isn't a lens that I'd regard as being suitable for landscape imagery. It will be great as a relatively affordable "fun" lens to experiment with, but I suspect that purchasers will soon want to upgrade to an L lens if and when they can afford to.
 
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Is it worth owning? Bryan things so.
Bryan thinks every lens is worth owning. That may have something to do with income earned from affiliate links, though. ;)

I find his reviews of gear to be enormously beneficial, but he definitely has a 'rose-colored glasses' bias.
 
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The lens will be fine for people who are only going to produce fairly small prints, or images for social media, but this isn't a lens that I'd regard as being suitable for landscape imagery.
For many people, the intent of landscape imagery is to post on social media, not to hang as wall-sized prints.

It will be great as a relatively affordable "fun" lens to experiment with, but I suspect that purchasers will soon want to upgrade to an L lens if and when they can afford to.
I'm not aware of any other OEM UWA zooms for FF under $1K, and this lens is ≥20% cheaper than the 3rd party FF UWA zoom offerings for DLSRs or MILCs.
 
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entoman

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For many people, the intent of landscape imagery is to post on social media, not to hang as wall-sized prints.


I'm not aware of any other OEM UWA zooms for FF under $1K, and this lens is ≥20% cheaper than the 3rd party FF UWA zoom offerings for DLSRs or MILCs.
Yes, I'd already stated that the lens would be fine for people posting on social media. I don't think many people produce "wall-sized prints", in fact I don't think many people produce even A4 prints. Most enthusiasts, I'd guess, simply look at their (mildly cropped) photos on a 4K computer.

My experience, with landscapes taken with the mediocre EF 17-40mm L, cropped to 16:9 format, and completely filling a 5K screen, is that corner softness can be quite apparent at that scale - and that is why I wouldn't recommend either that lens, or this RF 15-30mm STM, for serious landscape work.

A much better option, IMO would be the EF 16-35mm F4 L, which is razor sharp right across the frame, and can be purchased new for GBP 870.
 
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koenkooi

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Bryan thinks every lens is worth owning. That may have something to do with income earned from affiliate links, though. ;)

I find his reviews of gear to be enormously beneficial, but he definitely has a 'rose-colored glasses' bias.
He's very consistent, so I use the relative comparisons to gauge where a lens would fall in real life. I haven't worked out the exact curve he's using to grade things on, though :)
 
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ashmadux

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Bryan doesn't have rose colored glasses, he just writes more like a glass half full kind of style. I've bought ALL my canon gear by referencing his site and image quality charts since my xsi 12 years ago. He delivers practical data, thats it. And to insinuate that Bryan makes nice reviews of all gear just for clicks of his website affiliate ads is demeaning, stupid, and nonsensical. His site is a much better resource for canon users than the NOTHING these naysayers commenters have produced. And he reviews more gear than DPreview. So stop the crap. Dont care for hsi review style? Dont read them- go look at his image qulity results, and bam you have your reference.

Anyways :rolleyes:..

Even with an R body purchase pending, I bought a 16-35 EF instead. R mount non-L glass so far has been a giant waste of time. NONE of the non-L lenses are interesting, they are SLOW, generic options that arent exactly better than previous lenses they are replacing. The 85 f2 with the extending barrel may be the most decent of the bunch, but...its an extending barrel 85..f2. Yuck.

RF-S lenses thus far? A sick joke for r7/R10 users.

Canon is doing a great job making no middle ground in their product line, and a huge quality chasm from basic lenses to L lenses. Think I'm wrong? Cool, go buy a canon RF 50mm lens....300$ or 2200$. + It's not like 3rd party glass is available for it either...great.
 
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LSXPhotog

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Corner sharpness is mediocre. Colour fringing due to CA is pretty bad, as demonstrated in Bryan's shots of tree bark, as well as in the test charts. The lens will be fine for people who are only going to produce fairly small prints, or images for social media, but this isn't a lens that I'd regard as being suitable for landscape imagery. It will be great as a relatively affordable "fun" lens to experiment with, but I suspect that purchasers will soon want to upgrade to an L lens if and when they can afford to.
I guess I'm looking at a totally different set of sample images then...I see a pretty darn good performer that destroys all but the final L-series lenses in EF and RF mount. It's actually pretty close to the 14-35 in CA performance, which I've found to be rather excellent in real-world use and not a test chart. So I am going to say this lens is rather good - especially for the value.
 
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Corner sharpness is mediocre. Colour fringing due to CA is pretty bad, as demonstrated in Bryan's shots of tree bark, as well as in the test charts. The lens will be fine for people who are only going to produce fairly small prints, or images for social media, but this isn't a lens that I'd regard as being suitable for landscape imagery.
Everything I could expect from a good yesteryear's smartphone, and for the same price.
 
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I guess I'm looking at a totally different set of sample images then...I see a pretty darn good performer that destroys all but the final L-series lenses in EF and RF mount. It's actually pretty close to the 14-35 in CA performance, which I've found to be rather excellent in real-world use and not a test chart. So I am going to say this lens is rather good - especially for the value.
Your problem is that you are not looking at the test charts with a biased eye. You aren't pissed off because Canon isn't producing those "mid-level" lenses, that some people think would sell so well. Of course, they would sell very well if Canon produced what those folks really want, which is a lens that performs like an L lens but costs half as much. Since it doesn't perform as well as an L lens, than, of course, it must be only good enough for social media or be nothing better than a smartphone, both comments that are totally ridiculous. I guess all those professional photos taken with the EF 17-40 L and no doubt published in many fine publications must have been only good enough for social media, considering the 17-40 L performs considerably worse than this lens in the periphery and corners. But that's what you get now more than ever on canon rumors. Biased Bullcrap.
 
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entoman

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Your problem is that you are not looking at the test charts with a biased eye. You aren't pissed off because Canon isn't producing those "mid-level" lenses, that some people think would sell so well. Of course, they would sell very well if Canon produced what those folks really want, which is a lens that performs like an L lens but costs half as much. Since it doesn't perform as well as an L lens, than, of course, it must be only good enough for social media or be nothing better than a smartphone, both comments that are totally ridiculous. I guess all those professional photos taken with the EF 17-40 L and no doubt published in many fine publications must have been only good enough for social media, considering the 17-40 L performs considerably worse than this lens in the periphery and corners. But that's what you get now more than ever on canon rumors. Biased Bullcrap.
It's perfectly possible to take a "professional photo" with a Box Brownie meniscus, if you have a good eye for composition, lighting and an interesting subject. That isn't exactly news, is it?

The point you're missing is that the shot with the "inferior" camera and lens just won't have the sharpness, detail rendition, tonality and freedom from distortion that is available with better gear. And that's important to a lot of people.
 
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LSXPhotog

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Your problem is that you are not looking at the test charts with a biased eye. You aren't pissed off because Canon isn't producing those "mid-level" lenses, that some people think would sell so well. Of course, they would sell very well if Canon produced what those folks really want, which is a lens that performs like an L lens but costs half as much. Since it doesn't perform as well as an L lens, than, of course, it must be only good enough for social media or be nothing better than a smartphone, both comments that are totally ridiculous. I guess all those professional photos taken with the EF 17-40 L and no doubt published in many fine publications must have been only good enough for social media, considering the 17-40 L performs considerably worse than this lens in the periphery and corners. But that's what you get now more than ever on canon rumors. Biased Bullcrap.
You bring up a very valid point. When I started this journey into professional photography, the only ultra-wide lenses available in the Canon EF mount were the 17-35L and 16-35L II - not even the Mark III yet. In APS-C, the EF-S 10-22mm was the only choice - the 10-18mm didn't exist yet. Those lenses - all four of them really - perform worse than this lens. Significantly worse in many ways. If you consider the price of this lens versus the original cost of the EF-S 10-22 back in 2005 or whenever it was launched you can now get a FULL-FRAME lens that's even better and cheaper?!

It's a shame that so many people focus on charts and lab testing of lenses. I currently am on a 5-day work even shooting the RF 24-240 EXTENSIVELY simply because of the zoom range...and you know what? The lens has a lot of problems that software fixes very nicely and the colors are brilliant and the sharpness is surprisingly excellent. Thousands of photos taken with a "non professional lens" and they're going to be published in a major national magazine in November and I am loving the results.

Oh well...I guess when people stop reading charts and lab testing on gear they start to actually go out and use it and realize how hilariously pointless much of it can be.
 
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Bryan doesn't have rose colored glasses, he just writes more like a glass half full kind of style. I've bought ALL my canon gear by referencing his site and image quality charts since my xsi 12 years ago. He delivers practical data, thats it. And to insinuate that Bryan makes nice reviews of all gear just for clicks of his website affiliate ads is demeaning, stupid, and nonsensical. His site is a much better resource for canon users than the NOTHING these naysayers commenters have produced. And he reviews more gear than DPreview. So stop the crap. Dont care for hsi review style? Dont read them- go look at his image qulity results, and bam you have your reference.

Anyways :rolleyes:..

Even with an R body purchase pending, I bought a 16-35 EF instead. R mount non-L glass so far has been a giant waste of time. NONE of the non-L lenses are interesting, they are SLOW, generic options that arent exactly better than previous lenses they are replacing. The 85 f2 with the extending barrel may be the most decent of the bunch, but...its an extending barrel 85..f2. Yuck.

RF-S lenses thus far? A sick joke for r7/R10 users.

Canon is doing a great job making no middle ground in their product line, and a huge quality chasm from basic lenses to L lenses. Think I'm wrong? Cool, go buy a canon RF 50mm lens....300$ or 2200$. + It's not like 3rd party glass is available for it either...great.
Hi, what’s the disadvantage for an extending barrel? Thanks!
 
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Hi, what’s the disadvantage for an extending barrel? Thanks!
Some people believe they’re more prone to pump dust onto your sensor, although I’ve not had that issue.

Some believe that it means cheap build quality, and since non-L extending zooms have a lot of wobble in the barrel that is a fair criticism.

The advantage is a more compact lens. I had the EF 70-200/2.8L IS II, and I now have the 70-200/2.8L with the extending barrel and it takes up much less room in a camera bag.
 
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koenkooi

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Some people believe they’re more prone to pump dust onto your sensor, although I’ve not had that issue.

Some believe that it means cheap build quality, and since non-L extending zooms have a lot of wobble in the barrel that is a fair criticism.

The advantage is a more compact lens. I had the EF 70-200/2.8L IS II, and I now have the 70-200/2.8L with the extending barrel and it takes up much less room in a camera bag.
The lensrentals teardown shows that's it's pretty decently engineered on the inside as well.
 
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Del Paso

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Bryan doesn't have rose colored glasses, he just writes more like a glass half full kind of style. I've bought ALL my canon gear by referencing his site and image quality charts since my xsi 12 years ago. He delivers practical data, thats it. And to insinuate that Bryan makes nice reviews of all gear just for clicks of his website affiliate ads is demeaning, stupid, and nonsensical. His site is a much better resource for canon users than the NOTHING these naysayers commenters have produced. And he reviews more gear than DPreview. So stop the crap. Dont care for hsi review style? Dont read them- go look at his image qulity results, and bam you have your reference.

Anyways :rolleyes:..

Even with an R body purchase pending, I bought a 16-35 EF instead. R mount non-L glass so far has been a giant waste of time. NONE of the non-L lenses are interesting, they are SLOW, generic options that arent exactly better than previous lenses they are replacing. The 85 f2 with the extending barrel may be the most decent of the bunch, but...its an extending barrel 85..f2. Yuck.

RF-S lenses thus far? A sick joke for r7/R10 users.

Canon is doing a great job making no middle ground in their product line, and a huge quality chasm from basic lenses to L lenses. Think I'm wrong? Cool, go buy a canon RF 50mm lens....300$ or 2200$. + It's not like 3rd party glass is available for it either...great.
I also usually rely on TDP when selecting lenses.
Yet, his "image quality results" can be misleading. If you look at those for the EF 180 macro, without checking other sources, you won't ever buy it. Looks optically mediocre, despite being one of the sharpest Canon EF lenses.
And he is sometimes just too polite, if you know what I mean...
 
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