Home Photography Video: Canon RF vs EF Lenses on the Canon Mirrorless System

Video: Canon RF vs EF Lenses on the Canon Mirrorless System




In this comparison video of Canon RF vs EF Lenses on the Canon Mirrorless System by BorrowLenses, Tom looks at Canon’s new RF lenses and how they perform when compared to their older EF counterparts.


The lenses he uses for the comparison are:

All tests were done with the Canon EOS R Mirrorless system and used the converter for the EF DSLR lenses.


Firstly, Tom discusses “flange difference.” Flange difference is the measurement of the space between the sensor plane and the lens mount.

In the case of mirrorless, the rear element of the lens is even closer to the sensor. This means eliminating a retro focal element group. This means less extreme image correction, fewer lens elements and often a sharper image.

For the comparison, Tom looks at autofocus, sharpness, color rendition, weight and price.

Canon RF 50mm 1.2 L

  • The lens is heavier, weighing just over 2 pounds, with 15 elements in 9 groups with a 10-bladed aperture.
  • The RF has a minimum focusing distance of 40cm.
  • It has a razor-sharp focus when wide open.
  • More contrast than the EF 50mm

Canon EF 50mm 1.2 L

  • Is nearly half the weight of the RF equivalent, with 8 elements in 6 groups and an 8-bladed aperture.
  • The EF has a minimum focusing distance of 45cm.
  • Focus isn’t razor-sharp until around f/4.


On just the specs, the RF 50mm has the leg up.

The autofocus on both lenses is snappy and accurate.

The RF, while a heavier lens, is vastly superior in terms of image quality.

However, where the RF 50mm f1.2 lens falls short is in its price. It’s an expensive lens, especially compared to the price of the EF 50mm F1.2 (even pared with the adapter).

Canon RF 24-105mm f4 L

  • Weighs 2 pounds, has 18 elements in 14 groups and a 9-bladed aperture.
  • Image stabilization
  • Minimum focusing distance of 45cm

Canon EF 24-105mm f4 L

  • Slightly heavier than the RF equivalent, and has 17 elements in 12 groups, with a 10-bladed aperture.
  • Image stabilization
  • Minimum focusing distance of 45cm


Both lenses are similar in price (only a few hundred dollars difference).

While the RF 24-105 is sharper than the EF, the disparity is not as severe as in the case of the 50mm lenses.

When it comes to contrast, the RF slightly outperforms the EF.

In terms of autofocus, both lenses perform very well, however, the RF focusing motor is whisper-quiet.

While both lenses are fairly evenly-matched, Tom declares the RF the winner due to its great images, quiet autofocus, and weight.

The only downside to the EF lens that Tom points out is that the entire package, when mounted to the EOS R using an adapter, becomes heavier and “unwieldy,” which may not suit people shooting for long hours or hiking with the setup.


If you already own EF lenses, you may as well adapt them as they still work incredibly well on the Canon mirrorless systems. However, the RF lens line-up is somewhat better.

Do you think this is a fair comparison? Or should they have tested the EF lenses on a dSLR vs the RF lenses on the mirrorless?

Or perhaps, like me, you are just interested to know how well your L-series EF glass will work with an adapter on the Canon EOS R or EOS RP? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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