Affordable Fast Ultra-Wide-Angle Prime Lens for Your Kit

Review by Fernando Santos

If you held this new Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens in your hands, you might think that you were holding the RF 50mm F1.8 STM. While not exactly the same size and weight, the difference is so small that you wouldn’t be able to tell which was which. 

This Canon 43mm filter-sized lens has no image stabilization (IS), but thanks to the fast f/2.8 aperture, the lack of IS shouldn’t be a problem in most situations. Image quality is very good for its entry level price point. RAW shooters will want a lens profile to fix distortion and vignette automatically, and you should expect that to be available soon for Lightroom and Photoshop, which wasn’t the case at the time of this writing. [Adobe added support for this lens in mid-December.—Ed.

The lens RF ring serves as either a focus or control ring; a switch toggles between the two functions. It’s compatible with Electronic Full-time Manual Focus, and that may be a good reason to use it as a focus ring and nothing else. 

The lens comes without a pouch or lens hood, which is typical for the Canon non-L series. I don’t miss the lens pouch, but I can’t understand why Canon doesn’t include a lens hood with every single lens, except for the fact that many people don’t care to use them. 

Let me give you two reasons to have the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens in your kit. The first is that it’s much smaller than the RF 14–35 F4 and the RF 15–35 F2.8, which is a big plus when you want to travel light. And the second reason is price: $299.99 for an ultra-wide f/2.8 lens won’t break the bank for shooting ultra-wide with two bodies, which is great when you do astrophotography and long exposures. 

Let me sum up with one word: recommended! ■