Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM Image Gallery
November 4th, 2023
It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a Canon RF mount lens. Canon’s closed policy that has limited third party development looks like it will finally be changing at the end of 2023, but to this point it has meant that the only significant lenses for Canon RF mount are from Canon themselves. And I’ll be honest: for me, personally, there haven’t been a lot of home run first party lenses from Canon. Many are either very expensive or have critical flaws…or both. There have been a few exceptional lenses that I either own or would like to own, but if you’re on a tighter budget, the hidden gems have been pretty few and far between. But the Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM might just be the compact, portable, and affordable prime lens that you’ve been looking for thanks to very good price to performance ratio. You can get my full thoughts by watching the video review below or by reading the text review.
Thanks to Camera Canada for getting me a loaner of the RF 28mm F2.8 STM. If you’re in Canada, check them out for a reliable online retailer. *The tests and most of the photos that I share as a part of my review cycle have been done with the 45MP Canon EOS R5, which I reviewed here.
The last budget lens from Canon that I reviewed was the interesting Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM, a wide angle prime with both big flaws (huge barrel distortion, heavy vignette) but also big strengths (good autofocus, good sharpness and color). Like that lens, the new RF 28mm F2.8 STM comes to market at a price point of $299 USD, which means that only the RF 50mm F1.8 STM currently has a lower price among the full frame offerings from Canon. That makes this an important lens, as there are many people who have to stretch and save to get a new camera, and often there isn’t a lot left over to purchase lenses with. The RF 28mm is going to make sense both for those on a tight budget and also those who value as small and light of lenses as possible. This is a lens that is so short that from certain angles you can’t even see it around the camera grip.
The spiritual predecessor of this lens was actually the EF 28mm F2.8 IS USM lens, a true hidden gem from Canon released a little over ten years ago. Canon released both the EF 24mm and 28mm IS lenses at the same time, and while their maximum apertures didn’t excite anyone, what made them interesting was that they were the first Canon prime lenses with a focal length less than 100mm to receive Image Stabilization (IS). That made them interesting for video work, and while the 28mm was never a popular lens, it was always a highly rated one for its optical performance. That’s still true, as this tiny little lens can produce some stunningly good images.
Fast forward to 2023 and lens IS has become a little less important for the simple reason that the majority of camera released in the past four years include IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization), including the EOS R5 that I’m doing this review on. I will note that Canon has probably released more cameras without in camera stabilization than most other brands during this time, so there are certainly some of you who will notice the lack of image stabilization in the lens.
The other spiritual successor of this lens was also released in 2012, and it was the Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM. This was Canon’s first “pancake” lens and also their first lens to receive the new-at-the-time STM or stepping motor. It was the beginning of the transition towards hybrid focus systems good for both video and stills that would become the standard on mirrorless cameras in the future. Like that lens, the RF 28mm F2.8 STM is a “pancake” style lens that is only 1″ (24.7mm) in length. It makes the compact 50mm F1.8 STM look hefty by comparison.
I actually really enjoyed the EF 40mm F2.8 STM and used it for several years, but this new RF 28mm lens is definitely superior in a number of ways and I think could definitely become a “hidden gem” for a lot of people. Here’s some photos to give you the “flavor” of the lens.
Images of the Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM
Images Taken with the Canon RF 28mm F2.8 STM
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