Episode 215: The New Canon RF 16mm F/2.8 STM Lens

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Greetings, you’re listening to the Liam Photography Podcast, I’m your host Liam Douglas and this is Episode 215 for Thursday January 13, 2022. So, before I started talking about the main topic for this episode, I wanted to reach out to my audience and ask if any of you are shooting with Olympus, Panasonic, Nikon, Sony, Pentax or Fujifilm X series cameras, reach out to me via the show’s email address which is liam@liamphotographypodcast.com. 

As you know I have talked quite a bit about both Canon and Fujifilm GFX mount systems and I had Serge Ramelli on the show a few weeks ago and he talked about GFX more since he now owns the GFX 100S. I want to have more quests on the show that are familiar with these others systems come on and talk about them. How many years you have shot with them, what you like about your system and why you chose that system. As I have said many times before on this show, it doesn’t matter what camera system you choose, ALL of them make great images. Generally the reason why a photographer goes with one system or another is a matter of personal choice or recommendations from people they know and trust.

Ok, so now on to this week’s main topic, Canon’s new RF 16mm F/2.8 STM pancake lens. Canon announced this new lens back on September 14, 2021 along with their new RF 100-400mm IS USM lens as it’s two newest low cost lenses in the RF mount. I ordered one as soon as it became available for pre-order but it took a few weeks before it was shipped and arrived at my home. The following is an overview of this new lens from Canon:

Ultra-wide field of view mixed with a compact and portable design, the Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is a sleek everyday wide-angle prime. Blending a compact, lightweight design with a bright maximum aperture, this rectilinear ultra-wide comes in handy when photographing interiors and architectural subjects, as well as broad landscape views and astrophotography scenes.

One aspherical element is featured in the optical design, which limits distortion and contributes to a high degree of sharpness for accurate rendering. This unique lens also sports a close 5.1″ minimum focusing distance for close-up shooting and the STM AF motor enables smooth and quiet focusing performance to suit both photo and video applications. The lightweight design and broad field of view also make this lens an enticing option for vlogging and content creation.

Sleek ultra-wide-angle prime is designed for use with full-frame Canon RF-mount mirrorless digital cameras.

Bright f/2.8 maximum aperture suits working available lighting conditions, helps control depth of field, and contributes to a sleek form factor.

One aspherical element helps control distortion and promotes a high degree of sharpness.

Super Spectra Coating has been applied to minimize flare and ghosting for improved contrast and color fidelity when working in strong lighting conditions.

STM stepping motor offers fast, quiet, smooth, and accurate autofocus performance that is ideal for video recording as well as still shooting.

Minimum focusing distance of 5.1″, along with a maximum magnification of 0.26x, makes this a unique option for close-up shooting while retaining great depth of field.

Configurable Control Ring can be used to adjust a variety of exposure settings, including aperture, ISO, and exposure compensation.

Rounded seven-blade diaphragm contributes to a pleasing bokeh quality.

The following are the technical specs for this new lens:

Focal Length
Maximum and Minimum Aperture
Lens Mount Type
Compatible Cameras
Minimum Focusing Distance
Maximum Magnification
Field of View, at Minimum Focus Distance Angle of View (Diagonal)
Optical Design
Lens Construction
Special Elements
Lens Coating
Filter Size Diameter
Aperture Blades
Image Stabilization
Focusing Drive System
F2.8 – F22
RF Mount; Metal Mount
Canon EOS R-series, including full-frame 5.1 in. / 0.43 ft. / 0.13m
Approx. 5.3 x 3.5 in. (134 x 90mm) Approx. 108°10″
9 elements in 7 groups
(One) Aspherical element
Canon SSC (Super Spectra Coating)
7; circular shape
None (with EOS R5 in-body stabilization – 5.5 stops correction)
Canon STM (Stepping motor; gear-type)
RF16mm F2.8 STM Full-time Manual Focusing Yes
(after One-Shot AF; after Servo AF with compatible EOS R-series cameras) Dual Pixel CMOS AF Coverage (Horizontal x Vertical) • EOS R/RP — Approx. 88% x 100% • EOS R5/R6 — Approx. 90% x 100%
Face Detect + Tracking – Approx. 100% x 100% Exterior Design Control Ring Dual-function Manual focus ring / Control Ring (selected with switch on lens) • No clicks when set to Control Ring function Manual Focus Ring Electronic ring system
• Full-time Manual focus possible
• No physical limit to ring rotational angle AF/MF Switch MF/Control Ring Switch
None — focus mode selected in camera menu Provided on lens barrel
Distance Scale None
• Distance scale available in EVF or Live View LCD screen of compatible
EOS R-series cameras Distance Limiter Switch

Dust / Weather Resistant Construction
Dimensions, Weight
Maximum Outer Diameter x Length Weight
Dust Cap
Extension Tubes
Close-up Lenses 250D / 500D Canon RF Extender 1.4x/2x Canon Gelatin Filter Holder III/IV
None Approx. 1.6 in. x 2.7 in. (40.1 x ø69.2mm) Approx. 5.8 oz. / 0.4 lb. / 165g
Canon Lens Dust Cap RF (Bundled)
None (No Canon RF mount extension tubes) None (no ø43mm size available)
Not compatible
Not compatible
Accessories Lens hood Canon EW-65C
• Bayonet-mount, petal-shaped hood • Optional accessory, sold separately Lens Cap (Front) Canon E-45 (center pinch-type) (Bundled) (Rear) Canon Dust Cap RF Lens Case Canon Lens Case LP1014
• Optional accessory, sold separately

Now I have been shooting with this lens for a couple of months now and I must say I truly LOVE it. Back when I shot Canon DSLRs Canon made an EF 40mm F/2.8 STM pancake lens and even though it is considered a low end lens because it’s a Silver Series lens so it’s all plastic construction, except for the bayonet, which is metal much like the Plastic Fantastic 50mm F/1.8 STM. But for an inexpensive lens at $300, I loved the 40mm so much it was the only EF mount lens I kept when I switched to Canon R series bodies and I love that I can still use it with one of my three EF-RF adapters!

Well, in the tradition of that 40mm lens, Canon made this new 16mm RF mount beauty just as capable of creating stunning images. The STM AF system is super fast and quiet and the images and broken it produces are wonderful to look at! I have even switched to using this lens most days for shooting my real estate work as it’s such a light weight and compact lens. My Rokinon 14mm F/2.8 is a superb lens but the 16mm is all I need most of the time and so much easier to carry around all day shooting homes for my various clients.

In the show notes you can see a beautiful sunset show I captured on Bowmantown Rd here in Roxboro, NC and see how nice the images are that this lens can capture. Now in the next week or two I will be posting my video review of this lens on my official Youtube Channel so remember to subscribe to my channel to see the full review and more great images made with this lens.

Also be sure to join the Liam Photography Podcast Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/liamphotographypodcast/ You can reach the show by call or text @ 470-294-8191 to leave a comment or request a topic or guest for the show. Additionally you can email the show @ liam@liamphotographypodcast.com and find the show notes at http://www.liamphotographypodcast.com.

You can find my work @ https://www.liamphotography.net on and follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @liamphotoatl. If you like abandoned buildings and history, you can find my project @ http://www.forgottenpiecesofgeorgia.com. and http://www.forgottenpiecesofpennsylvania.com.

Please also stop by my Youtube channels Liam Photography

Forgotten Pieces of Georgia Project

Forgotten Pieces of Pennsylvania Project

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