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RF28mm f/2.8 STM: Pancake Portability

2023-05-31
20
7.91 k

On 24 May 2023, Canon announced its first pancake lens for the RF mount: the LRF28mm f/2.8 STM Designed for full-frame cameras, the new lens is Canon’s smallest, lightest, and thinnest prime lens to date. Offering easy-to-use angles of view on both full-frame and APS-C cameras (28mm and 44.8mm full-frame equivalent respectively), it promises to be a convenient companion for everyday shooting.

In this article:

1. So slim, it’s like a body cap with benefits

So thin, it’s like a body cap with plenty of benefits

Like their namesake, pancake lenses are extremely thin and compact. No lens lineup is complete without at least one in the collection! The RF28mm f/2.8 STM is the RF mount’s very own native version, and it promises the smallest, lightest combination possible with your lens. Perfect for users who are frequently out looking for new angles and inspirations, camera in hand.

In fact, even if your main lenses are telephoto and super telephoto lenses, its thin body could function as a body cap replacement that’s always ready for picture-taking action. That way, you’ll be well-equipped to preserve fascinating scenes you encounter on the way to your wildlife/landscape/sports shoot location.


As it is native to the RF mount and therefore requires no mount adapter, EOS R system users can fully reap the size benefits of the RF28mm f/2.8 STM, which is approximately 2.47cm long and weighs around the same as a bar of soap at approximately 120g. These specifications also make it the smallest, lightest, and thinnest prime lens in the current RF lineup, promising to make the most of the mobility offered by the EOS R mirrorless camera system while offering excellent RF mount image quality.

2. Wide-angle lens on full-frame cameras

28mm on full-frame cameras: Ideal for urban and street scenes

When used with a full-frame camera, the RF28mm f/2.8 STM functions as a 28mm wide-angle lens. This provides a sufficiently large field-of-view of the scene in front of you and ample perspective in low- and high-angle shots. It is good for photographing landscapes, architecture, street scenes, and travel portraits that show ample background context.

EOS R8/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm/ Manual exposure (f/3.5, 1/200 sec)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto

Fun fact: Most standard zoom lenses start at 24mm now, but 28mm was the norm before that. It’s a classic angle-of-view that older photographers will be very familiar with.

3. Standard lens on APS-C cameras

44.8mm equivalent on APS-C cameras: A super compact standard lens

On APS-C cameras, as the smaller image sensor results in a 1.6x crop factor, the RF28mm f/2.8 STM offers a standard angle-of-view equivalent to 44.8mm on a full-frame camera. Images rendered with a standard angle-of-view look very natural to our bare eyes as the perspective and dimensionality is close to what we see in real life. The narrower angle-of-view also makes it easier to simplify compositions.

As the smallest, lightest RF lens, the RF28mm f/2.8 STM is a good match with compact EOS R APS-C camera bodies. For the tiniest combination possible, combine it with the EOS R100.

EOS R50/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm (44.8mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/400 sec)/ ISO 400/ WB: Auto

Full-frame EOS R system camera users can also use the RF28mm f/2.8 STM as a standard lens by shooting in 1.6x crop mode. In this sense, the RF28mm f/2.8 STM is effectively two different lenses in one: a wide-angle 28mm lens, and a standard 44.8mm lens! Double the convenience, all within one tiny, thin body.

Full-frame camera (28mm)

EOS R6 Mark II/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm/ Manual exposure (f/8, 1/4 sec)/ ISO 3200/ WB: Auto

APS-C camera (44.8mm equivalent)

EOS R50 / RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm (44.8mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/5.6, 1/25 sec)/ ISO 6400/ WB: Auto

4. Beautiful f/2.8 bokeh

Bokeh-licious f/2.8

The RF28mm f/2.8 STM’s large f/2.8 maximum aperture makes it capable of creating creamy blurred backgrounds that isolate the subject beautifully: something extra that 28mm on your kit lens can’t do to the same degree under the same conditions. For example, the maximum aperture is f/5.0 at 28mm on the RF24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, more than a stop slower, and the difference is visible in the images below.


Full-Frame

EOS R8 + RF28mm f/2.8 STM
28mm / f/2.8

EOS R8 + RF24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM
28mm / f/5


APS-C

EOS R50 + RF28mm f/2.8 STM
28mm (44.8mm) equivalent/ f/2.8

EOS R50 + RF-S18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM
28mm (44.8mm equivalent)/ f/5


Did you know: Faster lens, better AF performance

You can expect faster, more precise focusing with the RF28mm f/2.8 STM than on your kit lens: a larger maximum aperture helps to improve the autofocus performance of the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system on EOS R system cameras.


Learn more about this in:
Lens FAQ #2: Can A Fast Lens Really Make It Easier To See Through The Viewfinder?

5. The signature RF lens image quality

The signature RF lens image quality

EOS R6 Mark II/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm/ Manual exposure (f/11, 0.6 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: 5100K

 

A: Aspherical lenses

Despite its compact size, the RF28mm f/2.8 STM’s optical design takes full advantage of the RF mount’s large diameter and short back focus, and image quality benefits. The use of 3 aspherical lenses, combined with distortion correction by the camera, effectively corrects the distortion aberration that inherently occurs during wide-angle shooting*. A 7-bladed circular aperture contributes to lovely rounded bokeh—and 14-pointed starbursts.

*Notes:
- The camera’s distortion aberration correction function will be switched on when this lens is attached.
- Firmware update required when using the EOS R/RP.
- Multiple exposure shooting will not be available on the EOS R/RP/Ra/R5/R6.

6. Great for vlogging, too!

Great for vlogging, too!

The wide 28mm angle-of-view easily captures not just your face but also the ample details of your surroundings: your viewers will be able to see the pristine beaches and clear waters behind you at your exotic travel destination, or the stylish modern décor of your room. It’s also small and light enough for easy use with a gimbal.

Support for focus breathing correction corrects the fluctuations in angle-of-view that tend to occur during focus transitions, so your footage looks seamless and professional.

Key specifications

RF28mm f/2.8 STM: Key specifications

Lens construction: 8 elements in 6 groups
Closest focusing distance: 0.23m
Maximum magnification: 0.17x 
No. of aperture blades: 7 (circular blade)
Filter diameter: 55mm
Size: φ69.2 x 24.7mm (retracted)
Weight: approx. 120g


Lens hood: EW-55 (sold separately)

Sample images

Sample images


EOS R8/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/320 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto


EOS R8/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/60 sec)/ ISO 160/ WB: Auto


EOS R7/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm (44.8mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/2.8, 1/125 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto


EOS R7/ RF28mm f/2.8 STM/ FL: 28mm (44.8mm equivalent)/ Manual exposure (f/11, 1.3 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto

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