Canon’s new and growing RF lens line has a lot going for it, from fast autofocusing to 5-stops of image stabilization in some of them. It’s a cool time to be a Canon shooter, or like me, new to Canon’s more serious cameras.
But what I found to be one of the most exciting aspects of the EOS R I recently acquired is the EF->RF adapter rings. Some of the new RF lenses are pretty expensive, and the ability to use the older EF (DSLR) lenses on the R body means the possibility of expanding your kit much faster.
Or, has been my experience already, the ability to use third party lenses for the EF mount, such as Tamron or Sigma.
On my previous Samsung NX30 camera I pretty much rocked the 18-200mm movie lens exclusively, so I never really experimented with primes. Moving to the EOS R, I was able to try my first prime lens with an adapted Tamron SP 35mm f1.8 USD.
That changed the game for me, and allowed me to get my hands on a quality prime lens at a great price.
It’d already taken me some time to save up for the EOS R, so the ability to quickly build out a small kit really let me dive into the hobby without having to be depressed about how out of reach the L series RF lenses seemed.
Not claiming I think the Tamron is a real replacement for an L series 35mm, but certainly for what I’ve used thus far, the image quality is crisp. It was my first real taste of what f1.8 does for indoor low light and photos of my family.
(Shortly thereafter I got my hands on the RF 50mm f1.8 lens as well, which I’ve used quite a bit.)
In a way, adapting EF lenses is a pro and a con…
When I first decided to get the EOS R I saw the ability to use these lenses as a huge plus. Mistakenly, I didn’t register the fact that Sony’s system seems far more open to third party lenses.
So yes, the ability to adapt EF lenses does expand your Canon options, but at the moment you have to adapt EF lenses to have a good amount of options.
Most of the RF glass is very expensive, with a small collection of non-L RF lenses. But since Tamron and Sigma offer lenses that tend to exceed the specs of Canon’s lower end lenses and come fairly close to L lenses far more affordably, the current lack of native RF mount Tamron and Sigma lenses is a bit unfortunate.
EF adapters solve a lot of this challenge, but of course does add roughly an inch to the lens’ length. I would say the weight addition is negligible.
For my 35mm lens the extra inch isn’t an issue. But for my larger 70-300mm lens, which is already 5-6 inches long, that extra inch makes the lens a real beast and a little unwieldy to carry around.
The autofocus with adapted EF lenses
This was a real question for me as well as I got into the RF system.
Would the EF->RF adapter affect how well the camera could autofocus? Would I be making a concession here in order to expand my lens options?
I’m currently using the Meike EF adapter and I can report that 3 EF lenses I’ve tried thus far seem to autofocus quickly.
I’ve heard the RF 50mm described as a quick focusing STM lens, and I find my Tamron 35mm focuses just as fast, and quieter.
Several others have commented on YouTube and Reddit that a lot of EF lenses actually perform BETTER on RF mount cameras because the autofocus is controlled by the sensor rather than elements deeper into the older DSLR bodies.
So really, in my experience thus far, the only disadvantage of adapting EF lenses is the extra length.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: