I’ve been using this lens on my Canon R5 for the last few weeks and have some interesting information to share with you.
I wanted to give you a hands on review of the Canon RF16mm f2.8 STM lens that is priced at 300$. I got mine for Rs. 26500 here in India including GST.
I will not go into a lot of specification and details; I want to give you my honest opinion about the lens and use cases. Stick around to the end of the video to see a short film, shot entirely on the Canon R5, and 16mm handheld.
Canon is marketing this lens for landscape and architecture photography as well as a vlogging lens. However there is a caveat.
This ultra wide, light, cheap lens is extremely sharp in the center of an image captured on the R5, not so sharp on the edges at f2.8, but gets better around f8. If you shoot jpeg, the camera does some magic and gets rid of the barrel distortion only leaving behind a slight vignette. However, If you shoot RAW images like me, there is no Lens correction profile in Lightroom or Adobe camera raw at the time of shooting this review and I don’t expect one anytime soon.
You can manually adjust the lens correction parameters and fix the distortion in software, but that is an additional step I do not want to take. So I personally would not use this for professional work as of now for photography. It would be a nightmare.
Now let’s talk video.
The camera does some magical distortion removal, and we have a lightweight setup perfect for vlogging and immersing the viewer in our environment. You will need a ND filter to stick to the f2.8 aperture because the bokeh from this lens is beautiful. My smallest ND is a 52mm variable, so I just purchased a step-up ring for the 43mm on this lens.
The video looks great and I can easily see it as my go to lens when travelling.
Couple of issues, first – Due to the nature of IBIS within the camera, there is definitely some wobble visible on the edges of the screen when filming handheld as you can see in the video. This does reduce when using the digital stabilisation, however I found that if you want to use the entire 16mm field of view, a gimbal is a must, with IBIS turned off in the menu. this setup is so light that any gimbal can carry it around very easily.
Second issue is zoom while rack focusing. When I rack focus from an object close to the lens to an object further away, the lens zooms out quite a bit and it is a noticeable amount of zoom. I would not use this for rack focusing objects very far apart in the scene.
To switch between autofocus and manual focus, it has to be done in the menu. There is no button in the lens to do this.
If you want to watch the short film with audio and sound fx, check out the link at the end of the video, I shot it in PQ HDR and also uploaded it to Youtube in HDR.
In conclusion this is a good starting point for wide and ultra-wide photography in JPEG and with updates to the lens correction profiles, it will be usable in RAW. However video takes the cake for this one, for talking head shots like this one, documentaries, vlogs and short films. I’ll definitely be using this lens in future for my Youtube videos and vlogs.
See you on the next video.