This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of these links it means we may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Learn More

EF vs RF Lenses: What’s The Difference?

We have talked about lenses as much as I could and I don’t think that a photographer doesn’t know what a lens is. It is basically the main part of using a camera and being a photographer!

Anyways, a lens is a camera tool that is mounted on a camera and its job is to bring the light in the best way possible onto the sensor of the camera that you are using.

Everybody has probably noticed that some Canon lenses come with some letters. For example, some are called EF lenses and some are RF lenses. What exactly are these two letters that confuse us, what do they mean, and when to use each one of the lenses, I am here to help!

In this article, you will be able to find answers to these questions and basically find out if any is better than the other!

Now, without further ado, let’s directly go to the topic!

What are EF Lenses?

The letters EF in lenses stand for Electro Focus because on these types of lenses we deal with an impressive electronic automatic focusing.

Someone may ask, don’t the letters EF stand for mounting? Well, yes they do! It is interesting enough how two simple letters can mean such important things in camera lenses. For the mounting part, there’s an interesting thing that deserves to be mentioned!

The E can also stand for the electric metals that this lens and the particular camera use in order to get connected to one another.

EF lenses are Canon’s products launched in 1987 and they were specially made for DSLR cameras of that time. Being in 2022, these lenses, unfortunately, are not in production anymore! Besides that, the lenses are still on the market and you can find them everywhere!

The best overall EF lens is considered Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Why and When to Use EF Lenses?

EF lenses are super easy to be used and they come with simple focal lengths. By simple focal lengths I mean those that are most commonly used and they are the standards and the telephoto types of lenses. Many photographers say that the EF lenses, even though old, they bring creativity to the world of photography and they use them because creativity is one of the things that matter most in the photography field.

EF lenses are the perfect ones for indoor photography in general! Real estate photography, interior design photography, studio photography, and not only. These lenses do a great job when used during portrait photography as well.

It doesn’t mean that they are no good when used in other types of photography, they do a great job in all of them, but, they are mostly known and used for indoor photography.

What are RF Lenses?

Just as in EF lenses, RF lenses, or better to say the RF letters in these lenses again stand for the mounting type that this lens owns in order to get connected to a camera.

The RF lenses are the brand, Canon’s, newest launch, and they are considered the modern part of the Canon lenses all around the world. They are definitely modern and they bring some interesting “modern” features.

RF lenses are the best ones when you choose to use them with full-frame mirrorless cameras that come obviously from Canon itself and they do a better job than you can ever imagine.

The best overall RF lens is considered Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM

Why and When to Use RF Lenses?

Being newer in the market of lenses, the RF ones are those lenses that are mostly used nowadays, especially as mentioned above with the full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Being lighter in weight, owning more features within, and basically being new, the RF lenses are used more by photographers all around the world and the types of photographs that these lenses are used include travel photography, street photography, wildlife photography, and many others.

EF or RF Lenses

Whenever there’s a “battle” in between anything, I always mention that choosing between them, is totally based on your preferences and everything is up to you. However, finding information and checking out more is never enough! But, since right now in this article we are talking about EF and RF lenses, it is a bit interesting when choosing which ones to use and which one is better!

EF lenses are super powerful and do a great job, but still, if you think about the year that we are in, in my opinion, the RF lenses do the job better! We are traveling a lot and we don’t really have time to change the lenses and use other ones.

RF lenses are more versatile and they can be used in different types of photography and you don’t have to worry whether they will look good. Also, when using EF lenses indoors you will see that they do better.

Everything that I said tells us that EF lenses and RF lenses are in a very slim competition in which both are winners.

Final Words

Here we came at the end of this article in which I tried to explain and make easier for you the differences between EF and RF lenses and why not some similarities even though there are not many of them.

What is important to be mentioned is that this topic is definitely a bit confusing since when I was at the beginning of my career I was super confused with lenses too. I couldn’t understand them as easily as I understood cameras in general!

If there is any other confusion, I also wrote an article regarding some Canon FD lenses and in there you can find some information about the FD ones, which are confusing as well.

What is left to say is that I am really full of hope that you understood and now have an idea of what these two types of lenses are!

Have fun!

Michael Fortin