Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM - Review / Test Report - Sample Images & Verdict
Lens Reviews - Canon EOS (Full Format)

Sample Images

Click on an image for downloading the full-size variant.

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/80s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/400s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/1000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/160s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/1000s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/4.5
Exposure1/320s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/1250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/500s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/80s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/8.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/250s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/200s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed100
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/9.0
Exposure1/640s

MakeCanon
ModelCanon EOS R5
ISO Speed200
Focal Length16.0mm
Aperture:f/2.8
Exposure1/100s

Verdict

The Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM is a lens with many facets. It comes down to where you come from and what you want. For instance, if you own an EOS R3 or R6, it's a decent ultra-wide prime lens - because, at 20 megapixels, even a Coke bottle is sharp enough. Well, almost. While on an EOS R5 and 45 megapixels, you don't really want to look at the image corners. It is, of course, also worth noting that this is the cheapest, fast ultra-wide prime ever released from a genuine manufacturer. Even when ignoring all quality concerns, it's dirt cheap for what it is. If you can't afford the real thing, having a 16mm ultra-wide lens is better than having none at all.

From a technical standpoint, the RF 16mm f/2.8 STM offers poor quality on a high megapixel camera. The broader center is perfectly sharp but the quality is falling apart in the corners. And that's with auto-correction. The lens is basically unusable in pure RAW mode with excessive barrel distortion, extreme vignetting and high lateral CAs. It's about as underdesigned as it gets and relies heavily on digital correction to lift it back from the imaging abyss. With auto-correction applied, there's only a mild amount of barrel distortions, the vignetting is low even at f/2.8 and the CAs have been killed off.

The build quality is good for a consumer-grade lens, especially in this price class. It feels quite solid with a combination of plastic and metal parts and a smooth control/focus ring. It's also tiny and, as such, ideal for casual or street photography. On the downside, there is no weather sealing and it relies on a dated linear extension mechanism rather than internal focusing. This means that the STM has to move the entire lens system for focusing. However, there isn't much to move around anyway so the AF speed is entirely satisfactory.

Overall, you may argue that you get what you pay for but this isn't really true. A 16mmm f/2.8 for this kind of money is an insane bargain even with the mentioned limitations. Just don't expect Mercedes quality for a Lada price tag.

Optical Quality:    
★★★★★ (@45 megapixel)
Optical Quality:    
★★★★★ (@30 megapixel)
Mechanical Quality:
★★★★★
Price/Performance:
★★★★★