Canon’s new mirrorless stars, the Canon EOS R7 and EOS R10, will likely be the biggest camera launches of the year. Not because they’re the best it’s ever made, but because they’re doing something hobbyists have cried about: bringing Canon’s latest mirrorless technology to cameras most of us can actually afford.
After spending a few hours in their company, I can confirm that the EOS R7 and EOS R10 are most likely two of the best cameras around for hobbyists. Their list of immersive features is long, including some impressive autofocus skills that scan scenes as relentlessly as a T-800 Terminator, keeping focus on the eyes of people and animals from a distance.
But both cameras also have a weakness that has nothing to do with their own considerable talents: lenses.
For two beginner-friendly cameras, the lens situation is painfully complicated. The EOS R7 and EOS R10 both have Canon’s RF mount. This came back in 2018 as a springboard for Canon’s next-gen mirrorless cameras and was designed for full-frame sensors, because that’s where the growth and excitement was (and still is).
But full-frame cameras are expensive and require larger lenses, making them less suitable for hobbyists. This is why the Canon EOS R7 and EOS R10 are here; they both have smaller APS-C sensors and allow Canon (like Sony and Nikon) to build one system, for all types of photographers and creators, around a single mount. Or that’s the theory.
What’s the problem? The problem is that there is a discrepancy between the type of lenses currently available for the RF mount and the type of photographers who will buy the EOS R7 and EOS R10.
The whole point of these two new mirrorless cameras is that they combine Canon’s latest technology with the benefits of APS-C cameras, which due to their crop factor tend to be smaller, cheaper and good at shooting distant subjects such as animals. in the wild.
But the cameras can’t do this alone – they need a whole system of lenses designed with the same benefits in mind. And right now, the Canon EOS R7 and EOS R10 don’t.
Canon is aware of this and has therefore introduced two new ‘RF-S’ lenses in addition to the new mirrorless cameras. But these new launches – the RF-S 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM and the wider RF-S 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM – are pretty unexciting kit zooms.
That ‘RF-S’ name simply means that these lenses are designed for Canon’s new APS-C cameras. They’re not the only lenses that work with the EOS R7 and EOS R10 – you can also use existing RF and EF lenses (via an adapter). But those new RF-S are the only two that have been Specially made for their smaller sensors, hence their price, size and versatile focal lengths.
To be fair, Canon does have some affordable, full-frame RF lenses that should work well with the EOS R7 and EOS R10.
The RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM would give you a 56mm equivalent focal length (putting it close to a ‘handy fifty’), while the RF 50mm f/1.8 STM is a fine lens that could work very well with the EOS R10 for portrait, event or street photography. We’re also looking forward to seeing how well the EOS R7 pairs with the RF 600mm f/11 IS STM for wildlife capture.
But many of these cheaper full-frame lenses are larger than they should be and often lack features like weatherproofing. Once those few lenses are selected, it already starts to become a slim choice, and even those are slightly clunky solutions for two otherwise exciting cameras.
Anyone hoping for a wave of bright, compact primes like the ones you can get on Fujifilm’s X-series might be waiting a long time, if history is any guide.
Blast from the past
We’ve been here before and it’s not a Canon exclusive issue. Nikon may have already given us a glimpse of the fate that awaits the RF-S lenses for Canon’s EOS R7 and EOS R10.
Nikon has released two beautiful APS-C cameras in recent years in the Nikon Z50 and Nikon Z fc† But of the 27 lenses available for the Z mount, only three are designed for those cameras’ smaller “DX” sensors. Nikon’s roadmap also includes only one DX lens, the Nikkor Z DX 12-28mm, whose release date is unknown.
For those two Nikon cameras, and Canon’s new ones, it’s possible to use an adapter to increase your options with older F-mount and EF-mount lenses made for DSLRs. But this is a stopgap solution, not a long-term solution. And it’s something to keep in mind before pre-ordering Canon’s new cameras.
In some ways, the issue reminds me of the electric car problem. It’s easy to get carried away with the acceleration and gleaming qualities of today’s EVs. But here in the UK, as in many other countries, the charging network just isn’t good enough to make the whole experience something the cars themselves live up to.
At the moment, the Canon EOS R7 and EOS R10 have a similar problem. I hope Canon goes much further than Nikon in fleshing out its RF-S lens range. According to Canon Rumors (opens in new tab)as many as five EF-S could be en route, though it’s not exactly clear when they’ll land yet.
Not that it’s a complete deal-breaker if they don’t arrive soon – for many people a mix of those two new kit lenses, Canon’s smaller RF mount primes and some older EF-S glass via an EF-EOS R adapter will be more than enough for the kind of photography or video they like.
But it also feels that Canon’s two impressive mirrorless cameras are currently an afterthought to its full-frame plans. If the EOS R7 and EOS R10 really want to realize their potential as small, affordable hobbyist cameras, they need matching lenses.
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