RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM: Get a Wider Perspective
On 12 July 2022, Canon announced the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM , a new ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for the RF mount. Also the first non-L lens of its kind, the lens promises to provide both the versatility of a wide-angle zoom lens and the excellent image quality of the RF mount at a wallet-friendly price.
RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM at a glance
- Ultra-wide-angle zoom lens
- Has a variable maximum aperture: The widest possible aperture setting changes as you zoom.
- Full-frame lens designed for EOS R cameras (RF mount)
- Also fits on APS-C EOS R series cameras without a mount adapter (Equivalent angle of view: 24-48mm)
- Not an L-series lens: no weather sealing
- Smaller, lighter, and cheaper than the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM and RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM
- 0.52x macro capabilities; close-ups up to 12.8cm closest focusing distance (MF mode)
- Optical IS: up to 5.5 stops; with Coordinated Control IS: up to 7 stops
A budget-friendly ultra-wide-angle zoom for the RF mount
Before the arrival of the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, Canon had two ultra-wide-angle zoom lenses native to the RF mount: the RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM and RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM. Part of the f/4L and f/2.8L lens trinities respectively, these professional grade lenses are popular for their excellent image quality and build, but come with a price to match. With the non-L-series RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, users with a smaller budget now have an excellent option if they want a good ultra-wide-angle zoom lens to expand their arsenals.
From APS-C to full-frame: A lens trinity that you can grow with
When combined with the existing RF24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM and RF100-400mm f/5.6-8 IS STM, you get a reasonably-priced lens trinity that covers a very large 15mm to 400mm focal length range in full-frame equivalent terms. On APS-C cameras like the EOS R7 and EOS R10, the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM offers an angle of view equivalent to 24 to 48mm in full-frame equivalent terms, which means a range of 24mm to 640mm on all three lenses. The best thing is that you can still use them if you decide to upgrade to a full-frame EOS R camera later on—and then, not only would you be able to shoot without the crop factor, you can also continue to enjoy shooting with the full image sensor resolution!
You may also be interested in:
Full-Frame vs APS-C Camera: Which Should I Choose?
A wider view of the scene with the dynamic ultra-wide-angle perspective
EOS R6/ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 15mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/5.6, 1/15 sec, EV +1)/ ISO 200/ WB: Auto
The biggest draw of the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is the dynamic look you can get at the 15mm wide end. This not only captures a larger area of grand landscapes unfolding before your eyes, but also provides a dynamic perspective that can be leveraged to create images with greater impact. Zooming in to the 30mm long end gives you an angle of view that is a traditional favourite for street and everyday photography, easily allowing for natural-looking compositions with good balance between the subject and surrounding context.
15mm (full-frame camera)
The lens captures a lot of background context, making it useful for travel, lifestyle, and environmental portraits.
30mm (full-frame camera)
This is the traditional wide-angle angle of view, and creates natural-looking snapshots and everyday portraits.
Coverage at the 15mm wide end
Full-frame camera: 15mm
APS-C camera: equivalent to 24mm
Coverage at the 30mm long end
Full-frame camera: 30mm
APS-C camera: equivalent to 48mm
Exploring Wide Angle Lenses Part 1: Photo Effects of Wide-Angle Lenses
A handy standard zoom lens on APS-C cameras
The RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM can be attached to APS-C EOS R cameras like the EOS R7 and EOS R10 without a mount adapter. It provides a 24mm to 48mm equivalent angle of view—slightly wider than the RF-S18-45mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM. The 48mm equivalent angle of view at the long end falls in the standard range, and provides a natural perspective well-suited for portraiture.
EOS R7/ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 30mm (48mm equivalent)/ Aperture-priority AE (f/6.3, 1/320 sec, EV +0.7)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
Up to 0.5x magnification: Semi-macro capabilities
When autofocusing (AF) is enabled, the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM has a closest focusing distance of 0.28m across its entire zoom range, and a maximum magnification of 0.16x at the 30mm end. Switch to manual focus (MF) mode and its close-up abilities increase to as much as 0.52x, with a closest focusing distance of 0.128m at the 15mm wide end. Get closer and boldly fill more of the frame with flowers and other tiny objects or details you encounter!
EOS R6/ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 15mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 0.6 sec, EV +1.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
Does manual focus sound intimidating? Don’t fret—the EOS R system has tools to help you do it more easily! See:
Focus Guide & MF Peaking: Making Manual Focus Easier
Up to 7 stops’ image stabilisation with Coordinated Control IS
The RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is equipped with the Optical Image Stabilizer (Optical IS) that achieves up to 5.5 shutter speed stops’ equivalent image stabilisation*. When combined with a camera with the In-Body Image Stabilizer (In-Body IS), such as the EOS R5 or EOS R6, the Optical IS and In-Body IS coordinate to perform Coordinated Control IS, which achieves enhanced image stabilisation of up to 7 shutter speed stops’ equivalent*.
|Optical IS||Optical IS + In-Body IS|
|Up to 5 stops||Up to 6.5 stops|
*According to CIPA standards (yaw and pitch directions). At focal length 30mm.
All images: EOS R6+ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM @ FL: 15mm, 0.6 sec
You may have learnt that to ensure sharp images, the shutter speed should be set no slower than 1/x, where x is the focal length used. In other words, you can go as slow as 1/15 second when shooting at 15mm and still avoid camera shake. This causes many photographers to believe that image stabilisation is unnecessary on ultra-wide-angle lenses, but then again, imagine the possibilities that open up when you can shoot slower! For one, you can get cleaner, low ISO speed images in low light. For another, there’s creativity and mobility: you can try slow shutter photography handheld at shutter speeds that previously required a tripod, without sharpness being affected by camera shake.
One creative slow shutter photography technique that’s easy to do (but takes practice to perfect) is panning. Here are two panning ideas to try out:
Slow Shutter Art: 2 Ideas to Make Your Panning Shots More Interesting
Also see: 3 Types of Scenes That Take Full Advantage of In-Body IS
Beautiful image quality that leverages on the RF mount design
The RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM realises clear images with barely any colour bleeding or distortion across the entire zoom range. This makes it capable of sharp, high-quality images of landscapes, buildings, and other scenes that usually benefit from an ultra-wide-angle lens, all the way from the image centre to the edges.
EOS R6/ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 15mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1.3 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
A: UD lenses B: Aspherical lens
While the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is not an L-series lens, it benefits from the large mount diameter and short back focus of the RF mount, which contributes to better image quality. It also incorporates special lens elements: one aspherical lens and two UD lenses. The aspherical lens works in combination with the in-camera digital distortion correction function* to correct the distortions that become more visible at wider angles, whereas the two UD lenses effectively correct transverse chromatic aberration, which usually manifests as discolouration, including colour fringing.
Wide-angle + compact = ideal for video
The AF on the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is driven by a lead-screw type stepping motor (STM), which moves the focus smoothly and silently—perfect for video. The 15mm to 30mm focal range captures a wide area of the scene even if you don’t have much space to step back, convenient for scenes where you need to capture yourself and other objects such as products on the table, all in the same frame. Filming alone with no assistant? With the short working distance, changing settings or adjusting the camera angle is just an easy reach away. The compact size of the lens contributes to a small, light setup—great for vlogging and filming snippets of your everyday life.
High on mobility
With the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM, there are now three ultra-wide-angle zoom lenses in the RF lens lineup. While the focal ranges of these lenses differ slightly, the difference is not significant.
The two professional-grade L-lenses, of course, provide higher image and build quality than the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM. But for users who prioritise stretching the budget over perks like weather sealing, the speed and shallow depth of field of f/2.8, or having a constant maximum aperture even when you zoom in, the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM should provide sufficient image quality and versatility.
Another significant difference between the lenses is their weight: at approximately 390g, the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is the lightest. If you lead an active lifestyle and want an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens to take on hikes and walkarounds, the RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is the lens that best complements the mobility and portability of the mirrorless EOS R system.
|RF wide-angle zoom lenses||RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM||RF14-35mm f/4L IS USM||RF15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM|
|Optical IS (approx.)||5.5 stops||5.5 stops||5 stops|
|Maximum magnification||0.52x (MF)||0.38x||0.21x|
RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM: Key specifications
Lens construction: 13 elements in 11 groups
Closest focusing distance: 0.28m (during AF)/ 0.13m (during MF)
Maximum magnification: 0.16x (at 30mm, during AF) 0.5x (at 15mm, during MF)
No. of aperture blades: 7 (circular blade)
Filter diameter: 67mm
Size: φ76.6 x 88.4mm
Weight: approx. 390g
Lens Hood: EW-73E (sold separately)
RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.2 IS STM: Sample images
EOS R6/ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 15mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/4.5, 1/50 sec, EV +0.7)/ ISO 1600/ WB: Auto
EOS R6/ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 15mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1.6 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
EOS R6/ RF15-30mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM/ FL: 15mm/ Aperture-priority AE (f/8, 1/400 sec, EV +0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto