Canon is starting to let 3rd parties make RF mount lenses

Mar 31, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Canon is starting to let 3rd parties make RF mount lenses

Mar 31, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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In a recent interview at CP+ 2023, the team from DPReview spoke with Canon about a wide range of topics. Two of them stick out in particular. First is that the Canon EOS R3’s Eye Control Autofocus system is coming to more cameras. It’s unlikely it’ll come to existing cameras, as I imagine it requires specific hardware to look at your eye, but it will be coming in the future.

The other is that Canon appears to be relaxing its position a little on third-party lenses. Previously, it appeared that Canon was just cutting all third parties off. Now, it seems that Canon is not only hinting that it will license its mount technology but specifically calls out Cosina as an authorised third-party manufacturer able to make RF mount lenses.

The news that Canon was cutting off third parties upset a lot of photographers. I’d been considering switching to Canon’s RF Mount mirrorless system myself after over two decades as a Nikon F mount shooter. But the lack of third-party native (that means not adapted) lenses and Canon’s apparent desire to shut them down put me off. And judging from the comments when we covered Canon’s action towards Viltrox, I’m not the only one.

DPReview asked Canon how they plan to appeal to users who want a wider selection of lenses, including third parties:

Q: We often hear from readers who say they like Canon mirrorless cameras but want a wider selection of lenses, including third party options. How will Canon appeal to these users?

Canon: Whenever a third party presents a request to us, we’ll consider it, based on our business strategy. In fact, we have been communicating with some outside companies, and you may already be aware that here at CP+, Cosina has announced that they will be creating RF lenses of their own.

So, it looks like Canon is willing to license the tech after all. Maybe this means there’s some hope that we’ll actually see some of that Sigma DG DN Art glass coming to RF mount at some point. They may, and it sounds like they have, take a similar position to Nikon – who is only licensing lenses that don’t compete with their own – but the fact that they’re letting any third parties make lenses at all is a good start.

When it comes to the Eye Control Autofocus found on the EOS R3, Canon says that it is coming to more cameras but that it will take some time. They also say that they want to improve the performance and usability too.

Q: Many users were excited to see the return of eye-controlled autofocus on the EOS R3. Has the new eye-controlled AF met Canon’s expectations, and can we expect to see it on more bodies in the future?

Canon: It’s our mission as a camera manufacturer to figure out ways to make any camera system easier and more comfortable to operate. So, in terms of the eye control system, or eye-controlled focus, we intend to deploy this to various other models as well. At the same time, we’d like to improve the performance and usability.

However, the eye control system is something that takes a long time to develop. It’s also a costly device to develop and manufacture, so we don’t wish for customers to have overexcited expectations for immediate deployment to other models.

I can’t see this coming to existing Canon bodies, so don’t get your hopes up. The fact that it’s a “costly device to develop and manufacture” tells us that this isn’t something they’ve just added into their cameras as standard, waiting for them to write the code later – although, I suppose, it’s possible. More than likely, this will only be coming to Canon’s future professional and higher-end prosumer bodies and not standard across the range.

I think it’s almost certainly going to be coming in the mythical EOS R1 when it finally gets announced. Will it be coming in an EOS R5 Mark II? An EOS R7 Mark II? Perhaps, over the next few years, but I guess time will tell.

[via DPReview]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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66 responses to “Canon is starting to let 3rd parties make RF mount lenses”

  1. WKYA_Radio Avatar
    WKYA_Radio

    Until I see real change I believe my next body will be that Panasonic SS2 or so. I want options. And I literally have a brand new R6 Mark II. I have a core set of old EF glass, but even some of those can’t take advantage of high frame rates, namely the 50 mm 1.4 and my 70 to 20028 Mark II, which is my two core critical lenses. So yeah I’m not happy right now with Canon and lenses.

    And if photo websites were truly honest, if you’re not buying a Canon L lens, then it is an absolutely mediocre set of standard lenses available. Also RF crop lenses have to be the joke of the industry with some truly horrible lens designs, and even standard designs that were reduced in quality. Cannon’s marketing team has gone incredibly hard at differentiating markets from 3to2. It’s so weird because there is now arguably middle ground bodies, but there’s no middle ground lenses at all.

    I want a company that’s not going to wait 20 something years to replace a 50 mm 1.4 lens. Actually they haven’t replaced it.

    1. Anthony Hamer Avatar
      Anthony Hamer

      Yeah, I’m not happy with Canon as a company, and can’t see myself buying one of their cameras for quite a while. Their refusal to license third-party glass, the fiasco with the R5’s 8k ability being crippled in firmware after they advertised it so hard, their stance on third-party printer ink, and their support of NFTs have all lost nearly all of my respect for the company’s attitude towards consumers.

  2. Stephen Melvin Photography Avatar
    Stephen Melvin Photography

    This not letting third parties make lenses was such a bad decision that some photographers bought other systems.

  3. Marshall Goldberg Avatar
    Marshall Goldberg

    They’re licensing for manual focus lenses.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Manual focus lenses don’t need to be licensed, which is why there are so many manual focus RF mount lenses out there. What appears to be getting licensed is electronic communication between camera and lens.

  4. Emil Wall Avatar
    Emil Wall

    ”A similar position to Nikon – who is only licensing lenses that don’t compete with their own”

    Yeah, no, definitely sticking with Sony. Canon can launch AI-powered, eye-guided, reality-enhancing, zero-effort features as much as they want, as long as they keep signaling that they don’t prioritize what’s best for us customers it’s a no from me.

  5. Cao Xuân Đô Avatar
    Cao Xuân Đô

    1/4 đó mà

  6. Jeff Mok Avatar
    Jeff Mok

    Always come later

  7. John Paul Avatar
    John Paul

    About time..!!

  8. Jean-Pierre JP Provost Avatar
    Jean-Pierre JP Provost

    Will see April fouls?

  9. Ek Seng Ng Avatar
    Ek Seng Ng

    About time

  10. Ishmael Nemo Avatar
    Ishmael Nemo

    Good plan. Allow the 3rd party only where they do not compete directly with you. So say a Tamron 35-150 but no Tamron 85/1.8

    1. Eric Johan Martinez Avatar
      Eric Johan Martinez

      Ishmael Nemo maybe a 200-600 or a Sigma 700mm f5.6?

      I’d love to see a 700mm f5.6 prime.

  11. Evans Kerry Avatar
    Evans Kerry

    I have two L-Series Lenses…so I’m not going anywhere

  12. Justin Tzou Avatar
    Justin Tzou

    Was corrected by a fellow photographer that this was posted yesterday and not an April fools joke. I stumbled upon an article written two weeks ago so I think this may be legitimate! If so that would be amazing!

    https://www.digitalcameraworld.com/news/canon-will-approve-third-party-rf-lenses-on-a-case-by-case-basis

    1. Jesús Martín Calderón Avatar
      Jesús Martín Calderón

      Justin Tzou basically they will do as Nikon: depending if the consider each model a competence or an addition to the system.

      Then you can think about why a 600€ f2 lens could be competence of an amazing 900€ f1.8 super lens 😏

    2. Justin Tzou Avatar
      Justin Tzou

      Jesús Martín Calderón between canon’s $2000 35 1.4 and sigma’s $900 35 1.4 I would gladly take the sigma any day.

      I get why they would limit it and try to keep money in house, but ultimately they are hurting their own users.

  13. Alexander Nilsen Avatar
    Alexander Nilsen

    Need sigma rf lenses!

  14. Evans Kerry Avatar
    Evans Kerry

    Finally

  15. Evans Kerry Avatar
    Evans Kerry

    If not everyone is just going to go to Sony 🤣

  16. Reiner Mezger Avatar
    Reiner Mezger

    April April ???

  17. Brian Kilburn Avatar
    Brian Kilburn

    Cosina? Wtf is Cosina?

  18. Chris Hill Avatar
    Chris Hill

    Jack Lodge Photography fingers crossed eh🇬🇧

  19. Jeff Fung Avatar
    Jeff Fung

    By this point they should.

  20. 秋名企 Avatar
    秋名企

    Yongnuo is selling their RF 85mm f1.8 again in China….

  21. Markus Byron Avatar
    Markus Byron

    Meh, not really. Allowing manual focused, specialized lenses is hardly helpful. So far, that’s all that they’ve done.

    Another horrible move by Canon to try to ‘force’ people to buy more of their crap. They’ve already lost to Sony.

    1. Ishmael Nemo Avatar
      Ishmael Nemo

      Markus Byron The current sales figures say different. The Sony sales director was last seen writing a Haiku in the company garden…

    2. Stew Milne Avatar
      Stew Milne

      Markus Byron lost to Sony? Hardly. They may have taken a longer time to get into the mirrorless market, but I’ll take a Canon over Sony any day. Sony has horrible ergonomics and menu system. Their files and AF are amazing, but not enough to make up for the other flaws.

  22. Dusán Roczkó Avatar
    Dusán Roczkó

    how generous

  23. Mark Hildebrandt Avatar
    Mark Hildebrandt

    I hope the Sigma art series JUMPS on this.

  24. منتظر مهدي Avatar
    منتظر مهدي

    Seriously they are eveytime late like Nikon ,Fujifilm and Panasonic, Sony did this before years ago now everyone is using sony because of third party lens availability

    1. Christian Fiore Avatar
      Christian Fiore

      منتظر مهدي Nikon’s kinda clamping down on 3rd party, though. Only approved lenses that don’t compete with their own (see Viltrox) can pass through, or are rebadged (see Tamron).

  25. DrBob Wilson Avatar
    DrBob Wilson

    It’s old news.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      Yes, hence why it was posted over two weeks before you commented on it. :)

  26. Jelle Maarten Avatar
    Jelle Maarten

    Ffs finally

  27. Tony Gerassimou Avatar
    Tony Gerassimou

    They always allowed 3rd party lenses for the RF mount, just not with auto focus. I like how they’re twisting it to show a MF lens is being allowed for RF

  28. منتظر مهدي Avatar
    منتظر مهدي

    It’s late now

  29. Adrian Chin Avatar
    Adrian Chin

    About time.

  30. Massimo de Maria Avatar
    Massimo de Maria

    April fool for sure.

  31. Nick Blyth Avatar
    Nick Blyth

    It’s April fools

  32. Scott Basu Avatar
    Scott Basu

    This is a really, really cruel April Fools joke! 😂😅😢

  33. Csomor Adam Avatar
    Csomor Adam

    Haha, April 1 :D

  34. Steve Lambert Avatar
    Steve Lambert

    About time

  35. Oravecz Joe Avatar
    Oravecz Joe

    1st of April 😂

  36. Holger Bär Avatar
    Holger Bär

    To late. Now I’m on Sony.

  37. Kevin Johnson Avatar
    Kevin Johnson

    A bit of a tepid response, to say the least.

  38. Helge Bringeland Avatar
    Helge Bringeland

    1 april 😂

  39. Gustavo Ibarra Avatar
    Gustavo Ibarra

    Yes, Manual focus lenses 😂

  40. Kai-Uwe Rosenbeck Avatar
    Kai-Uwe Rosenbeck

    it‘s the best april fool 🥳

    1. Totte Lundgren Avatar
      Totte Lundgren

      Kai-Uwe Rosenbeck today it is. This was posted yesterday. I’m still sceptical though.

  41. Andrew Stewart Avatar
    Andrew Stewart

    Bit late now jumped ship that was the final straw.

  42. Salahuddin Sidek Avatar
    Salahuddin Sidek

    Too late.

  43. Dương Thanh Hoà Avatar
    Dương Thanh Hoà

    Yeah, and they’re manual focus lenses?

  44. Barry Lewis Avatar
    Barry Lewis

    just in time…I almost switched to Sony over that!

    1. Maludin Mohammed Avatar
      Maludin Mohammed

      Barry Lewis ,same mate! 😁

    2. Dương Thanh Hoà Avatar
      Dương Thanh Hoà

      Barry Lewis just switch already because they’re manual focus lenses.

    3. Matthew Addenbrooke Avatar
      Matthew Addenbrooke

      Barry Lewis April fools

    4. Wes Marx Avatar
      Wes Marx

      Dương Thanh Hoà not gonna happen

  45. Karlo Apostol Avatar
    Karlo Apostol

    Zeiss manual focus 🥰

  46. Lino Montuno Avatar
    Lino Montuno

    Really? Chopping and changing again, stuffing 3rd party players around?

  47. Brian Delgado Avatar
    Brian Delgado

    If it ain’t sigma/tamron I don’t wanna hear it

  48. Mads Peter Iversen Avatar
    Mads Peter Iversen

    Good choice!

  49. Dylan Baranyk Avatar
    Dylan Baranyk

    RF auto focus lenses ?

  50. Harry Ensley Avatar
    Harry Ensley

    After stopping them months ago … Seems like a brilliant strategy.

    1. René Unger Avatar
      René Unger

      Harry Ensley 1. April 😉😉

  51. Tim Toolen Avatar
    Tim Toolen

    Steve Corley looking at the lens so far…it’s not what I need, and there’s zero word for both Tamron and Sigma, the two main 3rd Party I trust for quality. I don’t know man. I’ve been a Canon shooter for 30 years now, and I’m still thinking of switching.