The first 3rd party AF lens on Canon RF. Again. The return of the Yongnou 85mm F/1.8R
You know what they say: “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Once more, you are able to buy the Yongnou 85mm F/1.8R ($399) – the very first third-party AF lens for the RF mount. The lens was initially released two years ago, but Canon has forced all 3rd party production to stop back then. Will it be the same today?
Wait… a third-party AF lens.. on the RF system?
I feel like we have heard the term “The first third-party AF lens for RF” quite a lot already. It’s no wonder, since Canon makes some of the best cameras in the market. And each time, we see the same result. A company like Meike tried to release a new lens on multiple mounts, including the RF mount. And before you know it, it mysteriously disappears from online stores. Usually, like in the case of the Viltrox 85mm f/1.8 ($359), the lens remains available, with only the RF version missing.
Why is that? When Canon moved from the EF to the RF system, they stopped accepting 3rd party lenses. Whenever a company tried to release anything for the RF system, Canon would just. Ask them to stop. And for the most part, everyone did stop. Kind of.
The “first” third-party AF lens
Every so often, we hear about “The first 3rd party AF lens on the RF system”. Hearing that, it’s easy to assume it means: “The first third-party AF lens is launching on the system.” In reality, that phrase means “The first third-party AF lens for the RF system that won’t be immediately canceled”. The difference is subtle, but it means that the lenses did enter the market. Some people are out there using third-party lenses that aren’t supposed to exist anymore.
So, how come the Yongnou 85mm F/1.8R is available again?
Well, it’s not like Yongnou intends to keep trying until Canon gives up. There was a change in Canon’s stand earlier this year. According to Canon themselves, they will finally start allowing for third-party lenses. We started to see this change at the end of March, but since then, all we got were manual lenses. Not a single lens that was released (and not canceled) since then had autofocus capabilities.
This rerelease seems to be an experiment by Yongnou. One meant to test Canon. If Canon is willing to finally change their mind on AF lenses, the Yongnou 85mm F/1.8R will finally be properly available for Canon R users. If not. Well, no one is quite sure. Yongnou might try again next year. They might not.
Once more, we are sitting here, theorizing whether or not a new lens will really be “the first third-party Af lens for the RF system”. Considering Canon’s track record, I can’t say I’m optimistic… but I do hope to be wrong. If third-party AF lenses start being available on the Canon R lineup, it will solve my biggest gripe with it. The variety.
Canon makes some amazing lenses. Sometimes, the best in the market. But is it wrong to want a budget lens like this instead? The Yongnou 85mm F/1.8R DF DSM is now available for $398. With any luck, this sentence won’t change to “was available”.