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Thread: Why no more Gold ring lenses?

  1. #1
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    Why no more Gold ring lenses?

    Hey all, I know I haven't posted in <check's watch> oh, about 10 years or so, and it's good to see that quite a few of the familiar names are still here!

    I made the jump from my 70D to the R7 last year. I mainly chose the R7 because I have never really been able to justify the cost of transitioning to full frame considering the EF-S kit that I had. With the adapter available, I was finally able to get into mirrorless bodies which are much more advanced, so I thought I was set!

    But I find myself a bit frustrated here in APS-C world.

    I didn't really want to have to use the adapter forever. I figured I would be able to eventually get a nice set of RF lenses covering wide (10mm) to the long end of general-purpose zooms (70-100mm).

    With my 70D I was able to use the fantastic 10-22mm and the even better 17-55mm f/2.8 for almost all of my needs. I also have the 70-200mm f/4 L IS.

    When I got my R7, I also purchase the 14-35mm f/4 L lens. And I found that I really like the ability to use nice RF lens and not have to deal with the added bulk of the adapter. I also have the 100-400mm which has turned out to be a whole lot of fun.

    I kept thinking that Canon would eventually release RF versions of the old and amazing "Gold Ring" EF-S lenses (the 10-22, 17-55, 50 f/1.8, etc). And they just haven't. The most recent announcement of the 10-18mm piece of plastic was really disheartening.

    The 14-35 L is great for landscapes that I like to do, but it's not long enough for general purpose. Any lens that starts at 24mm on the wide end (24-70, 24-105) just isn't wide enough for APS-C cameras if you like doing any landscapes.

    Is Canon just never going to make a "nicer" set of RF-S glass? Without an adapter being used, there really aren't great general purpose lenses of L or near-L quality for the R7 and I'm starting to feel like this will never change. Like I might be better off just finally ditching APS-C and moving to the R6 or something.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex View Post
    Like I might be better off just finally ditching APS-C and moving to the R6 or something.
    So their plan is working perfectly....


    Hey Alex....

    This gets to be a bit tricky to answer as you bring up a lot of questions. Starting with the fundamental premise, my belief is that Canon simply did not make the revenue they needed to justify continuing the higher end EFs lenses. I started off with the EFs 15-85, which is still a favorite of mine for the focal length.

    But, in a way, they did continue to make amazing APS-C lenses, but you had to look at the EF-m 32 mm f/1.4 (stellar lens, lives on my M6II) or the EF-m 11-22. Because of the latter, I would not sell the RF-s 10-18 short. I haven't checked lens groups, etc, but the rumor was that the RF-s 10-18 was going to be based on the EF-m 11-22, and if so, it will be a great lens.

    Plastic. Its funny, but I'd say that there is plastic...then there is plasticy. I hope the RF-s 10-18 is Canon plastic and not plasticy. Bottom line is that most of Canon's wide/ultra wide angle lenses are now made of a very high quality "plastic". Even a number of EF "L" series lenses were, as I recall the 100 f/2.8 L macro being the first. I've own that lens for a decade plus, no issue on its construction. I am pretty sure the EF 16-35 f/4 L, EF 24-70 f/2.8 L II, EF 85 f/1.4 L IS are all made from the same material, which is an extremely high quality plastic. But, they do not feel plasticy at all. Hopefully the same is true with the EFs 10-18.

    Gold ring. Looking at photos of the gold ring, the EFs 17-55, it actually said "Ultrasonic" on it. A 70-300 lens I bought in the 1990's for a film camera has the same gold ring. There was a point where Canon hyped their Ultrasonic motors. I think that time has passed.

    But, getting back to your original premise, Canon has under served the APS-C market with premium lenses. My belief has been that they are using that system as a gateway to FF and the L series of lenses. Hence, the joke I led off with. I think their intent is actually to make money, which is common for businesses. So, they have many different offerings and if you look at one or two you may not see a complete picture, but generally, they have FF cameras that range from entry level to elite. They have FF lenses that range from entry level to elite. They have APS-C cameras that skew toward entry level, in fact stair step nicely from extremely entry level, but they do have a very good offering in the R7. As for lenses, definitely entry level, consumer grade lenses. But, you can fit the elite RF "L" lenses on those entry level APS-C bodies. The focal lengths may not match up exactly, maybe Canon is leaving a few optimized designs on the table (I always wanted an smaller/lighter EF-s telephoto). But you can mount elite FF lenses on the any of the APS-C bodies (within a given mount).

    So, I think it gets down to an overall business strategy. And we are talking about a company that scuttled the EFm lineup, which, at one point, included the best selling mirrorless cameras in Japan. Because, it didn't fit their eventual RF centric lineup.

    Just my thoughts.

    Good to see you,
    Brant

  3. #3
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    Thanks for your reply Brant!

    Yeah I get what you're saying in terms of the gateway nature of the APS-C cameras and kits. It might just be time to save up and make the jump.

    To clarify, the plastic I'm referring to was kind of a poor choice of words on my part. What I should have alluded to is the cheap feel of the RF-S lenses which is likely less to do with the plastic construction and more to do with the overall amount of glass used which contributes to a feeling of cheap lightness.

    They are really making clear that APS-C is entry-level outside of wildlife/sports telephoto offerings. Every RF-S lens is narrow, variable aperture, narrow diameter size in the construction. This means you can use a cheaper filter because the lens is tiny and light. This means you can carry it around because you're less likely to be someone with a big camera bag with lots of glass in it.

    I had forgotten about the "Ultrasonic" designation of those old EF-S Gold Ring lenses and you're right, perhaps that gold ring was linked with that designation, not necessarily the quality of the glass or the construction.

    But I'm wracking my brain to think of any EF-S glass other than the 17-55mm f/2.8 that had a constant aperture available throughout the entire zoom range. And I guess, at baseline, I'm asking in all these rambling words if Canon is ever gonna do that again for the RF-S lenses.

    I doubt it.

    So the answer for me seems to be either to continue to use the EF-RF adapter, or switch to full frame RF.

    If I did make the switch to something like the R6 I or II with the 24-105 f/4L, I'd have a pretty decent kit with that, the 14-35, and the 100-400mm.

    Of course, I haven't even considered up until this very moment the possibility of any future change in third-party lenses and the RF mount. This would potentially change this entire conversation.

  4. #4
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    When Canon launched the EOS M system, the EF-M 22mm f/2 was one of the two lenses that launched with the system (the M18-55 was the other). The M11-22 was launched the following year. With RF-S, Canon launched the mount with an 18-45 and an 18-150 (the latter was optically the same as the M18-150, the 6th of 8 EF-M lenses). For RF-S, they followed with a 55-210 and then the 10-18. So it appears Canon has shifted priorities a bit. Other than the 22/2, the remaining two EF-M primes were the last two lenses for the system (28mm macro and 32/1.4).

    Canon never updated the EF-S 17-55/2.8, and I think releasing an RF-S version of a 'high end' APS-C standard zoom is pretty unlikely. Canon wants those interested in such a lens and willing to pay for it to buy FF.

    As you say, an R6 or R6II (or even the R8) plus an RF 24-105/4L is a great combination. When you consider the comparison to the crop 17-55/2.8, the 24-105/4 is effectively wider (24mm vs. 27mm), longer (105mm vs. 88mm), faster (f/4 vs. f/4.5 for DoF when matching framing), and with the FF sensor you gain 1.3-stops of noise or shutter speed that more than offsets the one stop lost in lens aperture.

  5. #5
    Senior Member alex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neuroanatomist View Post
    As you say, an R6 or R6II (or even the R8) plus an RF 24-105/4L is a great combination. When you consider the comparison to the crop 17-55/2.8, the 24-105/4 is effectively wider (24mm vs. 27mm), longer (105mm vs. 88mm), faster (f/4 vs. f/4.5 for DoF when matching framing), and with the FF sensor you gain 1.3-stops of noise or shutter speed that more than offsets the one stop lost in lens aperture.
    I think that pretty much seals it for me, thank you for spelling it out so clearly!

    The only thing I will be missing will be reach, but it'll be interesting to see how much I actually miss it.
    R6 II --- RF 14-35mm f/4L IS --- RF 24-105mm f/4L IS --- RF 100-400mm F5.6-8 IS
    70D --- EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 --- EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS --- EF 70-200mm f/4L IS --- EF 85mm f/1.8

  6. #6
    Senior Member neuroanatomist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alex View Post
    The only thing I will be missing will be reach, but it'll be interesting to see how much I actually miss it.
    Affordable reach, even for FF, is a great and really unique attribute of the R system. The RF 100-400 is inexpensive (especially timed right, I paid $500), and optically itís nearly as good as the RF 100-500L (I have both). If 400mm isnít enough reach, thereís the 600/11 and 800/11, the latter being the longest branded lens for <$1000 and it is very good optically (though with quirks like a fixed aperture). Thereís also the new RF 200-800 for $1900. The apertures are relatively narrow, but paired with a current FF sensor thatís not a showstopper. When I shot with a 7D, I would cringe if I needed ISO 3200. With my R3 and R8 shooting RAW and using DxO to convert, I routinely shoot at ISO 25600.

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