Canon says it intends to release seven or eight new RF lenses a year going forward as it works to build out its first-party library to match the more than 70 that were available for the EF mount before the launch of its mirrorless line.
In an interview with Newswitch, Canon’s managing executive officer and deputy manager of the Imaging Group Tsuyoshi Tokura says that since the launch of the EOS R system, Canon has produced seven to eight new lenses a year, resulting in a total of 33 RF lenses in the company’s library.
Last year, Canon promised it would launch 32 new RF lenses between 2022 and 2026 and now for the second year in a row, Canon has committed to continuing that pace.
Tokura says that the basic bones of the lens lineup are in place, but the company has a long way to go to get to the more than 70 EF lenses it had available for Canon DSLRs before the RF mount was announced. In addition to expanding its total lens library, Tokura also emphasized the goal of expanding options for beginners as it invests “more resources in mirrorless development.”
Hearing that Canon has already reached 33 first-party lenses might come as a surprise and it sounds like a lot, but compared to Sony’s huge library of 72 first-party lenses and the fact that Canon is still not even halfway to getting to its peak EF lens number shows the company has a long way to go.
The fact Canon does not currently have a set strategy for licensing the RF mount to third-party manufacturers — the company even goes so far as to sue any brand that tries to make autofocus-equipped lenses for its mount — means that the element of choice for photographers looking to invest in RF mount is also more limited compared to E-mount. Sony’s mirrorless mount is considered “open” which means brands like Tamron and Sigma are free to develop lenses to support the system.
Not only do photographers who are considering the two companies have Sony’s large first-party lens lineup to look at, but the fact the system is open means there are considerably more options available from a variety of manufacturers. Side by side, that’s tough for Canon to compete against.
That kind of pressure pretty much explains why Canon is dedicated to producing lenses at such a fast clip — seven to eight lenses a year is quite a lot. One of the main complaints about Canon’s current library of RF lenses is that most of them are too expensive for the average hobbyist to consider, which makes the company’s note about focusing more on entry-level photographers particularly important. Now that the bones of Canon’s line are together, the company can look to fill out the library with lenses that are more financially approachable to more people.
Image credits: Canon