Canon doesn’t currently like anyone making autofocus-equipped lenses for its RF mount, but Yongnyo keeps doing it. The latest is a 35mm f/2 lens that is finding its way onto store shelves internationally.
To recap, at the time of publication Canon does not license its RF mount to third-party manufacturers — mostly. Canon is quick to point out that it worked with Cosina Voightlander to produce a couple of manual-focus RF lenses, but most photographers won’t consider this a true license.
If Canon doesn’t provide the official thumbs-up to make an autofocus lens, most photographers will consider RF to be a “closed” mount. Canon is so serious about this that it has threatened to sue third-party manufacturers if they even try.
Yongnuo is no stranger to this space, but it appears to be the only third-party lens maker willing to see how far it can push its luck. Either that, or its plan is to call Canon’s bluff. Yongnuo has already made its 85mm f/1.8 II autofocus lens available for the Canon mirrorless mount, a lens that actually is pretty good if it can be obtained.
The Canon RF 35mm f/2 is very likely the same or at least based on the Nikon Z lens Yongnuo announced in 2022, the 35mm f/2Z DF DSM.
While finding concrete information about the new Canon version is difficult, Asobinet reports that it features a lens construction made up of eight elements arranged into seven groups with an aperture range of f/2 through f/16, although the number of blades on the diaphragm isn’t mentioned. The Nikon version features a seven-bladed aperture diaphragm.
The autofocus system is the same between the two lenses, which is described as a digitally controlled stepper motor (DSM). The Canon RF lens also features the same ability to assign aperture, shutter speed, and ISO sensitivity to the control ring on the lens if a photographer desires. While it’s not visible on any of the product photos, it apparently has a USB-C port to allow for firmware updates, presumably to override any changes Canon might make to an RF camera’s firmware that would block the autofocus capability of the lens.
The Yongnuo 35mm f/2R DF DSM is supposedly slated to be available for $375, but finding it for sale in U.S. dollars isn’t easy. PetaPixel did find it listed for 14,999 PHP, though, which converts to $267, so it’s unclear how much it will actually cost for North American buyers — if it ever becomes readily available.
Image credits: Yongnuo