6 Best Lenses For Canon EOS R100 (…and 3 to avoid)

The Canon EOS R100 is an affordable and very capable crop sensor camera in Canon’s lineup and despite the affordability, you can get some very good performance when paired with a quality lens.

My favorite lens for this camera would be the 28mm f/2.8 because the compact size and wide maximum aperture make it a versatile lens that will give you high quality images.

But depending on what you shoot most, you may want a different option. So keep reading to see my complete breakdown of the best lenses for the Canon R100 based on what might be right for you.

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Top Pick

1. Canon RF 28mm f/2.8 STM

This compact 28mm lens has a nice wide f/2.8 max aperture and its size pairs nicely with the compact R100 for a great walk-around combo.

This might be my personal favorite lens to carry around on a crop sensor camera. It’s small and lightweight enough that pairing it with the R100 makes for a very small kit that is perfect for everyday shooting.

In addition to that, the 28mm focal length (45mm full-frame equivalent on the R100) is wide enough to capture scenery but not so wide that pictures of people are distorted. Combine this with the f/2.8 aperture and it’s about as versatile a prime lens as you can get.

But the real reason this lens gets the top pick is because of the quality of the images you’ll get at such a low price point.

Prime lenses in general are easier for the manufacturer to make well because they have fewer moving parts than a zoom lens. This means that they can be more precise with the placement of the lens elements, resulting in a sharper image.

It also means that it takes less elements to produce a lens that is very sharp and produces good colors and excellent contrast. So you’re not going to have to pay nearly as much for a prime lens as you would for a zoom.

All this adds up to this being the perfect lens to pair with an affordable camera like the R100 and still get excellent images.

But if you want something that has a little more versatility in terms of focal length and are willing to spend a little more then check out this next option…

Most Versatile

2. Canon RF 24-105 f/4 IS USM

This lens covers a wide focal range with a fixed f/4 max aperture which makes it a great lens to keep on your camera in a variety of situations.

The 24-105mm f/4 lens gives you a decent f/4 maximum aperture with a very wide focal range and still delivers very good image quality. On the crop sensor R100 the effective focal range is 38mm to 168mm.

I like this lens for the R100 because its compact size coupled with a big focal range.

You can shoot everyday shots and even some landscapes at 24mm and still have the reach for far away objects at the 105mm end. This makes it the kind of lens that you can put on your R100 and leave it there.

I like this option as an everyday lens for this camera a lot better than the 18-45mm that is often sold as a kit lens with it. You’ll get sharper images and better colors as well as the consistent f/4 max aperture across the entire focal length.

But…keep in mind that although it is a solid investment, this lens is more expensive than the kit lens by a good amount.

It is a full frame lens, which means that you won’t have to upgrade your lens if you upgrade your camera to full frame.

If you travel a lot and don’t want to bring multiple lenses or are just looking for one lens that can handle the widest variety of shooting situations then this is a great option.

If you’re looking for something a little less expensive but the 28mm above is a little too wide then try this…

Best Prime

3. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro IS STM

With an equivalent focal length of 52.5mm on the crop sensor camera, this is the lens that every R100 owner should buy once they realize the kit lens isn’t getting it done.

The 35mm f/1.8 is one of the lenses (along with the 28mm above) that I recommend for almost anyone with a crop sensor camera as the next one to get after they get frustrated with their kit lens. The f/1.8 aperture opens up an entire world of possibilities compared to most kit lenses.

The 35mm focal length will be equivalent to 56mm on a full frame camera and the big advantage this lens has over the 28mm above is the f/1.8 maximum aperture.

The f/1.8 aperture is often a massive difference for anyone that’s never used a lens with a wide maximum aperture like that before. It will allow you to experiment with shallow depth of field as well as shoot in low light.

The R100 is a great option to have as an everyday camera and if you plan to use it for things like photographing your kids or get-togethers with friends and family, you’ll be thankful to have the option to use f/1.8, especially in indoor situations. You’ll find that indoor lighting is often far darker than you perceive it with your eyes.

Another added benefit of this lens is the compact size (although it is larger than the 28mm). Paired with the small R100, it makes for an easy kit to carry around with you.

So if you want a little more low light capability than the two options above, then I highly recommend checking out this 35mm lens.

So far we’ve been talking about everyday shooting, but what if you want to get great shots of your kid’s sporting events. Try this lens…

Best Telephoto

4. Canon RF 70-200 f/4

Closer to a pro lens (but more affordable) the 70-200 f/4 will work great on the R100 for those of you that want some extra reach to shoot things like your kid’s sports.

This was a tough one to pick. For those of you that want a longer telephoto zoom lens it was between this and the 50-210mm f/5-7.1.

I’m assuming you don’t want to spend a ton on expensive telephoto glass, but I also am not a fan of a lens with a maximum aperture at the long end of f/7.1.

When you shoot a longer focal lengths, you need a faster shutter speed to avoid blur from handholding the camera and an f/7.1 aperture can make it very difficult to do that unless you’re shooting in bright sunlight.

So even though the 70-200 f/4 is not cheap (coming in at $1400 MSRP) it’s still a lot less than the f/2.8 version.

Budget Friendly Alternative: I recognize budget might be important. You can save $1000 and go for the 55-210mm f/5-7.1. Just be aware that the image quality is a bit less and you’re going to have to shoot at much higher ISO settings. The good news is that the R100 handles higher ISOs better than most crop sensor cameras.

Back to the 70-200mm f/4…

You’re going to get exceptional image quality in terms of both sharpness and color rendition. This pairs nicely with the 24-105 above to give you a huge focal length range with just two lenses.

But if you just want a little longer focal length to shoot portraits then the 70-200mm is overkill…so try this lens instead…

Best For Portraits

5. Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM

This lens is an 80mm equivalent on the R100 crop sensor which makes it perfect for shooting portraits.

The Canon 50mm f/1.8 has all of the same benefits as the 35mm version, but if you are shooting a lot of portrait photography, then the 50mm will be a 80mm equivalent on the R100 which is a perfect focal length for portraits.

By using a longer focal length, you’ll be able to stand farther away from your subject while still filling the frame. This adds something called compression in photography, which typically helps to give a more flattering look to people.

Of course, the longer focal length also can be somewhat limiting for everyday use. So keep that in mind. This lens is great as a second or third option for the R100 while the ones at the top of this list are more versatile and good for everyday use.

The best part of this “nifty fifty” lens is that its one of the cheapest options out there for your R100.

Best Wide Angle

6. Canon RF 16mm f/2.8

This 16mm f/1.8 gives you a wide angle and a fast aperture for shooting almost any kind of landscape from mountains to astrophotography.

You might be surprised that I didn’t choose one of the wide angle zoom lenses for this pick. To show you why, let’s take a look at some of those options…

The most affordable wide angle zoom in the RF system is the 14-35mm f/4 at $1,199 MSRP. Compare this to the 16mm f/2.8 at $299 MSRP and you can see why it’s such an attractive option.

That’s not to say any of those are bad lenses (they’re not) but this 16mm prime lens can handle all your wide angle landscape shots at a much lower price AND in a much smaller and lightweight package.

Instead of one of those other more expensive options above, you can get this lens for wide angle landscape shots and add the Canon 24-105 to cover the longer focal lengths.

In addition, the f/2.8 max aperture makes it a great option for astrophotography.

Lenses To Avoid

The truth is that there really aren’t many bad lenses in the Canon RF system. Canon hasn’t opened up the specs to third-party manufacturers to create their own lenses and they’ve done a great job at making high-quality lenses.

With the adapter you can use Canon’s DSLR lenses too, so you have a massive selection.

That being said, some lenses really aren’t worth getting for this particular camera.

These aren’t necessarily bad lenses. I just don’t think they’re worth the investment given the other options above.

Canon 24-105 f/4-7.1

The thing that makes me not want to recommend this lens is the f/7.1 maximum aperture at the longer (105mm) end. When you shoot at longer focal lengths, you need a faster shutter speed. Plus this is a focal length you may want to use for shooting sports or wildlife as well, which also tend to require faster shutter speeds.

So being limited to a maximum of f/7.1 means you’ll be using some very high ISO settings to get the right exposure. While the R100 is decent at higher ISOs, it has its limits.

So if you want that extra reach for things like action, then its worth investing in the f/4 version above.

But if you are constrained by budget, then you may also be better off using this Canon RF to EF adapter and finding a used EF mount lens with a faster aperture for a better price.

Canon 24-50 f/4.5-6.3

This is really just a case of there being better options available. If you’re looking at this focal length, I think you would be better off just going for the 35mm f/1.8 prime lens above.

You’ll get better image quality and a faster aperture for shooting in low light.

Canon 15-30 f/4.5-6.3

Similar to the 24-30 above, you can get much better image quality and a better max aperture with a prime lens in this focal range such as the 16mm f/2.8 above.

What To Look For When Choosing A Lens For Your Canon R100

In addition to the usual things you look for in a lens like image quality, sharpness, and a large maximum aperture, there are a few things specific to the Canon R100 that you may want to think about.


Choosing a lens is much more than just finding the “best” lens for the R100.

It’s important to consider what you’ll be using it for and how useful that particular lens would be for a variety of different things.

for example a 50mm prime lens is great for shooting portraits and closer up shots on a crop sensor camera, but it might not be wide enough to get a great landscape shot.

So you would have to decide whether you want a lens that does a decent job for both or two lenses that are each specific type of shot.

Future Upgrades

The R100 is a crop sensor camera. That means that the sensor is smaller than full frame Canon cameras.

There are some lenses that are specifically made for crop sensor cameras. They are often smaller, lighter, and less expensive than full frame lenses. However, you can’t use those crop sensor lenses on a full frame camera.

Full frame lenses work equally well on crop sensor and full frame cameras. So while you might spend a little more but you’ll be investing in a lens that you can continue to use even if you upgrade your camera to full frame in the future.

Size and Weight

The R100 is a small and compact camera. So larger lenses will be a bit cumbersome on this body.

That’s one of the reasons I recommended a few prime lenses on this list. Not only are prime lenses going to delivery exceptional image quality for a lower price but they tend to be smaller than similar focal length zooms.

You can accomplish a lot in the world of photography with a few prime lenses and 2 or 3 of them are still going to be cheaper than most quality zoom lenses.

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