5 Best Lenses For Canon EOS R8 (…and 3 to avoid)

The Canon EOS R8 is a full frame 24.2 megapixel mirrorless camera that is designed to be an all around performer that does everything pretty well. This versatility means that its important to have lenses that work for the type of photography you want to shoot.

My favorite lens for this camera would be the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8. It’s a very useful focal length and among the best Canon lenses in terms of image quality.

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 R8 based on what might be right for you.

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Top Pick

1. Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

The 24-70mm f/2.8 is a staple in any pro photographers bag because of the wide variety of shots you can get and the excellent image quality.

The 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is one of the most popular lenses in any lens lineup and for good reason. The combination of the focal range that covers wide to slightly telephoto and the wide f/2.8 maximum aperture covers a huge variety of shot types and shooting situations.

So when it comes time to invest in a high quality lens for your full frame mirrorless R8, this should be your top choice if it’s within your budget.

This lens has the “L” designation on it that Canon uses to identify its professional quality lenses.

You’ll get an extremely sharp lens that has great contrast and good color reproduction.

At 900g, it’s not a small lens and is actually on the bigger side of other 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses. But with the size comes a very strong build quality that is weather sealed.

As an added bonus, you’ll get about 5 stops of image stabilization so you can shoot still subjects at slower shutter speeds than you would normally be able to. That means better low light images without having to crank up the ISO.

This lens is also my “Pro Pick” on my list of the best Canon lenses for portraits.

Most Versatile

2. Canon 24-105 f/4

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.

I like this lens for the R8 because of its relatively 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 R8 and leave it there.

I like this option as an everyday lens for this camera a lot better than the RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM 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.

The f/4 aperture isn’t the fastest lens in the lineup but it is decent for getting shots in low light. Of course, for very low light situations, you may want to have the 50mm f/1.8 above, but this lens will work in most circumstances.

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.

I would consider this more like a less expansive top choice rather than a second place pick. It falls right between the top pick and the budget pick below in terms of price. So while it may not be up to the impeccable sharpness and image quality of the 24-70 above, but its also about $1000 less than that lens.

So it really comes down to how much you want to invest in lenses for your R8. If you’re on a tighter budget, then check out the option below.

Budget Pick

3. Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM

The 50mm is popular, sharp, useful, and affordable.

The 50mm f/1.8 (of the “nifty fifty” as some photographers call it) is one of those lenses that every photographer should have in their bag.

It’s an extremely sharp and well made lens with a wide f/1.8 aperture and the best part is that it’s the least expensive lens in the Canon RF lineup. So you’re getting a ton of value for a low price.

On the full frame R8, the 50mm is considered a “normal lens” which means that the field of view is similar to how we see with our eyes. This also means there is minimal distortion, even along the edges of the frame.

While the fixed focal length may initially seem limiting, this is a great lens, especially for someone learning to improve their photography skills. The wide maximum aperture opens up a lot more possibilities than the average kit lens, such as low light photography and shallow depth of field portraits.

Best Telephoto

4. Canon 70-200 f/4

Closer to a pro lens (but more affordable) the 70-200 f/4 will work great on the R8 for those of you that want some extra reach to shoot things like your kid’s sports.

If you want to use your R8 and its 40 frames per second electronic shutter shooting speed for sports and action, then you’ll need a good quality telephoto lens. This 70-200 /4 is perfect for that.

It’s very sharp and focuses fast enough to take full advantage of the exceptional focusing system in the R8.

When you shoot a longer focal lengths, you need a faster shutter speed to avoid blur from handholding the camera and a consistent f/4 aperture can make really help for shooting action when you’re not in bright sunlight.

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.

Upgrade Option: The Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM is a professional quality lens and one you’ll find in the bags of most sports and wildlife shooters. The wider max aperture gives you more low light shooting and the lens itself is a bit sharper.

Best Wide Angle

5. Canon 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…

Upgrade Options: The 10-20mm f/4 comes in at $2,299 MSRP, the 15-35mm f/2.8 comes in at $2,099 MSRP, and the most affordable wide angle zoom 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 for most R8 owners.

That being said both of those zooms are excellent landscape lenses and if they’re within your budget then I would recommend either of them as they give you more versatility with the focal range and are exceptionally sharp so you’ll be able to take full advantage of the 24.2 megapixel sensor on your R8.

I like the 16mm because you’re getting a lot for a low cost and a small lightweight lens.

If you’re shooting landscapes in remote places where you need to carry your camera and lens while hiking, then the weight savings can make a big difference.

You’re also getting exceptional sharpness with this 16mm lens, so your images will look every bit as detailed as any shot on the wide angle zooms.

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

Lenses To Avoid For Your R8

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 RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM

This is the kit lens that Canon offers as an option with the R8. Compared with the top pick above you’re getting a smaller focal range, smaller maximum aperture, and decreased images quality with some softness around the edges of the frame.

But it’s far less expensive than the top pick above. So why isn’t this a great option for those on a budget?

Well, I think if cost is a concern, then you would be far better off with the 50mm f/1.8 above. For a similar price, you’ll get a much sharper lens and an f/1.8 max aperture.

Canon RF 24-105 f/4-7.1

The main 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 R8 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 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 R8

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 R8 that you may want to think about.


Choosing a lens is much more than just finding the “best” lens for the R8.

The Canon R8 is a bit of a “do everything” camera for Canon, so lens choice is going to highly dependent on what you want to shoot or what you shoot most of the time. 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 everyday photos, but it might not be wide enough to get a great landscape shot on that same camera.

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

Future Upgrades

The R8 is a very capable “pro-sumer” quality full frame camera. So you can use this camera for everything from everyday shooting to professional quality work.

That means that once you have a body like this, you’ll only really be limited by the lenses that you have. So consider any lens purchase as an investment. If you buy a quality RF lens, you can get multiple decades of use out of that lens.

Price vs. Quality

One of the main reasons I recommend photographers on a budget get a low cost prime lens as opposed to a cheaper kit lens is that you’ll get a much higher quality image for the dollars you’ll be spending.

I started a portrait photography business with just a camera body and a 50mm f/1.8. I couldn’t have done the same and gotten the same results for my clients with a kit lens.

So consider this when making your lens choice. Of course the big expensive f/2.8 zoom lenses are amazing, but they’re also thousands of dollars. So if that’s within your budget, then go for it, but if not consider those very high quality prime lens options.

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