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

November 30, 2023 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


Designed to be a small, lightweight standard zoom lens that is best suited to Canon's smaller camera bodies, the RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM is also eminently affordable.

Thankfully, it's not just a cheap and cheerful lens, offering more than enough features and performance to more than justify its modest £359.99 / $299 price-tag.

It's not all good news, though, with the lens suffering from similar image quality issues to some of the other more affordable RF lenses that we've recently reviewed, most notably huge amounts of distortion and vignetting that are particularly evident in RAW files.

When shooting JPEGs and video, there's some fairly mild vignetting which requires you to stop down by at least 2 f-stops to prevent it completely, but there's little evidence of chromatic aberrations.

Distortion is also well controlled for both JPEG and RAW files, as the camera body automatically applies digital corrections to the image - in fact, you can't turn this feature off when using this lens.

Shooting in the RAW format, however, is another matter entirely, because the lens relies so heavily on Canon's digital corrections which are either applied automatically in-camera or by the end user during post-processing.

These corrections aren't automatically applied to RAW files, which clearly exhibit huge amounts of vignetting that some users may find objectionable.

On a more positive note, this lens is pleasingly sharp almost from the get-go in the centre even when shooting wide open. The edge performance isn't as good, though, requiring you to stop down to get acceptably sharp results.

Despite the very slow maximum apertures available, it's still capable of producing some quite nice bokeh effects too.

The build quality of this small, light and affordable standard zoom lens is very good, certainly on a par with similar lenses like the RF 24mm and 35mm primes and the RF 24-105mm kit zoom.

We did miss having built-in weather-proofing, though, which would offer some peace of mind in the more inclement conditions that this lens is likely to be subjected to, and it would have been nice to see the optional and rather pricey lens hood included in the box.

Auto-focusing proved to be quick, quiet and reliable on the Canon EOS R8 camera body that we tested the lens with thanks to the STM motor, while manual focus over-ride at any time is a great feature.

The effective 4.5-stop optical image stabilisation system makes this lens more versatile in low-light situations, allowing you to hand-hold the camera in situations where you can't use a tripod or similar support, especially as this increases up to an impressive 7 stops when used with certain EOS R camera bodies which have an In-Body Image Stabilizer (IBIS).

The Lens Control Ring is now included on virtually every RF lens and although it takes a little getting used to if you haven't encountered it before, especially as it's shared with the manual focus on this particular lens, it soon becomes quite a handy feature to have.

The main alternative to this lens is the Canon RF 24-105mm F4-7.1 IS STM, which offers greater telephoto range at the expense of slower maximum apertures and increased size and weight.

It makes a great companion lens to the Canon RF 15-30mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM, although maybe Canon could have designed something like a 28-70mm F4.5-6.3 to better complement and extend the focal range.

It might not offer the greatest range or fastest apertures, but the RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM is a solid if rather unexciting first lens for Canon's full-frame system that is both light on weight and light on your wallet.

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Image quality 4
Value for money 4.5