Canon RF 24mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM Review

September 30, 2022 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


Canon continues to expand its range of RF full-frame mirrorless lenses with more affordable options, the latest being the new RF 24mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM wide-angle prime.

Following in the design footsteps of the Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM which was released just under 4 years ago, the very similar 24mm version offers virtually all the same features, just with a wider angle of view.

Featuring the same 1:2 macro design with an even closer minimum focusing distance of 14cm, STM stepping motor for smooth, precise and quiet continuous auto-focusing, Super Spectra coating on the lens elements to minimize ghosting and flare, 9 rounded diaphragm blades for smoother bokeh, and image stabilisation offering a claimed 5-stop advantage, the Canon RF 24mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM is a very capable all-rounder.

This lens is sharp almost from the get-go, excellent in the centre when shooting wide open at f/1.8 and outstanding between f/2.8 and f/11. The edge performance isn't quite as good, requiring you to stop down to f/2.8 to get sharp results.

It's capable of producing some nice bokeh effects for an f/1.8 lens, helped by the ability to focus as close as 14cms away from your subject in tandem with the half life-size macro capability.

When shooting JPEGs and video, there's some obvious 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 as the camera body automatically applies corrections to the image.

Shooting in the RAW format, however, is another matter entirely, because the lens relies so heavily on Canon's digital corrections which are applied automatically in-camera.

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

Currently you'll have to use Canon's Digital Photo Professional 4 software to post-process the RAW files and make them usable, at least until Adobe, Capture One et al release their own profiles for this lens.

This is by far the biggest compromise in producing such a small, light and relatively affordable wide-angle lens.

The build quality is very good, certainly on a par with the RF 35mm and lenses like the RF 24-105mm kit zoom.

We did miss having built-in weather-proofing, though, which would offer some peace of mind in more inclement conditions.

Auto-focusing proved to be quick, quiet and reliable on the Canon EOS R5 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, as is the very effective 5-stop optical image stabilisation system.

The Lens Control Ring is now a defacto feature on virtually every RF lens and although it takes a little getting used to if you haven't encountered it before, it soon becomes quite a handy feature to have.

Ultimately, the RF 24mm F1.8 MACRO IS STM isn't quite as affordable as the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM and it does rely more heavily on in-camera image quality corrections, but if you prefer the 24mm focal length, it certainly fits the bill as a versatile, fast and affordable wide-angle prime lens.

4.5 stars

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