Hands-on: Canon RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM lens review

Canon’s new kit lens is incredibly light and compact but comes at the expense of focal length

Canon RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM
(Image: © Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Early Verdict

The Canon RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM might be Canon’s smallest and lightest kit lens yet for a full-frame camera, but it is also its shortest focal range so far for a lens of this type covering only 26mm. In practice, the lens is not as compact, as you have to extend the barrel considerably to the starting shooting position before use. However, with IS for steady shots and an STM motor for smooth quiet video, if you are a keen traveler or street photographer where having the smallest possible package is paramount, then this lens is for you.


  • +

    Compact and light when collapsed

  • +

    Quick and quiet autofocus

  • +



  • -

    Collapsed lens design not for everyone

  • -

    Limited focal range

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

If you are looking for a standard zoom lens for your Canon EOS R camera, then there are already a multitude of options to choose from, but now Canon has decided to add another kit zoom to the list with the Canon RF 24-50mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM Lens.

Traditionally Canon kit lenses have fallen into two camps, the first is the 18-55mm lens that was bundled with Canon's more affordable DSLR cameras, such as the EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS STM (opens in new tab), this offered a good focal range at a decent quality and in a compact size. 

The second camp is the 24-105mm lenses, these come in two varieties with the professional L series RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM (opens in new tab) offering premium optics and a constant aperture, but at a premium price and heavy to boot, the other option was the RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM (opens in new tab), which is much smaller and lighter, but with a variable aperture and less perfect optics.

The new 24-50mm continues the light and compact form of the 18-55mm's, although shaves off an additional 26mm of focal length. The size savings are quite significant though, with this being one of the smallest and lightest lenses for Canon full-frame cameras (opens in new tab).

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan)


Mount: Canon RF
Lens construction: 8 elements in 8 groups
Aperture blades: 7
Autofocus motor: STM
Image stabilization: 4.5 Stops (7 Stops with IBIS)
Minimum aperture: f/4.5 (at 24mm)
Maximum aperture: f/22-32
Minimum focusing distance: 0.30 (at 24mm)
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.11 (at 24mm)
Filter size: 58mm
Dimensions (L x H): 69.6 x 58 mm
Weight: 210g

Key Features

The 24-50mm focal length offers a 2x optical zoom focal range, which covers a wide variety of subjects from landscapes and street photography at the wide end up to portraits and some close-up photography.

The lens offers up to 4.5 stops of optical image stabilization from the lens alone, or up to 7 stops of enhanced image stabilization when using a compatible body with in-body image stabilization (IBIS) which helps create steady images while moving or using a slow shutter speed, as well as smooth video.

The lens features Canon's control switch which can switch the control ring on the lens between manual and autofocus, as well as allow the user to assign a specific command to the control ring, such as controlling the aperture or exposure compensation.

The Canon 24-50mm lens features a leadscrew-type STM motor, which offers quick and accurate focusing for stills, that works with the latest object recognition algorithms built into the latest Canon cameras. For video, the STM motor lets you record movies with smooth and quiet autofocus.

The lens has a 7-blade aperture to achieve a rounder bokeh and a more natural separation between your subject and the background.

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Build & handling

The lens has a compact body, weighing just 210g and 58mm in length, this will fit in almost any day bag or can easily be carried around for a long day without being bothered by the weight or worrying about the producing lens bashing against things. When paired with the new Canon EOS R8 camera, the whole package was exceptionally light.

However, the way the lens opens might be divisive. In an effort to make some of its recent lenses smaller to carry around and pack away, Canon has been developing lenses with a more collapsable barrel, with the Canon 24-50mm lens joining this collection. This means that the focal length must be 'opened' to the 24mm position to begin shooting, for many photographers will be something that will take a lot of getting used to, with years of picking up a camera and being able to immediately start snapping, and might leave to a lot of frustrating missed shots.

Something that might interest anyone who knows a thing or two about zoom lenses, the Canon 24-50mm is actually physically longer at its 24mm range, and the length of the lens shrinks back into the barrel as you zoom in. If this has any effect on the quality of the optics remains to be seen, but it is just an unusual design.

The lens lacks any weather sealing, which is not uncommon for a lens as low cost as this, but otherwise feels as solidly built as Canon's other non-L series lenses, made of tough plastic that is surprisingly scratch and grime resistant.

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)


We only got to try the new lens very briefly at The Societies of Photographers Convention in London, so didn't get a real chance to put the lens through its paces. But we hope to receive a review copy of the lens soon to perform the usual lab and real-world tests. You can see a couple of the shots from the lens below.

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan / Digital Camera World)

Early verdict

This lens is a perfect option for anyone looking for an incredibly light and compact lens that will cover a couple of the main areas of day-to-day photography, such as landscapes, streets, family photos, or portraits. It is also a great lens if you are interested in shooting video, with quick and quiet autofocus, as well as being light enough for steady handheld shooting and vlogging.

Although with only a 2x zoom range it is a little limiting compared with the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM (opens in new tab) lens which is only a little larger and heavier. Alternatively, a prime lens like the RF 35mm f/1.8 IS STM (opens in new tab) is a versatile focal length and a big wide aperture for a more professional cinematic look.

Other RF lens reviews:

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Gareth Bevan
Reviews Editor

Gareth is a photographer based in London, working as a freelance photographer and videographer for the past several years, having the privilege to shoot for some household names. With work focusing on fashion, portrait and lifestyle content creation, he has developed a range of skills covering everything from editorial shoots to social media videos. Outside of work, he has a personal passion for travel and nature photography, with a devotion to sustainability and environmental causes.