Canon lens mount change

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 3, 2021, 5:19 PM | comments: 0

I can't even tell you how much computer stuff I've cycled through in the last 25 years, and technology stuff in general. What has lasted for more time than I ever could have expected though is my Canon camera lenses. The trusty EF mount has been around since 1987.

And it might soon be obsolete.

I bought my first Canon camera, the Elan IIe, a film body, around 1998-ish, I think, and it had an EF mount. I had two different digital bodies with crop sensors until I bought the full-frame 5D in 2008, and the crop 7D the year after (because it makes video). I still have both of those cameras, and with them I've shot thousands of photos. I've done vacations, landscapes, engagements, 5K's, parties, babies and even my own wedding (well, a friend did the shooting with my gear). Now, 12 years later, I still have those cameras and I still use them. What other technology lasts that long?

Back to the lenses... Canon's best lenses, the faster ones that are sharper and more versatile, they designate with an "L" in the name. I bought by first L lens, the 70-200mm f/4L, in 2006. In retrospect, it was a steal for $600. I bought the 5D body in a kit with the 24-105mm f/4L IS, easily the most versatile and awesome lens ever made, in my opinion. It has spent more time on my cameras than the other lenses combined. Again, what else can I get great use out of after 12 years?

In 2013, I bought the 17-40mm f/4L as a gift to myself for working a ridiculous contract job as long as I could stand it, but also so I could experiment more with wide-angle video and landscape photos. It's just extraordinary when used with the 5D. It's neat to stand in front of a tall building and photograph the whole thing so close.

My least-credited lens is my trusty 50mm f/1.4, which is not an L lens (it feels kinda cheap, in fact), but it makes those pretty portrait photos with short depth-of-field in a way that still looks far better than the algorithmic simulation of that look by Google and Apple on phones. You can't quite fake it accurately.

All of that gear definitely appears a little weathered, but it all still works. In fact, I bought my video camera in part because it works with those lenses. My old video camera even works with those lenses (with a mount adapter). But after a 33-year run, it looks like Canon will not be introducing any new EF lenses, as they appear to be transitioning to the RF lens mount for use with their new mirrorless cameras. The flagship of that line is the R5, a body that has a crazy 45 megapixel sensor and can shoot 8K video 10-bit video (until it overheats, at least).

If I ever flip to an RF camera, and I don't think there's a lot of hurry for that, there are adapters that let you use your EF lenses, official and made by Canon. My aging lenses can easily go another decade! But it definitely is something of a new era, that's for sure. It also makes me wonder, OK, what would I buy going forward?

This is where the Internet gets in the way of opinions since I'm only a hobbyist. I deeply admire Philip Bloom, because the dude can make great video from almost any tool. I mean, he made a short film with a Barbie doll camera. But because he does this for a living, he doesn't really have to choose between his Canon, Sony, Fuji and whatever gear, because he has it all. He's gone all-in with the new Canon gear, and he has a whole lot of EF lenses. I don't have that luxury, because I can't easily justify spending on a bunch of gear that's just for the hobby.


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