Cannon, wake up! Third-party lenses are the lifeblood of photography


Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Canon’s war on third-party lenses, which is ridiculous since so many photographers rely on them in their daily lives.

Third Party Lenses; without them, I can guarantee that I could never have had the career that I had in photography. I’m sure it’s the same for thousands of creators. Lenses such as Tamron, Sigma, IRIX, Samyang/Rokinon and others paved the way for me to get my hands on high quality optics that didn’t destroy my finances.

Third-party lenses helped me create images that simply wouldn’t have been possible without them. I owe my career to these companies and the glasses they make. That’s part of the reason I have such an affinity with them now.

Yet here we are in 2022, a time when photography has never been better, and we have businesses there. *cough* Cannon *cough*, who are actively trying to prevent third-party lens manufacturers from developing lenses for their mount. Naturally, this decision will have serious ramifications for Canon, and honestly, they deserve the fallout from this absolute PR cluster.

What happened?

Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about regarding third-party lenses, I’ll enlighten you. Last week, Tamron released its first lens for Nikon’s Z mount. It was a huge day for Nikon and its fans. Third-party lens support is something we’ve been asking for for a long time, so it was wonderful to finally see the ball rolling. Now more photographers can purchase quality third-party Z mount lenses at affordable prices. Overnight, the entire Nikon Z platform has become much more desirable thanks to Nikon playing nice with third parties.

The following day, a report was published on Photo Rumors which showed a dialogue between a Viltrox customer and a company spokesperson. Viltrox confirmed that Canon told them to immediately stop selling RF mount lenses. After some research, it was revealed that Samyang RF mount lenses are also missing in several stores. In the end, Samyang was also ordered to move away from Canon’s RF mount. And so, the conspiracy of the third objective thickened.

cease and desist

Canon’s official word suggests that Viltrox violated Canon’s RF editing patents, and that’s why the cease and desist was sent to Viltrox HQ. This means that Viltrox has reverse engineered its RF mount lenses. Reverse engineering is nothing new, folks. This is how most Sigma and Tamron lenses were made during the DSLR era, and no camera maker had a problem with it then. However, the stakes have never been higher and the profit margins have never been thinner.

Now I understand this from Canon’s point of view too. Canon worked hard on the RF mount and no doubt spent much of the change developing it. I’m sure they see reverse engineering as a way for the company to lose money. Still, the company’s reluctance to work with third-party lens makers should ring alarm bells.

The rabbit hole of third-party lenses goes deep

Third party lenses

This is not at all a good situation for consumers. This decision by Canon will ultimately limit anyone who purchases Canon’s RF mount system to only first-party lenses. This is great for those of you with bottomless pockets. However, not everyone can afford Canon’s high quality RF mount lenses.

This issue between third-party lens manufacturers and Canon will automatically prevent many photographers from buying into Canon’s system. Me included. Sure, you can use an adapter to use old, big, heavy EF-mount lenses on your mirrorless camera, but what’s the point? You buy a new system so you can use the new smaller, lighter and sharper lenses.

However, this whole question goes much deeper than Viltrox and Samyang. Both Sigma and Tamron have remained silent on this. Also, it’s incredibly odd to see Nikon getting one over Canon when it comes to third-party lens support. So that, of course, makes the mind wander.

Does Canon simply refuse to work with third parties? Do they require license fees to develop for the platform? Who knows. However, what I do know is that the lack of third-party support for Canon RF-mount cameras is alarming, and it’s got the whole photography community on edge.

Third-party lenses are essential

Third party lenses

I think we can all agree that third-party lenses are essential. While many photographers out there, again, myself included, use first party lenses on our cameras, it’s nice to just have the option of choosing a lens like Tamron, Sigma, Viltrox, Samyang/ Rokinon and others. This rings especially true for those who are just embarking on their photography journeys. How many wouldn’t be where you are today without the assistance of third-party lenses?

The quality of third-party lenses these days is exceptional. Just ask Sony users for information on recent Sigma and Tamron lenses. They will tell you how good the lenses are. Also read our reviews. You’ll find that you don’t need to spend over $3,000 on a first-party mirrorless lens to get the best results. This is, I’m sure, what scares Canon.

Third party lenses

Is Canon so worried about the incredible quality of third-party lenses that will simply keep others from playing in their backyard? Do they really think alienating photographers is the best way to go? All they have to do is look around the web for sites like ours and opinions on Reddit and YouTube to see that they are making a big mistake.

I hope, for everyone’s sake, that Canon wakes up and realizes that third-party lenses are the lifeblood of photography. If they don’t, they might find that their camera sales numbers, which have been growing, will start to slow, and they’ll lose more ground to Sony and Nikon. We need to rally together as a community of photographers to make sure Canon realizes how crazy they are.

Do what it takes, Canon

Third party lenses
All major camera brands adopt third-party lenses except Canon.

By being so stubborn, Canon only hurts creators. Canon will turn away budding photographers, videographers and seasoned professionals from competing brands due to their insistence on maintaining a closed ecosystem.

Even Fujifilm has now seen its mistakes, and the photography community is better off for it. So come on, Canon, do the right thing here. Embrace third-party lenses and invite more creators into the world of Canon mirrorless cameras. Everyone will be better off.


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