It's a wide world: travel vlogger Chloe Gunning puts the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM to the test

Find out what makes the ultra-wide, affordable RF lens perfect for travel vlogging, on a city trip with Wanderlust Chloe.
Canon Camera

Chloe Gunning is one of the UK's top travel vloggers. She used to work in the music industry, for an independent radio station and behind the scenes on a TV talent show, but in 2014, she decided it was time for a change. She's been exploring the world with her camera and blogging and vlogging as Wanderlust Chloe ever since, sharing stories, tips and imagery from across the globe.

Until now, Chloe has used the Canon EOS M50 (now succeeded by the Canon EOS M50 Mark II). "I've always loved using it for my travel blog," she says. "It's a great all-round small setup with good quality, and it's easy to use. My favourite thing is how compact it is for travelling – plus it has a flip screen which is ideal for vlogging and selfies."

Ahead of filming a travel guide in the English city of Bristol, however, Chloe explored Canon's EOS R System. Designed for creators who are always on the lookout for new ways to showcase their content, the R System gives vloggers and influencers access to a growing range of high-quality RF lenses, including the latest addition to the Canon RF lens family, the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM. Capable of capturing an expansive perspective and with a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, the new ultra-wide RF lens unlocks a host of creative possibilities.

Chloe filmed her city vlog on the full-frame Canon EOS R6 but the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM, which weighs just 165g, would also make an ideal compact partner for an entry-level EOS R System camera such as the small and lightweight Canon EOS RP.

Ultra-wide view

There are many advantages to using the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM for vlogging. For a start, its ultra-wide view makes it much easier to capture your surroundings when you're shooting selfies. "I really love using a super-wide lens for vlogs, as it can record so much in one shot," Chloe confirms. "I can tell such a great story visually when viewers can see so much of the destination around me as I chat about it.

"It was ideal for the shots on the boat trip in Bristol in particular," she explains. "There were a few moments when I sat on the side of the boat and filmed myself looking out and talking. The ultra-wide lens was able to capture so much of my surroundings, including the colourful rows of houses, the SS Great Britain and the other boats passing by."

A young woman perched on the edge of a boat holding a Canon EOS R6 on a tripod grip, with a river and a row of houses in the background.

Chloe loved being able to fit so much of the scene into her shots. "I think it makes it more immersive for those watching, almost allowing them to place themselves in the shot too," she says.

This sweeping view is also helpful when you're working in relatively tight spaces, such as vlogging from a bedroom or kitchen, and can't physically step back to open up the perspective. A wide-angle lens such as the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM will take in as much of the scene as possible.

A wide-angle lens is often the first choice for landscape photography, which is an aspect that Chloe explored when filming Bristol's panoramic views. "It was great when I was shooting from Clifton Observatory and around the Clifton Suspension Bridge," she says. "I was able to set up shots to show the entire bridge, the Avon Gorge, and the city landscape all in one shot. It's a massive view, so for a lens to have that perspective is really impressive!"

Travel-friendly design

An over-the-shoulder shot of a young woman walking through a covered market, filming herself on a Canon EOS R6 camera.

With its vari-angle touchscreen, full-frame sensor, 4K/60p video, class-leading image stabilisation and compact design, the Canon EOS R6 is a travel-friendly vlogging camera that's capable of producing world-class video and stills. "I used the Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR and a plug-in DM E-100 Stereo Microphone, just to create an easy-to-use vlog setup for running around the city," Chloe says. "In general, I kept a lot of the camera settings on auto."

A young woman sitting at a table, smiling and holding a vegetable-stuffed wrap up to her camera, which sits on the table on a Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR in mini tripod form.

The Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR serves two roles, as both an ergonomic one-handed grip with built-in remote camera controls, and a tripod that provides stability when you need both hands free. It also features an extendable bracket for mounting an external microphone, such as the Canon Stereo Microphone DM-E100.

For the Bristol shoot, Chloe equipped her EOS R6 with a Canon Tripod Grip HG-100TBR, which made it easier to film herself one-handed, and also folds out to provide a stable mini tripod support.

The Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM is equipped with near-silent stepper motor (STM) autofocus technology, making it an excellent option when you want to record pieces to camera or capture ambient sounds. For the best possible audio recording quality, Chloe mounted the compact Canon Stereo Microphone DM-E100 on the camera's hotshoe. This microphone connects to the camera's 3.5mm audio jack, and could also if required be mounted on the Tripod Grip HG-100TBR, which features a dedicated microphone bracket to keep the camera's hotshoe free for other accessories.

Even with the full-frame EOS R6, Chloe found the setup with the lightweight Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM was very easy to handle. "I was pleased to see a lot of similar features to my EOS M50 in terms of the setup," she adds. "It was simple to find the right settings in the menus, as it was laid out in a similar way."

In terms of features, Chloe says the EOS R6 was "a good step up from what I'd been using up until now". Canon's EOS R System cameras all benefit from the wide RF mount, which enables faster communication between the camera and lens, minimising camera shake and offering more creative possibilities. The next-generation RF lenses also deliver improved performance in low light and advanced autofocus capabilities, which means it's possible to capture stunning footage in all kinds of locations and at any time of the day or night.

Fast and versatile

A young woman standing in front of a city skyline films herself on a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens.

"I was mainly flipping between two settings: shooting in 30fps and shooting in 60fps, both in 4K," explains Chloe. "I wanted all the B-roll footage to have a cinematic feel, so with 60fps I knew I could slow the clips down to give a really beautiful effect."

 young woman standing in front of a wide view of a deep gorge spanned by a suspension bridge.

Chloe took full advantage of the wide-angle perspective of the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens to capture striking panoramas such as the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge and Avon Gorge. Taken on a Canon EOS R6 with a Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens.

Chloe shot a mix of pieces to camera, as well as lots of B-roll to tell the story of the day. "Bristol is such a great city for a shoot like this, as it has a wide variety of locations, including the waterfront, colourful street art, buzzy markets, food spots and of course the famous views of the gorge around Clifton. I wanted to create a vlog that would be a great introduction for anyone visiting the city for the first time."

Some of the interiors that Chloe was shooting in were relatively dark, but the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM's fast maximum aperture, combined with the EOS R6's superb low-light performance, gave her more options here. "Having the ability to shoot at f/2.8 meant that the video footage was brighter, crisper and less noisy. It also helped with some of the photos I took on the day. If there's less grain in the photo then it makes my life easier when it comes to editing."

A young woman pointing a Canon EOS R6 camera with a Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens at a plant in a shop.

To create clean compositions among Bristol's busy markets and shops, Chloe often chose to focus on the details. The Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens's ability to focus as close as 13cm gave her many more creative options.

A young woman, photographed from behind, pointing a Canon EOS R6 camera at a salad bar filled with bowls of colourful salads.

The slim, affordable Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM lens delivers outstanding quality over an expansive field of view.

The RF 16mm F2.8 STM also focuses down to just 13cm, a feature which can add versatility to a vlog shoot. "Even though the lens is super wide, I love how closely it can focus," Chloe enthuses. "It was handy when I was filming at Bristol's St Nicholas Market, as I wanted to capture close-ups of some of the foods on offer. With this lens I could capture the details, like the texture and vividness of the carrot salad. It was also great to be able to shift focus from foreground to background quickly too, without losing quality."

Image quality is, of course, paramount. It's something that will help to elevate your videos and images from a sea of phone-shot content. With its nine lens elements, including an aspheric lens for crisp and contrasty images, the Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM brings locations vividly to life, whether you're shooting the vibrant streets of Bristol or the sensational beaches of Sardinia. Pair it with the Canon EOS R6 or EOS RP, and you have the perfect setup to begin your journey into the world of high-quality travel vlogs.

Written by Marcus Hawkins

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