GDU Armored RF 50mm and 16mm Prime Lenses – Rehoused Canon Entry-Level Primes

October 13th, 2022 Jump to Comment Section 2
GDU Armored RF 50mm and 16mm Prime Lenses - Rehoused Canon Entry-Level Primes

GDU Armored RF 50mm and 16mm lenses are Canon’s affordable Pancake primes rehoused in an aluminum body with a built-in lens hood without the focus ring. The lenses are available for $499 and $599 from Global Dynamics United, respectively.

The US-based company Global Dynamics United (GDU) is in some ways connected to RED Digital Cinema as it is owned by Jarred Land. The company produces all kinds of camera accessories that are mostly designed to go with various RED cameras. Part of GDU’s product line are rehoused lenses. Already back in 2016, GDU released two rehoused EF lenses – the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 and the EF-S 40mm f/2.8 “Pancake”. When I hear the term “lens rehousing” I usually think of vintage manual lenses being rehoused in a cine lens enclosure with geared rings, etc. In the case of GDU, this is a bit different, but more on that later.

Older rehoused Canon EF-S lenses Source: GDU

The company recently released two newly rehoused lenses. These are Canon’s entry-level, affordable “Pancake” full-frame RF primes – the Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM and Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM lenses. The style of rehousing is quite different and a bit strange in my opinion. Let’s take a look at both of these GDU primes.

GDU armored RF 50mm and 16mm prime lenses

Armored RF 50mm f/1.8 lens. Source: GDU

Both lenses now sport a new enclosure machined from billet 6061 aluminum with an anodized red lens hood and metal internal mask. Just like with the previously rehoused EF lenses, the new RF armored lens body now does not have a focus ring anymore. Focusing can only be done by the connected camera’s AF system. On RED cameras, the lens can focus and change the iris via RED CONTROL or the camera’s internal focus control, and on Canon RF mount cameras the lens will operate with AF.

Armored RF 16mm f/2.8 lens on a Canon R5 C. Source: GDU

All external switches have been removed as well. The idea behind this is to make the lens body as rugged as possible for mounting it on FPV drones or on crash cams, etc.

The internal optical and mechanical structure remains unchanged, so just like the original Canon lenses, the rehoused GDU lenses cover all full-frame Canon EOS R series cameras without vignetting. On RED VV sensors including the RAPTOR and Monstro VV, the 16mm will cover until approx. 7K before vignetting. The 50mm covers everything up until the VV open-gate.

Armored RF 16mm f/2.8 lens. Source: GDU

The good thing is that GDU kept the 43mm front filter thread. The bad thing is that, unlike with the original Canon lenses, you cannot use step-up rings and attach a larger diameter filter to the GDU lenses anymore. This is due to the built-in red metal lens hood.

Price and availability

One of the downsides of these new rehoused primes, at least from my point of view, is the price. While the original Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM currently retails for $159, the GDU Armored RF 50mm f/1.8 is priced at $499. The original Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM currently retails for $299 and the GDU Armored RF 16mm f/2.8 is priced at $599. Both lenses come with a custom-sized GDU vegan leather zippered lens case with a velvet padded interior.

Armored RF 16mm and 50mm lenses bundle with the baseplate. Source: GDU

If you really want, you can also purchase both of the lenses in a bundle with a GDU 40mm touch & go baseplate for $1,249. All versions are available for purchase right now directly from the Global Dynamics United webshop.

What do you think about the new rehoused GDU Armored prime lenses? Is the price difference justified? Do you use RF lenses for your work? Let us know in the comments section underneath the article.


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