10 Best Canon Lenses | February 2017

10 Best Canon Lenses
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 36 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. We've zoomed in and gone wide in creating a snapshot of the best Canon lenses around, ranked by zoom capability, image clarity, and price tag. Whether you're looking to shoot portraits, landscapes, panoramas or up-close nature shots, you'll find the perfect lens for your needs right here. Skip to the best canon lens on Amazon.
10
For amateur nature and landscape photographers who are on a really tight budget, it's hard to beat the Canon EF 75-300mm when it comes down to value and image quality. It offers a wide zoom range and is your best choice in this price range for capturing faraway images.
  • well-controlled vignetting
  • good depth of field
  • no image stabilization
Brand Canon
Model EF 75-300mm 80d
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0
9
The Canon EF 50mm is a good versatile lens that is compact enough for travel and can handle portraits, action, and nighttime photography without letting you down. It has a near silent stepping motor and continuous Movie Servo auto focus.
  • good focus ring placement
  • works well for video capture
  • poor build quality
Brand Canon
Model 0570C002
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
8
The Canon EF 100mm takes great macro shots and has a minimum focal distance of just one foot. It can compensate for both shift and angular camera movements to help you get a crisp shot, even if you accidentally move your hands slightly when you press the button.
  • includes a lens hood
  • manual focus feels smooth
  • not great for fast moving subjects
Brand Canon
Model 3554B002
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
7
Those with unsteady hands will appreciate the very effective image stabilization feature on the Canon EF-S 18-55mm. It allows you to get crystal clear images, even when zoomed in tight on a subject or using a slow shutter speed.
  • can get very close to subjects
  • makes a good starter lens
  • does create some barrel distortion
Brand Canon EF-S 18-55mm
Model 2042B002
Weight 16 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
6
With its super UD glass element, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 offers a low refractive index with low dispersion for optimal color reproduction with minimal chromatic aberrations. Its a durable lens that is both moisture- and dust-resistant.
  • sharp images at wide apertures
  • auto and manual focus
  • makes a good all-around travel lens
Brand Canon
Model 0344B006
Weight 2.1 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
5
Good things often come in small packages and the Canon EF 40mm is proof of that. It has a compact, ultra-slim profile, features an optimized coating to minimize ghosting, and a stepping motor for smooth and quiet continuous auto focusing.
  • has almost no lens flare
  • offers excellent color balance
  • weighs less than five ounces
Brand Canon
Model 6310B002
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
With its lightning fast internal processor and ability to auto focus in less than one second, the Canon EF 24-70mm meets the needs of the most demanding professionals. It's also offers a good level of water-resistant, so you can take it almost anywhere.
  • has a zoom lock lever
  • controls operate smoothly
  • sharp throughout its zoom range
Brand Canon
Model 5175B002
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
3
The Canon EF 70-200mm utilizes an ultrasonic motor for quick and noiseless focusing, so you never miss a shot. It offers high zoom capabilities and is compatible with circular polarizing filters, because the lens element doesn't rotate as you focus.
  • 4-foot minimum focal distance
  • inexpensive for l-series glass
  • minimal chromatic abberations
Brand Canon
Model 2578A002
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
2
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm is an ultra wide lens that has a four-group optical zoom system and enhanced lens coatings for high-contrast, high-resolution images with minimal glare and aberration. It also comes at a wallet-friendly price, making it a great value.
  • feels solid in the hand
  • sharp center frame
  • silent stepping motor
Brand Canon
Model 9519B002
Weight 13.4 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
1
The Canon EF 70-200mm is compatible with Canon EOS film and SLR cameras. It is a powerful telephoto lens that greatly increases image quality at varying distances, and has an optical image stabilizer for crisp image captures.
  • good for action photography
  • improves low light photos
  • very accurate color rendition
Brand Canon
Model 2751B002
Weight 5.2 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

A Close Look At Canon Lenses

Without a great lens, it hardly matters how many megapixels your DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) has, or what quality of film you load into your classic camera, you're not going to capture great images. The lens is more than just the camera's eye, it is an extension of its overall capabilities. The quality of glass used in a camera lens matters, but so too does its speed rating, auto focus ability, aperture sensitivity and control, and beyond.

Considering a Canon lens is a smart move for any photographer at any experience level; this venerable brand makes top quality photographic equipment and has for generations -- more on that to follow. Choosing the right lens within the vast lineup offered by Canon can be a bit of a daunting experience, though.

First, some words of wisdom: buying even a halfway decent camera lens means spending at least one hundred dollars, and likely triple that. Taking great pictures means spending money to have the right gear, but know also that good quality gear, including lenses, will last for years (or even decades) if properly maintained.

As with life, so too with camera lens selection: know thyself. If you are an enthusiastic but amateur photographer looking for a decent lens that will suffice in most conditions, then you should consider a medium telephoto lens with a focal length of around 85 millimeters. This type of lens allows you to take crisp shots of objects as close as two or three feet from the lens, but also allows for zooming in on distant objects, such as an athlete down on a playing field or a faraway critter you spot during a hike or safari.

The more casual photographer should also look for an aperture range with F stops between 2.8 and 22, which will be suitable for most lighting conditions he or she is likely to encounter.

If you are interested in portraiture or still life art photography, then consider a lens that does not have a zoom function. The omission of this function offers two benefits. First, lenses without zoom capabilities tend to be much more affordable, which is always a positive. Second, they allow (or force, depending on one's viewpoint) the photographer to focus on proper composition, with the positioning of the subject or arrangement of the tableau to be captured of paramount importance. When you must move the camera itself to achieve the perfect framing rather than simply zooming in or out to crop the image, your eye will find the ideal frame given the lighting and composition.

For photographers looking to add a great lens to their professional "arsenal" of equipment, Canon makes lenses that cost as much as some used cars. That said, their top of the line lenses feature focal length ranges between 70 and 200 millimeters (an amazing zoom capability) and more than a dozen elements (the individual internal lens sections).

Two Terms: A Primer On Lens Lingo

Making an informed camera lens purchase means knowing some of the lexicon used in the industry. Here are a two of the terms that you absolutely must know before you commit to buying a good lens and that you must understand before you will ever be able to take great pictures.

Focal length refers to the distance from the film plane (or, more often today, the digital sensor) that a lens focuses the images it captures. The longer the focal length, the better the lens can capture faraway objects in detail, and the narrower its field of vision will be. So a camera with a 200 millimeter focal length might be able to render an image of a distant bird in the sky as if it were close at hand; a lens with a 10 millimeter focal length might take in a wider view than even the human eye.

Aperture and F stops are inseparable terms. The lens's aperture is the device that regulates how much light gets in; think of it as the device's equivalent of the human eye's pupil. With too much light, an image will appear washed out; with too little light, it will be too dark and usually out of focus.

Controlling the amount of light your lens allows in is critical for good photography. F stops are the marks along a lens that show how open or closed a lens's aperture is. The lower the F stop number, the wider open the aperture, and the more light is permitted. So if you were shooting pictures in low light at dusk, you would choose an F stop of 2 or 2.8, perhaps, allowing in plenty of what little light there was.

The Venerable Canon Brand

The technology manufacturer today known (in English) as Canon has been around since the 1930s. Launched in Tokyo under a name translating to Precision Optical Industry Company, they were the creators of Japan's first ever 35 millimeter film camera, 35 millimeter camera's being the gold standard of still photography right up until the digital camera boom of the last two decades. That camera, known as the Kwanon or Kannon, would later induce the company to change its name to mirror that of its most famous product.

Canon produced many fine cameras throughout the middle years of the 20th Century, including excellent Single Lens Reflex models used by professionals the world over as well as the first computer assisted camera, the AE-1. This advanced system, unveiled in the mid 1970s, featured a miniature microprocessor that assisted with rapid, accurate focusing.

In the 1990s, Canon dove into the digital camera revolution with zeal, developing cameras that led the industry in technology and sales. Today, their cameras and lenses are among the best in the world.



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Last updated on February 20, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.


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