10 Best Canon Lenses | March 2017
- can get very close to subjects
- makes a good starter lens
- does create some barrel distortion
|Brand||Canon EF-S 18-55mm|
- sharp images at wide apertures
- auto and manual focus
- makes a good all-around travel lens
- has almost no lens flare
- offers excellent color balance
- weighs less than five ounces
- has a zoom lock lever
- controls operate smoothly
- sharp throughout its zoom range
- 4-foot minimum focal distance
- inexpensive for l-series glass
- minimal chromatic abberations
- feels solid in the hand
- sharp center frame
- silent stepping motor
- good for action photography
- improves low light photos
- very accurate color rendition
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.