Welcome to my Buyer’s Guide to the Best Canon Lenses! Whether you have a Canon DSLR or mirrorless camera – or both! – you’ll find out which lenses I can personally recommend from Canon, along with third-party manufacturers including Sigma, Tamron and Samyang.
I’m splitting this guide into three main sections depending on the type of Canon camera you own, and you can jump directly to each section as required. First I’ll start with myBest EF-M lenses for Canon EOS M mirrorless cameras, followed by myBest RF lenses for Canon EOS R mirrorless cameras; note these two systems are not compatible with each other.
After these I’ll cover myBest EF lenses for Canon DSLRs, including both EF and EF-S lenses, the latter designed specifically for cameras with ‘cropped’ APSC sensors. Note both EF and EF-S lenses can be adapted for use on Canon’s EOS M and EOS R mirrorless cameras, not to mention other mirrorless systems including Sony Alpha, so my EF guide equally applies to these models. Since the EOS M and EOS R systems are comparatively young, I’ll also include a handful of EF lenses in those guides as alternative options. As always I’ll link to my reviews and sample image galleries where available, along with including links to check the latest pricing.
Best EF-M lenses for Canon EOS M cameras
Canon launched its EOS M mirrorless system in mid-2012. This employs the EF-M mount for ‘native’ EF-M lenses, while an optional adapter allows you to fit any of the large catalogue of EF lenses. The ability to adapt existing EF lenses so well has meant Canon has only seen the need to launch a handful of lenses in the native EF-M mount, but there’s still some clear winners in the modest line-up, not to mention some third party options. Here are my recommendations!
I’ll start with a general-purpose zoom. Canon offers two models: the original EF-M 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 IS STM which is rarely on sale anymore, and the more recentEF-M 15-45mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM. Both are budget models and you’ll almost certainly already have one if you bought an EOS M camera in a kit. If you’re buying a body alone, I’d go for the newer EF-M 15-45mm to go with it as it’s more compact and zooms comfortably wider, but if you fancy a longer range, theEF-M 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STMwill reach much further than either kit zoom.
While any of these three lenses will provide a good walkaround general-purpose option without breaking the bank, they are budget lenses, so won’t be making the most of your camera’s potential. For crisper photos and a greater opportunity for shallow depth-of-field or blurring effects, I’d recommend buying a fixed focal length or ‘prime’ lens. In Canon’s own range, theEF-M 22mm f2 STMdelivers mild wide-angle coverage and a brighter aperture than the kit zooms, while also being the most compact lens in the catalogue; see myCanon EF-M 22mm f2 reviewso far.
If you prefer so-called ‘standard’ coverage equivalent to around 50mm, then you have two native choices: theCanon EF-M 32mm f1.4 STMis by far the best native lens Canon has made for EOS M bodies, delivering very crisp images and a bright aperture for attractive blurring effects; see myCanon EF-M 32mm f1.4 STM review为更多的细节。It’s a great lens, but theSigma 30mm f1.4 DC DNis now available in the native EF-M mount and delivers similar results at a comfortably lower price; in my tests the Canon 32mm is optically superior, but the Sigma still offers a comfortable step-up over the kit zooms at a more compelling price; see mySigma EF-M lens review. Note that none of these three prime lenses has image stabilisation.
If you’re into wide angle photography or vlogging, there’s only one native zoom available: theCanon EF-M 11-22mm f4-5.6 IS STM. Fortunately it does the job, grabbing an enormous field of view from a compact barrel which also sports image stabilisation; see myCanon EF-M 11-22mm f4-5.6 IS STM reviewso far. If you own the EF adapter and don’t mind something larger though, you could save some money by going for theCanon EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STMwhich may not reach as long, but zooms a tad wider while still offering image stabilisation – and it’s cheaper too. See myCanon EF-S 10-18mm f4.5-5.6 IS STM reviewso far.
If a 24mm equivalent field-of-view is wide enough and you value a brighter aperture for low light and shallow depth-of-field effects, then consider theSigma 16mm f1.4 DC DN. It lacks the zoom and image stabilisation of the previous pair, and is larger too, but the higher quality and potential for blurring effects speak for themselves; see mySigma EF-M lens review.
If you’re into portraits with shallow depth-of-field effects, or simply want to explore details and a greater opportunity for blurring than a kit zoom, then get yourself a 50mm prime lens. Mounted on an EOS M body with their cropped APSC sensors, these are transformed into 80mm equivalent lenses, delivering short telephoto coverage that’s perfect for people. If you want a native EF-M option, you’ll need to go for theSigma 56mm f1.4 DC DN, a fantastic quality lens with a very bright aperture in a surprisingly compact barrel; see mySigma EF-M lens review. But the Sigma 56mm is not exactly a cheap lens, so for a more affordable option, consider adapting theCanon EF 50mm f1.8 STMfor roughly one quarter of the price. Sure the quality isn’t as good, nor the aperture quite as bright, but you’ll still enjoy way shallower depth-of-field effects than a kit zoom and it’s a perfect second lens for EOS M owners wanting to explore this creative side of photography without breaking the bank; see myCanon EF 50mm f1.8 STM review为更多的细节。
If you want to reach more distant subjects, then you’ll be looking at a telephoto zoom, and the only native option is theCanon EF-M 55-200mm f4.5-6.3 IS STM. It’s a fairly compact and affordable lens, although as such it’s neither the brightest nor the best quality, and you may find 200mm isn’t long enough. So if you desire to get closer still for wildlife or sports and don’t mind carrying something larger, then adapt one of the many EF telephoto zooms available. At the affordable end, consider theCanon EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6 IS STMwhich costs roughly the same as the EF-M option, while zooming a bit longer and sporting a brighter aperture without making the barrel too large. Alternatively I’d recommend theCanon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS II USM只有成本高出约50%,但50%缩放朗ger and sports a brighter aperture not to mention better quality overall – a great choice, although the barrel is now becoming large for an EOS M body.
Finally there’s a different kind of close photography and that’s macro. There’s one native option available with theCanon EF-M 28mm f3.5 Macro IS STM, which includes image stabilisation and built-in LED lighting. Alternatively consider adapting theCanon EF-S 35mm f2.8 Macro IS STM, again with image stabilisation a built-in light for a similar price. Both of these lenses can also double-up for general-purpose use with roughly standard coverage, albeit not with the bright apertures of the earlier suggestions.
Remember it’s also possible to adapt any EF or EF-S lens for use on an EOS M body, so for more suggestions, check out myBest EF lenses for Canon DSLRs guide. Or keep scrolling to find out about Canon’s full-frame EOS R system!
Best RF lenses for Canon EOS R cameras
Canon launched its full-frame mirrorless EOS R system in September 2018 sporting a new RF mount for native lenses. But while it’s one of the youngest lens mounts, Canon has been investing heavily to quickly grow the number of native lenses and already has not just the basics covered but also a number of exotic options. Most of the RF lenses to date also represent an upgrade in quality over existing or similar EF versions, albeit often with larger barrels and higher price-tags to match.
The EOS R system is also compatible with existing EF lenses using an optional adapter, providing an upgrade path for EOS DSLR owners and access to an enormous catalogue of lenses including many third party, not to mention second hand options. With native RF lenses covering the aspirational-end and adapted EF lenses providing an affordable alternative, EOS R is looking stronger and more flexible every day; it’s also revealing that Canon seems almost entirely focused on the RF mount for new lenses, indicating where the company believes the market is heading.
Starting with general-purpose zooms, there are already five native models available, consisting of three covering standard ranges, one offering a broader super-zoom range, plus a fifth more exotic option for those who desire the maximum aperture.
If you’re after the most affordable native zoom, perhaps to pair with one of the cheaper EOS M bodies, theCanon RF 24-105mm f4-7.1 IS STMtrades a dimmer aperture at the long-end for a low price tag, roughly one third of theRF 24-105mm f4L IS USM. If you prefer a longer super-zoom range, there’s also theCanon RF 24-240mm f4-6.3 IS USMwhich manages to sell under four figures while sporting a 10x range’ see myCanon RF 24-240mm review-so-far.
The two best sellers in the native catalogue are theCanon RF 24-105mm f4L IS USMandCanon RF 24-70mm f2.8L IS USM, both of which feature optical stabilisation. The former strikes a good balance between price and performance and costs roughly the same as the earlier EF version; see myCanon RF 24-105mm f4L IS USM reviewso far.
In contrast, the RF 24-70mm f2.8 costs more than double the RF 24-105mm, so you really have to want that f2.8 focal ratio with optical stabilisation; in comparison, the olderCanon EF 24-70mm f2.8L USMmay miss out on IS, but costs two thirds the price and can be adapted easily. If you’re after a more affordable 24-70mm f2.8 with stabilisation, also consider adapting theSigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM ArtorTamron SP 24-70mm f2.8 Di VC USD, both of which are less than half the price of the RF 24-70mm f2.8, or roughly similar to the RF 24-105mm f4.
Finally there’s that fifth exotic lens I mentioned earlier: theCanon RF 28-70mm f2L USM, one of the most expensive lenses in the native RF catalogue, not to mention heavy and lacking stabilisation, but one with no rivals. It may give you a fairly standard range, but coupled with an unusually large f2 aperture, making it the ultimate event lens for those who demand the brightness of primes with the flexibility of a zoom; see myCanon RF 28-70mm f2L USM reviewso far.
If you prefer using a mild wide-angle prime lens for general-purpose use, one of the most compelling native options is also one of the most affordable: theCanon RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STMis, for me, the first no-brainer in the RF catalogue, being compact and lightweight, delivering decent optical quality, the chance for shallow depth-of-field effects, with optical stabilisation and even reasonable close-up capabilities. Every EOS R owner should have one; see myCanon RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STM reviewfor details. If you’re happy to adapt, there’s a wealth of 35mm lenses in the EF mount, and while few are as affordable, it can be worth keeping an eye open, especially if you don’t mind paying more for a brighter lens.
If you prefer so-called ‘standard’ coverage at 50mm, there’s two native options at polar opposites of the price-scale: at one-end is the low-costCanon RF 50mm f1.8 STM, already the cheapest lens in the system, while at the other is theCanon RF 50mm f1.2L USM, the successor to theEF 50mm f1.2L USMin name and mount only, as it’s optically and physically a much different beast. At roughly twice the size and price of theEF 50mm f1.2L USM, it’s one of the most expensive 50mm lenses to date, but this is reflected in its performance which is superb even wide-open; see myCanon RF 50mm f1.2L USM review为更多的细节。但如果太昂贵的,基于“增大化现实”技术e countless EF alternatives you can adapt, from theCanon EF 50mm f1.2L USMat half the price, even down to theCanon EF 50mm f1.8 STMwhich may be a budget model, but costs almost 20 times less. My choice though would be adapting the EF version of theSigma 50mm f1.4 DG HSM Art, arguably one of the best standard lenses around and comfortably cheaper than the RF 50mm, squeezing just below four figures; see mySigma 50mm f1.4 Art review为更多的细节。
If you’re into wide-angle photography, there’s currently only one native zoom available: theCanon RF 15-35mm f2.8L IS USM, which offers a compelling alternative to the earlierEF 16-35mm f2.8L USMwith fractionally wider coverage and optical stabilisation at a price of only about 15% more. You could of course adapt the EF lens and save some money, but I’d say it’s worth spending the extra on the RF version if you own neither model. Alternatively I’d suggest adapting the EF versions of either theSigma 14-24mm f2.8 ArtorTamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 G2, both of which cost roughly half the price of the Canon RF 15-35mm f2.8, and the Tamron even includes optical stabilisation. See mySigma 14-24mm f2.8 Art reviewandTamron SP 15-30mm f2.8 review为更多的细节。
If you’re into portraits, you’ll be looking for a short telephoto lens in the 85 to 135mm range, and there’s several options in the native RF mount as well as a wealth of adapted models. Starting with native, Canon already offers three short telephotos: theCanon RF 85mm f2 Macro IS STMis one of the more affordable models in the catalogue and delivers excellent results for the money including useful 1:2 close-up capabilities; see myCanon RF 85mm f2 Macro review为更多的细节。If you’re after something brighter and more exotic, Canon offers two versions of its 85mm f1.2 in the native mount: theCanon RF 85mm f1.2L USMandCanon RF 85mm f1.2L USM DS. Both are on the reassuringly expensive side, costing more than their EF counterparts, but delivering excellent performance even wide-open. The difference between them is the DS version includes defocusing elements which deliver a different style of background bokeh, and add around 10% to the price. If you’re happy to adapt, the olderEF 85mm f1.2L II USMcomes in at around three quarters of the price of the standard RF model, although for my money I’d sacrifice the f1.2 aperture and go for theCanon EF 85mm f1.4L IS USMwhich is more affordable still and includes optical stabilisation. There’s also theSigma 85mm f1.4 Artwhich is cheaper still, albeit lacking stabilisation; see mySigma 85mm f1.4 Art review. If you’re happy with an f1.8 aperture, a wealth of other options becomes available including theTamron SP 85mm f1.8 VCwith stabilisation, or the oldCanon EF 85mm f1.8 USM; see myTamron SP 85mm f1.8 review. At the budget end though, Canon’s ownRF 85mm f2 Macrois the new leader.
If 85mm is a little short, how about adapting theSigma 105mm f1.4 Art, a stunning lens that’s still around two thirds the price of the Canon RF 85mm f1.2; check out mySigma 105mm f1.4 Art review为更多的细节。或者稍微劳r price there’s theSigma 135mm f1.8 Art, perfect for more distant portrait work and one of the best lenses we’ve tested; see mySigma 135mm f1.8 Art reviewfor more details, and also see myBest Canon EF lens guidefor more adapted ideas.
If you want something longer, or prefer to trade the brightest apertures for the flexibility of a zoom, then consider a telephoto zoom lens. In the native mount, there’s theCanon RF 70-200mm f4L IS USMandCanon RF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USMwhich may again be at the pricier end of the scale, but exploit extending barrel sto minimise the transportation size, while also delivering the quality we’ve already come to expect from the native RF lenses; see myCanon RF 70-200mm f2.8L review. That said, unless you desire the shorter barrel, it’s hard to ignore adapting the olderCanon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS USMthat’s only two thirds the price of the RF version and has a non-extending barrel that’s arguably more resistant to dust and moisture as a result, or indeed theCanon EF 70-200mm f4L IS USMwhich sacrifices a stop of aperture to be even more affordable and lighter too. If you fancy something longer, there’s theCanon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1L IS USM, the successor to the EF 100-400 models, providing extra reach without a larger or heavier barrel; I really enjoyed using this lens and you can find out more in myCanon RF 100-500mm f4.5-7.1L IS USM review. Beyond 500mm, Canon now offers two super-telephoto prime lenses in the native RF mount, but interestingly in affordable versions that exploit the AF capabilities of mirrorless cameras to get away with surprisingly dim apertures in traditional terms. TheCanon RF 600mm f11 IS STMandCanon RF 800mm f11 IS STMmay be much dimmer than traditional super-telephoto primes but are smaller, lighter and considerably cheaper, getting them into the hands of a much broader range of photographers. Great for airshows, lunar and solar photography, or sports and wildlife in daylight conditions – see myCanon RF 600mm f11 and RF 800mm f11 review为更多的细节。
除了这些,还有一个巨大的范围的alternative telephoto zooms and primes available from Canon and third parties if you’re happy to adapt, and I’ll again refer you to myEF lens guidefor more recommendations.
Finally for this EOS R lens guide are macro lenses, and so far there’s two models in the native mount with Macro in the title: theCanon RF 35mm f1.8 IS Macro STMandCanon RF 85mm f2 IS Macro STM. Both share the same 1:2 reproduction capabilities, just from different distances, so lack the 1:1 reproduction that’s generally regarded as being true macro. But 1:2 will still satisfy many photographers and both lenses are excellent choices at the affordable-end of the RF catalogue. If you need 1:1 magnification though, you’ll be adapting an EF lens, such as theCanon EF 100mm f2.8L IS USMorTamron 90mm f2.8 VC II, both of which deliver excellent results, include optical stabilisation and double-up as decent portrait lenses; see myTamron 90mm f2.8 review.
That’s it for my EOS R lens guide, but I’ll be updating it with new lenses and options as they become available. Also check out myEF lens guidebelow for more options.
Best EF lenses for Canon DSLRs
Welcome to my guide to choosing the best Canon EF lenses. I’ll help you navigate through one of the largest catalogues of lenses from both Canon and third parties to find the right models for you. While EF lenses are primarily designed for Canon DSLRs, they can also be successfully adapted to many other systems including Canon’s EOS M and EOS R mirrorless cameras, Sony’s Alpha mirrorless system, and a wealth of cinema cameras. There’s so many choices I’ve divided my guide into five sections depending on what you want to photograph, so scroll down and start short-listing your perfect lenses!
General-purpose zooms handle most day-to-day shots, offering wide-angle to telephoto coverage. Unless you’re a specialist, you’ll probably keep a general-purpose zoom fitted to your DSLR more than any other lens so it makes sense to have a good one.
Most DSLRs are sold with a standard lens, but upgrading to a better model can give you superior image quality, a broader range, quicker focusing or brighter apertures for low-light work and blurred backgrounds. See myBest Canon General Purpose Lens Guidefor the best models.
If you’re into taking close-ups of flowers, insects or other tiny subjects, you’ll quickly become frustrated with the capabilities of a standard kit lens – they just can’t focus close enough to deliver a decent-sized image.
The answer is a Macro lens, which is designed specifically for high quality close-up photography. Many also double-up as respectable portrait lenses. So if you want big photos of small subjects, check out myBest Canon Macro Lens guidefor the best models.
For many people, a good-looking portrait shot combines a flattering view of the subject against a blurred background. This is very easy to achieve with the right lens. The key behind a blurred background is having a lens with a small f-number, and the flattering perspective is down to a slightly magnified view. Lenses with small f-numbers also capture more light, which makes them ideal for shooting in low-light without a flash.
In myBest Canon Portrait Lens guideI’ll show you which models are best for the job.
If you want to get close to a distant subject, you need a telephoto lens. These are ideal for sports and wildlife photography, along with capturing candid shots of people at a distance. They’re also great for getting closer to details in both natural and urban environments which are lost in a larger view.
Their broad flexibility coupled with a desire to zoom-closer than a standard kit lens makes a telephoto model the natural choice when most people start shopping for a second lens. See myBest Canon Telephoto Lens guidefor recommended models.
Wide-angle lenses capture bigger views than normal, allowing you to squeeze very large subjects into the frame. They can prove invaluable whether you’re trying to photograph a large building, cramped interior, sweeping landscape view, or even just a big group shot. They’re also ideal when you literally can’t step back any further.
So if you’re into landscape or architectural photography, or often find yourself stepping-back to squeeze-in the desired shot, then check out myBest Canon wide-angle Lens guidefor the best models.