Best Canon Lenses 2022: Reviews, Buying Guide, FAQs for Must Have Canon Lenses

by Alex W.

Following on from our popular 5 Must Have Lenses for Nikon DSLRs, here we're detailing some of the best Canon lenses with our 5 must have lenses for Canon.

So, you're just getting the hang of your brand new Canon DSLR, playing around with the standard 18-55mm kit lens it came with.

But you're starting to outgrow the kit lens, craving more freedom to experiment with focal length, aperture, and perspective. The next step for you is to start hunting for some of the best Canon lenses for your needs.

Where do you start though? There are literally hundreds of lenses to choose from, and some aren't worth the glass they're made of. Some, on the other hand, are little gems you can have years of fun with.

That's where we come in. Here are our 5 must have lenses for Canon.

Top Canon Lenses, Must-Have Canon Lenses by Editors

Top 5 Best Canon Lens Reviews 2022

Top 5 Best Canon Lens Reviews 2022
Top 5 Best Canon Lens Reviews 2022

There's no question that Canon lenses are some of the best quality lenses on the market. But with such a wide range of choices, it can be tough to know which lens is right for you. In this blog post, we'll take a look at some of the most popular Canon lenses and give you a rundown of what each one is best used for. So whether you're a budding photographer just starting out or an experienced pro looking for a new lens, read on for all you need to know about Canon lenses!

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM | FX - Link

  • Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

    • 50 millimeter focal length and maximum aperture of f/1.8
    • Great for portraits, action, and nighttime photography; Angle of view (horizontal, vertical, diagonal): 40º, 27º,46º
    Rating:

Best budget prime lens for Canon

If you've been around Click and Learn Photography for any length of time, you'll know that we love budget friendly, fast prime lenses.

In fact, we've written a whole article on prime lenses here, and another one dedicated specifically to the 'Nifty Fifty' here.

The field of view is similar to that of the human eye, which makes it a fantastic lens for all genres of photography. Not only that, but the long history of the 50mm lens means that manufacturer's have all but perfected the design. It's cheap to make and cheap to buy.

That also makes it a great lens to add to your travel photography gear.

Despite costing well under $200, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM actually outperforms most of the $1,000+ telephoto lenses in terms of overall image quality.

Buying this 50mm lens won't only improve your images technically, but being limited to a single focal length can do wonders for your creativity too. It forces you to think more deeply about composition, and the wide f/1.8 maximum aperture lets you get creative with depth of field too.

2. Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | DX - Link

Best superzoom lens for Canon

We recommended a similar superzoom lens in our article on Nikon lenses, and be aware that the Tamron talked about there is still a very viable option for Canon shooters.

We thought we'd mix it up a bit here though, recommending the Sigma equivalent in this category.

Is it the best lens out there in terms of image quality? No.

Is it a convenient walk around lens for everyday use? Definitely.

Superzooms often get a bad rep, but the image quality on the Sigma 18-300mm is pretty decent for the most part. It's not quite as cheap as the Tamron version mentioned above, but it does come with near-macro capability and offers 1:3 size magnification.

This is the perfect Canon lens for those times when you're out with friends and family and don't want to hold everybody up by constantly changing lenses. You can just strap a superzoom on and shoot 'til your heart's content.

3. Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM | DX - Link

Best macro lens for Canon

Macro lenses open up an entirely new world of photography opportunities. You can find extraordinary images in the most mundane of subjects simply by getting really close and being creative.

Often, photographers will opt for a longer focal length macro lens to try and increase their working distance. However, there's a very strong argument for the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM.

As with most macro lenses, the image quality is superb. However, the shorter focal length offers a wider field of view than most macro lenses and can open up some unusual opportunities, such as displaying the wider world behind your close-up subject.

The real reason we recommend this, though, is their ingenious built-in lighting feature. This lens actually comes with its own built in Macro Lite to illuminate your subject. You can independently control the left and right lamps as well.

The 35mm focal length is perfect for environmental portraiture and woodland photography too, so it's certainly not limited to macro use.

You can find more of the best macro lenses for Nikon and Canon DSLRs here. Not sure if you're ready for a fully-fledged macro lens just yet? Check out 5 hacks to make macro photography budget friendly.

4. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM | FX - Link

Best wide-angle lens for Canon

If landscapes and architecture are more your thing, you'll probably be wanting a wide-angle lens.

We often recommend the superb Tamron 15-30mm here, to cater for photographers of all brands. However, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM certainly deserves a mention.

In terms of image quality, it's very similar to that of the Tamron. However, while it loses a stop of light in it's f/4 maximum aperture, the autofocus performance of the Canon is stunning.

Not only that, but the build quality is excellent, as you would expect from a L series lens. Despite all this, it retails at around the same price as the Tamron 15-30mm, making it a definite frontrunner for the Canon shooters out there.

There really isn't much to choose between the two lenses in terms of performance. It's worth noting that the Canon is much easier to use with filters than the Tamron, as well as being lighter.

If you're not planning on using it handheld in low-light situations or for astrophotography, we'd probably recommend this over the Tamron 15-30mm.

If you find you want to go even wider, the Canon 11-24mm f/4L USM mentioned here is another option. It's the widest lens (excluding fish-eye lenses) on the market.

5. Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 | FX - Link

Best telephoto lens for Canon

We've really tried to steer clear of recommending the same lens twice, but it's really hard to do that when you have such a clear category winner.

The Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.2 Di VC USD G2 is wonderful, performing as well as the Nikon and Canon equivalents despite costing much less than their counterparts.

The 70-200mm focal range is a staple across all genres of photography, coming in handy for weddings, pet portraiture, adventure photography, and landscapes. The Tamron has class-leading image stabilization as well, making handholding much more reliable in dynamic situations.

Overall, a fantastic lens that is very hard to beat.

Canon Lenses Guide

Like all manufacturers, there's a host of abbreviations and specialist terms try and comprehend before purchasing a lens and the jargon can often confound even experienced photographers.

Let's cut it down to basics:

EF - Canon's EF lenses are designed to work on their full-frame DSLR cameras and EOS film bodies.

That being said, you can still use EF lenses on your cropped sensor cameras, but you can't use their cropped sensor lenses on full frame camera bodies.

Read more about sensor size in our Best Cameras for Landscape Photography article.

EF-S - These lenses are designed specifically for Canon's cropped (or APS-C) sensor camera bodies. They're often cheaper, smaller, and lighter than their EF equivalents.

EF-M - Canon's mirrorless camera lens mount. For the purposes of this article, these lenses should be ignored.

DO - This stands for Diffractive Optical. Lenses with this abbreviation have an optical element in the lens that help to control chromatic aberration.

IS - Stands for image stabilization. Having an IS lens means you can handhold the camera at slower shutter speeds than you typically would be able to.

L - Canon's L lenses are their higher end offerings. The L stands for Luxury and typically have more features, better optical performance, better build quality and, obviously, a higher price tag.

STM - Refers to lenses that have a stepping motor to provide quick, smooth, and quiet autofocus performance. Mainly useful for videographers.

USM - Another autofocus term. USM stands for Ultrasonic Motor and again offers fast and quiet autofocusing.

Canon Lens Type Diagram

The three letters following a canon lens name can help determine its type. The first letter relates to the widest diameter and flange-back distance:

U = Ultra wide angle, E = Extra wide angle, F or L = Normal / standard range, S = Short back focus/shorter than normal, T = Telephoto.

The second letter is an indication of the type of lens, although some lenses can fall into more than one category:

S for standard range zoom Lenses, IS = Image Stabilizer, USM = UltraSonic Motor, STM = stepping motor (talkative), Nano USM (ultrasonic motor with built-in AF motor).

And finally the third letter relates to the fitting of a filter. The letters are NC (no rotating front ring), NR (non rotating) and CA (suitable for attaching circular polarizing filters):

Buying Guide for Must-Have Canon Lenses

The best lens is the one you have with you!

Many photo enthusiasts and professionals swear by the prime lenses (fixed focal length lenses), and for good reason: they give you great image quality in a small package. Having used both, I can say that the vast majority of my shots were taken with my 18-55mm kit lens. It is an affordable general purpose zoom lens, but if you are looking to take good landscape shots, you'll want something much better.

So what are the options? There are three types of lenses you can buy for your DSLR:

Compared to other types of lenses, the kit lens will be the least expensive option available. It has a variable aperture (i.e., the aperture changes depending on the zoom level), but it is still a decent lens for the money.

Let's take a closer look at each of these options:

The kit lens that ships with most DSLRs usually has an 18-55mm focal range, and will give you good results in general photography situations. If you want to get more creative though, or if you plan on taking a lot of landscape shots, you'll want to invest in a better quality lens.

Wide angle lenses capture more of the scene than your eyes can see, and often provide different ways to frame your subjects.

Telephoto lenses are highly desirable for photographing animals or sports, or when you can't get close to your subject.

Other lenses have more specialized uses, but are by no means less important. For example, a Macro lens is invaluable when photographing close-up subjects such as flowers or insects.

What about image quality? Lenses without built-in image stabilizers tend to be lighter and cheaper than equivalent lenses with built-in stabilization (often abbreviated IS, and also called VR on Nikon lenses). Image quality however is paramount: if you buy a cheap lens, it won't perform very well wide open (at the maximum aperture), and stopped down it will be visibly worse than an expensive lens.

The Different Types of Canon Lenses

There are 3 different types of canon lenses:

Standard prime (EF) lenses (50mm-200mm)

This would be the "standard" lens that you might use for many types of photography such as portraiture, events, weddings and landscape photography.

Wide angle zoom (EF-S) lenses (10mm-40mm)

This would be your best friend for photographing landscapes, events and architecture in the city or in mountains.

Ultra wide angle prime lenses (TS/EF-M) (17mm-60mm)

These are great for shifting to create ultra wide angle images that get rid of converging vertical lines that you might get with a wide angle lens when it's at its widest focal length. These type of lenses also work great from photographing large buildings from a close distance to creating abstract images within confined spaces.

Let's Look at Some of Canon Lenses in Detail

Canon EF Lens

A Canon EF lens is a type of canon lens which is interchangeable and can be used on almost any canon camera, as it conforms to the EOS system. EF stands for Electro-Focus and refers to how the lens focuses - electro-magnetic focusing, using a motor in the lens itself to focus the optics within. EF lenses are completely electronic and have no manual focusing ring, as it will be controlled by a motor in the lens. These types of Canon lenses cover all bases from wide-angle to telephoto - EF stands for 'everywhere' which is why these lenses can be used universally with any EOS camera.

Canon EF-S Lens

A Canon EF-S lens is a type of canon lens which can be used on a specific range of cameras called EOS M cameras. These types of lenses also have their own mount, so they will only work with specific models and do not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. Canon has two types of these lenses: Full frame and cropped (APS) sensor cameras need full frame lenses whereas APS-C or crop factor cameras such as the Canon 700D require cropped (APS) sensor lenses - this comes in especially useful when shooting with maximum aperture, as maximum aperture changes depending on what type of Canon lens you are using. This is because the focal length of APS-C sensor camera's lenses are usually 1.6x larger than full frame Canon lenses which make them more suitable for photographing subjects that are further away.

Canon EF-M Lens

A Canon EF-M lens is a type of canon lens which is interchangeable and can only be used on an EOS M series camera, as it conforms to the EOS system, but it differs from Canon's other types of lenses. EF-S stands for Short back focus and refers to how the lens focuses - short back focus, using a motor in the lens itself to focus the optics within. EF-S lenses are completely electronic and have no manual focusing ring, as it will be controlled by a motor in the lens. These types of Canon lenses only cover specific focal lengths, from wide angle to telephoto - EF-S stands for 'short' which means that these lenses cannot be fitted over another type of Canon lens or used with a full frame SLR camera.

As stated above, EF-S refers to 'short back focus', which means that the rear element of the lens is closer to the image sensor (the part of the camera that captures images and displays them on your screen) than it would normally be - this results in a shorter flange focal distance (the distance from the mount to where they focus actually begins). This allows for smaller lenses without sacrificing quality as most lenses with such short focal lengths do not even have autofocus. Lens manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron make their own version of such lenses, but bear in mind that they do not work for all Canon EOS cameras and will only work on specific models, such as the EOS M series.

What makes each type of Canon lens different is how it focuses. EF lenses use a motor within the lens itself to focus the optics within, whereas EF-S and EF-M lenses cannot be fitted over another type of Canon lens or used with a full frame SLR camera because they require much shorter distance between the front element of their lens and film or image sensor. The main aim of Canon's EF-S range is to reduce size by having much short distance between elements in an overall much smaller package than other lenses available for canon cameras, which means that you will get a brighter maximum aperture at a specific focal length.

Canon TS-E Lens

A Canon TS-E lens is a type of canon lens which can be used on Canon's full frame SLR cameras - the EOS 1D series and above. A Tilt-Shift (TS) lens, such as these from Canon, allows for perspective control (PC), where the photographer can shift the lens up to 11mm off axis without any image degradation or vignetting - this is possible because it has an eletromagnetic lense shift mechanism. The camera still needs to be in autofocus mode when using TS lenses which have their own ring for manual focus adjustment. It looks much like a normal 35mm prime but it does not have an optical stabiliser. These types of lenses are usually used professional photographers in architectural photography where the photographer needs to take control of the angle that light enters into their images.

Canon EF Lens List

Canon EF 20mm Lens

A canon EF 20mm lens is a very wide angle prime lens which has it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing architecture, landscapes and interiors.

Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM Lens

A Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM Lens is a very versatile zoom lens which has it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing landscape, street photography, people & events.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens

A Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM Lens is a very popular telephoto zoom lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing sports, wildlife and concerts.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens

A canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens is a versatile prime lens which has its own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing both macro and portrait scenes.

Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM Lens

A Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L USM lens is a long telephoto prime lens which has its own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing landscape, wildlife and sports scenes - although professionals often use this lens in combination with extenders which increases the focal length of the lens exponentially (helping to capture subjects that are further away).

Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM Lens

A canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM lens is a standard prime wide angle lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing landscapes, street photography & events.

Canon EF 35mm f/2 Lens

A Canon EF 35mm f/2 lens is a standard prime normal lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing landscapes, street photography & events.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

A canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is a very affordable standard prime lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing landscapes, street photography & events.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Lens

A Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens is a standard prime telephoto lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing sports, portraits & events.

An EF-S lens has an APS (crop factor) sensor which means that it has a focal length multiplier of 1.6x because the actual focal length becomes larger when mounted on crop factor cameras (the camera's sensor has a smaller surface area than the surface area of 50mm-sized film).

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM Lens

A Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM lens is a wide angle prime lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing landscapes & architecture.

An EF-M lens has an APS (crop factor) sensor which means that it has a focal length multiplier 1.6x because the actual focal length becomes larger when mounted on crop factor cameras (the camera's sensor has a smaller surface area than the surface area of 50mm-sized film).

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

A Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens is a wide angle zoom lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is ideal for photographing landscapes and architecture.

A Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens is a standard prime lens with it's own mount, so it will only work with specific models and does not accept filters as a result - it's important to check compatibility before buying such lenses for your camera. It is

Buy now at Walmart, eBay, Etsy (quality guaranteed)

Canon CANON Exchange Lens EF70-300mm F4-5.6 is II USM - Canon EF Mount (Japan Import-No - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon EOS M200 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Black) Bundle with Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 Image Stabilization STM Lens (Black) International Version - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens for Canon - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L is USM - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Canon RF70-200mm F4 L is USM (4318C002) - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Tamron 10-24mm F/3.5-4.5 Di-II VC HLD Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon APS-C Digital SLR - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II VC HLD Lens for Canon EF (International Model) - Deluxe - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 STM Lens, Black - 7568B002 - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Canon Ef-S 15-85 Mm F/3.5-5.6 is USM Lens - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM Lens, Black - 2439C002 - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens Bundle + High Definition UV Ultraviolet Filter & Microfiber - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM Lens, Black - 2965C002 - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro is STM(Japan Import-No Warranty) - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Tamron AFF004C700 SP 90MM F/2.8 DI MACRO 1:1 VC Macro Lens for Canon EF Cameras - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Tamron AFF017C700 SP 90mm F/2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro for Canon Cameras (Black) - - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Tamron F004 90mm F/2.8 Macro VC USD Lens for Canon - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 is Macro STM Lens, Black - 2973C002 (International Model) (Renewed) - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Sigma 18-300mm F3.5-6.3 Contemporary DC Macro OS HSM Lens - Walmart, Etsy, Ebay

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens - 9518B002, Black - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC G2 for Canon EF DSLR (6 Year - Walmart, Etsy, eBay

Conclusion for Must-Have Canon Lens Buyers

That should be enough to get you started, but these five are far from the only Canon lenses worth considering.

There are hundreds of lenses to choose from, some of which are more suited to certain genres of photography than others. For example, we have dedicated articles on the best lenses for landscape photography and the best lenses for astrophotography.

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About Alex W.

Alex is the owner and lead writer for Click and Learn Photography. An avid landscape, equine, and pet photographer living and working in the beautiful Lake District, UK, Alex has had his work featured in a number of high profile publications, including the Take a View Landscape Photographer of the Year, Outdoor Photographer of the Year, and Amateur Photographer Magazine.

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