Canon have an extremely good reputation when it comes to lenses. This reputation is well earned. They do make some extremely good lenses and it is one of the attractions of using Canon cameras. There are a bewildering array of lenses to choose from and you could easily find yourself wondering what would be the best thing for you to use personally.
Not all photographers will outgrow the kit lenses that come with their camera. So don’t be in a particular hurry until you have really mastered the lens that you have already. You can get the sort of mentality that says that if you get a better lens it will make you into a better photographer. Better lenses or lenses with greater ranges will give you different opportunities but often provide more choice and this in turn can confuse the photographer. Sometimes less is more when it comes to being an effective photographer. Some photographers have learned that simply using a standard lens of either 50 mm or 35 mm or thereabouts is more their style and actually helps them to grow as a photographer.
When it is time to buy that next Canon lens here are 4 that should be on any shortlist for consideration.
Having said this if you are interested in taking your photography further and you are wondering about the various lenses that Canon make here are some of our observations based on our own experience using a number of Canon lenses over the years.there are four lenses in particular I would recommend. I know that at the conclusion of this section there will be people reading thinking, why wasn’t this lens or that lens included. And yes there are other options. But the fact is that for a variety of styles of photography that are more specialized there are lenses that are appropriate but there wouldn’t necessarily be useful in every situation. For example, one of my personal favorite lenses is the Canon 100 to 400 mm L-series. It’s great for bird photography and for capturing distant objects. But most people are going to be focused on other aspects of photography and therefore this is a general guide. I also use a Tamron 24-70mm lens but this section is on Canon and all of the photos were taken with the lenses mentioned. So here are four of the best.
The Canon 24-105mm L Series F4 is a classic workhorse
The first lens that I would always encourage people to try is the Canon L series 24 to 105 mm lens. It’s a F4 lens with image stabilisation. It has excellent contrast. It’s a very useful range and the images that come from this lens are sharp and clear. For some professional photographers this is the one and only lens that they use. That’s right they just use one lens and this is it. So, try it out. Here are a few images take it with the 24 to 105 mm lens.
The Canon 24-70mm F2.8 Series 2 is simply amazing.
The second lens which is really an alternative to the one above is Canon’s famous 24 to 70 mm lens F2 .8 in the L-series. It’s a brighter lens but doesn’t have the reach of the 24 to 105. Wedding photographers love this lens because it’s a beautiful lens to work with and works very well both inside and outside. Most commentators lament the fact that it doesn’t have image stabilisation however we’ve never ruined any photographs as a result of not having stabilisation with this lens.
Its sharp and bright and beautiful. Here are a few images taken with 24 to 70 F2 .8 lens.
Sharp wide and beautiful! Canon 16-35mm F4 IS L series lens. Seriously great lens!
The third lens that I would always encourage people to look at is the Canon 16 to 35 F4 image stabilized Zoom which is also an L-series lens. This lens is incredibly sharp. The angle of view is beautiful and it also focuses very close. Again there are landscape photographers for which this lens is an absolute must. It’s pretty much perfect. It’s one of the sharpest lenses that can produce and when you’re doing landscape photography you want to capture good contrast this lens is ideal. Here are some photographs taken with the 16 to 35 F4 L-series.
The Canon 70-200mm L Series Lens. One of the very best lenses available.
The final lens that we would recommend is to take a look at either of the 70 to 200 lenses. There are two lenses that stand out. The 70 to 200 L-series F2 .8 and its sibling which is an F4 lens. I love the rendering of the F2 .8 version but there are a lot of people who swear by the F4 version because it is smaller and lighter and I know a number of photographers that prefer it to the F2 .8.
It’s an excellent lens whichever you choose. Here are some images taken with the F2 .8 version current at 2019.
A few others.
Honorable mentions. Just for those that think that the lenses should have been included. The Canon 50 mm 1.2 lens and its 1.4 lens sibling are both excellent lenses. Also the Canon 85 mm 1.2 and its 1.4 sibling are worth considering. 1.2 version of the 85 mm lens is a challenge to work with and a lot of people preferred the F1 .4 with its image stabilisation. I love the 1.2 version myself but I would warn you that there is a steep learning curve. It can also fool the metering on the Canon camera and as a hint if you have that lens take a look at that area because it will help you to master the capabilities of the 1.2.
Just a comment to ponder…
When you have mastered your standard kit lens and you are ready to move on to other lenses that you feel will genuinely help your photography it’s always a good idea to borrow or hire lenses and give them a go. See whether they are suitable for your style of photography. Ignore the jokes about the cost of some of the L series lenses. They seriously are good kit. But you will probably find that lenses that you thought were going to be ideal may not be and others that you thought were probably not worth thinking about, may in turn, be perfect for you. It’s one of those aspects of photography that we all learn as we go along. There are steep learning curves with some lenses. I’ve seen photographers purchase the Canon 70 to 200 for use taking weddings who have struggled to master its unique abilities. It doesn’t just happen. You work it out. Its strengths are amazing so persist. Work at it and make the lens a tool that you use to achieve on the sensor the image that you visualize when you step into the situation.