Top 10 Canon Lenses

by admin on February 1, 2012

Canon designs lenses for all types of photographers and most shooting situations. Prices vary widely, depending on the focal length, build quality and aperture size of a particular lens. The Top 10 Canon lenses listed below were selected based on a number of factors, including popularity, build quality, performance and value for money. This list continually evolves, so don’t be surprised if you find more than just 10 lenses on this list.

Best Canon General Purpose Lenses

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

24-70mm f/2.8L USM

1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM

The versatility of the 24-70mm focal length range offered by this lens combined with “L series” optics make it a great pick for the photographer looking to for a general purpose workhorse that does not skimp on image quality. While it does not match the image quality of a prime lens, sharpness and color retention are still excellent. Moreover, a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes this lens great for tricky lighting situations.

Canon designed the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM as a replacement for its 28-70mm f/2.8L lens and extended it wide-angle focal length to 24mm. The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM measures 3.3 x 4.9 inches and weighs 2.1 pounds. It contains 16 elements, including two aspherical lens elements, in 13 groups and has a diagonal angle of view ranging from 84 degrees to 34 degrees.

The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM has a minimum focusing distance of 1.25 feet and supports 77mm filters. Canon equipped the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM with a new, faster autofocus system and sealed the lens to prevent damage that can occur from moisture or dust.

Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

24-105mm f/4L IS USM

2. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

This is the workhorse lens of the professional photographer. With a wide range of focal lengths, this lens is likely the most versatile of any in Canon’s lineup. While not as fast as some lenses at f/4, image stabilization still makes the 24-105mm f/4L useful in low light conditions. “L series” optics make it even better.

The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM has 18 elements in 13 groups and a diagonal angle of view ranging from 84 degrees to 23 degrees. It has a minimum focus distance of 1.48 feet and accepts 77mm filters. The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM weighs 23.6 ounces and measures 3.3 x 4.2 inches.

Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

50mm f/1.8 II

3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

The 50mm focal length has long been the standard for serious photographers looking to expand their creative potential. It you are looking to get better at photography and are simultaneously interested in experiencing the image quality of an excellent prime lens you should think about adding this inexpensive tool to your collection. The 50mm focal length forces you to think about what you are shooting—allowing you to focus on image framing and composition. As an added bonus this lens produces crystal clear, sharp images and is very fast.

Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.8 II features a compact, 2.7 x 1.6 size and serves as a standard lens on cameras with full-frame sensors and good portrait lens on cameras with sensors that have 1.6 field-of-view crop factors. The EF 50mm f/1.8 II’s Gaussian optics produce excellent color balance and allow for focusing up to 1.5 feet. It has a 46-degree diagonal angle of view and contains six elements in five groups. The EF 50mm f/1.8 II accepts 52mm filters.

Best Canon Zoom Lenses

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

70-200mm f/2.8L IS II

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

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens is a staple of professional photography. The 70-200mm focal length is an increasingly popular and versatile choice for many photographers. It allows for effective photographs of a variety of subjects. The most common application for this lens is sports photography. Whether pared with a top end full frame digital SLR or a 1.6x field of view crop factor camera, this lens is sure to shine. A fast maximum aperture and image stabilization make for great low light shooting. Also, Canon “L series” optics make the images from this lens shine with high contrast, resolution and sharpness.

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM has a retail price of approximately US $2,500. It features image stabilization up to four stops, along with excellent weather sealing to keep out moisture and dust. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM contains 23 elements in 19 groups, including five UD elements and one fluorite element to minimum chromatic aberration.

It features a minimum focal distance of 3.94 feet and a diagonal angle of view ranging from 34 degrees to 12 degrees. The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM measures 3.5 x 7.8 inches, weighs 52.6 ounces and accepts 77mm filters.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS

100-400 f/4.5-5.6L IS

2. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS lens is a popular professional grade offering that makes its way into the camera bags of many amateur photographers. “L series” optics are by far the primary draw for this lens; they help produce excellent images. Image stabilization is also a plus, and it works well to reduce camera shake in low light conditions.

The 100-400mm focal length is most useful for sports, action and wildlife photography, applications which drive most amateurs to buy additional lenses. Like other L-series lens, it features exceptional weather sealing, along with image stabilization technology. The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM contains 17 elements in 14 groups, including super-UD and fluorite elements to minimize secondary spectrum issues.

It has a diagonal angle of view range from 24 degrees to 6 degrees and a minimum focusing distance of 5.9 feet. The EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM accepts 77mm filters, weighs 3.1 pounds and measures 3.6 x 7.4 inches.

Canon 70-200mm f/4L USM

70-200mm f/4L USM

3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM

For photographers who require the versatility of the 70-200mm focal length range, but are on a budget, the f/4 version of the classic Canon “L series” 70-200mm lens collection is a fine choice. Considering that this is a professional quality lens, this lens is almost a steal. While it does not have image stabilization or a very fast f/2.8 maximum aperture like more expensive models, it is still a high quality performer that rivals the best telephoto zoom lenses in the world.

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM t features the high-quality sealing expected in Canon L-series lenses, along with image stabilization and a fast, quiet autofocus system. The EF 70-200mm f/4L USM contains 16 elements in 13 groups and has a minimum focus distance of 3.9 feet.

It has a diagonal angle of view range of 34 degrees to 12 degrees and accepts 67mm filters. The EF 70-200mm f/4L USM weighs 25 ounces, measures 3.0 x 6.8 inches and uses the same tripod collar as the Canon EF 300mm f/4L USM.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS

4. Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS

Another consideration for the amateur photographer that needs a general purpose lens is the Canon EF-S 55-250 f/4-5.6 IS telephoto zoom lens. The 55-250mm focal length range is useful in almost every application—from portraiture to fast action sports photography. Like many others on this list, it includes image stabilization. Affordability is the number one draw of this lens.

Canon’s EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II features a light, compact build, along with 4-stop image stabilization. The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II contains 12 elements in 10 groups, which includes one UD-glass element to minimize chromatic aberration.

It has a diagonal angle of view range of 27 degrees to 6 degrees and uses a gear-driven focus adjustment mechanism. The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II has a minimum focus distance of 3.6 feet and accepts 58mm filters. It weighs 13.8 ounces and measures 2.8 x 4.3 inches.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS

5. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM sells for approximately US $650 and features image stabilization up to three stops. Its ultrasonic motor drive performs quickly and quietly and its zoom ring locks for easy transport.

The EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM has 15 elements in 10 groups and a diagonal angle of view ranging from 34 degree to 8 degrees. It has a minimum focus distance of 1.5 feet and features a 6-group helical zoom system. The EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM accepts 58mm filters, weighs 22.2 ounces and measures 3.0 x 5.6 inches.

Best Canon Macro Lenses

Canon 100mm f/2.8L Macro

100mm f/2.8L Macro

1. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Camera retailers sell the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM for around US $1,050. The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM was Canon’s first lens to feature its Hybrid Image Stabilization Technology, which compensates for shift camera shake and angular camera shake. It features excellent weather sealing to prevent damage from moisture and dust and a quick and quiet ultrasonic focusing system.

The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM contains 15 elements in 12 groups and has a 23.4-degree diagonal angle of view. It has a working minimum focus distance of 0.99 feet and accepts 67mm filters. The EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM weighs 22 ounces and measures 3.1 x 4.8 inches.

Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro

100mm f/2.8 Macro

2. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

The 100mm f/2.8 is without a doubt the most popular Canon macro lens on the market. While this is not an L-series lens, it contains very high quality glass and takes extremely sharp photos. This lens is an absolute must if you have an interest in macro photos and it is also a great choice for portraits and close-up photography of food, jewelry and decor.

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM retails for around US $600. It features macro capabilities, along with a quiet and fast ultrasonic autofocus system. The EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM has a working minimum focus distance of 5.9 inches and contains 12 elements in eight groups. It has a diagonal angle of view of 24 degrees and accepts 58mm filters. The EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM weighs 21.1 ounces and measures 3.1 x 4.7 inches.

Best Canon Wide Angle Lenses

Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L II Wide Angle Lens

16-35mm f/2.8L II

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

The 16-35mm f/2.8 is a high quality L-series lens that delivers sharp wide angle photos. The 16-35mm lens is light weight, affordable and versatile. The 16-35mm is a great choice for wide angle photography and it is also a very popular choice as a general walk about lens on full frame and cropped cameras.

Canon’s EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM has a suggested retail price of US $1,699. It features the superior weather sealing and build quality of all Canon L-series lenses, and comes with a fast ultrasonic autofocus system. It produces ultra wide-angle photos when coupled with a full-frame sensor camera and has excellent edge-to-edge sharpness.

The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM has 16 elements in 12 groups, including three aspherical lens elements. It has a 108-degree to 63-degree diagonal angle of view range and a minimum focus distance of 0.92 feet. The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM accepts 82mm filters, measures 3.5 x 4.4 inches and weighs 22.57 ounces.

Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5

2. Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM

Camera retailers sell the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM for approximately US $860. It produces wide-angle framing when used on cameras with 1.6 field-of-view crop factors and ultra wide-angle coverage on full-frame cameras.

The EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM has 13 elements in 10 groups, including one super-UD element and three aspherical lens elements. It has a diagonal angle of view range of 107 degrees to 63 degrees and a minimum focus distance of 0.79 feet. The EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM weighs 13.6 ounces, accepts 77mm filters and measures 3.3 x 3.5 inches.

Canon introduced its EF lens system in 1987. The abbreviation “EF” stands for “Electro-Focus” and refers to EF lens’s internal motor-driven autofocus systems. Canon first designed the EF lens line for its traditional film cameras, and introduced its first lens designed specifically for digital SLRs in 2003 – referred to as the EF-S line. The lens mounting system enables Canon digital SLRs to accept both EF and EF-S lenses, but does not allow the use of EF-S lenses on camera bodies designed only for EF lenses.

Canon also introduced its ultrasonic motor autofocus system in 1987, abbreviated as “USM”. EF lenses that feature USM technology provide quick and precise auto focusing, with little or no noticeable noise.

Canon’s image stabilization technology, abbreviated as “IS”, helps detect and correct motion created by camera shake. While the IS technology can limit the effects of a shaky hand by two to five stops, it does not correct motion blur caused by a moving subject.

Canon created its L-series lens for professional photographers. L-series lenses feature superior build quality and weather sealing, which helps prevent damage from dust and moisture. L-series lenses are typically more shock resistant than other EF lenses, which can minimize damage during transport or in rugged shooting environments.

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