12 Best Canon Lenses: 2021 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

This is a guide covering the best Canon lenses.

In this all-new guide you’ll learn about:

  • Best overall Canon lens
  • Best Canon portrait lens
  • Best Canon zoom lens
  • Best Canon macro lens
  • Best Canon video lens
  • Pros and cons
  • Price
  • Important features
  • And more

Let’s dive in.

12 Best Canon Lenses

Click/tap on each lens name to jump to that section. At the end of each section, there is also a link to jump back to this table to make it easy for you!

In a hurry? Check out our top pick!

1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
– Versatile lens
– Quiet and accurate autofocus
– Vibrant results
– Perfect for both videos and photography

Many prefer Canon whenever they are shooting portraits and sports. Canon has a variety of fast lenses that produce results on a warmer end compared to Nikon.

On top of that, Canon mostly produces their lenses in Japan while the cheaper ones in Taiwan. It means that Canon is keen when it comes to the quality of their products.

But overall, it all boils down to preference. To give you an easier time, we’ve come up with 12 of the best canon lenses that you should check.

1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
BEST ALL-AROUND
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
– Versatile lens
– Quiet and accurate autofocus
– Vibrant results
– Perfect for both videos and photography
2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM
BEST PORTRAIT LENS
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM
– Great depth of field
– Allows user to have a beautiful bokeh
– Weather-resistant
– Handy for most occasions
3. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
BEST ZOOM LENS
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
– Great for taking landscapes, portrait and macro
– With image stabilization
– Produces great colors
– Affordable
4. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM
BEST MACRO LENS
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L
– Great range
– Superb image stabilization
– Sharp results especially up close
5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
BEST VIDEO LENS
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
– Great performance in low-light conditions
– Versatile for most situations
– With a near-quiet motor
6. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8
– Wide aperture perfect for low light
– Weather-resistant
– Has an ultrasonic motor that focuses accurately
– Perfect for landscapes and cityscapes
7. Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L
Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III
– Perfect for landscapes, portraits, and even for group shots
– A good range for wide-angle shots
– Durable design
8. Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6
Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6
– Sharp images
– Quiet motor
– Good range
– Perfect for macro photography
9. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L
– Perfect for low-light conditions
– Handy even for portraits
– Sharp images
10. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III
– Superb image quality
– With great image stabilization
– Fast and accurate autofocus
– Great range
11. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8
– Great for portraits and macro photography
– Perfect even for low-light conditions
– Sharp images
12. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L
– Perfect for shooting landscapes
– A good range for wide-angle shots
– Sharp images

What is the Best Canon Lens (Overall)?

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

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Let’s get one thing out of the way. What’s the best pick in our list of best canon lenses? With all things considered, we believe that the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens fits this description.

For starters, it can be used as a wide-angle lens, portrait lens, or even as a medium telephoto lens. That’s three lenses in one compact lens.

This is a lens preferred by many professionals. It’s a handy tool in a studio setting, weddings, or even for shooting videos.

This comes with an ultrasonic motor that gives users the ability to focus on their subject fast. Plus, if you are shooting a video, you won’t get to record the annoying sounds of the motor vibrating.

The optics provides users with superior quality images. Known for its warmer tones and vibrant colors, it’s one of the best Canon lenses that you should consider especially when you don’t have the money to buy multiple lenses at once.

The biggest downside apart from its $2,000 price point is the fact that it doesn’t come with image stabilization.

You either have steady hands or you want to have a tripod with you if you end up using the Canon EF 24-70mm f2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM example image – Source
Pros
  • Versatile lens
  • Quiet and accurate autofocus
  • Vibrant results
  • Perfect for both videos and photography
Cons
  • A bit pricier but worth the investment
  • Doesn’t have an image stabilization feature

→ Jump Back to Table

What is the Best Canon Portrait Lens?

2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM

If you ever considered looking at our list of best Canon lenses because you want to produce great portrait photos whether inside the studio or outdoors, then you might want to consider the Canon EF 50mm f1.2 L USM lens.

This provides you with great colors expected from a Canon lens. On top of that, it gives you the flexibility that you need allowing you to shoot in various situations whether there’s limited lighting or you are shooting in the morning.

Many would prefer F1.8 or even go to the extent of using a 50mm F1.4. But for this lens, the F1.2 gives you the chance to have beautiful bokeh and even use it during nighttime.

It was also designed to minimize both flare and ghosting. By design, it is a weather-resistant lens that can come in handy even for professional photographers who need a portrait lens in their gear bag.

Though it is not the sharpest option in terms of using 50mm lenses from Canon or even from other third-party brands, we believe that sharpness isn’t always everything.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM example image – Source
Pros
  • Great depth of field
  • Allows users to have a beautiful bokeh
  • Weather-resistant
  • Handy for most occasions
Cons
  • Not as sharp as other 50mm lenses

→ Jump Back to Table

What is the Best Canon Zoom Lens?

3. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6

There are instances when the best lenses for Canon photographers are not prime lenses. Zoom lenses are handy investments for those individuals who don’t want to be carrying so many lenses in their bags.

It also allows photographers to switch focal lengths instantly and adapt fast to whatever it is that they are dealing with.

But there are lots of zoom lenses in the market especially from Canon. All things considered, we believe that the best zoom lens for Canon is the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens.

It comes with a wide range from having an 18mm wide-angle lens to having a 135mm telephoto lens. Just imagine taking group shots and doing portrait shots from afar. It might need a good amount of light given its aperture.

Another good thing about this lens is that it comes with a quiet and accurate ultrasonic type AF motor.

Plus, it is easy to use even without a tripod because of its image stabilization. Though it takes great shots and produces great colors, it feels a bit flimsy which is something that you expect from a cheap lens.

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS example image – Source
Pros
  • Great for taking landscapes, portrait, and macro photography
  • With image stabilization
  • Produces great colors
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Feels flimsy

→ Jump Back to Table

What is the Best Canon Macro Lens?

4. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L

Nothing beats a prime lens in terms of macro photography performance. If you are in the market for the best lens for Canon, you shouldn’t miss out on the Canon EF 100mm F2.8L IS USM Macro Lens.

Though we consider it as the best macro lens considering how sharp it takes photos, you also have to consider the fact that it allows you to shoot from afar or get up-close with your subject.

The F2.8 aperture helps in providing users with the flexibility that they need especially when shooting indoors or perhaps in a studio setting.

It has a robust design that makes it a favorite among pros. But is it just good at taking small subjects up close? It can also be used for taking portraits of subjects that don’t want to be too close to their photographer.

The biggest drawback is that users complained about the lens not having a good AF. Some complained about the AF not pointing to where they want.

However, it comes with a superb image stabilization feature minimizing blurry shots.

Also, check out this guide for the full list of best macro lenses for Canon.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM example image – Copyright “Nikk”
Pros
  • Great range
  • Superb image stabilization
  • Sharp results especially up close
Cons
  • Autofocus is not as good

→ Jump Back to Table

What is the Best Canon Video Lens?

5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8

Cameras today are not just for taking photographs. Some use their cameras for creating video content.

When it comes to choosing the right lens for taking videos, it is important to consider not only the sharpness and the responsiveness of the AF.

It is also important to consider the AF motor of your lens. Hearing the vibration caused by the AF motor can be frustrating for video content creators.

Though a lot of the best Canon lenses in the market today can be used for video, we believe that the Canon EF 50mm F1.8 STM lens is the perfect option for those who use their DSLR in taking videos.

It made use of a stepping motor that is known for its near-silent performance.

Sharpness is also guaranteed with the 50mm f1.8 lens. You can confidently use it even when you are dealing with low light conditions.

And if you are someone who only has a small budget, it might be a good idea to buy this lens because it comes in at a reasonable price. However, it feels a bit flimsy which means that you should assess the condition first if you ever plan on using this lens.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 example image – Source
Pros
  • Great performance in low-light conditions
  • Versatile for most situations
  • With a near-quiet motor
Cons
  • Made of cheap plastic

→ Jump Back to Table

6. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8

If you are looking for the best lenses for Canon, it might be a good idea to consider the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens.

This option is perfect for shooting cityscapes and beautiful landscapes when you decide to go outdoors.

It comes with a weather-resistant design perfect for those who plan on doing outdoor shots. It even has an ultrasonic motor that allows you to focus without any problem on your subject.

It also offers a wide-enough aperture that allows you to play around even in low-light conditions. Though it is not a portrait lens by design, it still has the ability to blur backgrounds and create good portraits.

In terms of its optics, you can expect vibrant and warm colors which is a signature look of the best Canon lenses. It also has the proper coating and construction that minimized ghosting and flare.

However, the motor is a bit noisy. It also tends to back focuses a lot. Doing the manual focus is also just as noisy.

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 example image – Source
Pros
  • Wide aperture perfect for low light
  • Weather-resistant
  • Has an ultrasonic motor that focuses accurately
  • Perfect for landscapes and cityscapes
Cons
  • Noisy when focusing both in AF and manual focus mode

→ Jump Back to Table

7. Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L

Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III

Finding the best lenses for Canon can sometimes give you several wide-angle lenses. However, most of these wide-angle lenses are prime lenses.

With the Canon EF 16-35mm f2.8L III USM lens, you get to enjoy different focal lengths that allow you to shoot beautiful cityscapes, landscapes, and even group shots without any problem.

Now, if you want a portrait lens, you can also use this zoom lens. You can have it on 35mm to give you a wider perspective as you shoot a portrait. Though F2.8 isn’t exactly the best, it still gets the job done.

The only reason why you might hesitate to invest in this zoom lens is the fact that it is just plain expensive.

Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III USM
Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L example image – Source
Pros
  • Perfect for landscapes, portraits, and even for group shots
  • A good range for wide-angle shots
  • Durable design
Cons
  • A bit pricier but worth the investment

→ Jump Back to Table

8. Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6

The Canon EF-S 55-250mm lens is a good option for those who plan on shooting small subjects.

It can be the perfect choice if you need to get the smallest details on your photos. This Canon lens is known for its sharp images.

And though it only has an aperture of F4-5.6, it wasn’t made for shooting indoors without artificial light. Instead, it is something that can come in handy inside a studio.

It even has an STM motor that accurately focuses on the subject.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6
Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 example image – Source
Pros
  • Sharp images
  • Quiet motor
  • Good range
  • Perfect for macro photography
Cons
  • Not designed for low-light conditions

→ Jump Back to Table

9. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L

Some photographers use wide-angle lenses in portrait photography. If you are one of these photographers, you might want to take a closer look at the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Wide Angle Lens.

It produces great bokeh and is handy even in low-light conditions.

The results are superb regardless if you are shooting portraits or landscapes. The optics produces minimal flaring, not to mention you get sharp and crisp images.

Some complained about this lens’s ability to focus. However, compared with other lenses we’ve tried, we say that it is still above average in this department.

But for its price, Canon could’ve done better.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L example image – Source
Pros
  • Perfect for low-light conditions
  • Handy even for portraits
  • Sharp images
Cons
  • A bit pricier but worth the investment

→ Jump Back to Table

10. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III

The Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS III USM lens is a good option for shooting portraits of animals in wildlife, sports photography, or even shooting non-moving objects in a studio.

It comes with a quiet and fast motor that accurately tracks the subject without any issues. It is also highly resistant to dust and water making it a suitable lens for pros who work as sports photographers, journalists, or even wildlife photographers.

Its image stabilization is also something that is ahead of all the best Canon lenses that we have featured on this list. The only thing that you might not like about this lens is its weight.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L example image – Copyright “Guian Bolisay”
Pros
  • Superb image quality
  • With great image stabilization
  • Fast and accurate AF
  • Great range
Cons
  • Heavy

→ Jump Back to Table

11. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8

The Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM medium telephoto lens is a good option for people who are looking to shoot portraits or even do macro photography.

You also get to enjoy shooting even in absence of a strong light source. Plus, if you are going to shoot portraits, you don’t need to be too close to your subject.

It also produces sharp images plus the ultrasonic motor can focus accurately without any issues. However, you might like to have a tripod when using this lens.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM example image – Copyright “Roberto Santini”
Pros
  • Great for portraits and macro photography
  • Perfect even for low-light conditions
  • Sharp images
Cons
  • You will need a tripod to minimize blurry shots

→ Jump Back to Table

12. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L

We have already featured a Canon EF 16-35mm wide-angle zoom lens earlier.

However, what makes this version better is that it was made for shooting sharp photos.

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens doesn’t have a wide aperture which makes it only ideal for taking landscapes rather than portraits.

It was designed for sharp images of beautiful cities and nature.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L example image – Source
Pros
  • Perfect for shooting landscapes
  • A good range for wide-angle shots
  • Sharp images
Cons
  • Doesn’t have a wide aperture

→ Jump Back to Table

Final Remarks

There are lots of Canon lenses to choose from. However, you want to compare these lenses if you want to get the best bang for your buck.

Know your requirements and stick to a budget. This way, it is easier to pick the right lens for your needs.

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