best canon lenses

The Best Canon Lenses in 2020

In Canon Lenses, Gear by Stefano CaioniLeave a Comment
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Are you struggling to find the best Canon lenses for your new DLRS or Mirrorless camera?

Well, you are not alone.

Many photographers often go through a hard time picking the ideal lens for their Canon cameras. It’s not easy to know where to start when looking for new interchangeable lenses. This is particularly true for amateur photographers who are yet to learn the tricks of the game.

best canon lenses

Thankfully, we are here to help. Below is a detailed list of the best Canon lenses you should consider for your Mirrorless or DLSR Canon camera. 

Best Lenses for Canon: What You Need to Know

Canon lenses come in a very wide range of formats and models. Canon is always on top of the game when it comes to delivering lenses for all the price ranges and for any type of photographer.

I divided this list into five groups based on the type of lens so that you can quickly jump to that section if you need that specific type of lens.

Canon Lens Types

  • Portrait lens
  • Standard zoom lenses
  • Telephoto lenses
  • Wide-angle lenses
  • Macro lenses

So what are the best canon lenses?

Portrait Lenses

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

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Key Features

  • Super spectra coatings
  • Full-time manual focus capability
  • Fast apertureSuper spectra coatings
  • Full-time manual focus capability
  • 85cm closest focusing distance

A portrait lens for Canon worth checking out is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8. This short telephoto lens comes with various features ideal for everyday shooting.

Firstly, its autofocus system is extremely fast, allowing you to capture every moment quickly and swiftly. Moreover, it has a large f/1.8 aperture that comes in handy when shooting in low light conditions.

The best part is that the super spectra coatings work effectively to prevent flares and reduce the effects of ghosting in your images. This allows you to enjoy your shots without worrying about unnecessary shadows.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM

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Key Features

  • 9 Diaphragm blades
  • Image Stabilization (4 stops IS)
  • Weather sealed
  • Min focus distance 85cm

The more expensive alternative to the 85mm f/1.8 is the Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS. This is one of the best Canon lenses and one of the best portrait prime lenses on the market with its fast f/1.4 aperture for excellent bokeh and Image Stabilization (IS) which makes a big in low light conditions. The price for this lens is quite high but it’s well worth it since we’re talking about a lens that does not compromise on quality.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

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A portrait lens for Canon worth checking out is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. This budget prime lens is compact and lightweight and is compatible with all EOS cameras. Furthermore, its wide aperture coupled with its automatic focus mechanism makes it ideal for portraits and everyday photography. With its f/1.8 aperture, you can shoot photos in low light and create pleasing blurred backgrounds with relative ease.

Key Features

  • Super silent autofocus performance
  • Fast, wide aperture
  • Stepping Motor Technology (STM)

Standard Zoom Lenses

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM

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Key Features

  • Ultrasonic monitor
  • 3-stop image stabilization
  • Silent autofocus
  • Optional lens hood

The EF-S 17-55mm might be a bit old, but it still has plenty to offer Canon camera owners. Designed for APS-C DSLR cameras, this lens has a wide-angle zoom range and an equivalent focal length of 27.2 to 88mm. In addition, the lens has an f/2.8 maximum aperture across the entire zoom range, thus making it ideal for everyday shooting. The large circular aperture further produces a shallow field of view for pleasing bokeh. 

Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II

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Key Features

  • 4 stop image stabilizer
  • Aspherical lens elements
  • Super spectra coatings
  • High-speed autofocus

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II is one of the best Canon lenses for group shots, weddings as well as street and landscape photography. Designed for APS-C cameras, the lens has an equivalent focal length of 28.8 to 88mm. Moreover, its closest focusing distance is 0.25m, given that it has a maximum close up magnification of 0.24X. What’s more amazing is that the lens comes with a four-stop image stabilizer that works against blur caused by camera shakes. It also has more than 16 aspherical elements that provide more control over image distortion.

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

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Key Features

  • 4 stop image stabilizer
  • Automatic panning
  • Super spectra coatings
  • Optional lens hood

The Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is a wide-angle zoom lens renowned for its dominant performance and superior flexibility. The lens has a greater wide-angle ability than most canon lenses in its class, and it offers an outstanding telephoto range. Its effective zoom range stands at 24-136mm, which is ideal for everyday shooting. In terms of focus, this lens features an ultrasonic autofocus system coupled with a 4-stop stabilizer for impeccable image quality.

Telephoto Lenses

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM

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Key Features

  • DC autofocus motor
  • 1.5m closest focusing distance
  • 13 Aspherical elements
  • Super spectra coatings

The EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 is a telephoto lens with a relatively long focal length of about 120-480mm. This allows photographers to take distant shots without moving an inch from their base. The fact that you can use this lens to get closer to far-away subjects makes it ideal for wildlife and sports photography. The only concern is that its maximum aperture is only f/5.6. This means that the lens tends to struggle when used in low-lighting conditions.

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

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Key Features

  • Rear focus system
  • Optical image stabilization
  • STM focusing for video recording
  • 7 diaphragm blades

If you want a longer zoom for your APS-C camera kit then look no further than the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. This camera lens boasts of an equivalent focal length of about 90 to 400mm. With such an impressive range, you can get close to far-away subjects without moving an inch. This makes it ideal for a wide range of shooting styles, including wildlife and sports photography. Like most Canon lenses, the EF-S 55-250mm comes with an image stabilizer that prevents blurring and distortion.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L

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Key Features

  • L-series optics
  • Constant f/4 maximum aperture
  • Superfast autofocus
  • Spectra coatings

The EF 70-200mm f/4L is another high-quality Canon lens worth checking out. This telephoto zoom lens is renowned for its superior zoom performance and excellent image quality. The lens is light and compact, making it the perfect choice for travel photography. Moreover, it has a fixed f/4 maximum aperture designed to deliver stunning images in a variety of situations. As if that is not enough, the lens also has a circular aperture that you can use to produce exotic bokeh.

Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM

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Key Features

  • 88-320mm focal length range
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Full-time manual focus mode
  • Five-group optical zoom system

The Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 is a telephoto zoom lens that allows you to take great shots from wherever you are. The lens is not only compact but also offers great balance when used with most Canon cameras. Additionally, the lens features STM focusing for a fast and silent autofocus performance. You may also switch to a full-time manual focus mode for more accurate adjustments.

Wide-Angle Lenses

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

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Key Features

  • Advanced optical design
  • Quiet focusing for video recording
  • 0.16m closest focusing distance
  • Wide aperture

The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 is an ultra-slim, pancake lens recommended for travel and street photography. The lens is extremely lightweight and easy to carry around. It has a 38mm equivalent focal length and its f/2.8 maximum aperture delivers exceptional shots even in low light situations. If you prefer recording videos, its near-silent autofocus system will impress you with its performance.

Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

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Key Features

  • Stepping Motor and rack system
  • Anti-flare technology
  • Optical image stabilizer
  • APS-C compatible

If you are searching for the ideal lens for landscape, travel, architecture and everyday photography, then the EF-S 10-18mm lens by Canon certainly fits the bill. This ultra-wide lens is designed to deliver stunning images even in low light conditions. Furthermore, the lens features super spectra coatings that block stray light from penetrating your shots and eliminates orbs of low contrast. Most importantly, it comes with an optical image stabilizer that deals with camera shake accordingly

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II

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Key features

  • BR Optics
  • Closest focus distance: 0.92ft / 0.28m
  • Filter size: 2.8in / 72mm
  • Compatible with: EF, EF-S

The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II has been described by DXO Mark as the sharpest Canon lens on the market.

It replaced the earlier version the Canon 35mm f/1.4L, it’s a full-frame lens and it works with both EF and EF-S formats. With a Canon EOS-M adapter, it can be used with Canon’s mirrorless cameras.

Great for street photography and photojournalism this expensive lens features Blue Spectrum Refractive optics to cut down chromatic aberrations.

Though it’s compatible with crop sensor Canon cameras I wouldn’t recommend spending that much on an APS-C camera. Unless you are planning to upgrade to a full-frame body in the future.

If you are looking for a cheaper Canon 35mm alternative I would suggest either getting the old model the Canon 35mm f/1.4L or read next.

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM

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Key Features

  • Four-stop image stabilizer
  • 10 aspherical elements
  • Rear focusing system
  • 0.24m closing focusing distance

Like most Canon lenses, the EF 35mm f/2 lens features a compact, lightweight design, making it a great travel companion. Moreover, it comes with an ultrasonic autofocus system that delivers the perfect focus required for stunning images. What is more amazing is that the lens has a very wide field of view. This makes it possible to capture outstanding photos even in low light conditions.

Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

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Key Features

  • Continuous Autofocus with STM
  • Optical image stabilization
  • Two aspherical elements and one UD element

If you are looking for an ultra-wide-angle zoom lens that is retractable and easy to carry around, then look no further than the Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 IS STM lens. This piece features a solid, lightweight design that makes it ideal for EOS Compact System Cameras. Furthermore, it comes with a 3-stop optical image stabilizer that prevents blurs from camera shakes. Its manual focus ring also comes in handy when you need to make fine adjustments to your images.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8

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Key Features

  • Quick Autofocus
  • Wide-to-normal zoom
  • Constant f/1.8 maximum aperture
  • Nine blade diaphragm for pleasing bokeh

One major highlight about Sigma lenses is that they are compatible with a wide range of cameras, including Canon cams. Therefore, if you are mulling over whether to buy a versatile lens, then the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 is certainly an easy choice. This kit lens has a sharp zoom range and it delivers a splendid job than most primes do. Moreover, it comes with a fixed f/1.8 maximum aperture that captures high-quality shots even in low light.

Macro Lenses

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

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Key Features

  • Focus distance limiter
  • UD lens element
  • 8 blade circular aperture
  • Optional tripod collar


The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 lens will take your macro photography skills to the next level. This lens is widely acclaimed as the true macro lens, thanks to its ability to reproduce life-size images with excellent precision. What’s more intriguing is that this lens is also ideally a medium telephoto thanks to its 100mm focal length. You can, therefore, use it to shoot portraits with a full-frame camera. Moreover, its ultra-sonic motor delivers fast autofocus while the secondary diaphragm blocks from finding its way into the lens.

Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM

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Key Features

  • Built-in Macro Lite Technology
  • Converging lens barrel
  • 1.2x magnification
  • Hybrid image stabilizer

If you want a lens that can deliver pin-sharp images, then consider the Canon EF-M 28mm f/3.5 Macro IS STM lens. The lens features the built-in Macro Lite technology that allows you to control light and remove shadows from your shots. Moreover, the lens has a converging barrel that offers the perfect contact points for stable shooting. Besides macro photography, the lens is ideal for a wide range of shooting styles, including food, travel and portrait photography.

Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

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Key Features

  • Optical image stabilizer
  • Minimum working distance of 3 cm
  • STM autofocus
  • Macro Lite built-in

Macro photography gives you the privilege of shooting various subjects up close. However, to capture the intrinsic details, you need a good lens. One exceptional piece that comes to mind is the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM lens. This lens has the capacity to focus on an extremely short distance. Moreover, it allows you to control the amount of lighting as a result giving you more power over what you want to capture. Most importantly, it has an optical image stabilizer that works effectively to eliminate distortions and blurs.

Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM

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Key Features

  • Quick autofocus
  • Silent Ultrasonic monitor
  • Spectra coatings
  • Floating optical system

The EF-S 60mm macro is an upgrade of the 35mm macro lens, given that it has an extended focal length of up to 96mm, with the closest focusing distance at 0.65 feet. This gives photographers more working space to reproduce impeccable life-size images. Moreover, it supports the high corner-to-corner resolution and it has a manual focus ring that you can use to make fine adjustments.

Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM

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Key Features

  • Close focus – 0.3m
  • STM focusing for smooth video recording
  • 64mm equivalent focal length

Most pancake lenses cannot mount on a full-frame camera. However, the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens goes against this notion, as it is capable of mounting on a full-frame cam such as the Canon 5D Mark III. Its pancake design makes it extremely portable and ideal for your outdoor shooting needs. Moreover, it has a fast f/2.8 maximum aperture that produces high-quality images even in low-light conditions. The only concern is that this lens does not have a stabilizer, but it makes up for this by producing great image quality.

Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 Di SP

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Key Features

  • Ultrasonic Silent Drive AF motor
  • Continuous manual focus
  • Moisture-resistant construction
  • XLD and LD optics

The Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 lens is ideal for beginners given that it is compact, lightweight and easy to use. It has decent built quality and it is very easy to handle, making it the perfect choice for all types of photography. However, the fact that it only has a 145mm field of view means that it is best suited for macro photography. The only drawback is that this lens does not feature an image stabilizer, meaning that you have to use a tripod to avoid blurs from camera shakes.

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Here is the Deal…

Now that you know a little bit about Canon lenses, choosing the ideal lens for your camera will no longer be a problem. With all this info at your disposal, you can shop with confidence knowing that you are on the right track. However, remember that the best Canon lenses are not cheap hence some due diligence will always come in handy when picking your choice.

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