9 Best Canon Lenses [2023 Update!]

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Best Canon Lenses

Are you looking to buy the very best Canon lenses? We searched through Canon’s entire catalog to find the best lenses for everyone from beginners to award-winning nature photographers.

The best overall Canon lens has to be the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens. You can get this lens for both EF and RF mounts. It gives the most coverage and the most flexibility.

Here Are the Top 9 Canon Lenses!

How to Buy the Best Canon Lenses

Buying the best Canon lenses can be tricky! We’ve put together a quick guide to help you always buy the right Canon lens. Here’s what you need to know to make the right decision.

A Quick Guide to the Types of Canon Lenses

There are a variety of lens mount types for Canon cameras. These all tie back to the sensor sizes and how new the camera is. There are different mounts for mirrorless cameras, full-frame cameras, and even full-frame DSLR cameras. Here’s a quick rundown of Canon’s mounting systems.

  • RF Lenses—These pair with EOS R cameras
  • EF Lenses—EF lenses are for DSLR cameras, but EF, TS-E, and MP-E are compatible with all EOS system cameras which include full-frame DSLRs
  • EF-S—These are built for APS-C DSLR cameras, but can be used in other cameras when using the right adapter
  • EF-M— The EF-M mount was created for Canon’s mirrorless cameras

Which Lens is Right for Your Photography Style?

The next most important thing that you need to consider is which lens is right for your photography style. A wide-angle lens is great for landscapes and interior photography, but you’re going to need something with more telephoto ability if you’re looking to photograph sports or wildlife. Each lens has its own uses and you should match your purchase to your goals.

Plan for the Future When Buying Lenses

Buying a lens is a long-term investment. The lens that you are getting today is going to become part of the lens kit that you use for years to come. Prioritize lenses that are going to help you develop your skills, and earn more with your business, and lenses that you plan on getting the most use out of.

Consider Your Current Lens Collection

You also need to consider the current selection of lenses that you have when you go to buy a new one. A smart buy is to look for gaps in your current lens coverage. Maybe you have a bunch of telephoto lenses, but no wide-angle lenses. Looking at the lenses you currently own is going to help you pick the right one for you.

If this is your first lens, you’re going to want to get something that offers flexible coverage when it comes to focal lengths.

Professional VS Budget—What’s the Difference?

The amount of money you spend on your lens is going to be one of the most important decisions that you make. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to buying a professional-level lens or a budget lens.

Professional lenses often come with more features as well as a sturdier build. They can stand up to inclement weather conditions such as light rain and dusty environments like doing photography in the desert. On a technical level, they do create cleaner photographs, but this is something that can be compensated for with skill.

Budget lenses ditch all of those features in order to maximize your savings. They can’t produce as clean of an image as a professional lens, but if you have enough skills and you can make even the most discounted lens take professional photographs.

We’ve got 9 more lenses that you need to check out before you make your next lens purchase!

1. Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens
Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens

Best Overall Canon Lens

Bottom Line:

The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens is our pick for the best overall lens for Canon cameras. This makes a great first lens or an all-around star for just about every style of photography.

Pros

  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Three Ultra-Low Dispersion Elements
  • Nano USM AF System
  • Multiple Optical Coatings

Cons

  • Price is high
  • No telephoto coverage

Why We Picked It

We picked this lens because it’s easily one of the best choices for any type of Canon camera. This lens is specifically designed for the RF system, but you can find a Canon 24-70 mm lens for just about every type of camera they have to offer.

The flexibility of this lens just can’t be beaten. It’s wide enough to let you do landscape photography and offers enough zoom to handle portraiture and even some basic sports or wildlife. It also makes it a great first-time lens.

The stats of this lens are also very impressive. The customizable control ring is going to give you plenty of opportunities to adjust your settings to exactly what you need.

This lens also has several optical elements as well as multiple coatings which all work together to ensure your images are free from distortion.

When working at slow shutter speeds, the built-in image stabilizer helps to make sure your images are clear and free of camera shake.

Who Its For

This lens is ideal for beginner photographers, students, and even photographers who are working professionals.

Beginners and students are going to love this lens for its flexibility. You’ll be able to explore a variety of photography styles without having to buy multiple expensive lenses.

This is also one of the best Canon lenses for weddings and paid photography. There are countless wedding photographers who take this lens and only this lens with them to every wedding they work.

You can also count on this lens when you’re on vacation. You don’t need to be weighed down with several different lenses when you can carry one lens that covers just about everything.

This is a great first-purchase lens. If you don’t have any other lenses or you just have the kit lens that came with your camera, consider this one for the first ones that you upgrade to.

2. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens

Canon EF 35mm f 1.4L II USM Lens
Canon EF 35mm f 1.4L II USM Lens

Best Canon Lenses for Video

Bottom Line:

The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens wins our pick for the best video lens for Canon cameras. This lens offers lightning-fast autofocus, a bright aperture, and a wide-angle perfect for video.

Pros

  • Full-Time Manual Focus Override
  • Subwavelength Coating
  • Aperture f/1.4
  • Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Weather-Sealed Design

Cons

  • No Zoom
  • No Telephoto Focal Length Coverage

Why We Picked It

The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens is one of the best Canon EF lenses for video.

This isn’t the cheapest Canon video lens out there, but you probably don’t need a $200,000 Canon DIGISUPER lens for your DSLR or mirrorless videography. The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM lens can even record documentaries, and student films, and is perfectly ready to handle 4k if your camera is up to it.

If you’re shooting video on a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, there’s a good chance that you’re working in shooting conditions that can often be cramped. Vloggers working in their apartments or even wedding photographers having to deal with venues can all benefit from this wide-angle Canon video lens.

Nailing focus is one of the most important things in a video, but it’s also one of the most challenging. The full-time manual focus overrides that this lens offers means that you can instantly snap to manual focus if you find that your camera just isn’t keeping up with your subjects.

This camera also features weather sealing. This is ideal for shooting in tough conditions that could damage a camera that doesn’t have this feature.

Who Its For

Of course, one of the best Canon lenses for video is going to be ideal for just about every videographer or filmmaker.

This is a lens that handles both photography and video. This makes it the ideal choice for a photographer looking to branch out into videography. With social media sites prioritizing video, it’s always a good idea to have a lens that can be used to create some quick content on the fly.

This is also a great choice for wedding photographers and videographers. You can jump back and forth between photos and video if necessary or you can just focus on capturing the video you need for an event.

This lens also has features that are great for filmmakers. It’s especially useful if you’re a documentarian looking to shoot on a minimalistic kit in difficult situations where mobility is a priority.

3. Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM Lens
Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM Lens

Best Canon Lenses for Portraits

Bottom Line:

The best Canon 85mm lens is the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM lens. This lens is great for portraits.

Pros

  • Blue Spectrum Refractive Optics Element
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
  • f/1.2 Aperture
  • Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Customizable Control Ring

Cons

  • Not very versatile

Why We Picked It

If you’re looking for the best Canon lenses for portraits, you can skip right to the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM lens.

This 85 mm lens is purpose-built for taking portraits. This means that we’re going to have to look at the features from the standpoint of a portrait photographer.

The 85 mm focal length is considered to be one of the best for portraits. This allows you to create a smooth bokeh in the background while giving your subject minimal distortion. Every lens creates some distortion in the image, but 85 mm is considered to have the least distortion when it comes to the human face.

The 9-blade diaphragm creates a beautiful, rounded bokeh that looks smooth and natural. The f/1.2 aperture also helps you create a stunning effect while isolating your subject from the background.

This lens also comes packed with high-tech features. The customizable control ring is especially useful since you can use it to quickly switch the settings you use for portraits.

Who Its For

Since the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 L USM lens is the best Canon camera lens for portraits, we can say who it’s for pretty easily.

Really, any photographer who’s interested in taking portraits is going to be able to make great use of this lens. This is a perfect choice for a wedding photographer looking to add some portraits to the mix or for a student who wants to focus on portrait photography.

That’s not to say that you can’t get creative with this lens, but it is purpose-built for portraits. You can do some interesting things with this lens like taking unique self-portraits or even trying your hand at street photography with an 85 mm lens.

This lens might not be the first one you add to your photography kit, but eventually, most photographers wind up with an 85 mm lens in their kit.

4. Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM Lens

Canon RF24-105mm F4-7.1 is STM
Canon RF24-105mm F4-7.1 is STM

Best Canon Lenses for Beginners

Bottom Line:

The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM lens is the best choice for beginners. It has plenty of unique features, and an affordable price point, and it helps you build your skills behind the camera.

Pros

  • Center Macro Focus with 1:2 Magnification
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Rounded 7-Blade Diaphragm
  • Customizable Control Ring

Cons

  • No Weather-Sealing
  • Features are a Little Basic

Why We Picked It

We picked the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM lens as the best Canon lens for beginners because it has what new photographers need to get started in this exciting art form.

If you’re a beginner photographer, picking your first lens is going to be one of the biggest challenges you face. There are literally hundreds of options out there, but you need to pick something that’s going to help you build your skills.

The Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM lens offers all of the features that you’re looking for if you’re new to photography and you want to explore everything this artform has to offer.

The focal length of the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM lens is perfect for handling everything from wide-angle photography to some short telephoto work. The aperture might not be the fastest, but it’s serviceable enough to handle everything outside of high-end work.

This lens is also very budget-friendly. For all the features you get with this lens, it’s a great choice for beginners.

Who Its For

There are really two people that the Canon RF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM lens is. This is ideal for beginners as well as for photographers who want to experiment with other styles, but who don’t want to commit to the purchase of a professional lens.

Beginners are going to love this lens for all the reasons we talked about above. It’s great to be able to have a single lens that can introduce you to nearly every style of photography out there.

Photographers who are a little more established, even working photographers, can get a lot of use out of this lens. It’s great for travel, but it’s also great for exploring photography styles that your current selection of high-end lenses might not support.

5. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens

Canon EF 16–35mm f 2.8L III USM Lens
Canon EF 16–35mm f 2.8L III USM Lens

The Best Canon Lens Wide Angle

Bottom Line:

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens wins our pick for the best Canon lens wide angle. It’s got all the features you could need for handling wide-angle shooting styles!

Pros

  • Weather-sealed with Fluorine Coatings
  • 35 mm Focal Length is Versatile
  • Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Three Aspherical
  • Two UD Elements

Cons

  • No Telephoto Coverage
  • Could Benefit From Image Stabilization

Why We Picked It

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens is not just one of the best Canon lenses for landscapes, it’s also one of the best Canon lenses for astrophotography.

The wide-angle coverage that this lens offers is second to none. You’ll be able to tackle any wide-angle style whether you’re interested in capturing sweeping landscapes or you want to set up a time-lapse exposure of the night sky that can last for hours.

This is a professional-level lens so it’s built to handle the demanding conditions of landscape photography. You’ll be working outdoors which means facing some of nature’s toughest conditions and you need a lens that can stand up to that kind of abuse.

The lens is weather-sealed, has a fluorine coating, and has multiple optical elements. All of these factors come into play to protect the lens, your camera, and the pictures that you take at the end of the day.

This lens also works as the best Canon lens for indoor photography. Interior photography can be really tricky and you need a wide-angle lens that’s flexible. The zoom on this lens will be able to help you adjust to even some of the most cramped Interiors.

Who Its For

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens is one of the best Canon lenses for landscape photography. Landscape photographers are going to love the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens for its flexibility and features.

This is also one of the best Canon lenses for night sky photography. Astrophotographers will be able to get crystal clear shots of the night sky when they use the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM lens.

This lens is also surprisingly versatile. Because you can change the focal length to 35 mm, you can also use this lens for street photography, portraits, and even some video work. It’s a surprisingly versatile lens that more photographers can use than you might expect.

6. Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM Lens

Canon EF 600mm f 4L is III USM Lens
Canon EF 600mm f 4L is III USM Lens

Canon Best Lens for Wildlife Photography & Sports Photography

Bottom Line:

The Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens is easily the right choice for sports, nature, and wildlife photographers. There really isn’t another lens quite as powerful as this one.

Pros

  • Weather-Sealed Build
  • Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System
  • Detachable and Rotatable Tripod Collar
  • Provides a 960 mm equivalent on APS-C Cameras
  • Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm

Cons

  • Extremely Expensive
  • Not Very Versatile
  • This Lens is Massive and Heavy

Why We Picked It

When you’re looking through a list of the best Canon lenses for wildlife photography, you’re always going to come back to the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens.

This is the best Canon lens for bird photography, animal photography, and sports photography. If your subject is fast-moving and far away, you need to bring the full power of the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens to your next expedition or game.

This lens helps you nail some of the most difficult styles of photography out there. Sports photography often means that your subject is running and changing directions at high speed and you can’t get close to the action. Wildlife photography often involves working with animals that can even get dangerous so staying far away is a safety issue.

The lens provides a weather-sealed build, so you’re going to feel safe taking this thing out in tough weather ranging from a jungle expedition to a rainy football game.

The Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens also has plenty of quality-of-life features that are designed to support its otherwise awkward size and weight. You’ve got an adjustable and detachable tripod collar which lets you decide how you shoot your photographs.

This is a Canon L lens which means it’s held to the highest standards.

Who Its For

Are you looking for one of the best Canon lenses for nature photography or one of the best Canon lenses for sports photography? If so, the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens is what you’ve been looking for.

This lens is really a specialty piece of equipment that is designed for sports and wildlife photographers. Because of the size and price of the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens, other photographers might not be able to get the same value out of this lens that these professionals can.

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

Canon EF 100mm f 2.8L IS USM Macro Lens
Canon EF 100mm f 2.8L IS USM Macro Lens

Best Canon Lens Macro Photography

Bottom Line:

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens is exactly what you need if you want to break out into the world of macro photography.

Pros

  • 1:1 Magnification
  • 11.8″ Min. Focus
  • Focus Range Limiter
  • Weather-Sealed
  • Optical Image Stabilizer

Cons

  • Low Utility For Other Styles

Why We Picked It

Macro photography is an increasingly popular style that has a lot of commercial value. Macro photography works for wildlife photographers looking at you capture insects and smaller animals and it also works for commercial photographers who want to capture the detail and nuance of their client’s products.

What makes the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens really great is the 11.8-inch minimum focus distance. The focal distance defines how close you can get to your subject and in macro photography, this makes or breaks your shot.

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens also offers 1:1 magnification. This is the gold standard for macro photography. 1 to 1 magnification means that the image you capture will be fully reflected in the size of your sensor. This means that you can increase the size of that image in post-production without losing any fine detail.

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens also has a focus range limiter and optical image stabilization. Both of these features are also mandatory for high-end macro lenses as they make your workflow so much easier.

Who Its For

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens is the best Canon lens for macro photography.

This lens is going to be for anyone who’s interested in macro photography. Macro photography is a very versatile style that has a lot of uses.

Macro photography is going to be the go-to style if you’re looking to capture insects and other animals like small reptiles. This lets you get those ultra close-up shots that reveal the hidden details that you can’t see with the naked eye.

Macro photography is also going to give you some close-up of action when it comes to product photography. You’ll be able to capture the nuanced detail of products in ways that are enticing for manufacturers and clients.

8. Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM Lens

Canon RF50mm F 1.2L USM Lens
Canon RF50mm F 1.2L USM Lens

Best Canon Prime Lenses

Bottom Line:

Do you feel the need for prime lens speed? The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens is currently the best prime lens that Canon has to offer!

Pros

  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Rounded 10-Blade Diaphragm
  • f/1.2
  • Ring-Type Ultrasonic Motor AF System

Cons

  • Not Wide Angle
  • Not Telephoto

Why We Picked It

We picked the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens as the top of the best Canon prime lenses because of its blisteringly fast speed.

This is easily one of the fastest lenses ever designed by Canon. It’s also one of the fastest lenses that we’ve ever seen even when considering Canon’s competitors.

That f/1.2 aperture is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. That’s lightning-fast and is sure to render some of the most stunning photographs you’ve ever taken. However, that’s not all that the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens has brought to the table.

The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens also has a 10-bladed diaphragm which is something else that we don’t usually see. That’s going to create a level of smooth and rounded bokeh that no other lens on the market will be able to deliver.

This is a modern lens so you know what’s going to come packed with plenty of high-end features. You got a customizable control ring as well as an ultrasonic motor autofocus system. These features will allow you to capture crisp and clear images.

The 50 mm focal length is also the right choice for most styles of photography. This is versatile enough to handle anything from a page wedding job to casual street photography on your next vacation.

Who Its For

The Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L USM lens is at the top of the best Canon 50mm lenses. It’s ideal for just about everyone.

We know plenty of paid photographers who carry a 50 mm prime with them to every job they work. You just never know when this extremely versatile lens is going to be able to fill in for a damaged resume lens or offer something that you just can’t accomplish with the other lenses in your kit.

This is also great for beginners as it helps you learn the fundamentals and basics of Photography without distracting you with all the bells and whistles that other lenses bring to the party.

That f/1.2 aperture means this is also the top of the best Canon lenses for low-light performance. This means if you’re shooting events like weddings and concerts, you can rely on the performance that this lens is going to bring.

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

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

Best Canon APSC Lenses

Bottom Line:

If you’re shooting on a crop sensor camera, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens is going to be the single best lens that you can get. This lens is incredibly versatile and it accounts for the crop sensor magnification that happens with your smaller sensors.

Pros

  • EF-S-Mount Lens and APS-C Format
  • Micro Motor AF System
  • Super Spectra Coating
  • Rounded 6-Blade Diaphragm
  • Optical Image Stabilizer

Cons

  • Will Struggle To Deliver The Same Quality As Its Big-Budget Brothers

Why We Picked It

The best Canon APSC lenses are all working to deliver similar quality to their full-frame siblings. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens gets close to that standard while still offering stunning image quality.

APS-C cameras have a smaller sensor than their full-frame counterparts. This means that an APS-C format camera also magnifies the focal length of any lenses it uses. This lens has a 35 mm, full-frame, equivalent of a 28.8-88mm focal length.

Even though you have an APS-C sensor, you don’t have to compromise on image quality.

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens has a 6-bladed diaphragm and a respectable f/3.5 aperture. This means you can still create smooth bokeh even though this lens is designed for entry-level cameras.

We also picked this lens because of budget consideration. You don’t need to compromise on quality when you’re looking to save money. You can still get something that delivers creative photographs without having to spend all the money you’ve got saved up in the back.

Who Its For

This is one of the best Canon lenses on a budget.

If you’re looking to save a lot of money but still get into a higher level of photography, crop sensor cameras are probably going to be the right choice for you.

These cameras often come in way under the cost of full-frame cameras. They’re designed as entry-level models that will give you something that can show you the basics of high-end photography, but not cost you the same amount.

The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens really isn’t geared at working professionals who need to squeeze every single ounce of performance they can out of their lenses. However, this lens is still strong enough to deliver some great images.

Hobbyists and students alike are going to love this lens. It’s got a flexible focal length which can help you do everything from wide-angle photography to portraits. It’s ideal if you’re looking to take something budget-friendly on your next vacation order to a family get-together.

Working professionals might not be able to get too much use out of his lines, but there’s still an argument that it’s worth your consideration. Well you won’t be taking This lends it to a paid wedding photography job, you might want something like this for a casual vacation or a walk through your hometown.

Conclusion – Which lenses are the Best Canon Lenses?

Which of the best Canon lenses is the one you’re picking up next?

We picked the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens as the top of our list of the best Canon lenses for photography due to its flexibility and professional-grade features. The Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II lens is a great choice if budget is your top concern while the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS III USM lens is the way to go if you’re ready to land the front page of NatGeo!

Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L IS USM Lens
Editor’s Choice
Best Overall
Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 lens
It’s a jack of all trades, It’s great for street and travel photography, weddings, events, and even for specialists like product photographers.

Pick any of the best Canon camera lenses and you’re sure to capture the photo of a lifetime!

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Hey there, my name is James and I am the creator and editor of this site. I have been photographing for the past 20 years and my mission is to simplify this misunderstood art of taking and processing photographs I love. I invite you to say “hey” on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.

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