7 Best Canon Telephoto Lenses in 2024!

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Best Canon Telephoto Lenses

Telephoto lenses give you extra focal length reach, so you can capture distant subjects like you were right next to them. To get the best pictures, you need the best Canon telephoto lenses.

The overall best Canon telephoto lens is the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM zoom lens. This lens is super flexible, but there are other lenses out there that might be a better choice for you and your needs as a photographer.

Here are the Top Canon Telephoto Lenses!

1

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

BEST CANON SHORT TELEPHOTO LENS

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

Canon

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2

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, White - 3044C002

BEST CANON MEDIUM TELEPHOTO LENS

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

Canon

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3

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Super-Telephoto Lens

BEST CANON SUPER TELEPHOTO LENS

Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens

Canon

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4

Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L is II USM Lens, Black - 1380C002

BEST CANON SUPERZOOM LENS

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Canon

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5

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

BEST BUDGET CANON TELEPHOTO LENS

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

Canon

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6

Canon RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM

BEST CANON TELEPHOTO LENS FOR ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY

Canon RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Canon

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7

Canon RF1200mm F8 L IS USM

BEST CANON TELEPHOTO LENS FOR SPORTS AND WILDLIFE

Canon RF 1200mm f/8 L IS USM Lens

Canon

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Here are the 7 best Canon zoom lenses and why you should consider each one!

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

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

Best Canon Short Telephoto Lens

Why Buy This Lens?

  • This lens is the centerpiece of the Canon Holy Trinity and will be at home with pretty much every photographer.
  • Canon has made this lens smaller and more lightweight than ever before to accommodate mirrorless cameras.
  • The bright aperture and depth of field are ideal for portraits as well as astrophotography.
  • This lens is perfect for your first professional lens or upgrading from the kit lens that came with your camera.

The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM is the best Canon telephoto zoom lens no matter what you’re shooting.

This lens is an essential piece of kit for every photographer. It’s part of Canon’s Holy Trinity of lenses which means that it sees a lot of use.

A lens doesn’t get to be the best Canon telephoto lens without getting tested by the pros. This lens is just as good for beginners as it is for working professionals.

The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM is also the best Canon telephoto lens for low light. That stunningly bright aperture makes this a solid choice for wedding and event photographers or nature photographers who will be out during sunrise or sunset.

This is also the ideal telephoto zoom lens for travel. Being able to switch between a wide-angle landscape shot to a portrait at a moment’s notice is going to give you the most flexibility when it comes to how you capture your shots.

All in all, if you can only buy one telephoto Canon lens right now, make sure it’s the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM.

What you’ll love about the lens

  • Programmable—The control ring can be set to change things like ISO, so you can quickly get the right exposure.
  • Weather Sealed—This lens is built to resist dust and moisture build-up.
  • Focal LengthThis lens covers wide and telephoto focal lengths and has beautiful depth of field control.
  • Bokeh—The 9-bladed diaphragm creates a stunningly smooth bokeh.

What you won’t love about the lens

  • The Cost—The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM is pretty expensive.
  • The Focal Length—If you’re looking for a telephoto lens that can reach across a football field, try one of the super telephotos on this list.

The Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM is the best Canon RF telephoto lens, but you can also find the EF equivalent of this lens for a DSLR camera.

2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras, White - 3044C002

Best Canon Medium Telephoto Lens

Why Buy This Lens?

  • Photographers consider this to be one of the three essential Canon lenses that everyone should own.
  • The aperture is bright, and the diaphragm blades help produce a pleasantly smooth bokeh.
  • Canon is known the world over for the quality of their lenses and this is one of their flagship models which means it’s certain to not disappoint.
  • This is an ideal lens for general telephoto photography and can even be used for sports and Wildlife if you get a telephoto extender.

Do you want to get the best Canon EF telephoto lens?

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens is our pick for one of the best medium telephoto lenses that you can buy for a Canon camera. In fact, the reputation for this lens almost speaks for itself.

Photographers have taken this exact model of lens on African safaris, to their local sports arenas, and on family vacations. This is an all-around powerhouse of a medium telephoto lens that’s ready for everything from telephoto photography to capturing wildlife.

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens is the third and final piece of the Canon Holy Trinity of lenses. This is often the third lens that photographers purchase and with it, you unlock almost every style of photography.

You can even buy a telephoto converter to double the focal length coverage of this lens if you’re looking for something that covers more distance.

What you’ll love about the lens

  • Complete Your Canon Holy Trinity—Two of Canon’s holy trinity are telephoto zoom lenses, and this is the medium telephoto option.
  • Extremely Bright—The f/2.8 aperture is surprisingly bright for a medium telephoto lens
  • Great Build Quality— This is a Canon lens which means it’s built to professional standards including multiple optical elements and a weather-sealed design.
  • Designed for Stable Shots—This lens has impressive image stabilization and a focal range limiter which helps improve autofocus timing.

What you won’t love about the lens

  • No Wide Angle—This lens offers no wide-angle coverage which makes it more of a specialty pick.
  • Very Expensive—Yes, there are more expensive lenses on this list, but this lens might cost more than your camera.

Whether you already have a normal telephoto focal length lens or you’re looking for something a bit more specialized, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens should be one of the next lenses you purchase for your photography kit.

We know plenty of photographers who buy this as their first or second lens, and they’re never disappointed.

3. Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM Lens

Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM Super-Telephoto Lens

Best Canon Super Telephoto Lens

Why Buy This Lens?

  • If you want one lens that can handle everything from portraits to deep wilderness wildlife expeditions, you need the focal length coverage offered by the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens.
  • This lens comes with a hood that features an adjustable window which allows you to adjust internal filters without having to disassemble the lens.
  • This lens features a powerful dual autofocus motor as well as adjustable torque controls and programmable buttons which put you directly in control of all of your most important settings.

Super telephoto photography is where things start to get really exciting. Those high-action shots of athletes-made games and powerful wildlife in their natural element are all captured with lenses that have these focal lengths.

This is a zoom lens which means you can quickly adjust between focal lengths more appropriate for a portrait and tighter zooms which are ideal for distant subjects.

This is an ideal lens for using on a tripod. The adjustable tripod collar and image stabilization features are going to help make sure that your images stay clear no matter how far you are from your subject.

What you’ll love about the lens

  • Professional Build Quality—This lens has a professional build quality which means it’s weather sealed and perfect for an outdoor adventure.
  • Excellent Focal Length Coverage—The focal length coverage in this lens is very impressive unlocking everything from unique portraits to sports coverage.
  • Designed For Clear Images—With seven optical elements and multiple coatings, you can trust that your images will come out nice and clear.
  • Total Control—The adjustable torque feature means that you can fine-tune your zoom without worrying about losing distant subjects.

What you won’t love about the lens

  • Not Bright Enough for Everyone—This lens only goes up to f/4 which might not be bright enough for some photographers.
  • Very Expensive—This lens is a specialty piece of equipment when considering the cost.

If you want a highly portable lens that’s great for travel, sports, and wildlife, the Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens is the lens for you.

Why not treat yourself to the best Canon zoom lens for nature or sports photography?

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

Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L is II USM Lens, Black - 1380C002

Best Canon Superzoom Lens

Why Buy This Lens?

  • This lens was built with full frame cameras and professional photographers in mind, but if you’re still shooting on a budget crop sensor DSLR then this lens also works and provides 38.4-168mm equivalent focal length range.
  • The ring-type ultrasonic autofocus motor is nearly silent and amazingly responsive.
  • If you love buttery smooth bokeh this lens has a 10-bladed diaphragm which even more expensive lenses on this list can’t brag about
  • The constant f/4 aperture might not be the brightest, but it’s nothing that you can’t compensate for with your skills behind the camera.

Superzoom lenses are true all-in-one packages that can instantly snap from landscapes to sports photography shots. You can get the up-close shot of a game-winning play and immediately pivot to shots of the fans going wild with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens.

This lens is also packed with professional features, all wrapped up in an extremely affordable package. The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens also works with crop sensor cameras meaning it’s a great bridge option for beginners and amateurs working their way toward more professional equipment.

We also love this lens for travel photography. It’s not as risky as taking a $3,000 lens and it’s able to cover just about everything you need while on the road.

What you’ll love about the lens

  • No Other Lens Works Like This— truly there is not another lens on this list like the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens that can cover landscapes to wildlife.
  • Very Affordable—While the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens isn’t a budget option, it’s incredibly affordable given that it’s a professional lens.
  • Still Professional—This is a Canon Luxury lens which means that you’re going to get professional quality features even in this unique package.

What you won’t love about the lens

  • Aperture Could Be Brighter—The aperture on this lens could definitely be brighter which is going to hold it back in some applications.
  • Arguments For Other Lenses—The biggest downside of this lens is that it’s easy to make the argument that you would be better off with the 24 to 70 mm or the 70 to 200 mm lens.

Superzoom lenses are incredibly unique. They cover focal lengths going from wide angle all the way up to telephoto and typically into medium and even super-telephoto focal lengths.

This lens isn’t going to be the first pick for every photographer, but if you want a true all-in-one lens then the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM lens is exactly what you’ve been shopping around for.

5. Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Lens

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Best Canon Telephoto Lens on A Budget

Why Buy This Lens?

  • If you want a lens that covers every telephoto range, but you don’t want to spend a lot of money then this is exactly the piece of equipment that you’ve been looking for.
  • The aperture range stays impressively bright especially when considering that this lens is the cheapest on the list.
  • Even though this lens isn’t weather sealed, you can buy a rain jacket for your lens and take this out in the field without worrying about losing thousands of dollars of photography equipment.
  • This lens was designed to work with full-frame cameras and crop sensor cameras making it a true budget contender.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to unlock the potential of telephoto photography. The Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III lens is an extremely versatile telephoto lens that comes in at a fraction of the cost of other options on this list.

Photography doesn’t have to be a very expensive hobby. This lens is more than capable of taking professional quality images and giving you the resources, you need to build up your skills as a photographer.

We also love this lens as the best Canon telephoto lens for beginners. If you want to get into telephoto photography, but don’t know where to start, why not pick up an extremely affordable lens that lets you try out everything?

What you’ll love about the lens

  • The Cost— the cost of this lens is surprisingly affordable especially when you consider the features and capability that Canon put into this glass.
  • Focal Length Coverage— This lens covers all three telephoto focal length ranges which means you only need one lens to save even more money.
  • Autofocus Motor— Canon shows to use their DC autofocus motor which is surprisingly fast and quiet given the budget.
  • One Important Coating—The super Spectra coating on this lens is designed to reduce ghosting which helps make for a clearer image.

What you won’t love about the lens

  • The Specs—This is a budget lens which means that trade-offs had to be made somewhere and you’ll notice that the stats of this lens are not nearly as impressive as the other options on this list.

The Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III lens is a shockingly powerful budget lens that will introduce you to the wonderful world of telephoto photography without introducing your bank account to a high cost.

6. Canon RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM Lens

Canon RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM

Best Canon Telephoto Lens for Astrophotography

Why Buy This Lens?

  • You won’t have to worry about it blurry images thanks to the five stops of image shake reduction and three image stabilization modes offered in this lens.
  • The bright aperture on this lens is designed to help you work in dimly lit sports arenas and in twilight or sunrise wildlife photography conditions.
  • This is compatible with the RF 1.4x and 2x extenders so that you can up to double the focal length of this prime lens.
  • The RF and EF models of this lens are optically identical which means that photographers switching between mirrorless and DSLR won’t have to adjust anything about their shooting style or settings.

The Canon RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM is an incredibly powerful super-telephoto prime lens. It’s packed with features that we don’t usually see in prime lenses like image stabilization.

However, it’s not just your average image stabilization in this lens. You get up to five stops of shake reduction alongside three image stabilization presets. This lens also comes with a rotating tripod collar to ensure that she’ll always get the shots that you’re looking for.

If the price tag of the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM doesn’t scare you away, this is going to be a powerful lens that you’re sure to get breathtaking images from.

What you’ll love about the lens

  • Amazing Aperture—Usually apertures at this focal length aren’t very bright, but Canon has made a radical exception with the f/2.8 aperture on this lens.
  • A Prime With Image Stabilization—It’s rare to see a prime lens with image stabilization, but this is where the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM delivers something extra
  • Focus Presets—The focus presets add an additional layer of control to help you get the sharpest images at a moment’s notice
  • Pro Body Design—Of course, the lens with this price tag is going to be built to Canon’s most professional standards and weather-sealed designs

What you won’t love about the lens

  • Price Tag—You could buy 5 to 10 new mirrorless cameras for the cost of this lens
  • Prime Lens Trade-off—This is a prime lens which means that you can’t zoom to change your focal length and instead you have to physically move closer or further from your subject

When it comes to technical power, the Canon RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS USM prime lens just can’t be beaten.

7. Canon RF 1200mm f/8 L IS USM Lens

Canon RF1200mm F8 L IS USM

Best Canon Telephoto Lens For Sports And Wildlife

Why Buy This Lens?

  • You should pick up this lens if you’re a dedicated sports or wildlife photographer who wants the most powerful prime lens offered by Canon
  • This powerful Lens comes in at just over 7 lb which means that you could shoot handheld under some circumstances or get away with a monopod
  • This lens extracts rear drop-in filters which make changing things like an ND filter in the middle of a shoot extra easy

This is the best Canon telephoto lens for wildlife and sports. Period.

The Canon RF 1200mm f/8 L IS USM is one of the best lenses that Canon has ever designed when it comes to ultra-telephoto primes. Outside of the cost of this lens, there’s almost nothing to critique about its design and capability.

What you’ll love about the lens

  • Designed to Prevent Distortion there are several coatings and optical elements designed to reduce ghosting chromatic aberration and other common distortions
  • Amazing Build—This is a professional quality lens that Canon has spent extra attention to when it comes to durability and quality

What you won’t love about the lens

  • Extreme Cost—We’re not joking when we say that the cost of this lens is about the same as a down deposit on a house
  • Prime Lens Trade-offs—This won’t be the same as the best Canon telephoto zoom lens for sports, but as a prime, it offers clearer images

The Canon RF 1200mm f/8 L IS USM is a prime lens with one of the longest focal lengths in the world. You could be on the other side of a football field and still get a clear portrait of an athlete mid-game.

The price tag of this lens means it’s probably for professionals and ultra-serious hobbyists only, but it still deserves a place on this list.

Conclusion – The Best Canon Telephoto Lenses

Which of the 7 best Canon telephoto lenses was your favorite?

At the top of the best Canon zoom lenses is the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM lens. Its flexible focal length and bright aperture make it a great choice for most photographers.

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM lens can round out your collection of Canon holy trinity lenses while the Canon RF 1200mm f/8 L IS USM lens is an incredibly powerful sports and wildlife lens.

Let us know which of the best Canon telephoto zoom lenses you’re adding to your kit and make sure to check out our other articles on the best lenses for Canon cameras.

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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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