The best Canon lenses

Digital camera lenses are very important in digital photography and the overall quality of the image is often down to the DSLR lens being used rather than the camera body. F you want to improve your images you are better off spending money on good quality and professional grade lenses rather than spending it on a new top of the range camera body.

I only shoot Canon dslrs and I only shoot with Canon lenses. There are other manufacturers, such as Tokina, Sigma and Tamron, all of which make Canon fit lenses but being a self confessed Canon snob I genuinely believe that Canon equipment is superior, although I appreciate there are other people out there who would disagree with me. I also bought Canon manufactured lenses because I can be confident these lenses will work Canon cameras that will be released in the future.

I like all types of photography and do not specialise in any particular area, therefore I have lenses that cover all focal lengths I need. So, let’s take a quick look inside my bag of lenses

16mm – 35mm wide angle

The 16mm – 35mm wide angle lens I use is the Canon’s flagship 16mm – 35mm f2.8L USM . The image quality of this lens is awesome and it is possible to get some stunning images that are tack sharp al through the frame. The colour rendition is very accurate and being an L grade lens the build quality can only be described as bullet proof. 

The 16mm – 35mm wide angle zoom offers a very wide field of view that allows me to get as much as possible in the frame. This lens is perfect for landscape and seascape photography, and is my lens of choice when taking images of these subjects. This wide angle lens can also be used for interior shots, although I do not use it for this as I do not like taking images of interiors.

24mm – 70mm short zoom

The Canon EF24mm - 70mm f2.8L USM short zoom.

Canon EF24mm - 70mm f2.8L lensCredit: yackers1

My 24mm – 70mm lens is the fantastic Canon 24mm – 70mm f2.8L USM, which is simply brilliant. The f2.8 maximum aperture makes it great in low light conditions, the colour rendition is fantastic, the image quality is superb and the build quality is second to none.

The 24mm – 70mm provides an excellent general purpose and walk about lens. The 24mm short end is sufficient for decent landscape shots when I have not got my super wide angle lens, the 70mm long end is perfect for head and should portrait shots and the focal lengths between are also very useful. If I could only carry one lens this would be the lens I would choose.

70mm – 200mm standard zoom

The Canon EF70mm - 200mm F4L IS USM zoom lens.

Canon EF70mm - 200mm f4 L IS USM lensCredit: yackers1

The 70mm – 200mm zoom lens picks up where the 24mm – 70mm left of and covers the next focal range. The 70mm – 200mm standard zoom I own is the Canon 70mm – 200mm f4 L IS USM lens, which is another great professional quality lens. Whilst it is not as fast as the f2.8 version it weighs far less and I am prepared to sacrifice a stop for this weight saving. As with all Canon L lenses the colour rendition is spot on, the image quality fantastic and the build quality is awesome. The image stabilisation technology built in to this lens is very effective in eliminating blurry photographs through camera shake.

The 70mm – 200mm is another good walk about lens, however it is not suitable for taking landscape and seascape shots. If there is something specific you want to isolate in a landscape it is ok, but not for general landscapes. This lens is ideal for portrait shots, taking photographs of family parties/gatherings, photographing your pets, photographing concert/theatre performances, motor sports photography, travel photography and for some nature photography, such as photographing butterflies. This lens is also perfect for taking pictures of animals in zoos and at sanctuaries.

Many photographers argue a lens that covers the 70mm – 200mm focal length is the most useful for everyday photography situations.

100mm – 400mm super zoom

The Canon EF100mm - 400mm F4.5 - 5.6L IS USM super zoom lens

The Canon EF100mm - 400mm Luxury lensCredit: yackers1

The next lens in my kit bag is the Canon 100mm – 400mm f4.5 – 5.6L IS USM super zoom. This lens replicates some of the focal length covered by my 700mm – 200mm lens, but there are no other lenses in the Canon line up covering 200mm – 400mm focal lengths. Once again, the image quality this lens is spot on, the colour rendition is fantastic, the image stabilisation technology is very useful and the build quality is second to none. This is a lens that is built to last. This lens is not that fast however fast zoom lenses covering these focal lengths are exceptionally expensive and well out of my budget and this lens is a nice compromise.

I use the 100mm – 400mm lens for photographing motorcycle racing, taking pictures of wild animals and bird photography. I seldom have the need to go any longer than 400mm however I will try and move closer to the subject if I need to. If it is not possible to get closer to the subject I will use a Canon 1.4x extender when needed. The Canon 2x extender can be used with this lens, although the autofocus is lost and there is a reduction in image quality. If the 1.4x extender is not enough I will abort the shot and give it up as a lost cause.

Macro lens

The Canon EF100mm f2.8 macro lens

Canon EF100mm f2.8 macro lensCredit: yackers1

I enjoy macro and close up photography at times and my lens of choice here is the Canon 100mm f2.8 USM macro lens. Before I got this lens I used to use extension tubes, however after borrowing a dedicated macro lens I came to the realisation a specific macro lens is required for the best images. Being a prime lens the image quality of this lens is simply amazing and it is possible to take some tack sharp images. 

Macro lenses can be used as a standard 100mm prime lens suitable for general photography, however ninety nine percent of my photography with this lens is for proper macro and close up photography. The other one percent is for taking photographs of unexpected subjects, such as a wild animal, when I am wandering around looking for insects and flowers to photograph. 

50mm prime lens

The Canon EF50mm f1.8II prime lens

The Canon EF50mm f1.8 lensCredit: yackers

The final lens in my kit bag is the Canon EF50mm f1.8II USM, which is affectionately known as the “nifty fifty”. This cheap and cheerful lens was the first lens I bought to upgrade the kit lenses supplied with my digital SLR camera. This lens is fast, which makes it great for low light hand held shots. The 50mm focal length is ideal for portrait shots and, using the right technique, it is possible to take some simply great shots.

 In summary

There are many Canon lenses in my kit and I would like to reduce it somewhat, however I am struggling to see how to have all focal lengths covered with fewer lenses. One day I may specialise and end up getting rid of all lenses that will be surplus to requirements, however at present I am enjoying all types of photography and soaking up as much experience as possible.