L Series LensCredit: Amazon

Canon has earned a great reputation for optical quality. A big part of this is due to the "L" series of EF lenses. These are very high quality and are available in a variety of formats and speeds. These are rather pricy, often worth more than the actual camera body.

Regardless of your particular type of photography, there is an "L" series lens that will meet your needs. You will just have to balance the high cost against your desire for the lens. That said, many people have purchased "L" series lenses and they are very happy with their results.

Most of these lenses have received very favorable reviews by actual owners. The lenses are solidly built and they perform very well for their intended use. They are substantial units, built with solid metal cases. Most contain many separate glass lenses that work together. They are perfectly suited to the rigors of professional use.

Best of the Best Canon Lens

The Undisputed Best Canon Lens

As rated by actual owners

Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Amazon Price: $1,049.00 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 3, 2015)

Why This is a Great Unit

The number one "L" series lens, as determined by actual owners is the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM. This is a relatively inexpensive lense, (for an "L"), at about $1050. It is classed as "Prime Lens", or fixed focal length. It operates at 135mm at all times, with no zoom capability. As such, it is easier to manufacture, a fact that is reflected in the price. Zoom lenses of this quality are often quite pricy.

Being a prime lens, it is also able to produce very clear images. Canon is able to optimize the internal glass. It is a simpler design because it doesn't need to move a lot of internal lenses, like a zoom does.

This lens is very fast at F/2. This allows it to capture images in low light, or to be used with slower shutter speeds. Many other lenses are rated at F/4, or even slower, requiring much more light per shot.

Available as a Kit With Useful Accessories

Owner Ratings

This lens received 5 stars from 192 of 200 reviewers. This is fully 96% of the respondents giving the top grade. 6 more owners gave it 4 stars. They indicated that they docked it due to the lack of automatic image stabilization. Only two owners rated it lower. One thought that it was slow to focus. The other felt that the sharpness when shooting wide open was a little lacking.

Full Frame DSLR for Excellent Results

Canon EOS 6D 20.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only)
Amazon Price: $1,799.00 $1,399.00 Buy Now
(price as of Mar 3, 2015)

Notable Owner Quotes

J.C. reports that this 135mm unit is the "Stuff of legends". It offers stunning performance in the areas of sharpness and color rendering. J.C. uses this lens much more than he would have thought since he already had a 70-200 zoom, (which he now no longer needs).

AGT likes the sharpness, even when used wide open. He also likes the somewhat lighter weight compared to zoom lenses. He also loves the bokeh, or background blurring in order to enhance the main subject.

R.Y. reports that the 135mm is very sharp at F2, and even sharper at F2.5. He feels that zoom lenses have to be F/5.6 or F/8 in order to match this example.

A.I. loves the fact that this unit weighs less than comparable units, and that it is so solidly built. He notes that it works great when taking portraits of people. The lens cap is somewhat hard to remove if the hood is being used.

V.R. reports that the bokeh produced by this lens is the best he has ever seen, by a wide margin. It renders backgrounds buttery, creamy smooth. He believes it should be entered into the Photography Hall of Fame. He actually rates it "6" out of 5.

T.T. says that this example is sharper than any other Canon prime lens, which is saying something. Great build quality is immediately evident. It is less obtrusive for portrait shots in the real world as it is a relatively small device.

Very High End DSLR for Excellent Photography

More Owner Reports

N.K. reports that this unit helps photographers capture great hand-held shots, those once in a lifetime opportunities. Because it is so fast, the flash is often not needed. He thinks that the weight is excellent, much more agreeable than the heavier zoom units. The sharpness is amazing and N.K. says that he uses it with Kenko extension tubes for macro shooting. These are excellent at cutting the focus range to as short as 1 foot. Despite extension tubes being highly demanding of the lens, the 135L works very well with them.

M.O. likes the fact that the 135 is sharper than the 70-200 F/2.8 zoom. It's also 1/2 the size and weight, and faster. Best of all, this unit is priced $1300 less.

N.D. reports that the 135 is able to capture great images of football players 75 yards away while shooting hand-held. He also reports that the images are tack sharp.

A.A. says that the 135 is, bar none, the "Ultimate" lens. Sharp and amazing photos. He would not give this one up for any other unit.

J.J. says that the 135 is absolutely stunning. Great bokeh and sharpness. You must be careful with the focus. He rates it as many stars as possible as it is his favorite lens, with no comparables.

H.K. says that the lens is amazing. A wedding photographer, she is amazed by the ability of this one to capture great shots in low-lit receptions. It's also amazingly light compared to other units, which is great for pros who have to take a lot of shots.

N.N. says that it's a great unit. He doesn't miss the image stabilization since the optics are so fast. He says that this "L" glass is the best Canon lens he has ever tried.

M.S. says that sharpness is excellent in all shooting circumstances. The Bokeh is beautiful. The images are only slightly degraded when used with the 1.4x multiplier.

J.R. loves the sharp images that this produces, especially compared to Sigma examples. He loves the clarity and sharpness, even at F/2. This was excellent on his cropped T3i, but is far better on his new 6D. J.R. says that it can suffer from chromatic aberation in some cases. This can be fixed in post processing using Lightroom.

D.L. says that the 135 allows better candid shooting than the 85mm. Since the focal length is longer, people aren't aware that you are photographing them