The Best Canon EF Lenses

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This is a list of my favorite Canon EF lenses. I know when I first started out in photography, I didn’t know what each lens was used for. Each lens has a specific purpose. Hopefully this article will help you find your perfect match!

What are EF lenses?

This is a type of Canon Lens. EF stands for “Electro-Focus”. The EF lens mount is the standard lens mount for Canon EOS cameras.

There are other Canon lens types such as RF, EF-M & EF-S. You want to make sure you get the correct lens type for your camera or else you can damage your camera mirror or electrical contacts. Here is a link from Canon showing you an easy way to determine your lens type.

I have a camera that takes EF lenses. I started accumulating my gear one lens at a time. If you don’t already know, lenses can be quite expensive. There are basically 3 tiers of lenses for most focal lengths. The quality goes from “okay” to “good” to “best”.

If you are serious about photography & know you are going to be doing it for a long time, definitely go with the “best”. This is what the professionals use.

The best Canon EF lenses are easily distinguishable. They have a red ring around them. They are called L lenses. These lenses are designed for professional use and are built to the highest standards. They are more superior and weather proof than the lenses in the lower tiers.

camera lenses

Many experienced photographers say your lens quality is more important than your camera body. You want the sharpest images you can get, and that is what these higher end lenses give you. Obviously this isn’t the case if you have the cheapest DSLR on the market.

Picture it like this, your lens is like your camera’s glasses. If it is a lower end lens, it won’t be as good quality. Your camera’s “vision” won’t be the sharpest it can be, and this will show in your photographs. You want the sharpest “vision” for your camera.

Photo of my eye taken with Macro lens

One good thing is that lenses don’t lose too much value if you are going to resell. Just take a look on sale sites and they are still going for a decent amount of money if it is a good lens.

Another way to spot a good lens is a low number behind the letter F. For example there are lenses with F/1.2 , F/4 , F/8 etc. The lower the number, the better. This is your aperture. This controls how much light enters your camera. Ever see an image with a beautiful blurry background? That is taken with a low aperture or sometimes a zoom lens.

My Gear

The photos shown underneath each lens description were taken by me with that particular lens.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L

https://amzn.to/3oNJDYK

This lens is best known as a “nifty fifty” . If you can only afford one lens, a lot of people would agree that this is the lens to get. This is a very versatile lens that can be used in many different settings. Product photography, portraits, etc. This lens is my “go to” in dark areas. It’s F-Stop of 1.2 allows so much light in! When I first got this lens, I played with the settings and upped the ISO & I could basically see in the dark! I am very happy with this lens. This is also my “go to” when doing photoshoots.

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 IS USM Macro

https://amzn.to/3HEpTzj

Ever see insect photography? Pretty neat, right? Those photos are taken with a macro lens. Ever since I was a little girl I was fascinated with insects. They are like tiny aliens not from this world when you view them up close. This was my first lens I bought. It is so much fun to see every day things up close. Some things are unrecognizable! This lens can also be used as a portrait lens, or even for small product photography.

There are ways to upgrade your macro set up after you get your lens. I also use a focusing rail, diopter, flash, extension tubes, and a tripod.

Focusing Rail

https://amzn.to/3cHSJkg

Diopter

https://amzn.to/3nvUyH7

Flash

https://amzn.to/3HPdcC6

Extension Tubes

https://amzn.to/3HIbvpK

Tripod

https://amzn.to/30L9SXi

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

https://amzn.to/3kRoMT6

This was my first telephoto lens! To be honest, I expected 200mm to have a farther reach than it did. I was just hoping to get closer to the wildlife I was trying to shoot. I can still get beautiful images with this lens though. It makes a wonderful portrait lens!

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Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

https://amzn.to/3CtSWSA

This lens is great for Landscapes and wide angles! This can also take real estate photography. I also use this to film YouTube videos once in a while. It is easy to fit you filming in a small room because of the wide angle.

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My Non-Canon Lenses

Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM

https://amzn.to/30Jnqms

This is an AWESOME telephoto lens that is much more affordable than Canon’s telephoto. This is used for wildlife photography & moon photography. I even bought a teleconverter for it so I can reach even farther! It basically extends your focal length to let you reach distances greater that what the lens can originally do. With the extender, images aren’t the sharpest, but it lets me take amazing shots of the moon! I love taking photos of wildlife with this lens. Definitely worth it.

Sigma Teleconverter

https://amzn.to/3DHhCbB

With teleconverter
Without teleconverter

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Rokinon 12mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Fisheye Lens

https://amzn.to/30AVotb

This was the most recent lens I bought! I love it. Please note, it is manual focus only. This gives a nice fisheye effect. I also use it for astrophotography and landscapes!

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Lens on My Wishlist

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM 

https://amzn.to/3x7O0By

This is the one lens on this list that I do not own yet. I do not have any photo examples of this one. It is on my wish list! This lens has a good range of focal lengths, so this is a versatile lens. It is used for portraits, travel, landscapes, and making videos.

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