The best Canon lenses

If you're looking for a Canon lens for your camera, then check out our expert guide to the best Canon lenses you can buy today

The best Canon camera lenses

by Kirk Schwarz |
Updated on

Canon. Not just Captain Jack Sparrow’s best friend, but also consistently the number one camera company in terms of sales. You don’t need me telling you that though, you’re here looking for lenses, so you’ve probably already invested in a nice new shiny Canon camera and are chomping at the photographic bit to get out there and shoot some stunning scenes.

However, always remember, a great camera is nothing without glass; and these phenomenal optics are without question going to get you the best image quality from your shooter.

Related: Everything you need to know about camera lenses

There’s an option for every mount, from the long-surviving EF/EF-S mount, to the APS-C mirrorless EF-M range and the brand-new EOS R system. We take a look at ultra-wide zooms to appease landscape shooters, telephoto lenses for action, adventure and portrait lovers and everything in between.

Whatever your predilection, there’s an optic here that will suit your job down to a tee and help you to create gold in every shot. We also have something to cater for every budget, starting with the humble hero, the nifty fifty f/1.8 – a staple in every beginner’s kit bag. From there we traverse all possibilities until we get to the pinnacle of mirrorless tech, the pricey RF 28-70mm f/2. Strap in and come along for the ride.


The best Canon lenses

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 USM1 of 8

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 USM

It's no surprise to see this lens on the list. The humble nifty fifty is the first lens most of us will buy to supplement our arsenal. It comes with an ultra-fast f/1.8 aperture that allows you to create background blur with ease. The STM stepping motor allows for quick autofocus and the lightweight plastic build keeps it compact and ultra-portable. It's great value for money for full-frame and APS-C users who will get an 80mm effective focal length.Want to know more? Read our full review of the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 USM.

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM2 of 8

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

The ultimate in pro-walkabout lenses, this extremely versatile zoom features a durable design and weather-sealing. It gives you a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout the focal range and is extremely sharp, especially when paired with the full frame Canon 6D MkII or 5D MkIV. The USM is an extremely quick and accurate focus motor, and you'll find few 24-70mm optics can outperform in terms of sharpness or durability.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM3 of 8

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

Stepping in to take the torch from the previous 70mm, this telephoto zoom shares the fast aperture and ultra-rugged design quality. It comes in the classic Canon white and looks every inch the business. It's sharp, quick to focus and even comes with 3.5 stops of optical stabilisation to give you the edge in low-light or when shooting moving subjects.

Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM4 of 8

Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM

Canon's mirrorless M range lens line-up is, to put it bluntly, a bit lacking. Fortunately, this gem is a real standout optic thanks to its ultra-fast bright f/1.4 aperture and 52mm effective focal length. It's extremely compact, weighs a mere 235g and is built with travel in mind. If you're looking for a low-light ninja in the EF-M range, this is the best Canon has to offer.

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM5 of 8

Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM

One of the finest portrait lenses on any mount, Canon's take on the 85mm f/1.4 is a belter from the off. You get that ultra-fast f/1.4 aperture that melts bokeh in the out of focus areas. It has four stops of optical image stabilisation which doubles up to help shooting in low-light and helps to offset the hefty 950g weight. It may be pricey, but dear lord is it as sharp as it is costly.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM6 of 8

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

Canon's legendary ultra-wide angle zoom rounds off the holy trinity of lenses that covers 16-200mm. It's super-sharp in both the centre and corners, comes with a rugged weather-sealed design and close 28cm close focusing distance. It's ideal for landscape photography and even manages to capture stunning astro shots. It features one of the best optical arrangements and is worthy of the title of 'L' lens.

Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM7 of 8

Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM

Like a 24-70mm on steroids, this is the ultimate in concept lenses come to life. It comes with a faster than you average f/2, beautiful design and fast and silent USM focusing motor. There's a close focusing distance of 28cm, bulky 1630g heft and full weather sealing. The optical quality is absolutely stunning and it may be the best lens Canon has ever created.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro8 of 8

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro

Finally we come to Canon's telephoto macro lens. It features a fast f/2.8 aperture for the ultimate in shallow depth-of-field. There's a four-stop hybrid image stabilisation system, 1:1 reproduction ratio for life-size macro and focus limiting switch to help cut down on focusing time. It's water and dust resistant, relatively light at 625g and very sharp across the frame. If you want to get intimate with your subject, this is the best on Canon's roster. Want to know more? Read our concise review of the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lens.

Discover more tried and tested Canon reviews:

Read our concise reviews on the best Canon lenses available. From pros and cons to a verdict, we reveal all.

Reviewed: Canon EF 135mm F/2L USM

Reviewed: Canon EF-S 55-250mm F/4-5.6 IS STM

Canon EOS R6 review: A proper piece of kit

Canon EOS M50 MkII review: best for beginners

Reviewed: Canon EF 50mm F/1.4 USM

Kirk Schwarz is one of our resident tech experts. A tech-addicted photographer with more than a decade's experience, Kirk's used to putting new gear through extreme field-testing.

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