Canon make some great DSLR cameras, and Canon users are very lucky because there are some superb lenses to go with them. Of course, all lenses are a compromise – the perfect lens does not exist, that will shoot all types of photography brilliantly. Kit lenses – the manufacturers generalist lenses – are usually pretty good at many styles, but they aren’t excellent at all of them. For example, a sports lens may not necessarily be great for landscapes. And then the cost is also a factor, which can affect the quality of the image and the ease of use of the lens. Of course Canon make a series of different lenses for different DSLRs – both full frame and crop frame. Canon users are lucky because their full frame lenses will also work on their crop frame cameras.
In terms of landscape photography, a Canon user has a wide selection of choices, which is quite fortunate because landscape involves patience and the pursuit of perfection. the best landscape photography brings to mind a sense of time and place, allowing the viewer to interact with the image and its expanse and detail. This means that the photographer needs to understand perspective and composition, so that their picture can tell the intended story. Very often, the photographer will have studied the scene well beforehand, making sure that all the conditions are just right. So, I suggest that the best canon lenses for landscape photographer are:
The canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens, which is really good for architecture and landscapes. It is also light and cheap, which makes it a really good starter lens of those who want to photograph the outdoors.
A good prime lens is the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens. This is a super sharp lens and is a really useful lens to have in your bag. There is some distortion, but nothing that can’t be corrected in editing software.
I also really like the Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 lens. It is super sharp at f8 and, whilst some people might baulk at having to use a manual focus lens, I find it really complements all the technology I have to work with and makes me think more about the content of the picture.
Action and sports photography is all about capturing the moment. Every second counts and you only have one chance to get the shot. Of course, practice does make perfect but having a good fast lens will certainly help. The first choice for nearly every sports photographer would be the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens. This lens is excellent in the areas that matter – fast autofocus, pin sharp and great in low light. However, it is quite heavy, so you would probably be working with a monopod. This L lens is designed for full frame Canons, but it works very well on a crop frame, with that extra length taking it up to 320mm.
Another full frame lens is the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM. This is a great lens for use in good light and the image quality is superb. This is a really good lens for wildlife photography, especially on a crop frame camera, as the length reaches 640mm.
If you want to be the boss of action photography, you might want to think about the Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports lens. It looks like a bazooka and has about the same impact. Despite the weight – 3 kilograms – it produces wonderfully sharp images and has very fast autofocus.
When you are looking at getting a decent travel lens, you need to think about more than just image quality. How big is it and how versatile, should also be your considerations. because if you are going to take travel pictures, you will be… traveling, and unless you have some willing sherpas, you will be carrying everything around yourself. You should be thinking about two lenses, ideally. A fast prime, and a versatile walk-around zoom lens. The zoom lengths you should be looking at should be around 30-55mm, which are great for street photography, architecture pictures and landscapes.
One of the best Canon lenses out there at the moment is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens. It is a great fast lens that produces excellent images. It is also weather-sealed which is useful if you intend to go beyond the city limits.
The Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR Di LD lens, is also a really good travel lens. It offers a nice, wide angle, very sharp images and is really good in low light.
And the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens is a really popular lens with travel photographers, because it gives you that extra reach.
And your prime lens? Well look no further than the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens. This nifty fifty is just fab, and will fit into your pocket too.
Portrait photographers have to shoot all kinds of pictures, from family style group shots to corporate head-shots. And anyone who has taken pictures of people on a professional basis will know how hard that can be. Because the purpose of a portrait is to reveal something about the subject – their character and personality. If you fail to do that, then they might as well have popped down the Photo-Me machine at the post office. Ideally, the best length for a portrait lens is around 80mm and so Canon crop frame cameras have something of an advantage here because the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens offers 80mm on and APS-c camera, which is perfect. However, if you have a full frame camera, or would just like a little extra length, then the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens is an excellent portrait lens. The f1.8 aperture is ideal for shallow depth of field work that lets the subject really stand out against the background. It is also very sharp, with fast autofocus. And there is no need to go any further, because whilst Sigma and Tamron produce very good 85mm lenses, neither are as good as this Canon lens.
Jeremy Bayston has created a terrific informative course on Canon Lenses. Click here for a free preview of the course.
Jeremy Bayston is a professional photographer and videographer and has 30 years experience as a picture editor for national newspapers in the UK. He has just launched his Superb Canon DSLR lens course, which offers over 4 hours of information about lenses for Canon DSLR cameras and features some amazing pictures you can take with them. Designed for beginners and enthusiasts, if you are looking to buy a new lens for your DSLR camera, then this canon lens course is for you.