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Mark Sincevich

Professional Photography Expert

Canon Lenses

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You’ve picked your Canon DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera and you would like to know the best lens or lenses to accompany your purchase. Let me start by saying it’s not if you are going to purchase another digital camera, its when. Digital cameras will last about three to five years, but your lenses can last fifteen to twenty years or more as long as you take care of them. Furthermore, your lenses are your most important investment in your photography business or hobby. I like to think of camera lenses like speakers for a stereo system. It always pays to get great quality speakers, as they will allow your stereo to sound better. And when you have great quality lenses for your DSLR, your photographs will be sharper and more impressive.

Canon manufactures each lens listed in the Best of the Best category. I arranged the lenses as the top five you would want to have if you were a professional or an aspiring amateur wanting the best equipment. There is a tie for the Best of the Best Lenses. The Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 16-35mm f/2.8L is going to be one of your most widely used wide-angle zoom lenses for events and for scenery. It is a super-fast lens (i.e. the low number aperture) has Canon’s silent motor providing silent auto focus operation called USM. All of the "L" lenses deliver optical performance equal to similar fixed focal lengths lenses. In fact, you always want to get the fastest lens (i.e. the lower number aperture) you can afford. The best is when your aperture is the same low number throughout the range of operation. This makes a huge difference in low light situations, which is where you often make the best photographs.

The Canon Zoom Telephoto 70-200mm f/2.8 IS EF-USM is the lens that ties with the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8. This is a great zoom lens for events taking place further away such as those on a stage or when you are in the audience and away from the action. The addition of the IS (image stabilization) minimizes the effects of camera shake, allowing handheld shooting at up to four shutter speeds slower than what otherwise would be possible. This allows for a higher percentage of sharper images (without noticeable blurriness). However, you still need to hold the camera steady in low light situations with either a monopod or better yet, a tripod. A few lenses in the Best of the Best category have Internal Focusing (IF) design. When a lens has the IF designation, it allows for faster and smoother auto focusing. It also eliminates barrel length distortion so you will have consistent handling. The 70-200mm lens has a special feature that turns off the image stabilization when connected to a tripod. The ED designation on a lens means Extra-low Dispersion glass elements for superior sharpness and color correction.

You will notice I have not recommended any Canon (digital-only) lenses for the Best of the Best category. While these lenses are lighter than the ones listed, they do not work in Canon film cameras nor do they work in Canon full-frame sensor digital cameras such as the 5D. Plus, in extreme conditions, you will want the flexibility of using a film camera and any one of these lenses will work very well. Remember when you use any Canon DSLR; you will be faced with a lens multiplication factor of 1.6x (except on the Canon 5D and the Canon Mark II and III bodies). Therefore, the Canon 50mm normal lens will become a 80mm lens. Also, never ever purchase a kit lens, as these are inferior lenses.

Best Canon Digital Camera Lenses by Mark Sincevich

The Best You Can Get

  • Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 16-35mm

    Mark says: Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 16-35mm f/2.8L EF-USM is going to be one of your most widely used wide-angle zoom lenses for events and for scenery. It is a super-fast lens (i.e. the low number aperture) for lower light operation and has Canon’s USM silent motor providing silent auto focus operation.


    • Aperture: f/2.8
    • Lens Type: EF-USM
    • Vibration Reduction: no
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: yes
    • Filter Size: 82mm
  • Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-200mm IS

    Mark says: Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS EF-USM is the lens that ties with the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8. This is a great zoom lens for events taking place further away such as those on a stage or when you are in the audience and away from the action. The addition of the IS (image stabilization) minimizes the effects of camera shake, allowing handheld shooting at up to FOUR shutter speeds slower than what otherwise would be possible. This allows for a higher percentage of sharper images (without noticeable blurriness). This lens is tied for first place.


    • Aperture: f/2.8
    • Lens Type: EF-USM
    • Vibration Reduction: yes
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: yes
    • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Canon Super Wide Angle EF 14mm

    Mark says: Canon Super Wide Angle EF 14mm f/2.8 is a great super wide-angle lens. It is the ideal lens for architectural work allowing small spaces to look much larger. It is optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness, has two EF (extra-low dispersion) glass elements for superior sharpness and color correction. Due to the convex shape of the lens, it cannot take a UV filter.


    • Aperture: f/2.8L
    • Lens Type: EF
    • Vibration Reduction: no
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: yes
    • Filter Size: n/a
  • Canon Wide Angle Tilt Shift TS-E 24mm

    Mark says: The Canon Wide Angle Tilt Shift TS-E 24mm f/3.5L perspective control lens is a must-have necessity for an architectural photographer or any photographer interested in maintaining a building or an objects perspective such as found in nature. This lens has the ability to tilt, shift and rotate. The floating optical system corrects distortion and the lens has a high image quality.


    • Aperture: f/3.5L
    • Lens Type: TS-E
    • Vibration Reduction: no
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: yes
    • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Canon Macro Photo MP-E 65mm

    Mark says: The Canon Macro Photo MP-E 65mm f/2.8 lens is absolutely necessary for product photography or for when you want to take photographs of objects at a close distance. The 65mm lens is also ideal for copy or general photography and can be used in conjunction with your DSLR for lower light situations. It provides continuous auto focus from infinity to life-size (1:1 reproduction ratio). It features extra-low dispersion (EF) glass and Internal Focusing (IF) for faster and smoother operation.


    • Aperture: f/2.8
    • Lens Type: EF-USM
    • Vibration Reduction: no
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: yes
    • Filter Size: 58mm

You will be happy with any of these

  • Canon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 24-85mm

    Mark says: The Canon Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 is a great all-around lens in the mid-range category. The 24-85mm is a moderately fast lens at its widest angle, 24mm and goes to f/4.5 when you zoom the lens to 85mm. However, you will need to have a super wide-angle lens to cover areas below 24mm and a telephoto zoom lens to cover areas above 85mm. It features Canon’s USM silent motor operation.


    • Aperture: f/3.5 - 4.5
    • Lens Type: EF-USM
    • Vibration Reduction: no
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: no
    • Filter Size: 67mm
  • Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-300mm IS

    Mark says: The Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-300mm IS (Image Stabilization) f/4.5-5.6 lens is ideal for covering events from a distance or for stage performances. The addition of the IS minimizes the effects of camera shake, allowing handheld shooting at up to FOUR shutter speeds slower than what otherwise would be possible. This allows for a higher percentage of sharper images (without noticeable blurriness).


    • Aperture: f/4.5 - 5.6
    • Lens Type: EF-USM
    • Vibration Reduction: yes
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: no
    • Filter Size: 58mm
  • Canon Normal EF 50mm

    Mark says: The Canon Normal EF 50 mm f/1.4 is an essential lens for low light or some portrait photography with available light. It is the fastest and widest-angle lens Canon makes for the money and makes a great addition between a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens. It is also a good lens for travel and provides distortion-free images with superb resolution and color rendition.


    • Aperture: f/1.4
    • Lens Type: EF
    • Vibration Reduction: no
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: no
    • Filter Size: 58mm
  • Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 20-35mm

    Mark says: The Canon Zoom Super Wide Angle EF 20-35mm f/43.5-4.5 lens is a must-have lens to cover the super wide-angle category. When using this lens with your Canon Digital Rebel or Canon 20D, 30D or 40D DSLR, it becomes an 22-56 mm lens due to the smaller sensor size in some of the Canon DSLRs. It has two Extra-low distortion (EF) glass elements for superior sharpness and color correction, Canon’s USM silent wave motor auto focus operation and Internal Focusing (IF) design for smoother and faster operation.


    • Aperture: f/3.5-4.5
    • Lens Type: EF-USM
    • Vibration Reduction: no
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: yes
    • Filter Size: 77mm
  • Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-200mm IS

    Mark says: The Canon Zoom Telephoto EF 70-200mm f/4L IS (image stabilization) lens is a required lens for low light situations such as photographing in available light for stage performances or other events. The addition of IS allows for FOUR extra stops! It is a high-performance lens for sports and portraits and holds its moderately fast f/4 aperture over the entire range of focal lengths. It features Canon’s USM silent motor operation and Canon’s “L” lenses deliver optical performance equal to similar fixed focal lengths lenses.


    • Aperture: f/4L
    • Lens Type: EF-USM
    • Vibration Reduction: yes
    • Manual/Auto Focus Mode: yes
    • Filter Size: 67mm

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