If you dabble in photography, chances are you own a Canon camera. Canon’s imaging products are extremely popular — they hold a cumulative 70% of the market share in the global photography industry, alongside products from the Sony Group Corporation. This popularity stems from their dedication to quality and expertise in manufacturing cameras for photographers of all kinds and levels of expertise, from amateurs who want to create memorable photo books to photojournalists of top newspapers. Owning a Canon product means possessing a powerful tool for capturing photos, and you’ll want to make sure you’re maximizing yours to its fullest potential.
One way to do so is with the right lens — the most important part of the camera in determining the image quality of your photograph. While it’s your camera’s sensors that record the shot, it’s the lens that focuses the light your camera shoots into the image that you desire.
Wondering which lens best suits your needs? Here are a few things to consider when finding one to use with your Canon camera.
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The first step is to consider what kind of lens is compatible with the camera you already have. Many cameras are designed for different purposes, and if you have a special type of camera, you’ll need to research what lens best suits it. Most likely, however, you have a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera or a mirrorless camera, both of which are encompassed by various models in Canon’s EOS series.
DSLRs use a reflex mirror called a prism to reflect light into an optical viewfinder, which you can then use to see the exact image you will capture. When you take a picture and release the shutter, the mirror in the camera slides out of the way, allowing the light to reach the image sensor. Canon DSLR camera lenses are built to optimize this process.
Typically, DSLR cameras are larger than their mirrorless counterparts, and the size of their mounts means they’re compatible with a wide range of lenses. One great choice for everyday photography is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. It boasts a versatile 50mm focal length you can use for anything from fashion to product photography, as well as an ultra-wide aperture that creates great background blurs.
One reason mirrorless lenses have become more popular is that you can use lenses to emulate the features of a DSLR. Mirrorless camera lenses have advanced electronic contract points such as autofocusing, enhanced image stabilization, and aperture adjustment. These lenses’ continuously expanding features make them worthy competitors of their DSLR rivals. The Canon RF 24-70mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM is an excellent example. Its f/2.8 aperture renders out distracting background details. It also has an ideal 24-70mm focal length range that can capture the full scope of everything from cityscapes to environmental portraits in great detail.
The kind of photography you want to undertake
Another consideration for your ideal Canon camera lens is the type of photography you wish to engage in. Different photography genres have varying standards, so reviewing those conventions is important before selecting your lens. Here’s an overview of a few popular genres — and the best Canon lenses that work for them — to get you started.
Self-portraiture is a highly effective way to experiment with and refine photography techniques. Practicing this type of photography will help you understand the perspective of your clients and models, generate an essential toolkit for flattering shots and poses, and identify your own unique approach to portrait-taking. For this, you might want to use a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.
While not exactly a traditional choice, a 24mm lens gives you the space to showcase gorgeous surroundings and create an eye-catching character that interacts with them. You’ll be able to fine-tune the art of harmonizing the environment with your subject. Additionally, you can do more than just use those skills to create lovely pictures of yourself — Canon cameras are also equipped with the ability to be easily utilized as a webcam, so you can use this lens to look particularly good in Zoom meetings.
Wedding photography is the art of capturing pictures during one of the most important events of a couple’s lives: their nuptials. As a wedding photographer, you’ll be evaluated on your photography style, if your fees are justified and your interpersonal skills. You’ll capture unrepeatable moments, such as the bride’s walk down the aisle, the vows, and the first kiss—with the added pressure of knowing that your photographs will be the couple’s prized possessions in the years to come. Because of this, you’ll need to get a multitude of difficult shots right on the first try and have the equipment that gives you the best chance to do so. For this, one piece of equipment you’ll want to check out is the Canon RF 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USMl lens.
It has optical image stabilization with up to five stops of shake correction—so no unwanted blurriness will mar your couple’s happiest moments. Its high-speed autofocus will help you catch soft micro-expressions of love and tenderness, while the nine-blade aperture system can produce a gorgeous first portrait with sharp silhouettes and a wonderfully hazy background.
Sports photography is an exciting field where you can get up close and personal with the vibrant action of sporting events. You’ll have the opportunity to capture behind-the-scenes material of athletes, strategic team huddles, and the high-energy tension of an actual game. Because of this, you have to get used to taking shots in the electric heat of the moment—and you need to be extremely precise about what you and your camera are focusing on. This is where the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Zoom lens can help.
Its f/2.8 maximum aperture grants it the shutter speed to snatch lightning-fast shots, the capability to capture subjects even in indoor arenas with low lighting, and a shallow depth of field that can accentuate particular subjects. The lens’ coating is also specifically designed to reduce ghosting and lens flare — so you’ll have consistently sharp photos of every movement made on the playing field.
How much you’re willing to spend
Now that you’ve considered your camera’s compatibility and the kind of photography genre you want to explore, you can now consider the most practical aspect of choosing your lens: the price. While there are many exciting lenses you might want to try out, you have to be realistic with your budget—it can be the determining factor between whether you choose an affordable Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM (approx. price $199) or a deluxe Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM (approx. price $2,299 new or $1,900 used).
At the same time, you don’t have to swear off attaining the best equipment possible for your craft. If you’ve identified the lens you’re convinced will take your photography to the next level but don’t have the means to purchase it right now, you can create a savings plan. Put away as much money as possible every month to gradually grow towards the goal of owning premium Canon equipment and support this process by selling old equipment after your capabilities have advanced beyond them. You can also buy your Canon gear second-hand.
Your lens is one of the most vital pieces of equipment you’ll need — so regardless of whether you’re taking up photography as a hobby or profession, make sure you invest in the right one for your Canon camera. Whether you are an amateur Canon photographer or a veteran, we hope the above guide proves useful.