Canon makes many different lenses for its own cameras, but it is not the only option. Independent lens manufacturers like Sigma, Tamron, Tokina, and others make lenses that fit Canon cameras, and these are often cheaper to buy and can fill a need where there are no matching Canon lenses.
For example, we just reviewed the Sigma 30mm f / 1.4 DC DN | C, which now comes in a version to fit Canon EOS M cameras. This is a very affordable prime lens with a fast maximum aperture of f / 1.4 and just what the EOS M range needs.
There are many decisions, then! We will explain the different types of lenses and what they are for, and if you already know what type of lens you want, you can go directly to that section of our guide using the navigation links in this article.
Popular lenses to get
1) Telephoto zoom: You need them for sports and wildlife photography, when you have to photograph your subjects from a distance.
2) Ultra wide-angle zoom: Sometimes it is necessary to compress panoramic views in the frame of the image, narrow streets or small interior spaces.
3) Better standard zoom: The kit lenses you get with Canon cameras are fine to start with, but you can get better image quality, a wider maximum aperture, or a longer zoom range.
4) Macro lens: This will allow you to get close to small subjects and capture them in sharp detail. Macro lenses are a huge favorite among nature photographers.
5) Portrait lens: If you prefer people to be wrong, a ‘portrait’ lens will give you the perfect working distance for flattering functions and background blur.
Check the compatibility of your camera
You need to make sure you get the right lens for your camera, so here’s a quick guide:
1) Canon EOS M mirrorless cameras use a different lens mount for EOS DSLRs. You can get an adapter to use DSLR lenses on these cameras, but for the most part you should stick to EOS M lenses.
2) Even with Canon DSLRs there are differences. Canon full-frame cameras use Canon’s EF mount, but less expensive APS-C models use a slightly different EF-S mount. You can use full-frame EF lenses on both cameras, but smaller-format EF-S lenses cannot be used on full-frame cameras.
3) There is also the new Canon EOS R system with its own RF lens mount. This is still relatively new and we will cover it in a separate guide.
If you have bought a Canon camera, it is natural to buy Canon lenses to go with it. However, in many cases, lenses from independent manufacturers offer just as good or even better performance, and are often considerably less expensive. Read on to discover our top recommendations across all top categories.