Canon Lenses: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Canon lenses are some of the best in the world. There are many different shapes and sizes, but the goods news is that for the most part, finding the right lens for one’s Canon DSLR is usually pretty easy. Here we go over some basic facts about Canon lenses, and give you plenty of examples to look at. If your budget is on the affordable side, however, please check out our best cheap Canon lenses; hopefully you will find a lens that works for your needs there.

1. L–Series Lenses Are Canon’s Professional Lineup

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Canon’s L–series lenses are available both for the now obsolete F-mount cameras and its current EF mount series (explained more in sections 2 and 3) and are identifiable by their bright red ring around the focus ring. Most models are made to weather the elements, literally, with dust- and water-resistant seals for extreme outdoor photography. L–series lenses feature higher-end optics that include glass elements that allow for very little blur or dispersions, and often have an option for wider aperture than lower-end lens models. You’ll see professional sports photographers using L-series lens that are white, while shorter L-series lenses are black; this is to help mitigate negative effects of the sun on telephoto equipment as the white color is less likely to absorb heat.

One of the most versatile L-series lenses is the 24-105mm f4

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There’s a few reasons why this lens is insanely popular. For one, at $999, it’s among the cheaper L series lenses. While it is a bit on the slow side at f4, since the aperture doesn’t shift when zooming in, it’s a great lens for video use. Another huge perk here: 24-105 is a splendid range, guaranteeing solid wide angle looks, and a decent flexibility for telephoto shots.

Price: $999

Buy the 24-105mm f4 lens here

Another legendary L-series lens is the 50mm f1.2

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This Canon L series lens is a knockout for those looking for the utmost in sharpness and the creamiest of creamy bokeh. Wide open at f1.2, it has a dreamy, soft look to it, ideal for portraiture. At f2.8, it’s so sharp it almost hurts– but in a good way. Another great benefit of this lens is that for video shooting, it allows one to capture as much light as possible. Some people even use this lens on a camera like the GH4 or GH5 because it can be used wide open without such shallow depth of field (this is because the GH series has a small sensor). While the lens is prime (meaning it can’t zoom), it takes such great images and footage, one won’t mind moving to capture their subjects with its unreal optics.

Price: $1,299

Buy the 50mm f 1.2 lens here

In between these two lenses is the amazing 24-70mm f2.8l II

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What it lacks in the zoom range of the 24 -105mm, this lens more than makes up for it with its fast speed of f2.8 and tight sharpness. Images look tack sharp even wide open. It’s reasonably versatility for zooming, yet can also the deliver the goods when it comes to portraiture and other shots that require bokeh. Users love how quiet it is, but most just can’t get over how sharp it is.

Price: $1,699 (11 percent off MSRP)

Buy the 24-70mm f2.8l II lens here

See more Canon L-series lenses on Amazon

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2. There are Obsolete Types of Canon Lens Mounts

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Canon makes five different types of lens mounts: the EF, the EF–M, the EF–S, the FD, and the FL. The EF mount is the only lens mount commercially viable today, but film buffs looking for cheap equipment may opt to seek out the retired F-line. The EF mount was introduced in 1987, ostensibly as a way to update to autofocus technology. Standard DSLR models come with EF lenses, and Canon has long been an industry leader in beginner camera kits. If you’re just foraying into digital photography we recommend buying a full kit to get started and reconsidering your lens later: a high-end lens on a lower-end body will always produce better images than a low-end lens on a higher-end body. Despite that, working with the included 18–55mm lens in a DSLR kit is a great way to get started.

Buy a Canon DSLR starter kit here

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3. Not All EF Lenses Work on Canon Bodies

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Canon’s Electro–Focus lens series is standard on all its EOS cameras. EF lenses have an electric motor built into the lens itself, and there is no mechanical communication between the camera and the lens. It gets a bit confusing, but not all EF lenses will attach to all Canon bodies, unlike some of Canon’s competitors. EF-S lenses, for example, cannot be mounted on EF bodies, but EF lenses CAN be mounted on EF-S bodies. When Canon introduced its mirrorless interchangeable lens camera line, an EF lens was specially manufactured to accompany it—the EF-M. If you want to mount your EF or EF-S lens on a mirrorless body, you must first purchase a mount adapter.

Compare Canon EF lenses here

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4. EF Lenses Have Several Key Features

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Canon is known for user-friendly interfaces and features, and its EF lens line is no exception. EF lenses are easy to mount, even for absolute beginners, with their lens mount index, which is usually a raised red dot on the camera body that clicks into place with a white square dot on the lens. Most EF lenses have a distance scale window, which allows the photographer greater control when it comes to choosing what will be in focus in the lens’ reach. A photographer has the option of choosing automatic or manual focus using an EF lens, and this is easily changed by a toggle switch on the lens ring. EF lenses also feature a tripod collar, image stabilization mode, and a soft focus ring.

Buy EF lenses with image stabilization

5. Canon’s EF Mount Is Easily Compatible With Other Lenses

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Canon’s EF mount can be used by a photographer to easily work with several other types of lenses, including Nikon’s F-mount series. The EF mount is easily adaptable due to its short flange focal distance and its large diameter; when using an adapter on other lens types the lens can lose its ability to focus at infinite lengths. Additionally, Canon’s EF mount is automatically compatible with other lenses form Carl Zeiss, Tokina, and Tamron, among others, though oftentimes there will be compatibility issues between a newer body and an older lens.

Buy Canon lens adapters here

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