Tech

Canon Lenses: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

1. 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


2. 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


3. 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


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

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One great thing about Canon’s EF mount is that with a relatively inexpensive adapter, a photographer has the opportunity 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


5. 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 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.

Buy Canon L-series lenses here


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