My 8 Favorite Inexpensive Canon Lenses

In Gear by Jim Harmer140 Comments

cheap-canon-lenses-adIn the last few years, I have reviewed more lenses than you could possibly imagine.  My photography students are always asking which lens is right for them, so I spend a significant amount of time looking for lenses that offer superior quality at lower price points.  These are the best inexpensive Canon lenses I could find.  There are many others that I'm sure people will mention in the comments, but only 6 could make the cut for this list.

These lenses are the ones that I recommend very often on the Improve Photography Lens Finder.  If you haven't tried my lens finder, you're crazy!!!  I spent thousands of dollars and over a year developing the lens finder.  It basically asks you 5 questions about what lens you want, and then recommends the perfect lens for your situation.  Check out the lens finder here.

I must mention from the outset that I use “the triad” of lenses (explained later), so I'm comparing the lenses in this list against the highest quality lenses in the Canon system at any price.  In all instances I have found these lenses to perform extremely well with Canon L lenses, but for WAY less money.  This is the good stuff–even when compared to the highest quality lenses money can buy.

Also, I must issue a disclaimer that the word “inexpensive” means different things to different people.  I am using the word “inexpensive” to compare these lenses to the top performing Canon L lenses that are generally priced around $2,000.

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 Lens

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a rep from Tamron and spend the day shooting just about all of the lenses in the Tamron lineup.  To be honest, I was not thrilled with most of them.  Most were “acceptable” and one lens was jokingly awful.  I finally couldn't take it anymore and I asked the rep to show me just the one best lens in the Tamron lineup.  He reached for the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8.  Skeptically, I played with it and shot with it for a while.  I was blown away at the quality from this lens.

I found this lens to be extremely close to the sharpness of the $2,400 Canon 24-70mm, and it adds one really impressive feature that the Canon doesn't–it's also a nice macro lens.  For me as a professional photographer, I would definitely take a long hard look at the Tamron 28-75mm before shelling out MORE THAN FOUR TIMES the cost to buy the Canon 24-70.

You can check the current price of this lens on Amazon.


Canon 70-200mm f/4

Before you get lost in your excitement over the price of this Canon lens, notice that the f/stop only goes down to f/4 instead of the much-desired f/2.8 version of this lens (which costs about $2,500 dollars!).

To have an f/4 maximum aperture is not entirely negative; in fact, it gives you a lighter lens than the f/2.8 version with nearly equal optical quality. The fast aperture will give you great results all the way through the lens to the edge of the photo. In fact, many professional photographers who have used the 70-200mm f/2.8 for years are now switching over to this f/4 version to save some money and to lighten their load.  If you haven't used professional lenses before, you may not appreciate just how heavy they are, so saving weight by choosing this f/4 lens is a significant benefit over the $2,500 f/2.8 version of this lens.

This is probably the most popular lens for photographers buying their first professional grade “L” lens (Canon's marker for their professional quality lenses).

There are two 70-200mm f/4 lenses available for the Canon system.  Both are “L” glass, but one has image stabilization and one doesn't.  The image stabilized version is significantly more expensive, but the optical quality is similar between the two versions.

Click here to check the price of the less expensive non-IS version, or else you can click here for the much more expensive version with IS.


Canon 85mm f/1.8 – $335

If I could pick only one prime lens for portrait photography, it would be the 85mm.  There is also an 85mm f/1.2 lens available for the Canon system, but this lens is nearly as good for much less money.

The 85mm focal range allows you to maintain a bit more distance between you and your client. Also, the bokeh in your backgrounds just look silky smooth. You will be amazed at the sustained image quality all the way to the edge of your photos, even with finer detail. When shooting portraits with this 85mm lens, full-frame shooters will see a slight softness around the edges… but nothing you can’t live with.

Check the price of this lens on Amazon.


Canon 100mm f/2

The Canon 100mm f/2 is the twin sister of the 85mm f/1.8 lens mentioned previously, but this one was born 15mm later.  In terms of build quality, value, and sharpness, these lenses are both about equal.

So now the question–which one do I pick?!?!?  My rule is this: if you EVER shoot indoor sports, you want the 100mm f/2.  It's just about as fast and sometimes the extra 15mm can make a real difference for indoor sports.  This is a great option for indoor sports because it is ridiculously fast and is a good focal length for “close” sports where you can get right up to the sidelines like swimming, wrestling, tennis, some basketball games, etc.

Aside from indoor sports, this lens is fantastic for portraits as well.  If you are shooting exclusively portraits, it is difficult to choose between the 85 and the 100.  The features on the face become flatter and more flatterING when shooting with a longer focal length, but photos shot with a slightly shorter focal length have a more intimate feel.  In general, I'd recommend the 100mm for full frame cameras (5D Mark III or 6D, for example) and the 85mm f/1.8 for crop sensor portraits (like the Canon Rebels, 70d, etc.)

Check current prices for the Canon 100mm f/2 on Amazon.


Canon 100mm f/2.8 MACRO Lens

Things just got complicated.  You decided between the 85mm f/1.8 and the 100mm f/2, but now there is a third option with a similar fast aperture and similar focal length.  This one, however, adds macro capabilities which means it can focus very close to the camera.  But this lens is not only for macro photography.  Given it's sharpness, fast aperture, and convenient focal length, it also makes a nice portrait lens.

This lens is the little brother of the Canon 100mm f/2.8 L lens, which is slightly sharper and has better build quality.  But just because there is a more expensive version of this lens does not take away from the value of this excellent and sharp portrait and macro lens.

If you want to do serious macro photography on a budget, then this lens is an excellent option. If however, you really want to do serious portrait photography and it would just be handy to do macro as well, I'd advise you to pick the 100mm f/2 (mentioned above) and simply buy  this close focus filter to add on the lens when you want to occasionally do macro work.

Check the current price of the Canon 100mm macro on Amazon.


Canon 50mm f/1.8 II

Every photographer should own a 50mm f/1.8 lens as your first upgrade from the kit lens that came with your camera.  This lens is significantly sharper than the kit lens, has an extremely fast aperture for blurry backgrounds and shooting in low light, and the price is unbelievably good.

This little guy will just simply astound you at the great quality and stunning images you will get. At the low price, it’s nearly a no-brainer to add this lens to your lineup. This lens maintains great quality all the way to the edge at lower f/stop values. This is a prime lens, so you will have to physically move to zoom in and out and potentially get in your client’s face.

I used the “nifty fifty” (as photographers often call this lens) for several years before investing in uber-expensive pro lenses.  Looking back, this lens is only a tiny bit less sharp than pro lenses, but for me the real benefit of the more expensive lenses is the zoom.  Many photographers love shooting prime lenses such as this, but most of the time I prefer a zoom.

Check the current price of the Canon 50mm f/1.8 on Amazon.


Two more lenses that ALMOST made the list

There are two more lenses that I was extremely tempted to put on this list but resisted because they are a bit too expensive to be called “inexpensive” even though they are much less than other lenses of similar quality.  They are the Canon 24-105mm f/4 lens, which runs about $1,000 and the Canon 200mm f/2.8L, which runs about $850.

The Canon 24-105 is probably the best “walk around” lens in the Canon lens lineup.  It is used by many professional photographers as a street photography and “chase the kids” lens.  It has a reasonably fast aperture, a convenient focal length, and is sharp as a tack.  I just wish it came down in price a couple hundred bucks.

The Canon 200mm f/2.8 L is a marvel of engineering.  For the price, you get a sharp, fast prime lens that would be terrific for shooting indoor sports, longer portraits on a full frame camera, etc.  Highly recommended though if I were spending that much I'd have to figure out how to justify purchasing the 200mm f/2.8 instead of the 70-200mm f/4 for even less money.

One side note…

Just about every professional photographer I know owns the same three Canon lenses: The 16-35mm f/2.8., Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, and the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8.  Total price of these three lenses?  $6,100 (US).  Ouch.  Photographers often refer to these lenses as “The triad,” and the same lens names make up the Nikon triad.

I certainly wouldn't agree that you need these three Canon lenses to be a professional photographer, but I do want to bring out the point that professionals rely on this triad because they are all nearly flawless, fast lenses that cover the entire range of focal length that most photographers need for general photography work.

I want to re-iterate that I do not think the triad of lenses is necessary for photographers to own in order to produce top notch photography.  That's the whole point of this article!  But if you plan to shoot your camera system for many years and you are in a position to invest heavily on lenses, one advantage to these lenses is they generally last a decade or longer with excellent results.  I know many photographers who purchased a 70-200mm seven years ago and who don't feel the need to upgrade to the newer versions because their original is still so good.

Quite frankly, the difference between most of the lenses on this list and the more expensive competitors to these lenses is extremely minor.  I wouldn't put too much stock in what the camera manufacturers want you to think you need to take a nice sharp photo.

About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. Jim travels the world to shoot with readers of Improve Photography in his series of free photography workshops. See his portfolio here.


  1. I’m so glad to see I chose wisely! Granted I did do my homework before I bought each of my five lenses but it’s good to see they are still holding up nicely in the competition after the seven years I’ve been using them.

    I would say if you only have the money for one of these lenses and you do a lot of outdoor nature photography grab that 70-200mm and run with it. It’s got THE most beautiful quality of any of my lenses and I consistently love the results it produces. It is a bokeh-seeker’s dream lens!

    1. The Canon 17-40 f4L is a great lens and way cheaper than the 16-35. Obviously not as fast, but unless you are shooting really dim stuff indoors, at these focal lengths it’s not that much of an issue. It’s very sharp and has all the usual “L” attributes. One of my favourite lenses.

      1. Very good point – I own it and I love it! It’s basically the same focal length on my 5DIII as my 10-22 is on my 7Dll. I purchased it because I had such good luck with the 10-22!

        1. I use a 17-40 f/4 on a 6D for shooting local music shows. It is a stellar lens for what I paid for it. I can get outstanding results even at 1/125.

    2. TheCanon 16-35 f4L is a fantastic lens. Lighter than the 2.8, with IS (good for three stops, give-or-take) and with better glass (sharp as a razor @ f4 and with hardly any flare or ghosting) for considerably less money. And it is flat on the front. So much less hassle.

    3. Hey Dave –
      I think I already posted a blog on this, but let me update. Check out the Canon EF 17-40 f/4L USM lens. It is an amazing lens and new, sells at B&H Photo for $749.00 On eBay, you can find them between $250-$700. I think I paid about $450 for mine in pristine condition. The Canon EF-S 10-22 f/3.5-4.5 is for crop sensor cameras (40D-80D series,) as well as the Rebels (T5, T6, etc). That too, is an amazing lens that sells for $599.00 at B&H and $240 – $600 on eBay. I purchased the 17-40 for my 5DMkIII because I was so happy with the focal length of the 10-22 I have for my 7DMkII. You won’t be disappointed!

  2. I’ve got the tamron 28-75 f 2.8 pentax fit, think it’s a good all round lens.

  3. One that should probably be on the list is the 80-200 F2.8 L by canon. its an older lens.. but its sharp.. its fast… and its and L lens.. and I picked mine up for only 500! the downsides are that it doesn’t have IS.. and you cant use extenders on it. Its pretty HSM ultrasonic.. but still a great buy for the price

    1. I have to agree.The rare older canon 80-200 f.8L lens is an absolutely fabulous lens.It’s nickname is “The Magic Drainpipe”.Many Nikon shooters defected to Canon purely because of this legendary lens.This was my first affordable L lens and i still have it.I also have the 70-200 f4 is usm and the 70-200 f2.8 is usm..Although the three of these lenses are the same focal length they all have there place in my arsenal of L series glass…The bokeh with the 80-200 is to die for.It seems much cooler and more pleasing than the more modern zooms.It maybe because the superb old glass contains lead.The newer models do not.If you can pick up a good copy i am certain you will not be disappointed..Tele converters can be used,just not canon.I have a 2x Kenko specifically for my drainpipe…………………..HAPPY SHOOTING……………………

    2. I am a tad confused. The lenses that are listed …….. are they for FULL FRAME 35mm or CROP SENSOR with a factor of 1.6 (CANON EOS 70D)? For instance the 50mm shown is equal to a 80mm when used on crop sensor – is it not?
      Thanks. Just trying to be certain of the way these lenses are utilized (Full Frame -vs- APS-C)>
      Don / New Mexico

      1. Canon EF lenses can be used on both full frame and crop sensor bodies (6D, 5D series, 1D series, as well as all other Canon DSLR bodies). EF-S lenses can only be used on crop sensor (Rebels, 10D-80D, 7D series). An EF-S lens will not mount on a FF body. As for the crop sensor bodies, there are two distinct markings on the mounting collar. The white square on the lens lines up with the white square on the body. The white squares are only found on EF-S lenses. Only red dots are found on EF lenses. The red dot on the EF lenses align with the red dot on the FF bodies, as well as the red dot on crop sensor bodies. Hope this helps!

  4. Thanks for the article. I have managed to destroy three cheap Canon lenses over the years (18-55, 18-200 and recently the 50mm 1.8 — the 18-200 and 50 were accidental drops). I am looking for a reliable, good build piece of glass that is quick and sharp and not too hard on the wallet.

    I enjoy landscape photography as well as lightning storms, night shots and family portraits. I think I will add the Tamron 28-75 to my list of potential lens along with:

    * Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
    * Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
    * Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8
    * Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM

    I am currently shooting Canon 60D so the wider the lens the better – especially with the crop factor.

  5. You are awesome, I love your practical no nonsense advice. All the things I have bought that you have recommended I have been extremely happy with.

  6. Nice list. When I bought lenses about a year ago I went with the Sigma 24-70 f2.8, a used Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS1 and a Canon 50 f1.4. I didn’t find the 50 f1.4’s price (I think I got it for @$340) to be a deal breaker and I like the more durable feeling construction and weight. I shoot a lot of performing arts (theatre, dance, live bands, etc.) in low light situations so fast lenses are a must. I am waiting to pick up the 16-35 f2.8 and probably the 85 f1.8, but those are down the road a ways.

  7. Great article! Glad I made some good choices! I have the 70-200 f/4; 85 1.8 and the 200 f/2.8-also have the 50 1.4. I have been wanting the Tamron 28-75 for a while now and was wondering about the “macro” part-this would be the push I need to get this lens.

    1. Can owners confirm that the Tamron 28-75 is a Macro-I’m getting conflicting information on this.

      1. Author

        @Karen Wolff – There isn’t any specific “requirement” that must be met for a lens manufacturer to call a lens a macro lens. All the term really means is that you can focus close up and magnify things well. How well? That depends on how hard a company wants to market the product 🙂 The 28-75mm is nothing compared to a dedicated macro lens, but for getting close up shots of the wedding rings or larger insects or flowers, it’s perfect.

        1. I have the Canon 24-105mm lens already. Should I get the Tamron as well or is that basically an overkill and the same thing? Thanks

    2. I have the Tamron 28-75 2.8 and the macro on it is not that great. Yes, you can take photos sort of closely, but you do not have the compression you need for beautiful creamy bokeh like a ring shot taken by Susan Stripling. You’re not going to catch a bee on a flower either. It’s just not macro-enough for me. But it’s a pretty good lens with a bit of annoying chromatic aberration.

  8. Great list Jim! I’ve owned several of these and recently sold my tamron 28-75 2.8 and canon 70-200 f/4 to upgrade to a 2nd member of the triad (used 24-70 2.8), having made the leap to the 70-200 2.8 a while back. Both myself and the friend I sold them to are happy campers 🙂 I’m totally in love with the 85 1.8 and it’s always in my camera bag – a total hoss of a lens! Because of it and my other lenses my poor little 50 1.8 doesn’t get out much anymore 🙂


    Bob Lewis
    Binkdog Photography

  9. Another amazingly good Canon lens is the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM. It’s sharp, has good contrast and color and the IS is very effective. It’s not the fastest lens on the planet, though AF is surprisingly quick. At U$650, it’s a darned good deal.

  10. I REALLY liked your post! Very interesting! 🙂 Pretty useful!
    BUT I have one question. Being on a cropped APS-C sensor, does all the choices up there still make sense ? In fact, I was more thinking about the Tamron 28-75. Isn’t a bit long compared to the kit lens 18-55 ? The other (nice) choices of lens don’t cover the more “wide angle” on the APS-C.

    1. Author

      @Eric Sentere – Good question. In a few relevant spots in the article I did point out where a particular lens would be more suited to an APS-C or full frame sensor but I could have gone more in depth. I wouldn’t really consider the 28-75 a replacement for an 18-55 at all, in fact. They just do different things.

      You also noticed that I didn’t recommend a wide angle lens in this list. Frankly, I’m not real happy with the wide angle lenses available for crop sensor Canon cameras. The 10-22 is not nearly as sharp as it should be and the price is unreasonable for what it is. The Tokina 11-16mm is close, but the durability and sharpness suffer.

  11. Thanks for the list! I’m shopping for a mid-ranged zoom lens. When you said you tried a bunch of Tamron lenses, did it include their highly reviewed 24-70mm f2.8? I’m considering getting that and wondering if the one you recommended was better than this. Or did the 24-70 not come out yet when you tested them?

  12. The Canon 24-105mm f4L is an excellent day-in – day-out workhorse of a lens. I’ve used one for several years and it is remarkably versatile. While not ideal, it is very possible to shoot an entire wedding day start to finish using just that lens, and get excellent results. I would suggest it be considered as a first pro-level lens for photographers entering the profession.

  13. Great article! Glad I made some good choices! I have the 70-200 f/4; 85 1.8 and the 200 f/2.8-also have the 50 1.4. I have been wanting the Tamron 28-75 for a while now and was wondering about the “macro” part-this would be the push I need to

  14. The Canon 24-105mm f4L is an excellent day-in – day-out workhorse of a lens. I’ve used one for several years and it is remarkably versatile. While not ideal, it is very possible to shoot an entire wedding day start to finish using just that lens, and get excellent results. I would suggest it be considered as a first pro-level lens for photographers entering the profession.

  15. Great list Jim! I’ve owned several of these and recently sold my tamron 28-75 2.8 and canon 70-200 f/4 to upgrade to a 2nd member of the triad (used 24-70 2.8), having made the leap to the 70-200 2.8 a while back. Both myself and the friend I sold them to are happy campers 🙂 I’m totally in love with the 85 1.8 and it’s always in my camera bag – a total hoss of a lens! Because of it and my other lenses my poor little 50 1.8 doesn’t get out much anymore 🙂


    Binkdog Photography

  16. Great list! I’d recommend the 40mm/2.8 as an addition to the list. I stopped using my 50/1.8 as the 40 has better colour rendition, is sharper and produces more contrast. It is also more silent, smaller and lighter.
    If you don’t need the extra 1 1/3 stop or the extra 10mm the 40mm is a low cost high performance lens.

    1. Author

      @Marco – Derrick Story also likes the 40mm pancake. I really trust his advice so I almost put it on the list, but when it comes right down to it…. I just don’t find myself shooting in the 40mm range very often. But it looks like the lens itself is great!

  17. Jim, your realistic eye-on-the-wallet approach to everything and well-researched, experienced opinions are always refreshing. I’m a particular fan of your advocacy for the photographer, rather than the industry’s leading retailers. You had me won over as a favorite of mine from day one. A grateful thank you from a Texas photographer!
    Any chance you’re writing one of these for Nikon lenses? I’d be very interested. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family…

  18. Would you recommend the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8, or the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens, for a burgeoning photographer on a very tight budget, starting to get clients calls for portraits? Body is a Canon Rebel Xsi. Or should I hold out for the Tamron AF 90mm f/2.8 I’ve had my eyes on?

  19. If I’m working off of the kit lens (Canon EF-S18-55 f/3.5 & Canon EF-S 55-200 f/4) what would you recommend to start with to move toward the triad? I shoot mostly portraits of children and families.

  20. i have eos3, oes400d, 40d & 5dc. what i use per your recommended focal length ranges:
    1. 28~70/f2.8 #old, but very good if on a tight budget and is able to find a good preloved copy
    2. 70~300/f4~5.6 #a good compromise for a wee bit more range, but as good optically
    3. 85mm f/1.5 helios 40-2 m42 #mf lens, via adapter
    3. 105/f2.5 nikkor ais nikon-f #mf lens, via adapter
    4. 50/f1.4 cz planar & 55/f2.8 makro-pancolar m42 #mf lenses, via adapters

    on what you put in the side note
    5. 17~35/f2.8 #old, but i find it better than 17~40

  21. Hi Jim,

    Thanks for this article! It contains very good information and your attention to detail is very insightful.

    I would like to know more about these or other quality lenses when used on a crop sensor camera such as the 60D.

    Would you make the same recommendations for this type of camera or are there others that are better suited for an APS-C camera?

  22. The Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5-4 is a nice, affordable wide-angle zoom. The one that I have is extremely sharp, and produces excellent images. I should note that I’m not shooting Canon any more, but have moved to Sony. But the 10-20 is basically the same lens no matter the mount.

  23. Hi Jim – Enjoyed the article and the practical perspective that you have provided. I think a serious contender for this list is the Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 DC HSM. At its price point, it can easily challenge many “L” series lenses, but it’s a lot cheaper especially considering that it can maintain such a wide aperture throughout its focal length. This lens has become my go-to lens. The other lens I regularly use is the Sigma 50mm f2.8 Macro. This was my primary lens until I got the 18-35. Obviously, I’m a big fan of Sigma. They make some really good lenses.

  24. I know the pro photographers like f2.8. I have found for my type of shooting, that I use the 17-40/f4, 24-105/f4 IS and the 70-200/f4 IS. If I know that I will be shooting in low light, I have the 50/1.4 and the 100/f2.

  25. The Tokina 12-24 f/4 II is a fabulously sharp lens with less vignetting at the 12 mm. setting than you would think. If I hadn’t bought a full-frame camera I’d still be using it daily. My friend who bought it does.

  26. I’ve used the 70-200mm f4 L series and found it a very very good lens. I’ve now got a 70-200mm 2.8 L IS and to be honest haven’t yet seen were it has the gain over the F4. (You also get the auto-focus to work if you’ve got the 2x Extender II as it won’t on the F4.)

    My favorite knockabout kit setup is a 7D with a Sigma DC 17-70mm f2.8 – 4 HSM

  27. A very good Canon L lens is the 28-70mm. It was the BOSS in it’s time as it was the 1 before they made the 24-70mm. You can get that for only £400 (about $500) which is only a fraction of the 24-70m price.
    Its the lens that stays on my 5D MK II for weddings and it does a brilliant job with no complaints.

  28. I’ve been using the 85 1.8 for wrestling photography now for 4 years, and it’s nice and fast. However, often it’s not wide enough. Would the Tamron 28-75 be a good choice for this application in poorly lit gyms? Or would another prime be better? I’m on a budget! Thanks for great article.

  29. Does anyone have any comments good or bad about the camera Nikon 300 with lens Tamrom 250. I have one but not very good with it. I purchased it from my sister-in-law that works for a newspaper. Thanks for any information. Brenda

  30. I was just given (Christmas gift) a 60mm 2.8 macro. Been reading on it and not sure if it is right
    for what I’m shooting. I do indoor & outdoor portrait photography. My 50mm indoors is a little
    tight sometimes. Should I think of returning & getting a 85mm. I prefer outdoors and am lucky
    that weather permits year round. Thanks for any input.

  31. Thanks You very much. This guide is amazing. Helped a lot….

  32. I really love my Canon cameras. The nifty 50 is a wonderful lens for the money. The high end Canon lenses are so far out of my reach. I love my Tamron 17 – 50 2.8. I think Sigma is also a great value. You folks with crop sensor cameras would do well to buy full frame compatible lenses.

  33. I’ve been needing an upgrade from the cheapo 75-300mm for years. What I WANT is the 100-400mm, but it’s just too far out of my budget. I shoot a lot of birds flying all over the place, so I need a zoom with a decent range (though I could deal if it’s not quite that big). I do need at least 300 mm, preferably closer to 400. My research doesn’t seem to be turning up much at a reasonable price that really fits what I need. Do you have any suggestions? Is the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM really that much better than the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM?

  34. I’ve bought 28-75 f/2.8 Tamron lens… and it’s a decent lens at a lower price you won’t regret and may even at par with my L lens

  35. Thank you for the astute comments. I have most of the lenses on your list and your opinions coincide with my experience. I have the superb Canon 200mm f2.8L II that I bought used on e-bay for $550 in mint condition. This is inexpensive for what is now my sharpest lens. I evaluated 4 copies of the Tamron 17-50 f2.8; non VR. Three were decent, one was very sharp–so I bought the sharpest one and it serves well on my Canon 7D. I just bought the Canon 40mm f2.8 and it is amazingly sharp at f2.8, albeit at a higher cost than the Canon 50mm f1.8 II. As much as I hate to admit it, the 40/2.8 is a tad sharper than my excellent Canon 50mm f1.8 metal mount at f2.8. DrJ

  36. Thank you for the recommendations–those both sound like lenses well worth looking into, but I’m afraid my next purchase must be something with a reach of at least 300mm. I’ve been looking at Sigma and Tamron, but reviews seem to be very mixed. I’m happy to invest in one of those brands, but I want to be sure I’m getting quality photos. I’m hoping for something with range but that is still, if possible, a comfortable size/weight to travel with, as I do a lot of lightweight traveling and trekking.

  37. Among other reasons, I like the Tamron 24-70mm over Tamron’s 28-75mm because the auto focus is faster, the manual focus is seems smoother, its weather sealed, and the VC is amazing. However, It cost more $$$ and its a little heavier. Vignetting is still a problem.

  38. Mr. Harmer,

    Great, informative article. Couldn’t find an email/contact page, but I’m hoping you could answer a question.

    I’ve been saving for a Canon 28-300 Zoom Wide Angle-Telephoto EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM and figure it will be a solid, high quality all around lens to up my game a bit. I shoot portraits, but also animals, wildlife, eagles on the fly, etc. I’m wondering if you’ve used this lens, and what your opinion if of it’s quality level- otherwise, I’ll probably go for two lenses. The 85mm you recommend and possibly either wait around for the Tamron all-in-one coming out this year or the recently released 150-600mm, which has been getting good reviews (though it’s hard to know who to trust as unbiased).

    I love the look of my nifty fifty, and have been thinking about another quality fixed lens, but that 28-300 just seems to wrap up a lot of things I’d like in a lens. Any thoughts?

    Thanks for your time, and I’ll be spending more time on your site now that it’s come to my attention.

  39. I’ve used the Tamron 28-75mm and I really didn’t like the wide open performance the lens. I went through 3 copies and they all perform relatively the same. Decently sharp center horrible corners.

  40. You have a LOT of amazing photography resources that have really been helping me on my journey. Thank you so much!

  41. If you shoot on an APS sized Canon sensor then I would suggest the 10-22 EF-S lens. Although it is not extremely fast (3.5-4.5) it produces very sharp images much like the Canon 16-35 2.8 on a FF camera. I own one and am very happy with it although I am thinking of going to FF (5D series) and this one will not work with the full frame cameras. Hope this helps.

  42. I must first make excuses for my ignorance, being a relative beginner. I have heard that a good focal length for portraits is 100mm. Now I’m not using a full frame lens & my crop factor is 1.6,, so if I want this ‘ideal’ focal length of 100mm surely I would have to use a 60mm lens which would give me an effective focal length of 96mm. Your recommendation of 10mm would give me an EFL of 160mm, theoretically, not a good focal length for portraits.
    Or am I missing something obvious?



  43. Hey Larry,

    100mm is not actually required for portrait photography. You can actually shoot a portrait with any lens you have. But in fact, longer lenses make better portrait lenses. There are 2 reasons for this. One, you don’t want to be in your subjects face. A longer lens lets you step back and makes your subject more comfortable. Two, a short or wide angle lens will make your subjects face look very fat. Some people shoot portraits with a 200mm lens. It all depends on if you can move far enough away from your subject (your studio size for example). So don’t be limited by the 100mm lens recommendation.

  44. I was given a third-hand canon 300D with the 18-55 kit lens last year as my first DSLR. I’ve since purchased the 50mm f/1.8 which now never leaves my camera. I am passionate (my partner would say obsessive) about photography and have received a lot of positive feedback about my images. I’ve decided that I want to invest in myself with a view to becoming a professional specialising in family photo shoots, newborns and, eventually, weddings. I’ve been saving like crazy and have around $4000 – $4500 to spend. I’m now confused as to what to buy. I’m happy to buy 2nd hand where I can. I’m thinking I’ll purchase the 6D (although 2nd hand mark IIs are cheaper) – I’ve also had it suggested to maybe purchase the 7d to save some cash that can be invested in lenses and invest in a full frame later. Then there’s the lens. Currently I am mostly shooting my kids, but I also shoot bands and nature. I would say that using the 50mm (on my 300D) has made me work hard on my composition, but I have often felt frustrated at missing the shot – either indoors/close to the stage where I couldn’t get wide enough or outdoors/from my theatre seat where I didn’t have enough reach. I was drawn to the 70-200 to give me that extra for capturing little moments with my kids as well as birds/bats etc in the trees and musos on stage, but have frequently read/been told that the 24-70 would be a better first lens. I’ve also had it suggested that the 85/1.2 would be better to start with as I’m going into portraiture, but I do have the 50 and since it shoots like an 85 on the crop body it seems a bit unexciting to still have the same focal length as I’ve been using all this time. I’m really confused. I’m not ready to set up a business yet, but I want equipment that will go the distance for me. What do you think?

    1. I know this is an older comment, but I thought I would give my two cents.
      I have the 6D and I am in love with it. For the price, it really can’t be beat.
      Full frame, full sized body with advanced technical features like WiFi and GPS (it’s really nice being able to use an iPad connected to WiFi to proof shots or show them to clients for feedback).
      As far as a recommended starter lens, if I were you, I would go with the 24-105mm f/4 L lens. It’s a great inexpensive walk around lens that covers a large majority of the focal lengths you might use for most applications. Sure it’s f/4, but the majority of work I shoot is shot between f5.6 and f8 anyway for maximum sharpness.
      I’ve found that the 6D does pretty well in high ISO situations and the if the environment you’re shooting in really is too dark you could always use a flash.
      If you can swing it, I would also recommend the 70-200 L in one of its incarnations for telephoto applications especially if you’re shooting action sports or wildlife.
      Once you shoot with L lenses for awhile and go back to non-L (with the exception of most of the Canon primes) you will understand why they cost so much and also why they are worth it. Hope this helps!
      Good luck!

  45. I’d say it depends on what body you choose, either crop or full-frame. I shoot with a 60D but my budget was nowhere near as high as yours, I’d say WAIT until September for the announcement of the 7D II. That’ll be a game changer.

    If you decide on a crop, my favourite lens to use is the Canon 17-55mm f/2.8. It’s the best walk-around tele lens for crop (it equals out to 28-88mm on crop, so essentially a glorified 24-70. Speaking of the 24-70, you could either get that or a 24-105 for a full-frame. If you think you’d need some extra reach, go for the 24-105.

    Hope that helps!

  46. what about the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS for some good telephoto zoom ?

    1. Because if you read the article including the last bit where the author says why he didn’t add other lenses, you would know the answer to that.

  47. For the 6D vs 7D, they both have very similar qualities, except for the sensor. If you are going to ever be needing to use and ISO of 3200 or greater, and publishing the photo for web or print, you need the 6D. But because of the crop sensor, all the lenses MM size are really (xx)mm *1.6, making the 7D hard for good wide angle shots unless you get the EF-S lens lineup. The 6D is overall a much better camera.

    For Lenses:
    -Canon 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, I own and love this lens, it does macro shots beautifully. $~400
    -Tamron 70-300 f/4-5.6 SP VC USM, This lens is my favorite lens. It has the same characteristics in image quality of the 70-200 f/4, the only disadvantage being the varying aperture. Though, this lenses VC (Vibration Compensation) Is the best EVER. You can take a steady shot at f/8 ISO 100, 1/40 of a second at 300mm. It is wonderful. The price is even better hovering around $~450
    -Canon 17-40 f/4L. The best wide angle in my opinion. This lens gives you very wide angle to very normal. This works very well, and is very sharp. $~800
    -Canon 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye. – This lens is the least needed out of the bunch, as it is very wide angle, and very distorting. This can take very “fun” shots and sees the world in a completely different way. $~1300

    If you get all the lenses above which will serve you very well for wedding, photoshoots, and the like. The cost for these lenses with the 6D (~1600 Body Only) would be around $4500

    Later in the future you could get:
    Canon 24-70 f/2.8L. The best every-shot kind of lens. This takes beautiful photos and does its range well, working from 24mm to 70mm. You can go from normal to wide angle to slightly telephoto. $~2000
    Or Canon 24-105

    Good Luck!

    1. I just started photography and bought the Canon Rebel t5. Currently I’m working on talking pictures for Realtors listings. Please can someone recommend which lense would be best for landscape and a wider angle? Thank you so much for your thoughts.

      1. The Canon 10-22mm EF-S zoom is a great lens for interior shots and some wide angle landscape applications. However a prime, fixed focal length such as 20mm would be better for landscape images where better sharpness and less distortion are important.

  48. I have a Canon crop sensor camera. Would the recommended 85 mm 1.8 lens be useful if I already have the 50 mm 1.8?

    I’m a dedicated photo enthusiast and I don’t shoot professionally.

    1. @Erik, I am the hobbyist editor here at and I hate this response as we give it far too often, but it really applies here – it depends. Meaning it depends entirely on what you want to shoot. If you want to be able to shoot portraits or photos indoors then the 85mm lens will likely be far too tight (too zoomed in) and not as useful. The 50mm lens on a crop is nearly too tight for indoors. The 85mm would be useful for indoor concerts, dances, plays, or other performances where you aren’t too far away – say in a school gym or smaller sized venue. It probably wouldn’t be quite enough reach for a football game, but if you are in the stands of a basketball game for high school then the 85mm would work really well. Could also be a good lens for doing landscape panorama shots, stitching together multiple shots in post.

      Personally, I am also a Canon shooter who isn’t doing this professionally, and the 85mm f/1.8 is not currently on my wish list. Although it doesn’t go to 85mm, in a similar price range I would choose the Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF). It is still a fast lens at f/2.8 throughout the zoom, but the zoom makes it a far more functional lens.

      I could do a better job recommending a lens if I knew what it is you want to do with your photography.

  49. Hi all

    I have the chance to buy an old EF 70-210 3,5/4,5 USM and i dont have any info or feedback.
    Its very very cheap.
    What do tou think about it?

  50. I recently bought a 2nd hand 60D, and a new nifty fifty and 2nd hand Canon 15-85 USM. How would the latter compare to thus list? I thought this would be an ideal starting walk around lens.
    BTW, I’m not completely satisfied with the sharpness of both lenses on my body. I’m thinking my body needs calibration. Anybody else had this?

    1. @Stijn,

      Until very recently the 60D was the body I primarily shot with. Great camera that is very capable. If you aren’t getting sharp pictures using the Canon 50mm f/1.8 EF I suggest that you take a look at Jim’s “10 tips for sharper photos” and “7 tips for getting tack sharp photos every time” articles.

      Most likely there is something you need to change in how you take the photos rather than there being a problem with your camera or your lenses. There certainly CAN be an issue there, but it is relatively rare.

  51. What do you recommend as a good 30mm lens for a full-frame sensor? I mostly do corporate video production so my requirement is for fairly controlled environment, mostly interviews. You can see my work at It’s your standard corporate videos. Currently I am shooting on 7D but thinking about making a transition to BMPC 4k. Appreciate your feedback in advance.

  52. I love reading all the different opinions and advice people have on this topic and hope someone might have some to offer myself. I’m still very (VERY) new to photography and am about to make a purchase of my first DSLR, which I’m leaning towards getting a Canon 5D Mark III. My shoots are primarily indoor newborns and families as well outdoor maternity shoots and I love capturing nature and landscapes. I’ve been recommended a couple of lenses that have been mentioned above and I’m wondering people’s thoughts on these- the 50mm 1.8 & the 24-105mm f4. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

  53. @Jeff: I’m already doing most if the tips those lists give. I’m shooting on low ISO, quick shutter speed, full manual except focus, large aperture for shallow dof for portraits, manual focus point selection on closest eye. And often when I zoom in afterwards, the eyelashes are not sharp, but for example a piece of fabric of the subject’s sweater is.
    It seems to play up more with low light (and thus higher ISO). I suspect my autofocus points are not well calibrated.

  54. Have you tried the new Canon EF-S 10-18 IS STM? Built like a kit lens with plastic mount and all that low quality stuff, but image quality is GREAT and it’s probably the cheapest ultrawide around. Crop sensor only, of course.

  55. Hi all, I’m currently shooting with a crop sensor Canon 70D and I finally feel at the stage where I want to begin on the more serious side of portrait photography (hoping to make a little $$$ on the side) and was wondering on your best suggestions for a good portrait lens that would be equally adequate for indoor as well as outdoor photography.

    I currently own the a Canon kit lens (18-135mm) 3.5-5.6 as well as the CANON 50MM F/1.8 II mentioned above. While I think this may too “cramped” for an indoor shoot, what should I be looking for? I’m looking to get my photos sharper than the current ones i’ve been able to produce without blowing the budget…

  56. Hi there, I’m also very new to photography. I bought my cousin’s 7D, but that was body only. To make a cheap start, I got myself a second hand Helios 44-2 (58 f/2)and a EF-S 24mm f2.8 STM lens. I like both lenses, for the limited use they have had so far, they are great. I like the Helios for portraits, and the other one for general stuff, and it’s quite versatile. I’d like, however, to do some sports photography, gymnastics and ballet. I’ll still have to learn an awful lot before my pictures can be halfway decent, but I’d like your advice on which lens to buy for this. It can’t be more than about 500€, as I’m still a student and have got loans to pay as well.

    1. Sports photography is going to be a toughy since you may want to invest in a lens that has some reach. 70-200L? Little pricey for me right now as well. There may be some Sigma lenses or Tamron that fit the bill and are decent quality. You will want the longer focal lengths for making the background appear “closer” and have more of shallow depth of field.
      The Canon EF 75-300 f/4-5.6 III could be one to look at or Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 IS USM. Not exactly 5 star quality but on a budget could work. There may be a few more, but I would have to do more searching.

    2. Hi
      You are very lucky to get to begin photography with such a great camera body. If your into sport photography the most important thing you want is a lens with image stabilization because people are obviously moving pretty quickly. I would recommend a 55-250mm for something like ballet and gymnastics because although it has a pretty good maximum zoom it also has a great focal ranch. They only cost about 200 dollars (don’t know what that is in euro’s) but they are pretty cheap.
      You also want a tripod or mono pod even with image stabilization but they are pretty straightforward.
      Have a Good one

      1. Dear Sacha, sorry to bud in but I thought its important for you to know – image stabilizer is important for hand-held shooting, not when using tripod, because this feature doesn’t correct a picture of moving object or figure, it corrects blurriness that may cause by shaking camera. For telephoto lenses its more important feature. Even a very subtle shake becomes very magnified and causes noticeable blurriness on a telephoto lens.
        Hope this helps.

  57. I had a Canon 7D with the battery grip and the 24-105mm L f/4 and the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 lenses. I used the 70-300mm a lot for outdoor sports. It was acceptable, but not close to what the 70-200mm f/2.8 could produce. And the combination of the 7D and the 70-300mm failed horribly in a gym for basketball.

    I have since sold all my Canon gear and made the switch to an Olympus OM-D E-M1 system. I have 3 fantastic lenses for it, the Olympus m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 prime (equivalent to a 90mm on a full-frame system), the Olympus m.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 prime (equivalent to a 150mm on a full-frame system) and the Olympus m.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 (equivalent to a 24-80mm on a full-frame system). I love this system. The lenses are incredibly sharp. The 75mm may be the sharpest lens I’ve ever used.

    I’m currently renting their new m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 (equivalent to a 80-300mm full-frame) and shooting a lot of sports with it. Its plenty fast for daytime action. However, the system falls apart when shooting at night. The m4/3 sensor on the Olympus just can’t handle low light very well. But in daylight, it works well. 10fps and the 40-150mm is incredibly sharp.

  58. I have the 85mm /f1.8. I use it for casual portrate shots at family gatherings and for indoor volleyball. The lens is fast enough in poorly lit gyms and the bokeh really helps to set the players off of the background. Stopping down a couple of f-stops will increase the depth-of-field to give a little latitude for the players’ movement. I have always used the kit zoom lens that came with the camera. I bought this lens because of the wide aperture but never thought that there would be that much improvement in image quality on the same camera body. After using this lens, my kit lens makes everything look so flat. I have also become accustomed to moving forward and back to adjust my framing. I rarely take this lens off of my camera.

  59. I agree with many of those and have many myself.
    I love my Nifty Fifty (50 mm f1.8)
    The 85 mm f1.8 is a MUST have for portraits on the cheap
    The 100mm f2.8 macro is great for flowers and bugs but also a GREAT portrait lens if you cant swing the 70-200 and can move your legs to zoom
    Primes are the way to go if you don’t need the zooms
    I use my 24-105 a lot.
    Im debating on the 70-200 f4 instead of a 2.8 as its important for portraits and concert shots in low light and sports indoors
    its a must. F4 wont cut it. if you only shoot outside then the f4 version is fine. Know what you will be using it for BEFORE buying any lens to avoid being upset or get buyers remorse for getting the wrong lens for your needs. The pros get sponsored a lot and get paid for jobs and can afford the f 2.8 lenses easier

    I just got the 40mm pancake f2.8 for a light compact street photography lens for my 6D. Great so far
    The holy trinity of the 16-35 and 24-70 and 70-200 is great but very expensive

    If you have a crop sensor camera (1,6x for canon) then get a 10-22 mm. Excellent wide angle for architecture and landscapes (16-35 mm equivalent on full frame)

    Also the sigma 17-50mm f2.8 is a great constant aperature for less money

    1. @Sean,

      Not sure exactly what kind of shows you are talking about, but I am guessing that you are talking about some kind of thing where there are booths setup indoors? If that is right, you need a lens with a big aperture (small number) like f/1.8. If you are a Canon shooter I highly recommend the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II lens (a new STM version is just about to be released next week, but you can save a few $$ getting the older one). It offers great performance at a very reasonable price. Nikon offers a similar lens as well. You can check out my article about why I think a “Nifty Fifty” should be the second lens a beginner should buy here.

  60. I love this article. I have been using my Rebel T3i for mostly bird photography. I’m wondering what would be a great lens but also easier on the budget? I am currently using the 55 – 250mm but at times it seems to not quite able to reach the bird I am trying to capture and have it “fill” the screen. Any pointers would be great!

  61. Great review, thanks! I have the 50mm f1.8 but am considering the 40mm f2.8 stm as a lighter option. I shoot mostly outdoors, candid shots of my kids (not necessarily super active /fast). Would love your opinion on that lens. Thanks for the help!

  62. I am looking to upgrade my lenses I have a 18-55mm that came with my kit as well as 55-250mm. I take pictures of my kids indoors and outdoors as well as sports indoors and out doors. My kids are little so I need something that is faster than what I have as well as better in low lighting situations. A great over all every day lens as well as telephoto lens. I am an amateur, but trying to learn more.

  63. Hey!
    I’ve started shooting ice hockey and only a beginner. I’m looking to get a faster lends and can’t decide on either the 70-200 f4 of canon of save a little more for the tamron 70-200 f2.8. I’m a student right now and only doing this as a hobby to learn more about photography. Also what inexpensive wide angle lens would you advice? Thanks for the help!

  64. Canon 200mm f2.8. Why this and not the 70-200 f4? I own both but no longer use the zoom, not because of image quality, although I think the prime is sharper at equivalent apertures, but for the 2.8 aperture and size. And it’s not white, making it less conspicuous. No stabilisation, so I’ve got to keep the shutter speed up … like at least 1/640. But a top lens

  65. I am on the look out for an awesome lens that takes super sharp photos, has quick accurate auto focus, has image stabilization, good focal length and still gives decent bokeh. I am not wanting to spend more than $1,000 but am willing to save if it means getting the right lens. I take primarily natural light family portraits but am also wanting to venture into indoor studio portraits as well as photographing births and doing some lifestyle photography. I currently own a Canon EOS 70D and have been using the 50mm 1.8 however, I hate not having the ability to zoom and so need something that is more versatile. I have been debating on the Tamron SP 24-70mm Di VC USD but is is $1,300 and some of the reviews on it have me worried. The Canon 24-105 f/4 you mentioned sounds great but with it I am wondering if it is the best fit for my needs. Maybe you know of the perfect lens for what I do? Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I am so ready to purchase a lens already and all these reviews and lens options have my head spinning! Thank you! 🙂

  66. Very useful post indeed! I bought new Canon 6D so I have to buy couple of lenses. What lens would you suggest for architecture and street and what for fashio/editorial photography?

  67. Your highlight lenses and details on them hit the target well. Excellent choices. However, I would challenge folks looking for lenses, especially if new or expanding their range, to consider some excellent lenses that are only available on the used marked.
    Myself, I shoot a lot of auto racing on a regular basis. I am generally side by side with EOS 1Dx and big white lenses. That said I shot for the longest time with a Rebel T1i / T2i and a Canon 28-135 and a Tamron 18-200. I got really good shots. (I’m really good at sweeping with low shutter speeds, I might add…)
    Other lenses, on the used market, I have found great for portrait and promo work without jumping past $100 for any of them.
    The Canon 28-105 and 28-70 (3.5-4.5) deliver fine results. They are discontinued but carry great glass from the film days.
    The USM Canon 70-210 3.5-4.5 is also an excellent budget sport lens without jumping into 4 figures. Used market they are $90-$140… There is also a constant f4 version but is older but reviews still talk about really good results.
    The f3.5-4.5 lenses are out there in a number of ranges and carry near “L” quality glass without the bucks.
    If you really want to be impressive, get the 50 1.8 mkI. It is the original with a metal mount, a distance scale and a manual focus ring. However, it generally goes for twice as much or more than the current mkII. The glass in the current is the same with excellent results as mentioned but the older has some useful features.
    Currently, I shoot with a 5D mkII and a 70D but keep the T2i handy as well.
    Look up and research some of these discontinued lenses in the f3.5-4.5 range. Shy away from the budget kits that are f4-5.6 or higher even though the prices look even more attractive. There is good budget glass out there especially if using APS-C cameras as you are catching the sweet spot leaving any real softness or distortion off the sensor.
    They are not “L” glass, but they offer great results.

    PS – LOTS of good info on your site. I would urge visitors to bookmark it for future reference.

  68. Currently a T3i user, I am toying with the idea of upgrading to a 70d. I am wanting better photos of the grands at sporting events. I shoot from the stands usually using Canon 70-300. New lens or new camera? Oldest grand is a senior. I’m having a tough time with the low lights. I ramble between TV, AV, and Sports mode. Yes, I do get some good shots, but I get more with blurs.

    1. Don’t worry about all the blurry ones – just shoot more and throw plenty away. Digital film costs almost nothing

    2. Considering that both the t3i and 70d are crop sensor bodies, I would invest in better glass. It’s going to be more affordable at this point. Also, once you’re more satisfied with your ability to use your camera to capture sharper images, you can always sell your current t3i body and upgrade

  69. I am a tad confused. The lenses that are listed …….. are they for FULL FRAME 35mm or CROP SENSOR with a factor of 1.6 (CANON EOS 70D)? For instance the 50mm shown is equal to a 80mm when used on crop sensor – is it not?

    Thanks. Just trying to be certain of the way these lenses are utilized (Full Frame -vs- APS-C)>

    Don / New Mexico

  70. Good read, really enjoyed your thoughts. I’ll add a few of my own.

    I’m a budding wedding photographer and started out with a Canon 70D and kit 18-135. I found the results were OK if I had enough light but once I was at and or above 1000 ISO I was in trouble. I purchased a 50mm 1.4 and a 85mm 1.8 yo use on the 70D when facing low light situations. Buying the 2 lenses used was way less than a full frame but I knew a FF was on my list.

    I purchased a used Canon 6D which came with a 24-105L f/4, was very clean, less than 500 count, paid $1500. I then purchased a used 70-200L F/4 IS, clean lens, paid $600.

    I find the Canon 6D along with the 24-105L F/4 and the 70-200L F/4 wonderful for weddings. I feel comfortable shooting at 2500 ISO and for most situations it’s great pairings. If I’m in a low light situation like at a Mission I pull out the Canon 85mm F/1.8 and it’s great. Usually in Mission weddings you can’t move around a bunch, they like you to park it after the entrance of the bride/father. The 85mm works great for the entrance and then I park myself up front somewhere, the 85mm is perfect. If I need a bit more width I slap on the 50mm F/1.4.

    I also have a 100mm Macro for detail. If I’m shooting outdoors at a vineyard wedding I place the 24-105L on the 6D and the 70-200L on the cropped 70D which gives me 320mm, a great combo 2 camera setup. At night I shoot with 4 Canon 600EX-RT speed lights using the Canon 6D at 1250 – 2500 ISO along with the 24-105L, wonderful setup and good results.

    I prefer the 70-200L F/4 because of the less weight to run around with and in a pinch/low light I pull out the primes.

  71. I am passionate about photography. I click wedding , portraits, kids. I want a zoom lens but I am on a budget. Suggest me good cheap zoom lens for wedding?
    Will Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 work in this case?

  72. hi! i have a cannon 7d and 17-55mm lenses and thinking about upgrade my gear. To night events what lenses Would you say are the best? Thanks

  73. The Canon 10-18 EF-S should definitely be on the list (it’s a new, cheap, awesome performing landscape lens)

  74. The Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 ART should have been top of that list 🙂
    I have had some great L lenses in my time but the Sigma ART (albeit a little heavy) tops the lot.

  75. PS: speaking of Tamron i also own the 16-300mm, this really is a fabulous lens for the price and one that will be with me always.

  76. Please help!
    I am just starting to get more into photography and finding it a little overwhelming. I have a canon rebel t3 with its original 18-55mm lens and a 24mm f2.8. I recently also purchased an 18-135mm because I thought I would like having more zoom. I am not too happy with how heavy the 18-135mm and it also is a little slower at 18mm when focusing. So now I am really confused on what I want. Could you please recommend to me a couple of all round lenses, one wide angle and one zoom. I mostly take pictures outdoors, landscapes and my children. Thank you for your help!

  77. hello all,

    I love photography

    i have canon t5i with lens 18-55 and 70-250 .

    i want a good lens between 40-100 in cheaper

    i dont know whether available or not , but i m posting for my luck.

    thanks in advance

    1. I am very happy with my CANON 85MM F/1.8. For low light shooting indoors w/o flash it is terrific. If you want to go less expensive and lose a little zoom. The CANON 50MM F/1.8 II is the way to go. It can’t be beat for the price.

  78. Dear Jim
    I am sooooo pleased to have come across your site. What an inspiration you are! It has made me think i must do something similar in my field – back pain (being generous with information in a very clear way)
    Anyhow I have just purchased my first ever DSLR and bought it with a 18-135 lens. I am pretty disappointed that i cannot take a decent picture of a tree (my subject of choice) and am thinking I need a wide lens? Basically with the lens i have i cannot take a picture of the whole tree unless i stand so far back I lose the image i want. Would you recommend a wide angle and what about the EF-S 10-18? Don’t want to spend too much more unless i have to. Many thanks and i will be buying your photography start

  79. I.highly recommend the Canon 50mm 1.4 without hesitation. Just compare the price of those 2 lens ,(1.2 and the 1.4), it’s crazy I would pass on the 1.8 lens and go with the 1.4. Good luck.

  80. I agree with all your choices and comments so I am curious how about wide? whats the best bang for the money less then 24mm and good in low light

  81. I have this lens and loved it. It all of a sudden stopped connecting to my camera. Any other lens will work – any advise?

  82. I’m trying to get more into photography and I decided to go with a T6i camera bundle next month. It includes 5 lenses. The 18-55 kit lens, 75-300mm lens, 50mm 1.8, a telephoto lens, and a wide angle lens. I’ll also be buying a 500mm Vivitar telephoto lens. I think this will be great for a beginner like myself. I won’t need to buy any other lenses anytime soon.

  83. Hi:) love all the advice on less expensive alternatives!!! New to the photography world & currently love my 50mm & (for now) looking to invest in one that could be my everything for family indoor/outdoor portraits that will be able to be fast while chasing little toddlers. Having a hard time deciding between the 24-70mm or the 70-200mm, both seem to have there little unique pros but which would be ultimately faster to catch fidgety kids while having low lighting indoors? Thanks in advance for the help

  84. Great article, bookm,arked!
    I have a Canon Rebel T6s and a 50mm f1/8? If I want to do artistic nude (full body, studio) photography should I stick with that or go to the 85mm f1/8? Or the 50mm f1/4?

  85. If I understand you correctly you have a full frame camera. This lens is made fromth cropped frame cameras and as such would not be suited to a full frame body. It would function but would not use th entire sensor area resulting in less light transition and less pixels beIng used.

  86. Good review and I have to sa y I agree with you on all accept the 50mm. I’d go for th metal mount version, and the 24-105 you say is sharp. Sorry but no it isn’t. Is actually quite soft and has considerable distortion at both ends of th range. That said these things are not deal breakers if you don’t mind a little tweaking in photoshop. I have one of these by the way😊

  87. I have a hard time using anything but the 85mm f1.8 most days. It’s not perfect, but the CA is fixable and the bokeh is perfect.

  88. I do a lot of concert photography which is of course in low lighting and most venues/artists do not allow flash. I’m primarily shooting with the Tamron 10-24mm but I noticed the clarity is not where it should be and I miss a lot of shots. I have the Canon “nifty-fifty”, but that lens is not good for how close I am to the artist on stage. On this list here, which do you recommend for concert photography on a Canon 550D?

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