Top 10 Best All-around Canon Lens (Updated for 2021)

Michael Sand
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There are plenty of choices when it comes to Canon lenses — and those choices are a major reason why some photographers prefer Canon over other manufacturers.

As a market leader, Canon has a large range of lenses to fit every need and budget, and each year they add more.

Some of the top Canon lenses in my opinion are: Canon EF16-35mm f/2.8L, Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM and Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM.

NameCategoryProduct
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom LensBest OverallCanon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM LensBudget PickCanon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T LensUpgrade PickZeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T Lens

1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens

Our rating: 10 / 10

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • Great location for the focus button
  • Great for large aperture and low light photography
  • Nice build quality

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to more recent models
  • No image stabilization

For Canon DSLR Cameras (Model: 24-70mm f/2.8L II)

2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

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Pros:

  • Cheap price point
  • Quick autofocus
  • Small and lightweight
  • F1.8 aperture offers better results in low light
  • Not too shabby in the photo/video department either!

Cons:

  • Plastic build
  • Lack of image stabilization

For the digital photographer on a budget, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens is an awesome option for portraits or for shooting close-up shots.

It also has a high-resolution of 12.2 megapixels, making it optimal for video and photos on any Canon DSLR.

3. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens

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Pros:

  • This wide-range lens is great for all sorts of photo and video applications
  • The image stabilization is very useful when shooting handheld
  • And the image quality is top-notch

Cons:

  • Many users report that there is a lot of front-focusing
  • And it was designed specifically for full-frame cameras

This lens has exceptional image quality and wide-angle view.

It focuses fast and is super sharp.

The L-series line from Canon, obviously, has even better optical quality that the regular lines. Plus, it also has image stabilization.

4. Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

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This is a Great Lens for the Money. It is built from top to bottom with first rate Features.

Tech Specs:

  • Type: Telephoto Zoom
  • Focal Length: 24.0—105mm
  • Lens Construction: 16 elements in 13 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 35°30–
  • Focus Adjustment: USM, Full-Time Manual Focus, AF/MF Switch, Inner focusing system
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 1.48– (45.0 cm)
  • Closest Focusing Distance:1.48– (45.0 cm)
  • Filter Size: 72mm
  • Camera Mount Type: Canon EF
  • Length: 4.9– (124.2 mm)
  • Diameter: 4.6– (117.1 mm)
  • Weight:3.09– (79.0 g)

5. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens(White box

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens(White box

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Good AF performance and speed, especially with STM.

Flare resistance is not very good, either.

For a lightweight travel zoom, this lens offers stunningly good image quality. Thanks to a well-engineered IS system, the lens is able to gather up to 4 stops of hand-holding ability, making this the perfect choice for traveling.

6. Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

Our rating: 9 / 10

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

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Pros:

  • Great value for money
  • Excellent image quality
  • Relatively light in weight
  • Solid build quality
  • Renders great colors
  • Great wide-angle range
  • Nice bokeh

This Canon lens is a classic in the industry and is considered a great general purpose lens for many people.

This lens succeeds in all the things that you would want your every day lens to do. The light weight is great when you need to carry it all day long, yet the build quality is solid enough so that you don’t constantly feel like it’s about to break.

This lens allows you very easy to control and provides great performance for a wide range of subjects.

7. Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

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Pros:

  • Amazing quality at an affordable price
  • Accurate and fast auto focus system
  • Solid build that is better than the older versions of this lens
  • The image stabilization system is much improved from older versions
  • Great choice for landscape photography
  • Great for travel photography

(Black)

This is a great general purpose lens choice for those who are new to photography or for those who are just getting into taking more of their own pictures.

It comes in both Canon and Nikon mounts, but is only fully compatible with a relatively limited number of lens types.

8. Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD Standard Zoom Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD Standard Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • 3x zoom range
  • Made with high quality materials
  • Image Stabilization

Cons:

  • Capable of getting only quite close
  • Good starting lens, but not great for the professional

If you are looking for a budget zoom lens for your Canon camera you should consider the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD. This lens is one of the best in the Canon line in terms of versatility and price. This lens is a winner for the people who are just starting out in digital SLR photography.

This lens comes with image stabilization so you can take good footage with less blur when shooting in low light.

This lens could work well for you if you are a total Canon fan and you want your photos and videos to have that specific look and feel. However, if you are considering this lens, you would be better off purchasing the wider 11-24mm Canon EF-S lens called the Canon EF-S 11-24mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens. In addition, if you are a pro who really needs to capture those far away people and scenery, this lens might not be the one to get.

9. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • Simple and convenient to use
  • Ideal for outdoor and indoor photography
  • Accurate and sharp images and videos under most conditions
  • Price friendly
  • Lightweight and compact

10. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens

Our rating: 8 / 10

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Standard Zoom Lens

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Pros:

  • Automatic lens
  • Very sharp
  • Super convenient
  • Great build quality, comfy in the hand
  • Lightweight
  • Good overall contrast and sharpness all the way to the edges

Canon's 24-70 lens is aimed at the amateur and enthusiast photographer, and is the standard field of view for a lens. It gives you a good workhorse lens to shoot with and is far more than just an "impulse" buy.

11. Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T Lens

Our rating: 6 / 10

Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T Lens

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Pros:

  • Solid build
  • Superior image quality
  • Smooth manual focusing
  • Tack sharp
  • Excellent minimum focus distance

Cons:

  • Price
  • Heavy
  • No image stabilization
  • Limited use

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is a lens compatible with a number of Canon EOS cameras particularly those with APS-C sensors. It features a unique optical design, with seven elements in six groups. It can be used to capture decent portraits with excellent background blur.

Lightweight and easy to carry, this lens is easy to focus even in low-light. Sharp images and blur-free images are guaranteed when shooting at f/1.4, which the lens can achieve with an aperture ring and manual settings.

This lens works best with a wide-aperture (f/1.4) to produce the best results. You can use it to create different photo effects or effects for product photography when using long exposures.

12. Sigma 24-105mm F4.0 Art DG OS HSM Lens

Our rating: 6 / 10

Sigma 24-105mm F4.0 Art DG OS HSM Lens

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Pros:

  • Excellent image quality
  • Great zoom range
  • The lens is weather resistant and built for durability
  • Fast Autofocus
  • HSM (Hyper-Sonic Motor) drive for smooth focus
  • Option for purchasing in Nikon and Sony mounts as well

Cons:

  • This lens is heavier than a standard lens
  • This lens is wider than a standard lens

13. Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

Our rating: 6 / 10

Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD

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Pros:

  • Price-to-VALUE Ratio
  • Solid Image Stabilization
  • Very Sharp
  • Colors Are Natural
  • Ease of Use
  • Fast & Accurate Autofocus
  • Distance Indicator for Macro Shooting on Zoom

Cons:

  • Heavier Than Average (weighs about 2.3 pounds)
  • VC (Vibration Compensation) May Cause Some Minor Issues

If you are searching for a mid-range zoom lens with superior image quality and excellent performance, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is the lens to buy. This lens is able to produce a wide-aperture image and has build an image stabilization function. This delivers the perfect lens for the gift of capturing stunning images. The VC (Vibration Compensation) image stabilizer in this lens helps you to shoot at shutter speeds that would normally require a tripod, even when your subject is located in low light. It is designed for full-frame cameras, however this lens can also be used with a cropped camera. If you're looking for a high-end lens that can change the way you shoot, the Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is an outstanding choice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best all around Canon lens?

Since Canon lenses are compatible with the many different camera models produced, it's an important decision to select the right lens to match the specific camera you own.

The best all around lens for Canon, which also happens to be our favorite lens, is the Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM lens. Although also available in the Canon EF-S mount, this lens is expensive, so cost could be a factor. Lenses with more reach are probably cheaper to obtain in the long run when you compare the cost of the lenses with ease of use.

If you're just getting started with photography and are on a budget, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4-5.6 IS II lens is an inexpensive, nice all purpose lens. Alternately, a nice compromise between cost and lens reach would be the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM lens.

What is the sharpest Canon lens?

To determine what the sharpest Canon focal length is, we first consider the price of the lenses. Next, we consider the skill level of the photographer. Each photographer may be more comfortable with one subject than another; someone who is more experienced in portraiture might have a better eye for sharpness than someone who is more experienced in landscapes and architecture.

This comprehensive list is based on the sharpest Canon zoom lenses for each focal length, but it is also based on the sharpest Canon prime lenses as well.

Since most of Canon's lenses are quite sharp, we break down the best Canon lens for each prime focal length of portrait, short telephoto, standard, wide angle, and super telephoto.

If you prefer to view all of Canon's lenses at once (rather than browsing a long list of lenses), the table is amended with the best Canon lens at every available focal length.

What is the best general purpose lens for Canon?

As for the best all-around lens for your camera of the future, that will depend on your needs. The best lens is the one you like to use. My personal favorite is the Canon EF24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens, rather obvious as it's the lens I use most often for social events.

However, I could easily make a case for the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Lens, Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens or the Sigma 50mm f1.4 EX DG HSM Lens to be the best general purpose lens for Canon.

They are all very good overall lenses with one lens excelling at one thing and one lens excelling at another.

Conclusion

While there are many high-quality, expensive fixed-lens cameras on the market, the majority of photographers today still use interchangeable lens cameras. They give the most flexibility in terms of features and lenses, and if you know what you’re doing, they can be a cost-effective option.

There are many lens combinations available out there which have massive zoom ranges and high-quality. Lenses like these are among the best in their class in terms of clarity and versatility. Given that they are specialized for digital imaging, they come with modern coatings and designs which improve their performance dramatically. One of the main things which you should consider is whether you want a full frame lens or not.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom LensBest OverallCanon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM LensBudget PickCanon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T LensUpgrade PickZeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T Lens