Are you looking for the best cheap lenses for your Canon DSLR camera? If so, this article is gonna help you figure out which lens to buy, and which lens not to buy.
Coming up !
Best And Cheapest Canon Lenses ?
Do you know that choosing a right lens is even more important than choosing a camera ? Lots of people always focus on buying a fancy, high quality DSLR, and they totally forget the lenses. But I know that you’re not those people. You just came to the right place because I’m going to show you exactly how I choose my Canon lenses. Hopefully, that will help you figure out which lens to buy for your Canon DSLR. And thanks me later !
Zoom Lens or Prime Lens ?
I think the most common question people always ask is “Should I buy a zoom lens or prime lens ?” Well, the answer is “It depends” because they all have their own advantage and disadvantage. But if you’re a beginner photographer/filmmaker, I would suggest you to get a zoom lens. It’s really hard to realize what focal length we actually need while starting out as a photographer, so I think it’s better to get a 17-50mm or 24-135mm zoom lens. After you’re familiar with the focal length, you can start thinking about getting a prime lens.
The first thing you need to know is “focal length” The focal length of the lens is the distance between the lens and the camera sensor. If your camera isn’t a full frame camera, then a 17-50mm lens will be a 27-80mm lens( x1.6 crop factor ). Please keep it in mind ! Also, the longer the focal length, the more shallow the depth of field will be. For example, if you shoot at wide open aperture F/1.8, the 85mm lens gives you more shallow depth of field than the 50mm lens does. That’s why we want to shoot portrait with longer focal length. You can take a look at the comparison below:
Zoom lens pros and cons
The most obvious reason for buying a zoom lens is their versatility. Zoom lenses can be very helpful when you need to photograph a variety of different situations. You can go from wide-angle to telephoto in a quick turn of the zoom ring. For example, if you’re shooting landscape, sport, or wildlife, we’re often limited to a particular spot. So being able to zoom to an area we want can be very convenient. But a zoom lens usually don’t have “wide aperture” such as f/1.8. Wide aperture will offer shallow depth of field and better low light performance.
Prime lens pros and cons
Prime lenses are always cheaper than zoom lenses. Prime lenses also have wider aperture, which means that you can get better image quality in low light condition. The biggest problem with a prime lens is that you can’t zoom in or zoom out ! So if you want to change the focal length, you have to change the lens. Another problem is “stabilization” A prime lens doesn’t have image stabilization, so the video might look a little bit shaky.
1. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8
As a beginner photographer it’s better to get a zoom lens around 17mm to 50mm. I don’t really suggest people to get the original Canon lens – 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 because the aperture isn’t wide enough for me. F/2.8 aperture allows you to capture more light so that you can bring down the ISO to get better photos/videos in low light situation. Another advantage of f/2.8 aperture is that you can get much blurrier background in your pictures.
What does 17-50mm look like ?
I took this photo with my Canon 77D – zoom to 50mm with aperture f/2.8. As you can see, the background is much blurrier. It also gives you that cinematic look. Another great feature of this lens is the “image stabilization” This helps you get sharper pictures in low light and it’s very useful for keeping your video footage smooth. If you’re currently using a crop sensor DSLR, then I think this lens is the best for you ! **This lens is for crop sensor DSLR**.
2. Canon 50mm f/1.8
This is one of Canon’s most popular lens. It’s also the Canon’s cheapest lens which only cost $125. This lens will work on both APS-C sensor and full frame DSLR. Why is this little lens so popular ? Because it’s the cheapest lens with wide open aperture “f/1.8” which means it’s useful for shooting at night or indoors. The wide 1.8 aperture can also give you much better out of focus background than a normal Canon kit lens(f/3.5-5.6).
On a full frame DSLR, a 50mm is a very classic focal length being wide enough to get a lot into your pictures. On a APS-C DSLR, you’ll get 80mm focal length which is much tighter. Some people think that 50mm is only for full frame camera but I don’t think that is true. A 50mm lens on a crop sensor camera will still be very useful for shooting telephoto, portrait, wildlife…
The build quality is pretty good. It’s just as light as your phone (maybe). But the bad news is that it doesn’t have the function of stabilization so it’s gonna be a little bit challenging to shoot steady video with this lens.
Overall, I think this is a very cheap and great lens for a full frame camera. If you’re using a crop sensor camera, just remember that 50mm is quite zoomed in. You can get some good portrait shots, but it’s definitely not enough for wide angle shots.
3.Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8
Well, this lens is very similar to the sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 lens. This lens is designed for full frame camera. There are a few standard zoom lenses out there for full frame camera, but this is the only one that has stabilization. This lens is also much cheaper than the original Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens which cost $1,699 and NO stabilization.
The zoom range of 24 to 70mm goes from very wide angle to slight telephoto. It’s good for capture wide vistas or zooming in for portrait. But if you’re using a crop sensor camera, then this lens won’t allow you to capture wide angle shots.
The 24-70mm on a full frame camera will even capture wider images than the 17-50mm on a crop sensor camera.
The build quality of this lens is just like the sigma 17-50mm lens. It’s made of good quality plastics and it’s also a bit heavy. The focus ring turns very smoothly and accurately.
- Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens – $1699 (NO stabilization)
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 lens – $1299
- Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 lens – $684
As you can see, the Tamron lens is much cheaper than the Canon and Sigma lens. To be honest, there is no significant difference between those lenses. They all produce the same quality, but the Canon lens doesn’t have image stabilization. So I would definitely recommend the Tamron 24-70mm lens. It’s a heavy lens but the overall quality is excellent indeed.
4. Canon 85mm f/1.8
Well, I’m very excited to talk about this lens ! The Canon 85mm f/1.8 is also one of the most popular portrait lens – especially on a crop sensor DSLR . This lens will work on both full frame and crop sensor DSLR. The wide open f/1.8 aperture allows you to get background nicely out of focus. The Canon 85mm f/1.8 is just like the brother of Canon 50mm f/1.8, but this lens is for people who are into portrait photography. This lens will give you the most impressive depth of field just like the picture below:
On a crop sensor camera, the 85mm lens is effectively a 136mm lens. Of course 136mm lens doesn’t exist, but you get the idea.
The lack of the image stabilization and the long focal length will make this a harder lens to use for shooting video because the footage will be quite shaky. However if you can stabilize the footage with a tripod, you can get some nice results.
The build quality of this lens is awesome. It’s solid and not too heavy. This lens also has smoother and larger focal ring. Overall, I think this is a perfect lens for people who want to shoot portrait but don’t want to spend that twelve thousand dollars on a 70-200mm lens.
5. Sigma 35mm f/1.4
The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is a great lens for both crop sensor and full frame camera. On a full frame DSLR, 35mm is a classic focal length. It’s nicely wide-angle for general photography. On a crop sensor camera, a focal length of 35mm will be effectively 56mm, which is much tighter. It’s zoomed-in enough to emphasize your subjects and give you a nicely blurry background. So it’s definitely not a wide angle lens on a crop sensor DSLR.
The most interesting thing is that you have the widest aperture of “f/1.4” The f/1.4 maximum aperture lets in eight times more light as a standard f/3.5-5.6 lens at the same focal length and gives you a very nice out-of-focus background. So this is also a great low-light lens.
The autofocus is great and accurate. Focus ring is also very smooth, which is great for pulling focus during the video. Unfortunately, the lack of image stabilization make this a harder lens to use when shooting action videos. However, You can still find other ways to stabilize your footage. Overall, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 is an awesome lens for both crop sensor and full frame DSLR. If you’re comfortable using prime lens, then I would highly recommend this one.
6. Canon 135mm f/2L
The 135mm f/2L is also one the most popular portrait lenses. Due to the long focal length and the wide open aperture f/2, it will produce a very shadow depth of field, which is awesome for portrait photography. The 135mm f/2L is actually designed for Canon full frame DSLRs. It can also be used on a crop sensor camera too.
On a full frame camera, 135mm is a perfect focal length for portrait photography, as well as for sport and wildlife photography. On a crop sensor camera, it will be a very zoomed-in lens, giving you a super tight angle of view. It will also give you a very compressed background that you’ve never captured before.
The wide open aperture f/2 makes this a better lens for low-light conditions. The f/2 also produces a much better out-of-focus background even if you’re quite far away from the subjects.
This lens is quite large and a little heavy, so it would balance well on a bigger camera body. Autofocus motor is fast, accurate and trustable. The focal ring is very large and smooth, which makes it easier to pull focus when shooting videos. Oh… forgot to mention that it doesn’t have image stabilization so you wouldn’t want to use it for handheld video work.
Overall, Canon 135mm f/2 is a great lens for full frame cameras. For crop sensor DSLR user, I wouldn’t really recommend this lens because the 135mm is really zoomed-in(216mm), which is probably less practical.
The most obvious reason why this lens is so popular is because it has a reasonable price – $999, which is much cheaper than the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8($1899). So this is probably the best and cheapest portrait lens you can buy !
7. Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Ultra Wide
The Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 is a very creative lens that gives you an interesting wide-angle look. The 14mm focal length works well on both full frame and crop sensor DSLR. It is actually a crazy wide angle when you’re shooting on a full frame DSLR giving you a very stretched corners and push away your subject(fish-eye effect), which is very similar to GoPro’s footage. This can be used for getting some creative POV shots.
On a crop sensor camera, 14mm is still a very wide-angle though it’s nothing like as crazy stretch-effect as you get on a full frame camera. The maximum aperture f/2.8 means it can let in a lot of light for getting pictures/videos in low-light situations.
14mm on crop sensor DSLR
14mm on full frame DSLR
Due to the short focal length-14mm, it’s really hard to get a blurry background even if you’re shooting at the widest aperture f/2.8. It is also a completely manual lens with no electronics inside, meaning that you have to change aperture and focus by yourself. But when you’re shooting ultra wide-angle, the focus doesn’t really matter actually.
The aperture ring turns very smoothly and can be changed manually at anytime so that you can really softly change your exposure during the video work. This is a very great feature for filmmaking.
Like I said before, manually focusing is not really a problem when you’re shooting on a wide-angle. So the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 is overall a very professional wide-angle lens you can get for your crop sensor or full frame DSLR camera.
That’s it !
That’s it ! Those are the top 7 “best” and “cheapest” lenses for your Canon DSLR. I hope this post can give you some ideas of choosing a better lens. Just remember that if you’re currently using a APS-C camera such as Canon T7i, 80D…, they all have the 1.6 crop multiplier.
- Don’t have a Canon DSLR yet ? Learn more here
- Learn how to take better pictures with 10 simple tips HERE
|Full frame||crop sensor
|24 - 70mm||38.4 - 112mm|
|70 - 200mm||112 - 320mm|
Hope this helps 🙂