in an effort to help you understand all these terms – for more detailed explanation of what this all means see my All About the lenses – Acronyms post
- ef-s(canon), DX(Sigma)
- Built for crop sensor cameras, not useable on full frame cameras
- Suitable and useable on crop sensor and full frame cameras
- IS, OS, VC
- Image Stabilization(Canon), Optical Stabilization(Sigma), Vibration Compensation(Tamron) – All terms for a system built into the lens that removes camera shake and allows you to shoot at slightly slower shutter speeds.
- USM(Canon), HSM(Sigma)
- UltraSonic Motor – Means fast and quiet autofocus
Super Budget Zoom Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras Decent lens with solid reviews very hard to beat the price. If shopping around make sure you don’t purchase the non-APO version which is crummy. Price: $189.00
Budget Zoom – Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
Very good lens with IS (image stabilization) which allows you to get sharper images with less light- nicely compliments the kit lens. Price: $210
Mid-Level Zoom Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras
Some call this a hidden “L” lens. L lenses are Canon’s professional level lenses that offer superb optics at a serious price. The lens is very good and includes IS and USM (ultra sonic motor for focusing). Price: $540
High End Zoom Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
A beautiful “L” lens at an affordable price, probably one of the best values in Canon’s line. You don’t get IS but what you do get is a lens that is bright and sharp and offers f/4 across the zoom range. Price: $650
Serious Wildlife/Sports Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 AF APO DG OS HSM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
Getting 500mm of reach for ~$1000 is amazing, especially when it is at this quality level, downsides: big/heavy and you will need lots of light at the longer focal lengths. Price: $1000
This is a difficult category to recommend – Some lean toward having the convenience of large focal range (i.e. the 18-200ish lenses) some want fast and light and some want something in between. You really need to take a look at the type of shooting you do and decide which of the following lenses is the best fit for your needs. I have a second post devoted to just this idea of one lens on your camera 99% of the time.
Budget Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS SLR Lens
Don’t be quick to replace this lens. The earlier kit lenses were crummy but the current IS version is quite capable and covers a useful range. Price: Free with your camera
More range constant f/2.8 Tamron AF 28-75mm f/2.8 SP XR Di LD Aspherical (IF) for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
This Tamron lens is excellent – so sharp, beating Canon’s $1500 24-70 lens in some tests. Downside- not very wide start at 28mm and focus is not as snappy as I would like in lowerlight Price: $450
Pricey but excellent Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Fairly limited range but excellent quality and perfect for landscapes. Price: $760
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
IS, USM and a constant f/2.8 A very good lens but maybe not the best value Price: $1100
Best quality for the range – Canon’s EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is the lens that is paired with the new Canon T4i and is quite good for its range. Currently selling for $500-ish, would be much higher recommended if it came in closer to $400.
Ultra-Convenient! Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
One lens that covers a very large range (11x) You will be sacrificing quality and will experience distortion at the wide end. Price: $540
Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras
Solid lens, widest in its class at a decent price. Price: $499 or Tokina 11-16/2.8 AT-X 116 PRO DX Lens for Canon EOS Digital -ATX116PRODXC
Less range but sharper and fast with a constant aperture of f/2.8 Price: $799
Everyone should own at least one prime – They offer very sharp glass and large apertures at good prices- the downside, you need to zoom with your feet. The cheapest of the primes is the 50 f/1.8- Using the large apertures of prime lenses like the 50mm helps understand the connection between Depth of Field and aperture.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens
For just a shade over $100 you get a decently sharp prime lens. It is a little long on crop sensors so you may want to spring for the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 EX DC HSM Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras Still a prime and not nearly as cheap as the 50mm but at 1.4 lets in almost twice as much light as f/1.8
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
Excellent Macro lens. On a crop sensor the focal length can be a little long but this will let you get closer to skitish bugs and other small creatures. Price: $540 or Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Digital SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLR Cameras
Very nice Macro and portraiture suitable lens. Price: $399
Thinking about upgrading to the Canon T4i? Everything you want to know about the T4i
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