Recommended lenses for Canon 70D, T5i(700d) and other Rebels.

I see two groups of people watching this video – those that haven’t bought a camera yet and are wondering if they should buy the camera with a kit lens(18-55 STM or the 18-135 STM) or buy body only and purchase a “better” lens separately and those that have the 70D or other Canon DSLRs and are wondering what they should add to their collection or upgrade to.

To the first group -maybe you heard from a friend or read on the internet that the kits lenses are bad. At times in DSLR history that has been true but the 18-55 IS STM and the 18-135 IS STM lenses sold with the 70D and current rebel models are actually quite good and their value when bought with the camera is excellent – if you are new to DSLRS the kit lenses ARE a good place to start and especially if you want to do easy video with either camera the STM lenses are necessary for that silent autofocus.  So if you haven’t bought the camera yet go ahead and buy with a kit lens – which one? 18-135 is a good travel and all around lens, nice for the family, capturing kids, vacations etc.  The 18-55 STM saves you some money and is a little easier to leave behind if you think you might want to upgrade sooner rather than later.  I do have another video that goes into the two choices in more detail 18-55 STM vs 18-135 STM.  Keep reading though as there is good info ahead.

Those of you that already have the camera and are looking for the next lens – I am going to offer a recommendation or two in each of the following categories – Prime lenses (lenses that are fixed, don’t zoom), Walk-around lenses or general purpose lenses, telephoto and then your more specialty lenses like macro and wide angle.  I did keep budget in mind and picked lenses that I feel offer a great value.   I might throw out some terms or acronyms you are not familiar with -Use the following Lens Glossary if you need any more information on some of the acronyms and terms mentioned.
Recommended Prime Lenses for Canon 70D (and other crop sensor cameras)

The question I hear from many new DSLRS owners is “how do I get those blurred background images?”  They are possible with the kit lenses but they are not always easy.  Using a lens with a wide maximum aperture is the easiest way to achieve those images AND cheapest way to get those images is by using a prime lens.   Canon’s 50 f/1.4 is excellent  – sharp, responsive focus and that amazing wide aperture.  An alternative is the 40mm f/2.8 – which is tiny,as equally sharp as the 50 f/1.4 but with a slightly wider focal length that if you are shooting indoors often you may find to be easier to work with and slightly more versatile.


Walk-Around Lenses 

Like I said the kit lenses do a very good job so to get MUCH better quality you have to spend a good bit more – there are lenses that are marginally better but few are better enough that their value outstrips the kit lenses- But when you add features and quality in the mix two stand out. The Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 about $500 offers a good range and it offers a constant aperture of f/2.8 over that range, this lets in lots of light and allows good control of your depth of field. You can get creamy bokeh at f/2.8 in the 50-75 range. And most importantly this is a sharp lens for the money and is as sharp as lenses that cost 2x as much. The Tamron doesn’t have image stabilization and I think that is fine but if you want something similar WITH IS the Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS (sigmas version of IS) is about $570. Please know that IS only really helps with non moving subjects at those slower shutter speeds.

Telephoto Lenses

The recent refresh of the 55-250 STM has created another budget lens that offers a serious value – I have a separate review of the new 55-250 STM – short review-  the value is great, another STM so you have that silent AF for video and if you buy when you buy the camera and take advantage of the bundled savings you are getting a good zoom for less than $200! The next telephoto I’d recommend is a jump in price but the 70-200 f/4 is one of Canon’s most affordable L lenses – professional level lenses – very sharp, beautiful colors and contrast and versatile. 200mm at f/4 produces lovely bokeh.


With budget in mind the Canon 60mm macro is very good with excellent macro possibilities.  This lens can also be used as a lovely portrait lens/head shots for tighter shots.



There are more options out there – I have a 45 minute video where I share some thoughts on most of the current canon brand lenses – see the link below.  Do you still wonder what lens is best for you?  Give my Facebook page a like and let me know what type of photography you are into and how much you want to spend- I will respond with some suggestions.

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 Upper Sunbeam Falls - Powered by melting snow(seen at the top of the frame) - Captured with GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8 lens 0.4 second exposure.
 @maudelou crosses the suspension bridge over the Ohanepecosh River on the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail - Mt Rainier National Park Captured with the GH5 and 12-35 f/2.8 lens
 Untended yards are still beautiful yards in Trogir, Croatia

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  1. I own the 70D and for my choice of lenses I have a Sigma 10-20mm for Wide Angle. A 24-105mm, f/4, IS, ‘L’ and a Sigma 70-300mm for Telephoto. I have found that I have no noise when shooting video with these lenses and I am very pleased with the results. I looked at the others, but I had 2 of these already from my 60D.

  2. I am considering the Sigma 10-20 F/4.0-5.6 for a wide angle lens, but I am having a hard time deciding if I want the that one, or the Tokina 11-16, or even the Rokinon (samyang) 14mm f/2.8.

    Any thoughts on these lens’?

  3. I own the 70D and I also use/own the Sigma 10-20, F/4-5.6 lens. I love the color and the clarity I get when using this lens. It is light weight and very good. I especially love the way I can see an entire Cathedral in one photo. Also Street rod shows are an excellent use of this lens also

  4. I am almost sold on this lens… I am a research geek, and when I get into the reviews and scores in sites such as de review and Denmark… I get a bit discouraged…..

    I also considered the sigma 17-70 as an alternative “more useful” lens…. But I think my kit lens mark II is a good performer….

    • The Sigma is very good for the money. I find the Tokina 11-16 to be a little sharper and provides that f/2.8 but you give up some range there.

  5. I have not had problems with the older version of the 10-20. I find that in the daylight, my shutter speed is quite high and I have used it in many different venues. I guess it is a matter of preference

  6. Am very new with this. Am interested, based on your recommendations, in the Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM for use with a new 70D. Amazon asks for brand camera (I got that one), the style (eos or Rebel) then which camera model it will be on. Only the 70D is not listed. Can I select the 60D and be OK?

  7. Hi Toby – I’m a relative newbie so pardon the question if it’s dumb, but will the 70D still autofocus if I’m using the Sigma 18-35 F1.8 lens? Thanks for all the great 70D info…


    • Hi Ken – I am here to answer all questions. No pardons needed. The 70D will autofocus fine with the sigma. During video you will hear the noise of the lens motors as it focuses but it works just fine. Only the STM lenses 18-55 STM and 18-135 STM are completely silent during video focus.

  8. Thanks for taking the time to answer, Toby. One more quick question, if you don’t mind. I’m planning to purchase the 70D body because I’m looking to upgrade from my Canon G10 video camera. I’m going to use the 70D primarily for cooking videos I create indoors, in my home kitchen, where I have some – but not great – natural light from several windows. I’ll be positioning the camera, usually on a tripod, about 5 to 8 feet from the counter where I’m working. Given these conditions, do you think the Sigma 18-35 would be a good match. (At this point, I’ll probably only be able to spring for one good lens.) Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.) PS – I’d also like to use my setup to start shooting short videos for local businesses.

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