With the release of the new Canon EFS 24mm f/2.8 STM lens it is worth taking a few moments to share my thoughts on good prime options for Canon cameras. What is the best prime lens for you? Why should you own a prime?
At the end of my recent EFS 24mm Review I share thoughts on the handful of affordable Canon prime lenses. Watch my review
Prime lenses for Canon mentioned in the video:
Affordable Canon Prime Lenses
Canon EFS 24mm f/2.8 STM:
Crop sensor only pancake lens – extremely small with excellent image quality and a decent maximum aperture. When compared to the kit there is not a huge difference in aperture at 24mm (Canon kit lenses have a maximum aperture of f/4 at 24mm) but the quality is better, less vignetting and chromatic aberration, slightly sharper but overall difference when viewed side by side is nearly indistinguishable. Why buy this lens? It makes your camera MUCH smaller and provides a nice quality walk around focal length that does do better for moving subjects (street photography) in lower light. $149
Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM:
Virtually identical in size and wait to the 24mm but EF so it is compatible with full frame cameras/sensors. I love using mine on my 5D mark III as a general walk around lens (on a full frame 40mm is almost identical to 24mm on a crop sensor) Because you have a little more focal length here you can more creatively control your depth of field – on a crop sensor this is a decent portrait lens. Typically sells for $149-199
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8:
This is the plastic fantastic or nifty fifty. Made ntirely out of plastic the build quality is not impressive but for just over $100 you get f/1.8 and decent quality, especially if stop down to f/2 or f/2.8. On a crop sensor this lens can feel limiting, especially indoors. But if you want creative control over your depth of field this is the easiest and cheapest way to get there.
Slightly more expensive prime lenses for Canon cameras
Sigma EFS 30mm f/1.4:
My top pick for most versatile focal length and widest aperture goes to the new Sigma EFS 30mm f/1.4. You pay $500 but get one of Sigma’s newest series lenses with HSM focusing(fast and smooth) and a wide open aperture of f/1.4, and the lens is sharp at that aperture. If you want a street photography lens this is it – downside – cost and weight (approx. 1lb)
Canon 35mm f/2 IS:
If you want a nice wide aperture but you also want image stabilization, especially for those shooting handheld video – the Canon 35mm f/2 IS provides everything you need. Offering a versatile focal length with a wide f/2 aperture and very capable IS in a compact package that weighs just 12oz or 335g
For video work the Bower/Samyang/Rokinon (these lenses are virtually identical between manufacturer) lenses offer excellent features. You can use them for photo but 100% manual focus only can be tiring. Some of these lenses are VERY WIDE – Click here for some Bower Options
Expensive non-prime lens that acts like a prime lens
I need to mention the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 – this is a zoom lens (albeit limited range) that offers incredible sharpness and fantastic aperture across that range. Downsides – it is HEAVY (1.8 lbs 811g) and expensive $799 but it is the equivalent to carrying around a handful of prime lenses and certainly more convenient. Watch my full review of the Sigma 18-35.
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