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Top 23 Best Canon EOS EF Lenses 2019

Here are 23 of the best top-scoring Canon EOS EF and EF-S lenses ePHOTOzine's put to the test.

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If you're looking for the best Canon EF and EF-S lenses available today then you've come to the right place as here are the top 23 lenses that scored the highest results in ePHOTOzine's reviews. Lenses, like all of the equipment ePHOTOzine put to the test, are scored on four factors: features, handling, performance and value for money. The score you see below each of the lenses featured in our top 23 is the overall 'verdict' score that combines the four deciding factors into one sum.

The lenses featured range from super-telephotos to wides and everything in between so no matter what your favourite photographic subject is, you should find a lens to suit your needs. 

As with all of our top lists, you can purchase/find more information about each lens listed by clicking the green Amazon buttons featured below each product. It doesn't cost you anything extra when you press our Amazon buttons but by using our Amazon Affiliate links when ordering anything online, you are supporting the site - thank you. * Clicking 'Buy on Amazon USA' will redirect you to the Amazon store for your country. If you are in the UK please use the 'Buy On Amazon UK' button.

 

1. Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM Lens

Canon EF 400mm DO IS II USM Lens (9)

 

The Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS II USM is a professional-grade telephoto lens, which sports a moderately fast maximum aperture of f/4, image stabilisation, silent focusing with full-time manual focus override and a relatively compact design, thanks to the use of Diffractive Optics. It won't be a lens everyone is running out to buy due to its price point (it's nearly 7k!) however, due to its exemplary performance, you'd be hard pushed to not be pleased with this lens. Plus, the relatively compact dimensions make this lens fairly easy to hand-hold, especially when compared to the more expensive 400mm f/2.8 lens also available from Canon. Start saving!

Overall Score: 

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2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM

 

A well crafted photographic tool that does its job flawlessly is always a pleasure to use, and this new lens can be fairly described as just that. Fair enough, we lose a little of the ability to throw backgrounds out of focus by sacrificing the usual f/2.8 aperture, but we gain portability, a lower cost and there is really very little sacrifice in terms of narrow depth of field. The f/4 70-200mm lenses, in general, look an attractive proposition and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM is a particularly good example.

Overall Score: 

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3. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

Canon EF 100 400mm F4
 

The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6OL IS II USM was announced last year and as its predecessor was popular due to its compact size, light weight and good value for money, it had a lot to live up to but it didn't disappoint.  It sports a zoom range of 4x, a maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6, a four-stop IS and as it's weather sealed, you can confidently shoot in poor weather conditions. Overall, the lens handles really well, focusing fast when needed and capturing sharp images. 

Overall Score: 

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4. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Canon Ef 100mm Macro High Res
 

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM has been a while now but it's still worth talking about thanks to the impressive, high-resolution images it can produce as well as its IS performance. The lens provides life-size magnification at its closest focus, is weather-sealed and has an ultrasonic focusing motor. Focusing is excellent in fact, manual focus is a pleasure to use and superb levels of detail can be recorded with this optic. 

Overall Score: 

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

Canon EF 16 35mm F4L IS USM Lens (6)
 

Announced in 2014, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 L IS USM is an ultra-wide lens that sports a zoom range of just over 2x, a four-stop IS and a constant maximum aperture of f/4. As far as sharpness is concerned, this is one of the best zoom lenses we have tested with it producing outstanding sharpness across the frame from maximum aperture. Yes, we did find that the far corners remained darker than the image centre, even when stopped down to f/16, but this is easily corrected by software. Even with the odd niggle, this lens is well worth looking at. 

Overall Score: 

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6. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

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


 

Another wide but this time, it's a prime lens that has a f/1.4 maximum aperture, fast ultrasonic focusing and professional-grade weather-sealed construction. The build is typical of Canon's L series lenses, and the lens feels very robust. As for performance, images produced by this lens have good contrast and are packed with detail. Low light performance is good and the lens is very resistant to flare. Quality towards the edges at maximum aperture could be better (although this is a minor concern for a wide aperture lens like this) but overall, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM offers excellent optical performance.

Overall Score: 

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7. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM 

Canon EF 16 35mm III (3)
 

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM wide-angle lens for full-frame Canon EF mount cameras performs incredibly well and it's built well, too. The wide-angle lens is also weather sealed which brings peace of mind when shooting in rain showers. The price may be considered high by some but it's actually worth the 4-figure sum when you look at the list of pros it offers the user. When in use, there's no flare and sharpness as well as CA correction is excellent. Close focusing is impressive and the lens performs consistently well.

Overall Score: 

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8. Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM 

Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM

 

The Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS III USM is a great lens, although at a very high price from which there is no escape. It handles well, it has that fantastic f/2.8 aperture, it is teeming with features. If you need it and can afford it, then Canon users have an incredible 400mm option to consider. Highly Recommended.

Overall Score: 

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9. Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM 

Canon EF 200mm F2 L IS USM (4)
 

When this lens first came out, it was almost £4600 but as it's now almost 3-years old, the price has reduced a little to £4350 but it's still a price not justifiable by all. The Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM features a fast maximum aperture and silent focusing with full-time manual focus override. It certainly performs very well offering superb sharpness from the maximum aperture with virtually no CA or distortion. Design and build-wise, this lens bears all the hallmarks of Canon's high-end telephoto lenses and IS doesn't disappoint. 

Overall Score: 

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10. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM is another fine lens and one that delivers the goods efficiently. A very fine photographic tool that would be a pleasure to own. There is very little about this lens that isn't resoundingly positive. However, weight and price. Do we need f/2.8 as opposed to f/4? These are the critical factors and of course my own resolution of them may be very different to the next photographer's. In terms of performance, both lenses are equally superb.

In conclusion though, if you need its specification, then you will not be disappointed by a really great lens. Highly recommended.

Overall Score: 

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11. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM Lens

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
 

The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM has a tough body, tougher than you might expect to find on a lens covering this range, a sports silent autofocus, with full-time manual override, weather sealing and optical stabilisation. Autofocus is powered by an Ultrasonic motor which means focusing is extremely fast and accurate as a result and optical performance is remarkably consistent throughout the zoom range. CA and distortion are low, plus the lens is actually quite light, making it especially well suited to those looking for a high-quality tele-zoom, without weighing themselves down too much.

Overall Score: 

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12. Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Canon 300mm L II (4)
 

The Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a professional super-telephoto with a price-tag that's as high as its performance. At over £5k, this is a serious piece of professional equipment, built for those who can't afford to compromise. Expensive as it may be, it is sharp, rugged, fast to focus, has little distortion, is resistant to flare and doesn't suffer badly with chromatic aberrations. It works exactly as you'd expect a lens costing this much should do and can only be described as an 'excellent performer'. 

Overall Score: 

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Comments


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Probably sums up why I shoot Canon, glass has the class Wink just wish I could afford the 400mm DO
StrayCat 15 19.1k 3 Canada
Hard to improve on your work Neil.Smile
A interesting list - but is number 11 not bested by the later mk2 model - http://www.canon.co.uk/lenses/ef-24-105mm-f-4l-is-ii-usm-lens/

Is there a similar list for EOS camera's - regardless of lens manufacturer?
Well, in the 9th row, Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L II IS lens is listed.
In my opinion, Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L II IS lens must be listed instead. Wink
I had used it for a few days and it is really amazing to have f/2.8 at 400mm focal length! Smile
Why arenít you showing the improved Mark II versions on some of these?
Hi John,

If you're talking about the 24-105mm f/4, then the mark II version didn't score as high a rating as the first version of this lens. https://www.ephotozine.com/article/canon-ef-24-105mm-f-4-is-ii-usm-lens-review--30572

Thanks
Josh
Josh,

What about the 35mm f/1.4L Mark II?
Hi John,

The review of the 35mm f/1.4L Mark II can be found here:
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/canon-ef-35mm-f-1-4l-ii-usm-lens-review-28614

It didn't score are high overall, due to the price compared to the original.
Thanks
Josh
I rented the 35mm f/1.4L Mark II a couple years ago for a wedding after looking at the test results compared to the previous version on the-digital-picture.com

Iím most concerned with final IQ, and this lens seemed to be the best available for Canon by a long shot. I was extremely pleased with the wide open results, when the AF nailed focus. Iíd not hesitate to buy it if I had the need to use it more often, but I rarely shoot weddings and low light events, so renting makes more sense.

I have several questions about this list.

Why is the Canon 50 mm f /2 not included on this list?
Why are the f4 versions of the version ii lenses represented over the f 1/2/4/8?
The wider open and faster shutter speed does make a difference and if at all possible will not purchase a 4L and above if I can afford it. Too frequently I regularly find circumstance where I need the extra specs.

Scott

Quote:Hi John,

The review of the 35mm f/1.4L Mark II can be found here:
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/canon-ef-35mm-f-1-4l-ii-usm-lens-review-28614

It didn't score are high overall, due to the price compared to the original.
Thanks
Josh


Hi Josh.
Wondering if your 35 L ii copy was ok. It is one of the best lense ever ((many other websites claim that too). I own it myself and it is really an impressive lense, especially at 1.4
Strange it is not in the top 18 (price is a thing but quality is exceptional).
I have 4 out of the 20 and looking to add a 5th which is also in the list.
Bit of a shame that all but two of these are L lenses. I dream of being able to afford L glass, but budget won't allow it. I put an EF-S 17-55mm f2.8 on the credit card, and that was pushing things!!

Not all us photographers can afford stuff like this - how about a round up of best budget Canon glass?

Quote:Not all us photographers can afford stuff like this - how about a round up of best budget Canon glass?


We can do that Smile

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