Top 10 Best All-around Canon Lens 2017

All-around Canon LensA good camera or lens doesn’t necessarily make you a good photographer, but it can help. Photography is about capturing interesting or significant moments; the stunning view or the lesser seen. You’ll often see professional photographers carrying around an array of lenses to capture these moments. They range from the versatile to the highly specialized, but for the average photographer a solid all-around lens is a great place to start. If you own a Canon camera, a Canon lens is often a good choice.

Most Canon cameras will come with a kit lens. This is usually an inexpensive starter lens that will allow the user to get to grips with their camera. Other lenses can also be purchased to supplement your basic lens and, depending on your camera, you’ll have a different range available to you. There are two main categories that we’ll examine; full frame and crop frame DSLRs. For an all-around lens, the key focal range for each for full and crop frame is different; 28-70mm for a full frame camera and 18-45mm for a cropped-frame. Of course, other focal ranges will offer different options. We’ll look at some of the best all-around Canon lenses available today.

Best Canon “Walk Around” Lens for Full Frame Camera


1.     Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • f/2.8 maximum aperture throughout the zoom range.
  • Perfect for use in low-light shooting.
  • Ultrasonic Ring Auto Focus for fast and quiet focusing.
  • Sturdy design that’s ideal for daily use.

The EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is our pick as the best all-around Canon lens for full frame cameras. It’s incredibly versatile, with a consistent f/2.8 aperture through all zoom lengths. When shooting in low light you’ll be able to perfectly capture the action, without having to worry about too much image noise. The brilliant auto focus is quick and quiet, and can be manually overridden without having to change shooting modes. The bokeh on the EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM creates lovely, soft background blur which is deal for close ups and portraits. It’s a sturdy enough lens to be used in all kinds of situations, yet not so heavy it impedes hand-held shooting.

Buying considerations:

  • The price tag may be off-putting, particularly for the casual photographer.
  • This lens has no image-stabilization which means you may notice more motion blur when shooting.

2.     Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

Why it’s great:

  • f/1.8 fixed aperture.
  • Fixed and non-zooming for perfect clarity, more contrast and sharpness, and less distortion.
  • Small and versatile, perfect for use when out and about.
  • Wide aperture lets in a huge amount of light.

Many photographers will say that the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is an essential lens. Its low price combined with excellent image quality makes it a firm favorite with amateurs and professionals. The STM focus is smooth and silent, and thanks to the wide aperture you can continue shooting even in low-light situations. The shallow depth of field makes this a great lens for creating a soft background, without compromising on clarity in the area of focus. It’s lightweight and small, ideal for travelling.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s a fixed lens which means you get no zoom options. Some beginners may find this frustrating or inconvenient.
  • The lightweight build makes it feel a little less robust than other lenses.

3.     Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • f/4 – f/22 aperture throughout zoom range.
  • Suitable for a wide-range of situations.
  • Image stabilization effective to 4 stops, for sharper shots at slower shutter speeds.
  • Sturdy unit with weather sealing.

The long zoom with constant aperture makes this a useful lens for many occasions. The image reproduction is consistently high when shooting, and you need not fear for its safety in adverse conditions. This is another firm favorite with amateurs and professionals.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s a heavy lens that will definitely be noticed in your kit bag.
  • The price tag is also quite hefty.

4.     Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Large zoom area with consistent aperture.
  • Good all-round lens for many situations.
  • Robust build for a quality feel.

The predecessor to this lens was used by many photographers.  With the improvements on image stabilization and sharpness at 24mm, the Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM is also a popular lens. The ring-type USM (ultrasonic motor) gives quick and quiet autofocus and the images it takes are consistently good across all zoom ranges.

Buying considerations:

  • Minor image vignetting can be seen at 24mm.
  • Although cheaper than similar alternatives, this is still pricey for the beginner.

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

Why it’s great:

  • Ultra-wide angle, ideal for landscapes, architecture and travel shooting.
  • Fixed aperture and high performance.
  • 28m focusing distance, for close ups with a wide field of view.
  • Canon’s best Ultra-wide zoom lens

The ultra-wide angle of this lens makes it versatile all-purpose lens, particularly when travelling through cities and capturing landscapes. Canon’s 4 stop image stabilizer mean that you can keep shooting sharp images in a variety of situations and light conditions. The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM gives a really smooth and consistent background blur, while maintaining the sharpness of the subject, and the ring type USM gives a smooth and quiet experience whilst doing so.

Buying considerations:

  • Again, the cost of this lens may be a little too high for some users.

6.     Sigma 24-105mm f/4.0 DG OS HSM Art Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Optical stabilization for superior image sharpness and quality.
  • Long focal range.
  • Sturdy build quality.

Sigma lenses can be used seamlessly with Canon models, and often offer a slightly lower price point. The Sigma 24-105mm f/4.0 DG OS HSM Art Lens offers the same focal range of other Canon 24-105mm lenses. Although it doesn’t have the f/2.8 of others in this range, the consistent f/4 is enough for most users.

Buying considerations:

  • The weight of the lens is considerable, which could be off-putting for those wanting to travel.
  • Some users note a small degree of chromatic aberration.

7.     Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens

Why it’s great:

  • f/2.8 aperture throughout zoom range.
  • VC anti-shake mechanism offers greater image stability.
  • Great value without compromising on production.

The Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD is very similar to the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens, with the notable exception of the price tag. The f/2.8 aperture and focal length are perfectly complimented by the image stabilization that isn’t on the Canon lens. It’s accurate and quiet when focusing thanks to the Ultrasonic Drive autofocus.

Buying considerations:

  • The autofocus is slightly slower than its Canon counterpart.
  • Some vignetting can be seen towards the telephoto range on f/2.8 aperture.

8.     Zeiss Otus 55mm f1.4

Why it’s great:

  • Phenomenal image quality and sharpness
  • Luxurious construction; it looks and feels fantastic
  • Exceptional performance in all areas.

This lens is truly something special. The care and technical skill that went into its construction makes for outstanding images capture. The sharpness is unreal, as is its performance in many areas. This is a precision bit of kit and not for the amateur, as reflected in the price tag.

Buying considerations:

  • The cost of this lens makes it unaffordable for all but the professional.
  • It’s bulky and heavy.

Best Canon “Walk Around” Lens for Crop Frame Camera


1.     Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Best image quality of a Canon zoom lens.
  • f/2.8 aperture for low-light conditions.
  • Strong autofocus and image stabilization.

This is a really neat piece of equipment. All of the components come together to create a versatile and reliable lens that is popular with beginners and pros. It consistently captures beautiful images in a range of lightings. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens is our pick as the best all-around canon lens for crop frames.

Buying considerations:

  • The lens shows some occasional color fringing.

2.     Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Long focal range in a compact form.
  • Good image stabilization for shooting on the move.
  • Quick and accurate autofocus.

The Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM is a really useful lens to have on hand. The 18-135mm focal range performs well in so many situations. Combine that with the four stop Dynamic Image Stabilizer and rapid autofocus and you have a very good lens.

Buying considerations:

  • Centre and edge image sharpness sometimes lacking at maximum aperture.
  • Lightweight, but not all that sturdy because of it.

3.     Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Reasonable focal range at good value.
  • Excellent image capture
  • Ideal for travel and landscape photography

Whilst the Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM doesn’t have the f/2.8 of the 17-55mm taking the top spot, it does have all the build and image quality, along with a greater focal range. It’s also slightly less sizeable, which makes it perfect for traveling.

Buying considerations:

  • Some reported issues with build quality.

4.     Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • We’ve mentioned this one before in the full frame lineup, and it’s just as effective for crop frame cameras. The wide focal length range, consistent f/4 aperture and reasonable price make it a good buy.

5.     Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • This was top of our list for the full frame camera, and is only slightly lower down here due to the price and lack of image stabilization. Still, the image quality, f/2.8 aperture and performance in low-light make it a really good lens.

6.    Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • High quality zoom lens with good macro capabilities.
  • Lightweight and responsive
  • Excellent build quality, auto focus and image stabilization

Despite not being the most affordable lens, the features of the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM means it sells itself. The lightweight and quality build means you can take it anywhere, and the macro feature is definitely desirable.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s a pretty pricey lens, so not for the beginner.
  • It lacks the f/2.8 of similar lenses in this category.

7.     Canon EF-S 18-200mm f3.5-5.6 IS

Why it’s great:

  • The range in focal length is huge, offering a 200mm super-zoom.
  • It’s versatile enough to use in almost any situation.

The range of focal lengths on this range is staggering. From wide-angle to telephoto it has you covered for just about every eventuality. Sadly it can only be used on crop frame sensors, but it does offer an equivalent 29-320mm focal length.

Buying considerations:

  • The image quality isn’t as good as on other lenses.
  • There’s no Ultrasonic Motor focus.

8.     Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD Lens

Why it’s great:

  • This is another lens that we covered in the first section. The wide f/2.8 aperture, image stabilization and value make this a good choice of lens.

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