Buying guide: best camera digital SLR lenses

Whether you've grown tired of what came with your DSLR, or want to start photographing different subjects, a new lens is probably in order. Whether you're looking to take close-ups, sports photos or interiors, we've got some suggestions to make your decision a bit easier.

For each type of lens in this buying guide we've chosen the one which offers the best combination of performance and value, as well as other options for those on a budget or for whom money is no object.

But first, we need to know what kind of camera you have, and if you have an 'APS-C' sensor or a 'full-frame' sensor:

I own a camera with an 'APS-C' sensor, such as:

  • Any EOS Rebel model
  • Any EOS model between 20D and 1500D
  • The EOS 7D or 7D Mark II

Unsure? Take off your lens and look for a white square on the mount. If you see one, if you're in the right place.

I own a camera with a 'full-frame' sensor, such as:

  • Any EOS 5D or 6D model
  • Any EOS 1D model

These models lose the white square and have a mirror that extends almost all the way to the edges of the lens mount.

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Note that owners of Canon APS-C cameras, like any EOS Rebel, can use lenses designed for full-frame cameras. Owners of full-frame Canon DSLRs, like the EOS 5D IV, cannot use lenses designed for APS-C cameras.

This guide does not cover lenses designed for Canon's RF-mount mirrorless cameras.