Best lenses for Canon full-frame DSLRs

Note that Canon EF-S are not compatible with the cameras mentioned on the first page of this guide, which include any EOS 1D, 5D or 6D model.

For each of the categories below the winner is the lens which we find to offer the best combination of quality and value. In most cases, we've also provided a more budget-friendly option, as well as a choice for those with more to spend.

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Best standard zoom lens

Standard zooms are just what they sound like - versatile, general-purpose lenses that start with a fairly wide angle of view and allow you to zoom in to a focal length traditionally used for portraits.

Our pick: Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art

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Sigma's 24-70mm F2.8 covers a classically useful range with a bright enough maximum aperture to help you get the most out of your full-frame camera. While image quality doesn't match the impeccable standards of Sigma's prime / fixed focal length 'Art' lenses, it's still very good, and costs less than Canon's own take on this workhorse lens type.

Also consider:

Best value:
Canon EF 24-70mm F4L IS USM

Canon's 24-70mm F4 offers is smaller and lighter than F2.8 versions while still offering the image quality to qualify as part of the company's 'L' range. It's a entire stop slower than the F2.8s but still an upgrade from most variable aperture lenses.

Money no object:
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

The Canon 24-70mm F2.8 L is one of the most widely-used professional lenses in the world. It's fast, solidly-built and well-respected for its image quality.

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Best prime / single focal length lens

Prime lenses are just a single focal length; removing the complexity of a zoom often allows for these lenses to be smaller, lighter and sharper, while letting more light through and being more useful in dimly lit situations.

Our pick: Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

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The 35mm F1.4 Art offers one of the most flexible do-everything focal lengths, paired with excellent image quality at a sensible price. There are plenty of choices of other focal lengths available for full-frame Canon, but unless you have a specific use in mind, the 35mm F1.4 makes a great all-rounder.

Also consider:

Best value:
Tamron SP 35mm F1.8 Di VC USD

Tamron's 35mm F1.8 gives up a little bit of low-light performance, compared with the Sigma F1.4 but it's smaller, less expensive and adds image stabilization, so it's still pretty handy.

Money no object:
Canon EF 35mm F1.4L II USM

If you've got a bit more to spend on a 35mm lens, the latest version of Canon's F1.4 is simply superlative optically, and is extremely well built to boot.

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Best wide-angle zoom lens

Wide-angle lenses are often useful for taking photos of interiors, landscapes and architecture.

Our pick: Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM

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Canon's 16-35mm F4 IS is a fairly bright, optically reliable wide-angle zoom. The addition of image stabilization makes it easy to shoot a variety of wide-angle subjects, particularly in lower light.

Also consider:

Best value:
Tamron 17-35mm F2.8-4 Di OSD

The Tamron 17-35mm doesn't go quite as wide as the Canon, nor does it have image stabilization, but its F2.8-4 maximum aperture adds flexibility to a well-priced lens choice.

Money no object:
Canon EF 16-35mm F2.8L III USM

The latest 16-35mm F2.8 from Canon is one of the best wide-angle zooms in the world. It's astonishingly sharp even at wide apertures.

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Best telephoto zoom lens

Telephoto lenses start out being fairly zoomed-in, and allow you to zoom in further so you can fill your frame with more distant subjects.

Our pick: Canon EF 70-200mm F4L IS II USM

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The stabilized version of Canon's 70-200mm F4 L offers an excellent balance of size, price and image quality. It focuses fast enough for sports shooting and offers a classic, flexible telephoto range. The lighter weight and solid optical performance make it worth considering rather than 3rd-party F2.8 alternatives.

Also consider:

Best value:
Tamron 70-210mm F4 Di VC USD

The Tamron 70-210mm F4 offers a less-expensive alternative to Canon's L version. It doesn't quite match the Canon in terms of build but it's a strong choice, nonetheless.

Money no object:
Canon EF 70-200mm F2.8L IS III USM

The 70-200mm F2.8 L III is another of Canon's workhorse lenses used and trusted by professionals across the world. Its performance and build quality are as impressive as that demands.

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Best portrait lens

Whether you're taking informal headshots or making a living shooting weddings, a fast prime lens is a must-have.

Our pick: Sigma 85mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

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The Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art is one of the best lenses available for any system. It offers impressive sharpness and excellent all-round performance at a lower price than most camera maker’s own optics. It’s a pretty substantial lens, but well worth the weight.

Also consider:

Best value:
Tamron SP 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD

The Tamron 85mm F1.8 isn't just sharp and well-priced: it’s also image stabilized. And, while image stabilization won’t prevent your subject from moving, it can help maximize shooting opportunities in borderline situations as well as letting you shoot with longer shutter speeds.

Money no object:
Canon EF 85mm F1.4L IS USM

Some people will choose the Canon 85mm F1.4 over the Sigma because they want to stay on-brand, while other people will appreciate that it’s a touch smaller and lighter. It’s an excellent lens, whatever your motivation.

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Best macro lens

Macro lenses allow you to focus very close to small subjects, which is very handy for photographing flowers or bugs.

Our pick: Canon EF 100mm F2.8L Macro IS USM

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The Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro is an update to what was already considered a classic lens. The Hybrid IS system is designed specifically to correct for the kinds of motion that can plague macro photography, making it a useful additional to an optically excellent lens.

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A little wider:
Sigma 70mm F2.8 DG Macro Art

The Sigma 70mm F2.8 is a long-established lower-cost alternative to the Canon 100mm Macro. The shorter focal length means having to get a bit closer to your subject and there's no clever IS, but it's a good way to experiment with Macro.

Right in the middle:
Tamron SP 90mm F2.8 Di VC USD 1:1 Macro

The Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro is another well-loved lens that's had image stabilization added to this later version.

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Best travel zoom lens

Travel zooms are like your standard zoom lens but taken to the extreme. You still start out with a fairly wide field of view, but you can zoom in almost as much as many telephoto lenses. This is convenient, but these lenses tend to let less light through them, so aren't as useful in dimly lit situations, and they may not always give you the sharpest results.

Our pick: Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art

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The large sensor of full-frame cameras makes it difficult to offer lenses that offer a wide range of focal lengths without the lens becoming unfeasibly large. The 24-105mm F4 strikes a nice balance, though. Extending from the usefully wide-angle 24mm out into the portrait-friendly mid-telephoto region at 105mm, it makes a solid 'whatever happens' lens.

Also consider:

Best value:
Tamron 28-300mm F3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD

The Tamron is unusual in being able to offer the semi-wide to long tele range of 28-300mm. The maximum aperture drops to a pretty slow F6.3 at the long end but it fits a lot of flexibility into a sensibly-sized package.

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