My favorite Canon zoom camera lenses

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens for Canon SLR CamerasI am always curious to know what camera lenses other photographers think are the best and like to use, so this post is about my favorite camera lenses.

As a professional photographer, I am very concerned about the set of camera lenses I own. I not only want the best quality lenses but the right lenses to cover my photographic needs. I need lenses that will work in a variety of situations. Because of weight and size limitations associated with travel, not to mention convenience, I don’t want to haul tons of lenses around. So, over the years, I have purchased and sold many lenses and settled on what I feel is the ideal set of lenses for my situation.

My background

Before I divulge my list, let me tell you a bit about my situation. I am primarily a travel and landscape photographer. I use the full frame Canon 5D DSLR, so I cannot use Canon EF-S lenses (they must be EF). As mentioned earlier, because I do not want to haul a ton of lenses around, I generally stick with zoom lenses, even though I think prime lenses can be great. Finally, because of the quality , speed of focusing, and reliability, I stick with Canon lenses, even though there are some great third-party lenses available too.

My favorite Canon lenses

OK, so here are my Canon DSLR lenses:

  • Canon EF 24-70 F2.8L – This is my favorite general purpose lens. The range lends itself to largest number of situations in which I want to shoot. The fast F2.8 speed of lens also makes it well suited to shooting indoors and when lighting conditions are less than ideal.
  • Canon EF 70-200 F2.8L IS – This is an extremely sharp lens and gives me the reach I need when the 24-70 is not enough. The 2.8 speed again gives me the extra light when shooting indoors without a flash. The IS is really nice when I need to shoot at slower speeds and try to hold the camera steady. The disadvantage to this lens is its weight. It is really heavy. An alternative, although not as fast, is the Canon 70-200 F4l IS – a great lens, just not quite as fast.
  • Canon EF 50mm F1.8 – This is not a zoom lens, but I take it wherever I go as a lightweight and inexpensive backup in case I have a problem with one of my other lenses. One of the worst things that can happen to a photographer is to get to “the” location and have an equipment problem. This lens buys me that extra peace of mind. This is also my fastest lens, so if I need to shoot in really low light conditions, this lens is an option.
  • Canon EF 1.4X Extender – This isn’t a zoom either, in fact it isn’t even a lens, at least not one that you can use by itself. This small piece of equipment allows me to extend the zoom on my 70-200 by 1.4 times, so it effectively becomes a 98-280mm zoom. I don’t often have the need for this, but when I do, it is invaluable and a lot less weight and cost than hauling a larger zoom lens around, such as the Canon 100-400 F4. I also like this extender over the 2X one because this one only costs me one F stop in light, while the 2X costs two F stops.

My Canon lens wish list

If I were to add another lens to my list, which i have been considering doing, I would consider the following:

  • Canon 16-35 F2.8L – I do run into situations, such as within big cities or with large landscapes, where I wish I had a wider zoom lens. In these situations, this would be a great lens. It is about as wide as you can get without being a fish-eye lens and is really fast with the F2.8. The problem is the price of this lens for how often i might need it.
  • Canon EF 17-40L F4 – This lens is a great alternative to the 16-35. It is almost as wide as the 16-36 and costs a lot less money. Another plus of this lens is that it uses the same size filters at the 24-70 and 70-200 that I already own. The only drawback is it is not as fast as the 16-35.

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