Now, a camera is certainly the most vital piece of your photography arsenal. With lenses to accommodate it, your camera becomes an aimless tool without guidance. Lenses are what dictate the style, feel and look of your pictures.
I’d go as far as to say that you should consider the lenses before you consider the camera. That is if you’re taking photography. Since you’re reading this, I reckon you do.
What is a zoom lens?
One of the questions novice photographers always ask me is “What type of lenses should I get first?” while there’s no concrete answer to this, I’d say the most important lenses to have are Zoom lenses.
They allow you to reframe and change the composition of a photograph without moving from your place. This is certainly useful if you’re in a restricted place or shooting objects from a distance.
You get to keep your subjects in focus from a great distance and without losing the sharpness of the picture. Seriously, what’s there not to like about zoom lenses?
How do I pick a zoom lens?
Well, to make it simple remember one thing. Zoom lenses are the ones with the highest focal length.
For your zooming purposes, you’ll need a telephoto lens with a focal length of 50 to 100mm. This will bring your subject as close as possible to focus even from a great distance. There are a few things to consider before buying a zoom lens, however.
Zoom lenses are bulky and huge because they include controls to change the focal length.
So, carry them in a bag. Don’t let this bring you down. Having one zoom lens with multiple focal lengths is better than having multiple prime lenses with a single focal length.
It’s also very versatile. It enables you to shoot in different ranges without the need to change your physical location.
Zoom lenses are a little pricier than a prime lens for example. However, their cost is justified when you realize you’ll only need one instead of multiple cheap prime lenses that add up to the same cost or more.
You can get image stabilization whether it’s Canon’s image stabilization, Sigma’s optical stabilization or any other variation of the name. This ensures a sharp quality of distant subjects without any blur or other undesired effects.
Make sure your zoom lens is compatible with your camera’s sensor (which is why I said the lenses are more important than the camera) some third party lenses aren’t compatible with certain camera brands and modules.
So do your research into the specs of the camera and the lens to ensure you won’t buy a huge and useless magnifying glass.
With all of that said, the zoom lenses we’ll be focusing on are the ones made specifically for Canon (Sorry Nikon users.) I’m going to list a number of my favorite zoom lenses for Canon.
I’ll list their features, build quality and price. So, without further ado let’s dive right into it.
Best Zoom Lens For Canon – The Lenses
Let’s jump right in with the Sigma 17-70mm!
1. Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4
This lovely first offering from is sigma is designed for all cameras with APS-C sensors. Again, check your specs. If your camera does have an APS-C sensor you’re in luck because this is a wonderful lens.
It has a focal length that starts at 17mm and goes all the way to 70mm. While it may not seem like much, you’re still getting a nice zoom with sharp image quality. Especially when you consider the price (we’ll get to that later).
The lens has a nice feel to it. It feels solidly built considering its budget-friendly price (not yet). It’s made from both plastic and metal parts.
It also feels pretty light which is nice since most zoom lenses are on the heavier side.
Another thing I love is how nice it is to grip. This is due to only having half of the focus ring is ridged.
Now for the price. I kept you waiting long enough. Pretty awesome, right? You won’t have to pay a thousand dollars or more for your first zoom lens. Overall, if you want a solid zoom lens with good performance and a great price tag to along with it, this is it.
2. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II
Canon replaced its 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS with this vastly improved release. The focal length of this one is amazing. It allows you to go as far as 300mm. You might think that’ll cost more than Sigma’s offering but wait and you’ll be surprised.
The image quality on this lens is sharp and clear thanks to a number of features Canon added to this new module.
Chief among them is the lovely 4 point image stabilization. It keeps the pictures from coming out blurry or shakey especially if you’re into handheld photography.
In terms of build, it’s not a large or heavy lens by any means. You can easily fit this into your bag without worrying about the heaviness of it sticking out like a sore thumb from your bag. It’s built well enough to make it feel like a quality lens.
Most of the lens is taken by the zoom ring which has ridged coating. It makes gripping the lens feel much more secure and safe.
If you thought the price of the last lens was amazing, wait till you hear how much this one costs. Canon priced the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II at a very reasonable price tag.
3. Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2
The best thing about this lens is that you can use it for both your Canon and Nikon cameras so if you have both brands you’ll only need one lens. But that’s not important if the performance is not good.
Thankfully, the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 performs wonderfully even at its maximum focal length of 200mm.
The quality of the images is consistent thanks to improved vibration compensation which is essentially another way of saying image stabilization. So in terms of performance, you won’t have much to worry about.
In terms of build quality, the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a step above the rest of the other cameras on this list. For one it’s sealed against moisture as it’s built from metal thus it feels excellent when you hold it.
There’s a rubber grip band to make it easier and more comfortable to handle. This is one of the best-built lenses I have ever come across.
If you’re looking for something durable that could take some abuse, the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 will do nicely. Don’t abuse your lens though, that’s not nice.
In terms of price, this might be the only downside to this fabulous lens, as it doesn’t come cheap. But it’s understandable given its level of built quality and excellent performance.
If you have the money and are willing to invest in a really solid lens that’ll last you years this one comes strongly recommended.
4. Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD
Our last offering is for those who want the farthest reach for a decent price. Tamron is well-known for releasing quality lenses for Canon cameras and other brands. If the price of the last lens seemed intimidating, that’s okay.
Thankfully, in the world of photography, there’s a tool for every budget. Tamaron offers its 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD at half the price of the previous item. The focal length here is really great. 400mm is the farthest any lens will go on this list.
In terms of build quality, the lens is quite heavy at 1.1kg. However, for this much focal length, it is considered pretty light compared to its competition.
The outer barrel is made from magnesium which lends a solid feel to the lens that communicates to the user that it’s a quality lens.
You won’t have a problem handling this one despite its weight. I’d advise you mount on full-on pro cameras and not smaller compact ones though, just to balance the feel of it.
In terms of pricing, this one is far less expensive than Tamron’s other offering but still comes in at a fairly hefty price. But for what you get, it’s really worth it.
Cameras in this category (100mm to 400mm) are not usually this cheap. Still, only you can decide if the performance and build are worth the asking price.
Best Zoom Lens For Canon – In Conclusion
This concludes my list of the best zoom lenses for Canon users. Whether you choose a third-party or first-party lens just make sure you pay attention to all the things I explained in this guide.
If you choose one of these lenses to make sure you search for the best deal you can get (while staying safe of course). If these don’t scratch your itch, though, that’s no problem.
You can always search for, and find good lenses out there. You just need to be aware of what to look for and what to avoid. Good luck!
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