Lenses can serve a very specific purpose – excelling at one style of photography but falling short in others. There is no one lens to rule them all which is why I am recommending 3 types of lenses that will satisfy the majority of your photography needs; macro, wide-angle, and telephoto lenses.
While the lenses below are specific to the Canon EF mount the recommendation for a macro, wide, and telephoto lens stands true for all body types.
Budget Pick – Canon EF 50MM F/1.8 STM
The 50mm is esteemed as one of the greatest lenses of all time, and this lens is truly as nifty as they claim. I often recommend the nifty 50 as a great starter lens for new photographers, however, it does have some limitations and is not the only lens you’ll ever need.
- Not Wide
- Long minimum focusing distance, .45 m (18 in)
- Color retention
- Weather sealing
- .26 m (10 in) minimum focus distance, almost half the distance of the 50mm lens
- Slow focus – manual and auto
Budget Pick – Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
A focal length of 35 mm or less is generally accepted as wide-angle, so you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck with this 17mm lens.
- It’s pretty darn wide for its price range
- Weather sealing
- Small and lightweight in comparison to other wide-angle lenses
Upgrade Pick: Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM | A
Sigmas have built a reputation for sharpness and sturdy builds, and the ultra-wide Sigma 12-24mm lens is no exception.
- Ultra-wide view
- Great image quality
- Half the price of Canon’s similar build
- Built-in lens hood
Budget Pick: Canon EF 70-300 F4-5.6 IS II USM
After many years of research, I have determined this lens is just too hard to compete with. It has the longest focal length available before a significant price jump and the image quality will make it hard to believe it’s a budget lens. Seriously, I highly recommend the Canon EF 70-300 mm lens.
- One of the longer zooms in this price range
- Image stabilization
- Highlights can have a halo effect
- No weather sealing
Upgrade Pick: SIGMA 150-600MM F/5-6.3 DG OS HSM S (SPORTS) LENS
Sigma’s 600mm lens is one of the longest focal lengths available, so you are sure to never miss a shot again. Be sure to have a tripod or monopod handy as shooting handheld with a lens of this size may get tiresome. But, using a lens with a 600mm focal length is a great way to shoot wildlife without interfering with their habitat. Or, you know, getting too close to a bear.
- Fast Auto Focus
- Sharp images
- Color Retention
- Weather Sealing
- At 12 inches in length is could exceed the maximum lens length at sporting events and concerts
- Weight – 6 pounds it will be hard to shoot handheld for long periods of time