Best Canon Lenses under $1000 (2020)

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The world of lenses can be confusing. Canon alone has 4 different lens mounting systems. This makes looking for a new lens somewhat challenging. Beyond that, comparing the quality of lenses can be difficult if you don’t have it in your hands. From sharpness to aperture limits to autofocus speed and accuracy, there’s a lot to keep track of. This guide will simplify your decision-making process by giving you the stats you need to know in a simple, easy to compare way. Before you get started here, I would recommend you read my article on lenses and perspective as well as my article on sensor sizes.

To get started let’s break down those four categories of lens mounts, so you can find which one your camera falls under. There are links to the product page of the most recent camera in the listed series.

Canon APS-C DSLR – Canon EF-S Lens

Canon Full Frame DSLR – Canon EF Lens

Canon APS-C Mirrorless – Canon EF-M Lens

Canon Full Frame Mirrorless – Canon RF Lens

Note: Canon’s EF lenses also work with their APS-C DSLRs, though the field of view will be different than on a full frame camera and sharpness may suffer. I will still put the focal length conversion from full frame to APS-C on the EF lenses, but if you have a Canon APS-C DSLR, I would recommend you only buy EF lenses if you plan on upgrading to a Canon full frame DSLR soon or you know what you’re doing.

Focal Length

I will be putting the full frame equivalent focal length for all lenses. This is based on the crop factor of the sensor. The crop factor of APS-C is usually 1.5x, but for Canon it’s 1.6x. The calculation to convert from APS-C to full frame is the lens focal length multiplied by the crop factor. If you want to learn more about how sensor size affects different aspects of photography, see my article on sensor sizes.

Best Canon EF-S Lenses

Kick the Kit Lens - Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

EF-S 24mm f2.8

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 24mm (38mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/2.8 (f/4.5 full frame)
  • Lightweight & Portable
  • Filter Size: 52mm
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 6in


This compact little lens is a great first lens to buy when you want to move up from your kit lens. The 38mm full frame equivalent lens is wide enough to offer context and interest, but tight enough to capture the gravity of a subject. Surprisingly, this lens works great for macrophotography. You can get up close to the subject and this lens will still snap to focus. This lens is sharp and the autofocus is satisfyingly fast. It’s great for low light situations too. This lens is extremely portable, sturdy, and versatile, an excellent buy.

Macro Master - Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

EF-S 35mm f2.8

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 35mm (56mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/2.8 (f/4.5 full frame)
  • Filter Size: 27mm
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 5.16in


This great macro lens will blow you away. The macro mode on this lens allows you to get amazingly close to your subject. The lens has a built in LED ring light to help with macro shot lighting. The need to get in close is fine for stationary things, but not the best for moving critters. The construction is sturdy. The lens has built in IS, which makes this lens great for video and handheld shooting. The AF is also silent and smooth. At 56mm full frame equivalent, you can use this lens for more than just macro. It’s incredibly versatile. Being a prime lens, it works well in darker situations. This lens is made for getting in close but is an all-around great; it’s worth the buy. 

Ultrawide Zoom - Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 10-18mm (16-29mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/4.5 (f/7.2 full frame)
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 67mm
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 8.64in


If you’re interested in entering the world of ultrawide angle photography, this lens is an inexpensive option. Ultrawide angle lenses are great for event, landscape, real estate, architectural, and astrophotography. At the wider end the lens may cause what is called barrel distortion, which is curvature in your images. This lens gets some noticeable barrel distortion at the lower end of its focal range, but this can be easily fixed in post processing software. The lens is lightweight and sharp. Like many ultrawide angle lenses, it is prone to flaring from lights. It has a durable construction. The lenses IS makes it a great option for video too. This is a solid ultrawide angle lens for a great price.

Top Telephoto - Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 IS STM

EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 55-250mm (88-400mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/4.5 (f/6.4 full frame)
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 58mm
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 33.48in


This great lens is a wonderful way to get into the world of telephoto lenses. It has an incredible zoom range. You can do anything from portraits to wildlife photography. One of the most impressive things about this lens is the image stabilization. Even zoomed all the way in to 250mm, the IS system keeps the frame steady. The autofocus is relatively fast and completely silent. The lens is fairly light and portable despite its high focal range. The build quality is good. Image quality is phenomenal for the price of this lens. It is tack sharp throughout the zoom range. This is a wonderful and inexpensive telephoto lens.

Best Canon EF Lenses

Cheap and Versatile - Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

EF 50mm f1.8

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 50mm (80mm APS-C)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/1.8
  • Filter Size: 49mm
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 13.8in


This lens is great. There’s a reason they call it the nifty fifty. You can do almost anything with it. It’s great for portraits, landscapes, food, flowers, lifestyle, and even macrophotography. Best of all, it’s cheap. Really cheap. The image sharpness is spot on in the center throughout the aperture range. The corners get a little soft and dark at the aperture extremes, but not terrible. The focus is fast, accurate, and not quite silent. For the price, this lens is an easy recommendation.

Portrait Powerhouse - Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

EF 85mm f1.8

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 85mm (136mm APS-C)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/1.8
  • Filter Size: 58mm
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 33.6in


Are you looking for the perfect portrait and product lens? You’ve found it. This lens won’t work as an everyday shooter, but if you want to get smooth bokeh and perfect portrait and product photography perspective, this is the lens. It weighs nearly a pound, so it won’t be the lightest lens in your bag, but it will be essential. Contrast and color come through perfectly and the sharpness of the lens is superb. Don’t worry about the focusing distance unless you want to do macrophotography, because at 85mm, you won’t need to get that close for any other reason. The focus is fast and accurate. If you want to take your portraits or product photography to the next level, this is the lens to buy.

Awesome Ultrawide - Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM

EF 17-40mm f4

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 17-40mm (27-64mm APS-C)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/4
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 11in
  • Filter Size: 77mm


If you’re looking to take stunningly sharp landscapes, astounding astrophotography, or awesome architectural photography, this is the lens for your canon full frame camera. The contrast and color reproductions are exquisite with this higher end lens. Central sharpness is great at all apertures, but when the aperture is completely open (f/4), the edges become slightly soft. The autofocus is fast and silent. Like other ultrawide angle lenses, there is some barrel distortion at the wider end of the focal range. It’s light weight for a zoom lens and build quality is rock solid. If you’re interested in this focal range, buy this showstopper of a lens.

Macro Master - Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM

EF 100mm f2.8

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 100mm (160mm APS-C)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 11.88in
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 67mm


If you’re looking for a powerful macrophotography lens, this is it. Like other lens in Canon’s higher end L-series, this lens is weather sealed, and the build quality is high. This lens is not only great for macrophotography, but for portraits too. At 100mm, the built-in IS is instrumental for keeping your frame still enough for handheld shots. Image quality is exceptional, as one would expect from an L-series prime lens. The Minimum aperture of f/2.8 gives extremely soft and smooth bokeh. The focus is a little slow in low light situations, but overall is average to fast. This is one of the best macro lenses on the market.

Best Canon EF-M Lenses

Everyday Carry - Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM

EF-M 22mm f2

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 22mm (35mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/2 (f/3.2 full frame)
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 5.9in
  • Filter Size: 43mm


We are now into lenses for Canon’s APS-C mirrorless cameras. If you’re ready to move past your kit lens, this is a great one to buy. It’s wide field of view and lightweight design make this a perfect everyday lens. Easy to travel with, you can take this lens anywhere and get a shot that gives a little extra perspective. With Minimum aperture of f/2, this lens works well in low light situations and being f/3.2 full frame depth of field equivalent gives a fairly smooth bokeh. Like many other Canon lenses, this one has an STM motor, which makes the autofocus average to fast, accurate, and nearly silent. Build quality is high. The lens is a little soft in the corners at the extremes of aperture, but sharp everywhere else. The contrast and color are wonderful. This is a great lens that anyone with a Canon APS-C mirrorless camera should buy.

A Very Nifty Fifty - Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM

EF-M 32mm f1.4

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 32mm (51mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/1.4 (f/2.2 full frame)
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 9.12in
  • Filter Size: 43mm


You can use this lens for just about anything. Its perspective is wide enough to offer context, but tight enough to keep emphasis on a subject. It has simple, yet solid construction. The f/1.4 Minimum aperture makes for excellent low light shooting and being full frame depth of field equivalent f/2.2 makes for very smooth bokeh. The autofocus is very fast and not quite silent. This lens is minimally soft in the corners at the extremes of aperture but tack sharp everywhere else. This is a great addition to any photographer’s bag.

Telephoto Time - Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM

EF-M 55-200mm f4.5-6.3

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 55-200mm (88-320mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/4.5 (f/7.2 full frame)
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 38.9in
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 52mm


If you want to extend the range of your kit lens, this a great choice. The large focal range makes this lens work for anything from portraits to wildlife photography. The built-in image stabilization is extremely useful when shooting at the top of the focal range and always useful for handheld video. The lens is light and build quality is solid. The autofocus is fast and accurate. The lens is soft in the corners at f/4.5 but sharpens considerably as you increase aperture. Overall, sharpness is quite good. For the price, this lens is an easy recommendation.

Ultrawide Winner - Canon EF-M 11-22mm f/4-5.6 STM

EF-M 11-22mm f4-5.6

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 11-22mm (18-35mm full frame)
  • Minimum Aperture: f/4 (f/6.4 full frame)
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 5.88in
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 55mm


Looking for a landscape, astrophotography, real estate, or architectural photography lens? This is it. If you hate lugging around heavy gear, but love great color, contrast, and sharpness, this lens will do the trick. This lens is small, lightweight, well built, and inexpensive. In the focal range of this lens, image stabilization is not crucial, but still helpful and especially nice for video. Image quality is sharp throughout the aperture range. This is a great lens to buy if you’re interested in the focal range.

Best Canon RF Lenses

Canon Mount Adapter EF - EOS R

EF-EOS R adapter

Yes, that’s right. The number one recommendation for Canon RF lenses is not a lens at all! It’s an adapter. Canon’s full frame mirrorless series is fairly new and the people likely to buy it probably already have EF lenses. They may even be heavily invested in them. This adapter is a lifesaver for those people. The quality of this device is exceptional. EF lenses work just as they would on a DSLR with autofocus still being fast and hitting its mark. The adapter has a control ring that quickly allows you to change settings. If this doesn’t seem important to you, there is a less expensive version (Commlite CM-EF-EOS R Mount Adaptor).

Top Wide Angle - Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM

RF 35mm f1.8

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 35mm
  • Minimum Aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 6.72in
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 52mm


The close focusing distance on this lens allows it to not only be a great all around every day wide angle lens, but also a pseudo-macro lens. With a minimum aperture of f/1.8, this lens lets in a lot of light and can achieve incredibly smooth bokeh. The autofocus is very fast and extremely accurate, though a little loud. The great image stabilization is useful for macro work and vital for video. The build quality is great. The lens is sharp throughout its aperture range but reaches peak sharpness around f/4-f/8. As the cheapest of the RF lenses currently available, this is a wonderful buy.

Jack of All Trades - Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

RF 24-105mm f4

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 24-105mm
  • Minimum Aperture: f/4
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 17.76in
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 77mm


This is considered a kit lens even though it costs over a thousand dollars. I know this is supposed to be lenses under $1000, but there simply are not that many RF lenses under that price. They’re expensive.  I suspect this will change when Canon starts putting more of their energy into mirrorless. Well, moving on.

​If you don’t already have this lens, you should. It is extremely versatile with a focal range going from wide angle to moderate telephoto. Color, contrast, and image quality are all spectacular. The built-in image stabilization is top notch and very useful for the upper end of the focal range as well as video. The auto focus is as fast as can be, tightly accurate, and silent. Sharpness is spot on until f/16 in the center and at the extremes of aperture, the corners lose some sharpness. Overall a great and useful lens.

Ultrawide Wow Factor - Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM

RF 15-35 f2.8

Key Features

  • Focal Length: 15-35mm
  • Minimum Aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum Focusing Distance: 11in
  • Image Stabilization (IS)
  • Filter Size: 82mm


This very expensive lens is a real showstopper. It offers a wonderfully wide zoom range and stellar image stabilization. It is quite large and almost 2 lbs. The autofocus is strikingly fast, accurate, and silent. Even when taking video, the autofocus is fast and silent. The build quality is top notch. There is some barrel distortion, though this is to be expected from such a wide lens. This can easily be fixed in post processing software. Sharpness is tack sharp throughout the frame. Color pops out and contrast is wonderful. This lens earns its high price tag.

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