EF Lenses: Zooms

8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM B&H  Mfr. Site 

Comments:  This is a pretty incredible lens to have in your arsenal for sports / action / wildlife photographers going into really tight places and for people who want to make wild looking imagery.   The circular image it produces (and which can only be appreciated on a full frame sensor BTW like the Canon 5D MKII) is pretty incredible.  You’ll find that the image on the cover of my book VISUAL STORIES was shot with the 7.5mm lens equivalent (from a previous generation of lenses.)  While you won’t use this every day – it’s definitely a specialty lens) it’s a fantastic tool to have in your bag of tricks.   I also see filmmakers making a fair use of this – especially on cropped sensors where the distortion won’t be as noticeable.

Description (from Canon): For filmmakers and photographers who want the look and feel only possible with extreme wide angle and fisheye photography, the new Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM is a world-class choice. With its unique focal length range, the EF 8-15mm f/4L USM is the world’s widest fisheye zoom lens. It delivers 180° diagonal angle of view images for all EOS SLR cameras with imaging formats ranging from full-frame to APS-C, and provides 180° circular fisheye images for full-frame EOS models.

EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM B&H  Mfr. Site 

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Description (from B&H): With an effective focal length range of approximately 16-35mm in 35mm format, this lens allows you to get extremely close to subjects, exaggerating the difference in size between a near object and its background. Creative photographers can use this phenomenon to create excellent separation between subject and background for a strong sense of presence, or for a pan-focus effect with everything from foreground to background sharply in focus. An Ultrasonic Motor (USM) provides fast, smooth and quiet autofocus action and manual focus override in the One Shot AF mode enables precise focusing at all times. Designed specifically for digital photography with APS-C size sensors, the lens has three aspherical and one Ultra-low Dispersion elements to minimize aberrations and Super Spectra coatings to suppress ghosting and flare, which can be caused by reflections off digital camera sensors. An optional lens hood can further reduce the incidence of flare.

11-16mm f/2.8 (APS-C Sensor) B&H  Mfr. Site 

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Description (from Canon): The AT-X 116 PRO DX-II 11-16mm f/2.8 Lens for Canon Mount by Tokina is an ultra-wide angle auto-focus zoom lens with a fast f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range. The f/2.8 aperture guarantees fast shutter speeds, active auto-focus and minimal blur in low light situations. The AT-X 116 PRO DX-II lens is designed for digital cameras with APS-C-size CMOS or CCD sensors. Its angle of view ranges from 82-104º and it can focus as close as 11.81" (0.3 m). Nine shutter blades in the aperture help to create soft out-of-focus backgrounds and two Super-Low Dispersion glass elements and two aspheric elements help to achieve this lens’ excellent contrast, sharpness and minimal chromatic aberration. As an update to their AT-X 116 PRO DX, Tokina has improved the multi-layer coatings to minimize light reflection and improve optical performance. The PRO DX-II has a silent focusing motor which is ideal if shooting video with your digital camera.

16-35mm f/2.8L II Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: When I used to shoot with 1D series camera (with the 1.3x crop factor) this was a go to lens.  Then I switched to full frame sensors and put this lens away for quite awhile in favor of the 24~70mm 2.8.   Now this lens is a new favorite for wide shots on the full frame sensors in cinema.

Description (from Canon):  The EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM is a high performance, water-resistant, and ultra wide-angle Canon L-series lens. It has been specifically designed for improved edge-to-edge image quality that will meet the strict requirements of professional and high-end amateur photographers. It features 3 high-precision aspherical lens elements, each of a different type: ground, replica and GMo for even better image quality than the original EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM.

EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM B&H Mfr. Site 

Comments:  This is a go to lens for 7D, Rebel and perhaps even C300 owners.   It’s got a perfect focal length and wide aperture.  The only issue?  The small focusing ring is a pain to work with and very hard to latch follow focus units to (it’s the smallest ring at the REAR of the lens – the front ring if for zooming.)  So if you’re on a budget go for it – but otherwise be warned.  Pulling focus with this lens is extremely difficult.

Description (from Canon): To meet user demands for a fast EF-S zoom lens, Canon has specially designed a new lens with a large aperture of f/2.8 for select Canon Digital SLR cameras.* The large circular aperture produces a shallow depth-of-field, creating background blur that draws attention to the photographic subject. The lens construction includes UD and aspherical elements, which deliver impressive image quality throughout the entire zoom range.

EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM  B&H Mfr. Site 

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Description (from Canon): Designed for high-quality still image and video capture while being compact and lightweight, the new EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens features the optics, AF and image stabilization necessary for shooting in any number of situations. For brilliant image quality it has one high-precision aspheric lens to reduce chromatic aberration throughout the zoom range. It features optimized lens coatings to ensure exceptional color balance while minimizing ghosting and flare and a 7-blade circular aperture to ensure beautiful, soft backgrounds. For outstanding performance, the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM lens perfectly complements the Movie Servo AF feature found on select EOS Cameras with a compact six-group zoom system and a new stepping motor and focus mechanism to deliver smooth and quiet continuous AF during movie shooting.

EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM B&H Mfr. Site 

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Description (from Canon): To meet user demands for a fast EF-S zoom lens, Canon has specially designed a new lens with a large aDesigned to exceed expectations and ideal for video and still images alike, the new EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM marks a new standard for EF-S lenses. It features a refined Image Stabilization system that delivers up to four equivalent stops of shake correction throughout the zoom range; and offers a maximum magnification of 0.28x at the telephoto end, while remaining even more compact in size. This EF-S lens supports the Canon EOS Rebel T4i DSLR’s Movie Servo AF feature for smooth and quiet continuous AF during movie shooting by utilizing a new six-group zoom system and the adoption of a stepping motor and focus mechanism.

24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: If you need to buy ONE lens to start your still or film career.. well this is it.  End of story.   This range (on a full frame sensor) covers almost every single "classic" focal lenght – from 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm (which is the only non-standard one…)   It’s the perfect travel lens, the perfect sports lens, the perfect aerial lens, the perfect photojournalism lens, the perfect full body portrait lens – I think you get the picture – along with the 70~200mm 2.8 it’s one of two lenses that almost every single photographer in the world owns.   It’s a great range for the beginning filmmaker as well – but is quite difficult to focus or set marks with given about a 1-2 inch rotation between macro and infinity.   It is a GREAT macro lens too by the way – making it even more versatile.

Description (from Canon): This new lens does what many pros thought couldn’t be done – replace the previous L-series 28-70 f/2.8 lens with something even better. Extended coverage to an ultra-wide-angle 24mm makes it ideal for digital as well as film shooters, and the optics are even better than before with two Aspherical elements and a totally new UD glass element. It’s now sealed and gasketed against dust and moisture, and a new processing unit makes the AF faster than ever.

24-105mm f/4 – IS Lens B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: This lenses is basically the 24~70mm 2.8 that is 35mm longer making it a much better portrait lens but with a 1-stop loss in light (f4 vs f2.8.)  That being said it has Image Stabilization built in – which is nice.  Personally – I’ll take the f 2.8 24~70mm over this lens any day.   But I have many photographer friends (including Walter Ioss Jr.) who SWEAR by this lens.

Description (from Canon): This easy-to-use standard zoom lens can cover a large zoom area ranging from 24mm wide-angle to 105mm portrait-length telephoto, and its Image Stabilizer Technology steadies camera shake up to three stops. Constructed with one Super-UD glass element and three aspherical lenses, this lens minimizes chromatic aberration and distortion. The result is excellent picture quality, even at wide apertures. Canon’s ring-type USM gives silent but quick AF, along with full-time manual focus. Moreover, with dust- and moisture-resistant construction, this is a durable yet sophisticated lens that meets the demands of advanced amateur photographers and professional photographers alike.

EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM B&H Mfr. Site 

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Description (from Canon): For photographers and videographers looking to add versatility and range to their lens collection, the new EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM telephoto zoom lens is a dream come true. Compact and lightweight with Optical Image Stabilizer for up to 3.5* equivalent stops of shake correction, it extends the camera’s reach significantly, capturing sharp images of far away objects, even when handheld. It features Canon’s amazing STM stepping motor and a newly designed high-speed CPU, rear focus mechanism and improved AF algorithm for high-speed performance, supporting Canon’s Movie Servo AF for smooth, quiet and continuous focus adjustments.

70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM B&H Mfr. Site

Comments: This is another one of the mainstay lenses – along with the 24~70mm 2.8 lens.   This is the second MUST HAVE lens for any photographer and filmmaker.  With these two lenses – you can literally cover the world.  I’ve made a high percentage of my best images of my career with this lens and would recommend it to everyone.  Buy the 24~70mm 2.8 first – and then this one.  And then you can start buying the specialty lenses you see that surround these two lenses on this page.  This is one of the sharpest zoom lenses in the world.

Description (from Canon) : The pinnacle in Canon’s constant-aperture telephoto zoom lenses, the 70-200mm f/2.8 L "IS" lens is an incredible optic with robust design and tacksharp results. Second-generation Image Stabilization responds in as little as 0.5 seconds, while providing stabilization that is three times as handholdable as a normal lens. IS now automatically deactivates when on a tripod by sensing non-movement of the camera and lens, also conserving battery power. An entirely new optical formula produces images that are superior to even its highly regarded predecessor, the 70-200mm f/2.8 L, despite having more reflective surfaces within the lens.

EF 200-400mm f/4 IS USM w/ Internal 1.4x Extender B&H Mfr. Site 

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Description (from Canon): Designed to satisfy the discriminating needs of sports and wildlife photographers, the EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X is a high-performance super telephoto zoom lens with an optically matched built-in 1.4x extender for maximum versatility. With a simple flick of a switch, the zoom range can be quickly increased to 280-560mm (f/5.6). This capability is extremely useful in applications where it is not possible to change lenses quickly, while also protecting delicate equipment such as a digital SLR camera’s image sensor in environments with dust and high humidity. The EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X incorporates one fluorite and four UD lens elements, which provide excellent correction of chromatic aberration throughout the entire zoom range for professional quality images with high resolution, contrast and color fidelity, while a 9-blade circular aperture helps deliver beautiful, soft backgrounds. It utilizes inner focusing, ring USM, a high-speed CPU and optimized AF algorithms for fast and accurate autofocusing. And, with Power Focus mode, focus shifts are quiet and smooth, which is essential for filmmaking.