Which Canon Rebel Lens is the best?

Nearly everyone that buys a digital SLR does so with a desire to switch lenses to get the best shots possible. Those who buy Rebels are no different. In fact, the most popular question on photography forums could be, “Which Canon Rebel lens should I buy?”
It is a valid question, and it deserves a response.

Without a doubt, the most widely purchased package is the Rebel with a kit lens, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm IS lens. Canon bundles the camera with this lens because it keeps the price low and it gives the buyer a little freedom with a 4x type zoom lens. But it also provides some excellent image quality.

On the down side, the Canon EF-S 18-55mm lens is made of plastic, and it is, therefore, not the most durable lens one can purchase. It also has a somewhat standard aperture range at f/3.5-f/5.6, which means that it will not perform as well as some other choices in low light photo situations.

But, in light of the circumstances of most new Canon Rebel buyers, it is an excellent first lens.
Some folks take a bit more time and intentionally research other choices for a first or second Canon Rebel lens. The thinking here is that since you can purchase the body without a kit lens, why not do so and spend a little more money to get a more durable lens and possibly one that has a better aperture.

Time Out! Check out this “all-in-one” Canon Rebel Lens:
Canon EF-S 18-200mm Lens – Made for Cameras just like the Rebel.

There are nearly a hundred satisfied users thus far who have taken the time to praise this lens online. Here is a snippet of one comment.

The 18-200mm has surprised me over and over. I have compared it to my L lenses and it keeps up. If you go to Canon’s website check out the lens diagram info, the guts of this lens is very, very, very close to the L 24-105mm. I had to check because it was surprising me too often.

Considering focal lengths, virtually all buyers start by using a standard zoom instead of a prime (or single focus) lens. It seems sensible to have a little versatility in focal length except for when you are aware of precisely which single focal length is ideal for the form of digital photography. But that is definitely seldom the case, specifically in relation to choosing a Canon Rebel lens, because a high percentage of consumers are making their very first digital SLR acquisition.

Look at the Canon Rebel Lens models right now at Amazon.com!

Considerations before buying a Standard Zoom (aka Normal) Canon Rebel lens:

  • Focal Range – Normal zoom lenses are not actually normal – there is no one lens that is would be the “flagship” lens for beginners or first-time buyers. Standard does indeed suggest that there is a minimal focal length and a maximum focal length. For a Digital Rebel, an excellent lowest focal length is approximately 18-24mm. For a maximum focal length, standard is 55-85mm. If you keep to within these numbers, you are going to get a good zoom range that can take care of all of your “normal” photo requirements.
  • Aperture – if you are looking for a standard price selection lens, you will usually be confronted with a variable aperture. This means that the aperture adjusts when you zoom to a larger focal length. This has an undesirable effect on shutter speed, which means that the shutter has to remain open for a longer period to get adequate light to the sensor for the proper exposure, or you have to make an adjustment to the ISO. The very best selections for standard zoom lenses are the products having a steady aperture of f/2.8 throughout the entire focal range. Of course, this increases the cost of the lens.
  • Build Quality – Plastic-type material is low-cost. If you hold a plastic lens in your hand, it appears low-cost and it feels low-cost. That doesn’t imply that plastic lenses take substandard pictures. In real life, quite a few folks purchase the inexpensive lenses such as the Kit Lens and are fairly satisfied with the resulting pictures. Once you start buying lenses made with very good quality materials, the price necessarily increases. But the up side is that a well built lens lasts significantly longer and can withstand a lot more punishment.
  • EF or EF-S Lens Mount – The difference between EF and EF-S is that they are created for different cameras. For Canon Rebel owners, the best news is simply this – ANY Canon product (as well as off-brand products created for Canon) will function on your Canon Rebel. The EF-S models are made particularly for cameras that include the Digital Rebel along with other crop sensor cameras up to and including the Canon 7D. The EF lens mounts are for more professional models, but they also work on your Rebel. If you plan to upgrade to a full frame dslr some time in the future, it is best to consider staying with the EF lens models, because they’ll work on pretty much all digital SLRs inside the Canon lineup.

Here are a few Canon Rebel Lens choices that one might consider instead of going with the kit lens.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM – this lens is an excellent choice for a couple of reasons. First, it is built of much more durable material. Second, it has a constant f/2.8 aperture across all focal lengths, which means it will do very well in photographic situations where there is less natural light. And third, the USM (ultra-sonic motor) is very fast as an auto focus mechanism.

This beautiful photo was taken by T. Sabo of Tampa, FL with a Canon 24-105mm lens. Click the link for more samples of this awesome choice for your Canon Rebel lens.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM – This lens is arguably the most highly regarded of basic all-around lenses for Canon. Being an “L” lens, it has the best technology and construction that Canon has to offer. Of course, that L comes at a premium price. However, the good news is that even if you decide later to upgrade to a more professional camera, this lens will move with you. You will never have to buy another general purpose lens. So, while this can be a Canon Rebel Lens, it is also a lens for all Canon Digital SLR cameras, whether beginner models or professional models, and all DSLR cameras in between.

Canon EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens – while this lens does not have the large constant aperture, it is excellent for two reasons. First, the focal range is 10x which means you can use this one lens for almost every shooting situation if you so desire. And second, the image quality is superb.

Third Party Canon Rebel Lens Choices

Do not discount the lenses produced by other manufacturers for the Canon Rebels. Sigma and Tamron have some winners.

Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM – This lens is actually 15x and costs less than the Canon 18-200mm lens mentioned above. It is another of the lenses that can stay on the camera for almost every purpose, whether it be landscape, portrait, telephoto, and even macro to some degree. The variable aperture is not the best in terms of low light shooting, but it comes at a bargain price with lots of pluses.

Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 – similar in focal length as the kit lens, this one offers a wide f/2.8 constant aperture. It is an excellent choice with regard to low light and image quality, as well as the build.

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8
– this one will give you a little more “reach” at 75mm, but it is not a true wide angle lens as a Canon Rebel Lens with the widest focal length being 28mm (this translates to about 44mm in full-frame terms).

You can’t really go wrong with one of the Canon Rebel lens choices listed here. Of course, there are plenty of specialty lenses made by Canon and others to fit the Canon Rebel. You may want to investigate further at http://canoneoslenses.org.

Look at the Canon Rebel Lens models right now at Amazon.com!

Best Canon Rebel Vacation Lens for Canon EOS Rebel T3i

What Is A Vacation Lens?

The easy definition for a Canon Rebel vacation lens is that it is a lens that you attach to your Canon Digital Rebel when you go on vacation. Many photographers interchange the term “walk around” lens with vacation lens. Simple, huh?

Some of the qualities you want in your Rebel vacation lens are:

  • Takes great photos.
  • Takes a wide range of photos, from close-ups to wide angle landscapes, and everything in between.
  • Good portrait lens.
  • Not too heavy so that it is easy to tote around for most of the day.
  • Compatible with your Canon Rebel’s image sensor.
  • Will not break the bank so you have to cancel your vacation.

Truth is that you will get an argument when you bring up this subject in photography circles, and especially on photography forums. The argument will be about which lens is bested suited for a vacation lens. And, quite honestly, it is a good subject to discuss as to the virtues of different lenses. However, when considering a Canon Rebel, we must narrow the playing field a bit, because we are probably not in the $1000 price range. If we were, we would be talking about a different (higher level) DSLR.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at a couple of options.

Sigma 18-250mm – A Super Canon Rebel Vacation Lens

Roll over to see price ==>Sigma 18-250mm Lens for Canon Rebel

Sigma has been producing quality add-ons for Canon, Nikon, and other digital cameras. The 18-250mm is one of Sigma’s newest “all around” lenses. It is a true “all around” or vacation lens in terms of attaching it to your Canon Rebel and not having to change lenses for certain shots. The Sigma has the wide angle needed for landscapes or cityscapes, as well as the telephoto zoom of 250mm, enough to get those great nature photos. Sigma has a great reputation for giving the buyer great quality at great prices. This lens seems to be no exception.

Here is a short description from the folks at Sigma:

The SIGMA 18-250mm F3.5-6.3 DC OS HSM incorporates Sigma’s original anti-shake compensation function, with a 13.8 times zoom ratio. As opposed to having an anti-shake function in the camera body, this lens’s Hybrid Optical Stabilizer provides not only an anti-shake function for the camera body, but also compensates for image shaking in the view finder as the Optical Stabilizer is built in to the lens. Incorporating four Special Low Dispersion glass elements and three aspherical lens elements provides excellent image quality throughout the entire zoom range. This lens has a minimum focusing distance of 45cm (17.7 inches) at all focal lengths and a maximum magnification of 1: 3.4 reproduction ratio, making it ideal for close-up photography. An inner focusing system eliminates front lens rotation, making it suitable for use with circular polarizing filters and the supplied petal-type hood. Incorporating super multi-layer coating reduce the ghost in the backlight photography.

I personally own this lens, so I am partial to it. I purchased the Sigma 18-250 just to try it out. I bought it from Amazon, knowing that if I did not want to keep it, returning it would be very simple. And I truly expected to return it after trying it out.

However, my little Sigma 18-250mm lens is still with me, and I use it more than any other lens I own, simply because it is a great “walk around” or vacation lens. I keep trying to find something wrong with it. I have found that it takes really good pictures, some of which I am displaying below. If I could name one thing I wish were different about it, I would say that the largest aperture could be f/2.8, and I would be happy. That being said, though, if the aperture was f/2.8, it would have cost way more than I could have afforded. So, bottom line – you get what you can pay for. In this case I got a very nice lens that I can keep on my camera when traveling about and not have to worry if I have “the right” lens attached.

Example Photos from Sigma 18-250mm

Sigma 18-250mm Vacation Lens

Church Door With Sigma 18-250 Vacation Lens

Wroght Iron Gate Taken With Sigma 18-250 Vacation Lens

Asheville, NC parking lot - taken with Sigma 18-250mm Vacation Lens

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 XR Di Autofocus Lens for Canon EOS

Roll over to see price ==>Tamron AF 28-75mm for Canon Rebel

Tamron is another manufacturer that makes some quality lenses for the Canon Rebel. Again, you will save a little money buying an off brand rather than a Canon lens.

The Tamron 28-75mm lens was my very first “walk around” lens. I spent many hours agonizing over the purchase of this little beauty. I can tell you I was not disappointed in the least. Image quality is superb. In addition, it has the coveted f/2.8 wide open aperture, which is constant throughout the zoom range. All in all, it is an excellent choice as a walk around lens.

With regard to telephoto range, you can tell from the numbers that it does not have as wide or as long a range as the Sigma lens mentioned above. However, it is much better in low light because of the f/2.8, and it costs a bit less.

You can take very nice portraits. You can capture pretty good close-ups, but they will not be as close up as with a dedicated macro lens. You get pretty good landscapes. It is a bit short on range at only 75mm. But all that being said, this is a lens worthy of consideration as you weigh your needs against your budget.

Rebel Vacation Lens - Tamron 28-75

Rebel Vacation Lens - Tamron 28-75

Taken at night without a flash

Young photographer with a Canon Rebel Vacation Lens

Young photograher practicing with her Rebel Vacation Lens, a Tamron 28-75mm

Tamron 28-75mm Lens Review

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Image Stabilizer USM AF Lens

Roll over to see price ==>Canon EF 28-135mm Lens for Canon Rebel Cameras

The Canon 28-135mm is Canon’s second “kit” lens. It is sold with some of the DSLR’s instead of the 18-55mm lens. It is a solid performer, and it will give you much more longer focal range thatn the 18-55 lens, although is comes up a bit shy of the 18mm wide focal length of the 18-55mm kit lens. Image Stabilization is also a plus. And, of course, the Canon name lends itself to confidence that you are getting quality. (although not every Canon lens is created the same, some are not highly rated). This is a nice all around lens at an affordable price for your Canon Rebel DSLR. It sells for about $400.

One thing to consider when buying a Canon Rebel is to get an upgraded lens rather than the kit lens that is sold with most Rebels. You are not obligated to purchase the kit lens.

I do not own this one :-). But according to the ratings, it is an excellent performer for the price. It has decent speed at f/3.5, but it does not hold that aperture throughout the zoom range. That means that you will need more natural light when you zoom to 135mm. Of course, it does have image stabilization which is a plus for taking sharp photos.

Canon Rebel T3i And Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens

This is my personal Canon Rebel T3i (600D) with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 lens. Sweet!

If you ask photographers which lenses they favor above all others, you will likely hear that their Canon 50mm lens is their favorite, or at least it is in the top 2 or 3 lenses in their arsenal. So what about beginning digital SLR photographers? Why can’t we get the Canon Rebel T3i and 50mm f/1.4 lens?

Actually, it is not a bad idea at all. The Canon 50mm f/1.4 is a truly amazing lens. And even though you may think it has limitations, being only a single focal length lens, you would be surprised at the number of uses photographers find for it.

What makes the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens so good?

Image quality has to be tops on the list of benefits of a good 50mm lens. On a personal note, I broke my Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. It was a sad day indeed. Even sadder than the day I dropped my 50mm f/1.8 and shattered the lens casing. The sadness is because the f/1.4 lens costs four times as much. I have several other lenses, but none is as good as that f/1.4. I actually suffered withdrawals. (Good news, though. I got it repaired, and it is as good or better than new.).

The second reason the Canon 50mm f/1.4 is so good is aperture. At f/1.4, the lens is reportedly soft, but add a couple of stops to f/2.0 and you have a tack-sharp photo every time. At any aperture of f/2.8 or wider, you will be adding lots of low-light photo opportunities that you could not have with another lens.

The third reason is price. Looking at the price from the standpoint of a Canon 50mm f/1.2L lens at nearly $1600, you will be getting practically the same benefits for about 1/4 the cost.

Use your Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens for portraits, close-ups, action sports, landscapes, night photography, street journalism.. Only your imagination can limit its uses.

What about a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens on a Canon Rebel T3i?

There are no limits for lens choice on your Canon Rebel T3i.. NONE. You can use this lens with the pros and with the beginners. Go ahead and get one just to try it out. Almost any reputable sales facility will allow you to return it if you are dissatisfied. But the guarantee is that you will be satisfied.

Colby – shot with a Canon Rebel T3i and Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens (ISO 400, aperture f/2.0, shutter speed 1/60, no flash). You can tell how sharp this image is at f/2.0. Of course, being a doxy, his nose is slightly out of focus, but that is another beautiful thing about this lens when used for portraits. See how the background has a nice blur to it? Bokeh, Baby!

You can see more 50mm lens choices at CanonEOSlenses.org.

Canon Rebel T3i Lens

Canon Rebel T3i Lens - with the kit

Which Canon Rebel T3i Lens Is Best

When you are buying your new Canon digital SLR, it may come with a recommended Canon Rebel T3i Lens as part of a kit. In fact, the lens is called a “kit lens.”

There is also the possibility of buying a Canon Rebel T3i “body only” without the typical kit lens. If you opt to do that, you have a huge selection of digital SLR lenses to choose from with a wide range of choices in quality, focal length, and price.

The Canon Rebel Kit Lens

Usually, the lens you get in the basic kit is a Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens.

You may think it takes an engineer to figure out what all the letters and numbers mean, so here is an explanation.

  • Canon – a lens made by Canon (sorry if this is too obvious)
  • EF-S – the EF stands for Electronic Focus, and the S is a designation that indicates the lens is meant for only cameras made with a sensor similar to the one in a Canon Rebel T3i, which is know as an APS-C sensor. These sensors are somewhat smaller in size than the ones in the pro-model digital SLR cameras, but way larger than those found in point and shoot models.
  • 18-55mm – this is the range of focal lengths. 18mm is a wide angle focal length good for things like landscapes and group people shots. 55mm is more suited for zooming in to get a closer shot. Then you have all the focal lengths in between to make the lens more versatile than a lens with a single focal length like a 35mm lens.
  • f3.5-5.6 – this is the lens aperture. An aperture is a number that indicates how much light is let into the camera when the shutter is pressed. In this case, there are two sizes listed. This means that at the lowest focal length (16mm) you can use an aperture of f/3.5, but once you zoom to a longer focal length, the aperture changes to a higher number. The bottom line here is that you can shoot pictures in less light at the wider apertures (3.5 is the widest on this lens).
  • IS - Image Stabilization – there is a kind of gyroscope built into the lens that will compensate for slight movements of the lens to get a sharper picture. These movements come from holding the camera while taking photos at slower shutter speeds. Supposedly, you can get a larger range of shutter and aperture settings without having to use a tripod.

This Canon Rebel T3i lens is pretty good as a starter lens. It has been improved recently compared to the kit lens that sold with older Canon Rebel cameras, so reports indicate that you can get nice pictures with it.

A word about durability.

The Canon kit lens is made of a plastic material, making it lighter and less durable than lenses constructed of metal. Image quality, as mentioned, is not bad, but if you were to get your hands on a better lens, say a Canon 17-55mm lens, for instance, you would notice a huge difference in the feel of the lens and in the quality of the pictures it produces. Of course, the Canon 15-55mm lens also costs a ton more at about $1000.

What About Other Lenses Instead of the Canon Rebel T3i Lens in the Kit?

It is possible to purchase the Canon Rebel T3i without a lens and get a more substantial lens to start off your digital SLR photography experience. In fact there are so many possibilities that it may send your brain into a spin.

==>View the Canon Rebel T3i Lens Product Page <==

Here are just a couple of suggestions that you may want to look into:

Canon 24-105 f/4.0 L – this lens is pretty amazing, but it comes at a premium price

Sigma 18-250 for Canon – a super zoom lens with really good quality. You will get the focal range of at least two lenses with this one.

Canon 17-40 f/4.0 L – for years, photographers have considered this lens one of the “must have” lenses for their bag.

Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 – this one gives great results, and it has a constant f/2.8 aperture. Excellent lens for general photos, portraits, and close-up photos.


Some of these and a few others are listed at CanonEOSlenses.org/