Canon Zoom Lenses
It's convenient to divide Canon's zoom lenses into three categories:
* Standard zooms
Advantages of Zoom Lenses
Before looking more closely at these different types of zoom, let's quickly consider the overall advantages of zoom lenses.
Whereas prime lenses have fixed focal lengths and a fixed angle of view, zoom lenses have movable groups of lens elements, which let you alter the focal length of the lens.
This makes zoom lenses extremely versatile -- you can vary the focal length of the lens continuously within the zoom range, so that the lens shows more -- or less -- of the scene.
This is very useful when you're fine tuning composition -- you can make small adjustments to the framing of the picture without having to move the camera. You also miss fewer shots when using a zoom as it takes only a moment to zoom to the appropriate focal length and compose the picture. With prime lenses, opportunities can be missed because the wrong lens is on the camera.
Another reason for choosing a zoom is cost -- a single zoom lens is a lot cheaper than buying several prime lenses that cover equivalent focal lengths.
Canon Standard Zoom Lenses
Standard zooms are those where the short end is either 24mm or 28mm and the long end between 70mm and 105mm.
Popular and highly rated Canon zoom lenses in this category include:
Canon Telephoto Zoom Lenses
Canon's range of telephoto zooms mostly start at 70mm to 80mm at the short end, extending to 200mm or 300mm at the long end. Popular tele zooms include:
Canon Wide Angle Zoom Lenses
Your choice will depend on whether you value the longer focal lengths of a moderate wide-angle zoom (eg Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM), or whether the greater coverage of an ultra wide-angle zoom (eg Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM) is more important.
With ultra wide-angle zooms, it is worth paying special attention to the shortest focal length. A lens with a minimum focal length of 16mm fits in significantly more of the subject than a 20mm. The same is not true at the long end -- zooming from 30mm to 35mm produces only a minor change in image scale.
Popular wide angle choices (fairly limited options, including L-series lenses):
Return to Canon Lens Reports