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Canon IS Lenses

Canon L Lenses

Canon Telephoto Lenses

Canon Lens Glossary

Canon IS Lens Lineup

Canon EF-S 55-250mm IS zoom lens
Canon EF 400mm f/4 IS DO telephoto lens
Canon’s impressive IS lens lineup, comprising more than 20 image stabilized lenses, includes standard zooms for general, everyday photography, telephoto zooms appropriate for hand-held shooting, and prime or fixed focal-length telephoto lenses for more specialist applications such professional sport and wildlife photography.

Canon's in-lens image stabilization technology in fact covers all focal lengths that may be susceptible to camera shake.

Standard Zoom Lenses

Standard zooms have replaced the traditional 50mm prime lens as the standard lens in most photographers' camera bags. A standard zoom is extremely versatile, covering from wide-angle to portrait-length telephoto. With the addition of optical image stabilization, these lenses can also be used in a variety of low-light situations, including evening shots, interiors, and candid shots using available light rather than flash.

Canon IS lenses falling within this category include:

  • Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Canon EF-S 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
  • Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
  • Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
  • Canon EF 24-105mm f4L IS USM
  • Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

Telephoto Zoom Lenses

These lenses act like telescopes, magnifying the image within a variable range of focal lengths, from semi-telephoto that's ideal for portraits, to long telephoto suitable for sport, wildlife, and candid reportage. The addition of image stabilization to these lenses results in sharper images, even when shooting hand-held at long focal lengths or at slow shutter speeds in low-light conditions.

Canon IS telephoto zooms include:

  • Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM *
  • Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
  • Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM *
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L IS USM *
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM *
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM *
  • Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM *
  • Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM *

Prime or Fixed Focal Length Telephoto Lenses

In 1999 Canon added image stabilization to its range of outstanding L-series prime telephotos, including the legendary Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM and Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM lenses. These prime telephoto lenses are renowned for their wide maximum apertures and superb image quality and have for years been the tool of choice for many professional sports, news, and wildlife photographers.

Canon IS prime telephoto lenses include:

  • Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM *
  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM *
  • Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM *
  • Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM *
  • Canon EF 400mm f/4 DO IS USM *
  • Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM *
  • Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM *
  • Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM *

Canon Macro IS Lens

In July 2009, Canon announced the development of Hybrid Image Stabilization which optimally compensates for angular camera shake (rotational) and shift camera shake (linear).

Canon's new EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens incorporates this hybrid IS, with angle and shift detection. It's the first macro lens from Canon to offer image stabilization, so does not fit in any of the above categories.

Select Canon IS lenses offer two IS modes:

  1. Mode 1 -- for both horizontal and vertical movement, used in the majority of situations
  2. Mode 2 -- for panning (where the camera is deliberately moved horizontally in line with the subject), so compensation is only provided for vertical movement.
The Canon IS lenses above that are marked with an asterisk * offer both compensation modes.

Note also that the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS and Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS lenses automatically detect panning and change stabilization to correct for panning movement. These lenses do not have a Mode 1/Mode 2 switch.

More IS Lenses in the Pipeline

While Canon's IS lineup is already extensive, it is likely to grow further as addtional lenses are added for photographers using entry-level and prosumer EOS digital cameras with the smaller APS-C format sensors.

New lenses with hybrid IS are evidently already in the pipeline. Canon recently replaced its highly-rated EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM telephoto zoom with the Mark II version, while Mark II versions of the EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM, EF 400mm f/2.8L IS USM, EF 500mm f/4L IS USM, and EF 600mm f/4L IS USM are now on the shelves. The Mark I versions are still available, but it's not clear how much longer Canon will keep manufacturing these.

There's also a recently introduced Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM lens which will possibly replace the existing version that's not a white "L" series lens.

Although image stabilization is a highly desirable feature, it's evident that Canon is not restricting this to its more expensive L-series lenses and is incorporating the technology in many of its budget EF-S lenses as well.

Return to Canon Lens Reports

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