Canon L Lenses
Canon L lenses are designed for professional use and carry the "L" designation in the
description. They also have a red ring around the lens barrel that visually distinguishes them
from Canon's regular lenses.
Canon sometimes refer to these lenses as "luxury" lenses and it's popularly accepted that the
"L" stands for luxury.
As tools made for professional photographers, L-series lenses are expected to produce
images that are sharp and crystal clear with excellent color rendition.
To meet these requirements, Canon utilizes three optical materials in its L lenses:
- Fluorite elements -- used in supertelephoto L-series lenses to counter chromatic aberration
or color fringing, as in the Canon EF 600mm f/4L IS USM
- UD (ultra-low dispersion) glass elements -- similar to fluorite elements, they help reduce chromatic
aberration resulting in improved sharpness and contrast. Lenses that use UD glass include
Canon's EF 70–200mm f/2.8L IS USM telephoto zoom lens and EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
telephoto prime lens.
- Aspherical elements -- wide angle and fast standard lenses can suffer from spherical
aberration, which happens when light rays coming through the center of the lens do not
converge at the same point as rays entering through the edges of the lens. The result is a fuzzy
image as there is no sharp point of focus. Aspherical elements use a surface of variable
curvature to bring the entire image plane into sharp focus.
Rugged Build Quality
In addition to these specialized optical features, Canon L lenses have to withstand the rigors of
professional use, from the mud and sludge of combat situations to snow, rain, and dust that
wildlife and nature photographers encounter.
To achieve this, L lenses are made with rubber seals at interface areas such as switch panels,
exterior seams, drop-in filter compartments and lens mounts. Moving parts such as the focusing
and zoom rings and switches are designed to keep out dust and moisture to ensure reliability
under adverse conditions.
Low Light Performance
Professional photographers often have to shoot in low light conditions, such as indoor sports
events or outdoor arenas under artificial lights at night. Wildlife photographers get their best
shots in early morning or late afternoon, when the animals are most active and the sun is low in
Wedding and press photographers often prefer using available light above flash to get a more
natural look and require fast lenses for this.
In all these situations, L-series lenses are invaluable with their wide maximum apertures, allowing
optimum low light performance without requiring a boost in ISO to unusable levels.
While all Canon's big "white" lenses (except for the unusual EF 400mm f/4 DO) are L lenses,
there are many L-series lenses, both prime
and zoom, that are black, particularly in the wide angle and portrait focal lengths.
Below is the current lineup of Canon L lenses:
1. Prime Lenses
- Ultra Wide
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM
- Wide Angle
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM
- Standard & Medium Telephoto
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM
Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
- Super Telephoto
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L 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 EF 1200mm f/5.6 L USM
2. Zoom Lenses
- Ultra Wide Zoom
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM
- Standard Zoom
Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
- Telephoto Zoom
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
4. Tilt-Shift Lenses
Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L
3. Macro Lenses
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM
Return to Canon Lens Reports