Canon produce a vast range of EF lenses for their EOS cameras, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking to buy a new digital camera. Not only that, the range continues to expand and grow, allowing budding photographers also to explore new areas of photography. Canon EF lenses are among the best in the world, they were the first to successfully commercialize Ultrasonic motor (USM) lenses, fast, silent and precise autofocus. Many of the lenses also have image stabilization (IS) or hybrid IS technology. This provides compensation for hand-shake in low-light, slow exposure settings, making photography even easier.
This video below provides an excellent introductory tutorial into Canon EF lenses.
The Canon EF lenses are identified by several factors:
Before starting out on selecting a Canon lens, it is always important to ask what kind of photography you want to do. However, whether you are interested in wide angle, scenic shots, macro work or need zoom for wildlife photography, Canon have got it covered.
- Focal Length – given in mm, with low numbers providing wide angle images and higher focal lengths providing greater magnification of long-range objects, but with a narrower field of view. The Canon EF range is very diverse, covering 8mm fisheye lenses through to 1200mm lenses.
- Aperture – marked as f/1.0 or similar. The number indicates the lowest setting at which that lens will work. A lower f value indicates that the lens will allow more light in and therefore work in lower light conditions.
- Macro – these EF lenses are specifically designed for very close up work, and the work best for these kind of images. So, if your thing is photographing details of stitching or capturing bug-eyes and mushroom gills, then this is the thing to look out for.
- USM – The lens has an ultrasonic motor for focussing. These motors are faster and quieter than other types of auto-focus motors and consume les power.
- IS – EF lenses marked IS have image stabilization technology built in.
- DO lens – These EF lenses have special Diffractive Optics glass and are usually smaller, lighter and perform better than non-DO lenses. Be prepared to pay for them.
- L-Series – the EF lens ‘Luxury’ series, top of the line, with the best optical qualities and build, and with a price tag to match. They all have DO lens technology. Unless you have a lot of money, are mad about your photography or a professional, the L-series are what most of us drool over from a distance.
If you are buying a new lens, consider the kit lens, if it is of good quality. These often cover the range of circumstances most of us are likely to find ourselves in. The EF 24-105mm IS USM lens I have covers pretty much all I need for most things. The quality of the images has been great, and the IS has helped greatly in photographing moving objects like birds from a boat.
So there is a brief overview of lens nomenclature. The best way to choose a lens is to find a friend and see if they will be willing to let you use their kit. If you have that kind of friend be very grateful. Otherwise, make sure you can try them out in the shop, even have an attendant stand with you as you shoot some frames on your own body from the shop door. Of course, often budget plays an unfortunately limiting role in the lenses we can buy.
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