Camera Lenses That Won’t Disappoint

There are so many reasons I love photography, and camera lenses rank pretty high on that list. And although there are many great cameras out there, I’ve been shooting Canon for most of my career (and then some) so this post will be focused on modern Canon DSLR camera mounts. 

Below I’ll share my favorite lenses and images I’ve captured with them!

For the Love of Lenses

The best part about a camera with interchangeable lenses: it allows you to truly customize the camera to suit yours and the subject’s needs. Taking landscape photos? Go for more of a wide-angle lens. Sports or Nature? Telephoto lens. Portraits and kids? Prime lens or zoom lens. Part of the fun is playing with as many as you can get your hands on!

Before you go out and buy a new lens, consider:

Try Before You Buy

1. Renting first

Before buying I almost always rent or try out a lens first. Not all lenses are created equal, and not all lenses work well with your style or for your purposes.

2. Will that lens fit my camera?

When you buy a camera lens, you need to be sure it will fit on your camera. Not all lenses have the same mounts. If you’re buying locally in a retail store then checking to make sure a lens fits is as easy as trying it on. But if you’re buying online, check, recheck, then confirm the compatibility!

My Absolute Favorite Lenses:

Remember, EF Lenses can be used with any Canon DSLR camera, but if you use an EF lens on an APC-S (crop sensor) camera, the focal range will change. EF-S are for crop sensor cameras only. Read this Lens Buying Guide to find the right camera lens for you.

Canon Wide Angle Lens (16-35mm)

My daily go-to lens is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens. As my workhorse lens, I have probably used it more than any other and am most comfortable with. Since it is a wide-angle zoom lens for a full frame camera, it is ideal for landscape and real estate photography. You can also use it for architecture and interior photography (but most people prefer a tilt shift lens or 24mm for those shots).

My love for the Canon 16-35mm runs deep, and if you’ve read some of my other blog posts you’ll be very aware of the relationship I have with this particular solid piece of glass.

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Sunrise on North Topsail Beach, taken with my  Canon EF 16-35mm Lens
Sunrise on North Topsail Beach, taken with my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens

Sigma 35mm Prime Lens

This is a lens I absolutely love. Between the range of aperture, being able to shoot more open, and its sharpness, the 35mm is wide enough to be comfortable but still gives me some unique shots than what I would be able to take with a zoom lens. 

Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
Palm tree in St. Kitts, taken with my Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon - Rachel Carter Images
Palm tree in St. Kitts, taken with my Sigma 35mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon

Canon 24-70mm zoom lens

I bought the 24mm first version used from Southeastern Camera because I wasn’t sure how much use it would realistically get. What a happy surprise to find out that it’s an incredibly versatile lens that I now use all the time. At some point I’ll have to upgrade it to the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens. That is, unless I find another great versatile lens to add to my collection…

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
Glacier Bay, Alaska - Rachel Carter Images
Glacier Bay, Alaska, taken with my Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM Standard Zoom Lens

Canon 70-200mm Telephoto Zoom Lens

I think the images speak for themselves with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens lens. It’s a magnificent lens. And it’s unfortunate I don’t get to use this type of lens often at all. Whenever I need its awesomeness, I rent it. The f/4 version is easier on the wallet, but its depth is not nearly as exciting.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens for Canon 
Planted Flower Farm - Rachel Carter Images, taken with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens for Canon
Planted Flower Farm, taken with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens for Canon 
Planted Flower Farm - Rachel Carter Images, taken with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens for Canon
Planted Flower Farm, taken with Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is III USM Lens for Canon 

Canon 50mm Lens

Sometimes referred to as the “Nifty Fifty lens”, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens is an EF lens, but I used it more often on my APS-C crop sensor cameras than I ever have on a full frame camera. At $125 it’s a great price and definitely worth purchasing to play and learn on for anyone new to prime lenses.

This is a sturdy lens capable of taking some really fun images. I’ve gone through at least 4 of them! They are so small that I have even misplaced a couple. Which is another great feature of this lens. You can add to your bag with the Nifty Fifty without adding extra pounds.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Sunrise in Surf City, NC, taken by Rachel Carter Images with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
Sunrise in Surf City, NC, taken with a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

For a slightly larger aperture, you can go with the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM which costs around $350. There’s also a f/1.2 version as well, but I’ve never used this lens.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

While there are other camera lenses I own / have tried, the lenses listed above are definitely past favorites.


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