Best Canon Zoom Lenses

10 Best Canon Zoom Lenses In 2021

Here are the best Canon zoom lenses to get personal and closer to the action. These lenses are ideal for wildlife, sports, wedding, and every genre of photography where you have to zoom in on the subjects. Similarly, we cover Canon zoom lenses both for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.

One of the biggest advantages zoom lenses offer over prime lenses with a single focal length is versatility. You can use them in many different situations just by changing the focal length instead of switching the lens every time.

Similarly, most people use zoom lenses for capturing distant objects, and why not. A Canon super telephoto lens will give you more reach than any other lens on the market. It enables you to shoot subjects from a long distance with ease. Therefore, it should be an integral part of any photographer’s kit.

However, pushing further into the frame is not the only application of zoom lenses. They provide you with an opportunity to change the focal length depending on the situation. Variable focal length is a necessity for wildlife and sports photography but it is required for all kinds of photography as well.

For instance, it gives a different perspective to portrait as well as landscape photography. They produce considerably less distortion in case of wider optics, enabling you to pick greater details in landscapes. On the other hand, you can produce greater background blur and subject separation with the help of increased focal length, making zoom lenses a perfect option for portraits too.

Best Canon Zoom Lenses List

It can be a cumbersome task to pick a zoom lens, especially if you are a beginner. They come in many shapes and sizes. There is no denying the fact that Canon makes the best zoom lenses in the world. However, a good zoom or telephoto lens can cost you a lot of money. Therefore, it is always better to compare lenses from different manufacturers. For example, Canon EF 7-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a terrific professional-grade zoom lens. But – you can get Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD for Canon as well. It is not only available for half the price but also much better as well.

However, we stick to the zoom lenses made by Canon in this list.

1.    Canon 75-300mm EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS III USM: Cheapest Telephoto Zoom Lenses

Canon 75-300mm EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS III USM is perhaps the cheapest telephoto zoom lens on the market. However, don’t be fooled by its price. It packs a lot of features and power for enhancing the performance of Canon full-frame cameras.

The lens offers superior image and built quality as well as wonderful autofocus performance for fraction of price of more expensive zoom lenses. It is a terrific option for APS-C cameras as well.

The groundbreaking “Nano USM” autofocus is the major feature of the lens. It ensures lightning-fast subject tracking for images. On the other hand, the transition for videos is literally silent and smooth.

The lens also features a functional display that puts the focal length, focal distance, and image stabilizer at the tips of your finger. The 4-stop image stabilizer is quite useful for the low light situation as well.

You have to buy the hood separately though. Just like all non-L-series lenses, it doesn’t have weather sealing as well.

Canon 75-300mm EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 can be regarded as one of the best Canon zoom lenses if the price is your main consideration.

Pros
  • Very affordable
  • Superfast autofocus
  • The excellent 4-stop image stabilizer
  • Superior image and build quality
  • Digital multi-function display
Cons
  • No weather sealing

2.    Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM: Best Budget Telephoto Lens for Canon

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 has especially been designed for APS-C DSLR cameras. It also means it is one of the lightest telephoto lenses in the world thanks in parts to the plastic mounting plate as well.

The lens is the more sophisticated version or successor of the IS II model. It is an excellent lens for stills because of the superfast autofocus system. The autofocus transition for videos is also very smooth though. The superb in-body image stabilization further improves the image quality. The stepping motor (STM) is silent that is particularly great for movies.

The lens comes with a smoother seven-blade IRIS. Similarly, the maximum focusing distance of 0.85mm is also slightly closer than it is predecessor.

Being an APS-C lens, it is not compatible with full-frame cameras. Similarly, you have to buy the lens hood separately as with all L-series lenses. Still, it is a very attractive and affordable zoom lens, best for the people on a budget.

Pros
  • Very lightweight and compact
  • Completely silent autofocus system
  • Good in-body image stabilization
  • Very affordable
  • Smoother 7 blades iris
Cons
  • Not compatible with full-frame cameras
  • Plastic mounting plate

3.    Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM: Best Canon Telephoto Lens for Wildlife

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L is the longest, strongest, and the biggest Canon zoom lens in existence. It is extremely popular among wildlife photographers who primarily use Canon DSLR cameras. However, it is also compatible with full-frame cameras as well.

The lens also comes with a tripod mountain ring. The best thing about the lens is the professional-grade weather sealing and built quality characteristic of Canon’s L-series lenses.

Similarly, the ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is perfect for capturing fast-moving animals in the wild. The autofocus is very quick, and accurate. It further incorporates a 4-stop triple-mode image stabilizer. The lens also keeps zoom creep at bay because its zoom mechanism comes complete with the adjustable friction damper.

Canon EF 100-400mm minimizes glare and ghosting through the high-quality glass with Ultra-Low Depression (Super UD) and fluorite components. The glass also has fluorine coating on the front and rear.

All in all, Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L is a terrific lens for sports and wildlife photography.

Pros
  • Professional grade weather sealing and build quality
  • Versatile lens
  • Very fast autofocus
  • 4-stop triple-mode image stabilizer
  • Negligible ghosting and flaring
  • Best for wildlife photography
  • Very strong and long lens
Cons
  • Very heavy
  • Relatively pricy

4.    Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II: Best Zoom Lens for Canon with Versatile Focal Length

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L is one of the best Canon zoom lenses in general. Firstly, it has the most versatile focal length at 24-70mm. Therefore, you can use it for a wide range of photography genres. However, it is mostly used for landscapes, event photography, stills, and even portraits.

The high-speed CPU of the lens incorporates a silent and superfast autofocus. You can also manually focus the ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, much to the delight of professional photographers. Canon has greatly optimized autofocus algorithms for this lens. As a result, it delivers perfect results every single time.

The lens is also very convenient to handle and use. It offers incredible coverage and performance even though it very portable as well. The closest focusing distance of 0.38 meters is quite impressive.

The lens stabilizes the image with the help of USM. Unfortunately, it does not have focus adjustment of any kind.

Pros
  • Manual focusing
  • Very silent ring-type autofocus
  • Versatile focal length
  • Easy to handle and use
  • Very portable
  • Incredible coverage
Cons
  • No focus adjustment

5.    Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM Lens: Best Canon Telephoto Lens for Portraits

best canon zoom lenses

Canon RF 70-200mm is one of the best telephoto zoom lenses for Canon when it comes to taking wildlife and sports portraits. The lens easily pans the subjects thanks to the brilliant image stabilization system and a Focus Ring limiter. Therefore, it is a delight to capture sports and wildlife images with this lens.

The lens belongs to the Canon’s L-series of lenses. Thus, it has a robust construction and excellent weather sealing for outdoor use. It also enables you to create breathtaking out-of-focus backgrounds by providing you with the perfect subject tracking distance. As result, it becomes a breeze to beautifully separate your subjects from their environment or background.

The lens delivers similar results in all kinds of situations no matter you are shooting in a distracting location or within your studio. The 5-stop image stabilizer with two operational modes is the best in its class. It has three switchable modes for panning and static shots. Similarly, the other mode will only stabilize the image during the actual exposure instead of affecting the image in the viewfinder. In short, it is very easy to track animals moving erratically with this lens.

RF 70-200mm also offers exceptional performance while capturing backlit objects. Similarly, the image quality is second to none with limited ghosting and flaring.

Some people do argue that the autofocus could be even better. However, it is still a very capable and the best Canon telephoto lens.

Pros
  • Ideal focal length for portraits
  • Panning-friendly image stabilization
  • Best-in-class portrait lens
  • Greater flare suppression
  • Enhanced image clarity
  • Excellent subject tracking
  • Excellent triple-mode image stabilizer
Cons
  • Autofocus could be better

6.    Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM: Best Wide-Angle Canon Zoom Lens

best canon zoom lenses

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is the best wide-angle zoom lens for Canon without any doubt. What makes this lens such a great option is its focal length of 16-35mm. It is an ideal focal length for all types of photography but especially for architecture and landscapes. However, you can use it for almost everything including portrait and street photography.

You can capture some terrific ultra-wide shots at 16mm. Similarly, you can get excellent details of your subjects at 35mm.

The lens also offers matchless image quality across all focal lengths. It is pretty sharp even at corners with an aperture of f/4. However, you can further improve the image quality by stepping down to f/5.6. Similarly, barrel distortion is negligible and chromatic aberration only occurs at 16mm.

The lens also has superfast autofocus, helping you to focus on the moving subjects with ease. The excellent weather sealing means it is a great lens for the outdoors as well. The overall handling of the lens is comfortable and smooth. The built quality is also remarkable.

EF 16-35mm is quite a good lens for low light and indoor shooting because of its superb in-body image stabilization.

Pros
  • Best wide-angle lens
  • Best for all types of photography
  • Superb in-body image stabilization
  • Superfast autofocus
  • Robust construction
  • Excellent weather sealing
  • Comfortable grip and handling
Cons
  • f/4 aperture isn’t ideal for low light

7.    Canon EF-S 15-85mm f3.6-5.6 IS USM: Best Standard Zoom Lens for Canon APS-C DSLRs

best canon zoom lenses

The kit lenses you get with your regular Canon APS-C cameras are not good enough for wide-angle shots due to cameras’ 1.6 crop factor. The widest setting for these lenses is 18mm or 28.8mm in terms of full-frame sensors. Therefore, it is not quite enough to get really wide while talking the photos.

On the other hand, EF-S 15-85mmm offers much larger focal length for wide-angle photography. The effective zoom range of 24-136mm also makes it an impressive telephoto lens. It comes with a ring-type autofocus system that excels in all conditions. On top of that, the 4-stop image stabilization is just icing on the cake.

Similarly, the lens is the perfect option for daily use thanks to its robust construction. However, it also has the potential to serve you for years. The minimum focus distance and a maximum magnification of 0.21X mean it is quite a potent lens for wide-angle photos.

The EF-S 15-85mm delivers pristine image quality at almost all focal lengths. Some people do complain about heavy vignetting and barrel distortion at 15mm. However, you can always rectify the problem in post-processing.

Pros
  • Versatile zoom range
  • Excellent ring-type autofocus
  • Pristine image quality
  • 4-stops in-body image stabilization
  • Up-market handling
  • Fairly priced
Cons
  • Heavy vignetting and barrel distortion at 15mm
  • Hood sold separately

8.    Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM:  Best Zoom Lenses Canon for Images

best canon zoom lenses

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM offers excellent image quality thanks to the new and upgraded optical design.

Canon has also changed the configuration of the glass in this version. The lens also has a more refined coating compared to its predecessor. The front and rear elements can easily repel grease and moisture through added fluorine coatings.

The lens also has a brilliant 5-stop optical image stabilizer with three switchable optic modes. It is similar in design and performance to the image stabilizer of the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L IS USM Lens

The image quality offered by the lens is simply brilliant, to say the least. Similarly, it is a very lightweight lens, and therefore, handling and use are very convenient.

The genuine Canon ring for the lens is quite expensive to buy. You can also buy a tripod ring as an extra.

In general, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM is very a good zoom lens for Canon. It delivers excellent performance especially for Canon DSLR cameras but it is compatible with Full-Frame sensors as well.

Pros
  • Compatible with full-frame sensors
  • Lightweight yet tough
  • Superior autofocus
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • More refined coating
  • Brilliant image quality
  • Easy to handle and use
Cons
  • The optional tripod is expensive

9.    Canon EF 28-300 F/3.5-5.6L IS USM: Best Super Telephoto Lens for Canon

best canon zoom lenses

If you are looking for a supersized zoom, you must go for Canon EF 28-300 F/3.5-5.6L IS USM. Just like all superzoom lenses, it is also ideal for holiday and travel photography. It saves you from the hassle of carrying multiple lenses with you for different situations. You just need to have this lens and it will come to your rescue every time. The lens is comparatively heavier than other superzoom lenses but it is still a very good option for vacations.

One of the biggest reasons Canon EF 28-300 F/3.5-5.6L is on our list is the fantastic image quality. This is something most superzoom lenses cannot offer. Therefore, it is also a wonderful lens for event photography where you have to quickly change focal lengths.

The lens boasts an excellent image stabilizer and weather sealing. Consequently, you can use it for everything both inside and outside. The L-series build quality and great versatile performance are some of the other reasons to buy this lens.

All in all, Canon EF 28-300 F/3.5-5.6L IS USM is one of the best Cano zoom lenses for travel despite its big size and weight.

Pros
  • L-series build quality
  • Versatile performance
  • Fantastic image quality
  • Superb autofocus and weather sealing
  • Best for travel and event photography
Cons
  • Heavy and big

10. Canon EF-S 17-55m f/2.8 IS USM: A Good Canon Zoom Lens

best canon zoom lenses

Canon EF-S 17-55m f/2.8 IS USM is a very popular lens among Canon camera users and rightly so. Firstly it has a very useful focal length that translates to 27.2-88m in full-frame terms. It is an ideal focal length for merging tighter portraits with wider environmental images. Therefore, it is a great option for event photographers, portrait photography, and basic landscape photography.

Similarly, it is a very sharp lens and thus, delivers amazing image quality. It also maintains its sharpness at all focal lengths. It keeps chromatic aberration to the minimum. The lens can easily match the professional-grade 16-35mm f/2.8 in terms of sharpness.

Canon EF-S 17-55m f/2.8 IS USM also offers solid built quality despite not being an L-series lens. The autofocus performance is also superb. One of the biggest features of the lens is the fast f/2.5 aperture. It doesn’t change across the focal range as well. Thus, it is a fantastic lens for indoor event photography and sports photography as well.

The image stabilizer also has some extra points for ensuring brilliant low light performance.

Canon EF-S 17-55m f/2.8 IS USM is a very powerful and strong lens, especially for photographers yearn for excellent image quality and good low light performance.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality
  • Good low light performance
  • Very fast aperture
  • Very sharp lens
  • Negligible chromatic aberration
  • Very useful focal length
  • Superb autofocus
Cons
  • Very big lens
  • No lens hood included

How to Buy Best Canon Zoom Lenses?

You need to consider many factors in mind while shopping for a zoom lens for Canon.

Focal Length

The first and foremost is of course the focal length. You cannot understand the ability to capture the photos from very long distances, especially when the subject moves erratically or is easily spooked. Zoom lenses with longer focal lengths are best for wildlife and sports. Zoom lenses also enable you to cover different focal lengths with a single lens, providing greater flexibility than prime lenses.

Construction

A zoom or telephoto lens must have robust construction because you would mostly use it in the outdoors. The best Canon zoom lenses have the best build quality in the world. Primarily made of magnesium, they are very lightweight yet incredibly strong. Similarly, most of them are weather-sealed to keep functioning in the harshest of environments.

Sensor Size

Sensor size is another important consideration. The Micro Four Thirds and APS-Cameras inherently have extended equivalent focal length thanks to their crop factor. Therefore, cropped sensors are very useful for wildlife and sports photography. They also pack easily and usually have more reach than full-frame cameras.

Aperture

Just like focal length, zoom lenses also have variable apertures such as Canon EF 28-300 F/3.5-5.6L IS USM. They are not as fast as f/2.8 but they can come to your help in different situations. The unbelievable ISO ranges on the modern digital cameras also enhance the performance of such apertures.

Image Stabilization

The best zoom lens for Canon normally has a 4-stop image stabilizer. It is necessary for handling lenses with such large focal lengths. You would experience more camera shakes at greater focal lengths, making the lenses impossible to handhold. That is why photographers usually mount them on a tripod.

A canon super telephoto lens would also have many image stabilization modes. Normally these modes are handheld photography and panning. This makes it easier for you to track horizontal motion.

Autofocus

The best telephoto zoom lens for Canon prioritizes efficient and quick focusing. It is only possible through an ultrasonic or supersonic autofocus system in a lens. Such autofocus is not only quiet but also ensures fast and accurate subject tracking.

Final Thoughts

The best Canon zoom lenses enable you to take beautiful pictures of the subjects in the distance. However, they have much more to offer to the users in addition to a long focal length. They are very robust lenses with incredible autofocus, aperture, and image stabilization. Therefore, you can use them for all kinds of photography depending on their focal length range.

Best Canon zoom and telephoto lenses at a glance.

ImageModel NameFocal RangeMaximum ZoomCheck Price
Canon 75-300mm EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6
Canon 75-300mm EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6


75-300mm


0.25x


Check Price
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6


55-250mm


0.29X


Check Price
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L


100-400mm


0.31x


Check Price
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L


24-70mm


0.21x


Check Price
Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L
Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8L


70-200mm


0.23x


Check Price
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L
Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L


16-35mm


0.23x


Check Price
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f3.6-5.6
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f3.6-5.6


15-85mm


0.23x


Check Price

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L


70-200mm


0.27x


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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L
Canon EF 28-300 F/3.5-5.6L


28-300mm


0.3x


Check Price
Canon EF-S 17-55m f/2.8
Canon EF-S 17-55m f/2.8


17-55mm


0.17x


Check Price

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