Capturing a good photo in the dark is not easy. Poor lighting can totally ruin your images. It also takes a lot of practice to master the art of low light photography. However, you can resolve the problem quickly and easily by choosing the best Low light lens for Canon.
You have to do two things to improve lighting for getting better photos. You either increase ISO of your camera or use a flash for artificial lighting. However, both of them have their drawbacks. Increasing ISO results in more noise whereas images taken under flash seem unnatural and may have excessive flares. That is why experts recommend using a good low light lens with a wider aperture to get beautiful pictures without changing anything.
Best Low Light Canon Lenses
You can easily find a good low light lens depending on your budget and requirements from the market. A huge range of such lenses is available and we have outlined our top picks from Canon in this guide.
|Image||Lens Name||Focal Length||Maximum Aperture Rate||Image Stabilization||Check Price|
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
Canon EF 35mm f/2
anon EF 50mm f/1.5 USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6
Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM
Canon EF 24-70mm
Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM
Canon EF 10mm f/2.8L IS USM
1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM: Best Budget Canon Low Light Lens
The top lens on our list is Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. It is a rather old but affordable lens that still offers exceptional performance in all kinds of lighting. The operation is fast and silent and the images produced are sharp and crisp at f/1.8.
It is a perfect lens of action, concert, indoor, and portrait photography. It has a very wide aperture of f/1.8, allowing a lot of light to enter the sensor. The shallow depth of fields ensures beautiful and softer bokeh at wider apertures, enabling your subject to stand out.
Nine elements in seven groups make it quite a bulky lens but it is compatible with both full-frame and APS-C cameras. It also becomes an effective and diverse telephoto lens because 50mm has an equivalent focal length of 80mm on APS-C sensors.
The stepper motor autofocus is quite effective in tracking the subjects. It works silently and accurately but you can also improve the focus manually. The minimum focusing distances of 0.35 meters and magnification 0.21x allow you to take beautiful photos of close and distant objects.
The only thing that goes against the lens is the lack of in-body image stabilization.
All in all, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is the best lens for low light if you are looking for a balance between features, performance, and affordability.
2. Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Wide-Angle Lens: Good Lens for Low Light
Canon EF 35mm f/2 is a prime wide-angle lens offering sturdy body and very high performance.
What makes it a great choice for low light photography is the wide f/2 aperture coupled ultrasonic autofocus and in-body image stabilization. Therefore, even the handheld images are sharp and crisp at f/2. However, you may experience a decline in sharpness at wider apertures.
You can also make finer adjustments by easily switching to manual focus. The lens has Canon’s Super Spectra coating to minimize lens flares and chromatic aberration.
The lens is also lightweight and very easy to carry despite having ten elements in eight groups. It has a minimum focusing distance of 0.24m and 1.6x magnification. Its focal length is equivalent to 56mm on APS-C sensors and therefore, you can use it as a telephone lens as well.
Canon EF 35mm is a quality lens both in terms of performance and construction. Similarly, its low light performance is outstanding.
3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM: Best Low Light Lens for Canon
Canon EF 50mm f/1.5 USM is the ultimate lens for low light photography. Fondly called “nifty fifty” among photographers, it has a relatively short focal length but a very wide and fast aperture, an essential feature to take beautiful photos in the dark.
The extremely wide aperture allows more light to the sensor and thus, it performs exceptionally well in the dark. The lens offers uniforms performance in dimly lit conditions both indoors and outdoors. You don’t have to use the flash if you have this lens in your armory.
The shallow depth of fields brings the subject in focus by creating beautiful bokeh as well.
The lens features an ultrasonic motor for superior yet quiet autofocus performance. However, autofocus performance declines slightly when shooting at the most shallow depth of field.
The lens offers clear, sharp, and crisp images without distortion. That is why, it is widely used for street, wedding, and portrait photography. The super spectra coating reduces chromatic aberration and flares, resulting in superb colors and contrasts.
EF 50mm/1.4 and other 50mm lenses are the closest a lens can get to the human eye. Therefore, you don’t have any problem composing your shot because it shows exactly what you want to shoot.
In general, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM is the best Canon lens for low light for its very wide aperture and host of other features.
4. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto: Best Low Light Canon Lens for Weddings
Released a decade ago, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens continuous to impress when it comes to low-light performance. It produces fabulous photos regardless of the lighting situation. On top of that, it is available for less than $300.
The outstanding low light performance is the result of the very wide and fast maximum aperture. The pictures are quite sharp even at f/1.8. However, they are simply marvelous at f/3.5 with striking corners. There is slight vignetting at f/1.8 but impossible for the naked eye to notice.
The lens handles color fringing particular well, perhaps the best we have tested so far. It is also a favorite lens of wedding photographers, especially for the dreamy bokeh it can pull off.
The ultrasonic autofocus works quietly, accurately, and quickly to locate and track the objects. However, you can also switch to manual focus for improving focusing a ted further.
5. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM: Best Cheap Low Light Lens Canon
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is the slimmest and one of the cheapest lenses for EF-S lens mounts. Available for just $130, it packs a lot of features and functions for low light and general photography.
The 24mm wide-angle lens is equivalent to 38mm on full-frame cameras, enhancing its versatility. The wide aperture of f/2.8 delivers impressive results in low light. Similarly, 7 blades-circular aperture creates beautiful bokeh and soft background, enabling your object to stand out.
The minimum focusing distance of 0.16 meters allows you to take breathtaking macro shots as well. However, the lens is perfect for landscapes and nature images.
The full-time manual focus is reliable and focuses the object quite quickly. The lens produces sharp pictures at f/2.8 but they are sharpest at f/4.
All in all, Canon EF-S 24mm is a great little and inexpensive lens you can use as a walk-around lens. Despite being cheap, it offers sharp and clear images across the aperture range.
6. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II: Best Cheap Telephoto Zoom Lens for Night Photography
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 is yet another great telephoto zoom lens for low lighting. The greatest benefit of the lens is its variable focal range, making it a very versatile lens to have. Similarly, it takes spectacular long-distance shots in the low light.
The focal range makes it a perfect lens for outdoors, wildlife, and even landscapes. The DC focusing motor and in-body image stabilization ensure accurate focusing and steady images. Both these features coupled with a wide aperture make it an excellent night lens.
The minimum focusing distance of 1 meter and maximum magnification of 0.31x are also impressive.
The lightweight and compact lens is compatible only with the Canon EF-S mount which means you cannot use it with full sensor DSLRs. Still, it is a very capable lens when it comes to taking night images.
7. Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM: Most Affordable Low-Light Lens for Cano R Series Cameras
Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM has especially been designed for Canon EOS R cameras with RF lens mount including models like EOS R, EOS R5, EOS R6, and EOS RP.
It is an excellent choice for low light photography thanks to the very fast and large aperture of f/1.8. Similarly, the aperture also creates creative background blurs, helping your subject to shine through.
The quiet stepping motor provides accurate and fast continuous autofocus both while shooting stills and recording videos. The control ring enables you to easily change the setting.
The lens offers beautiful colors and contras due to the super spectra coating and optimized lens placement. It also reduces flaring, ghosting, and chromatic aberration.
Canon RF 50mm f/1.8 STM is a lightweight, compact, and extremely affordable lens. It is the best low light lens for Canon R series cameras if the budget is your main concern. However, it is not compatible with any other camera or lens mount.
8. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM: Best Canon Low Light Lens
Canon EF 24-70mm is one of the most successful zoom lenses in the world. However, it also excels in low light thanks to its fixed f/2.8 aperture. The L-series lens also has superior built quality, made to last for decades.
Just like Canon EF 85mm, it is extremely popular among wedding, event, landscape, and portrait photographers. It produces fantastic results in all situations regardless of light condition. The lens performs equally well during low light both indoors and outdoors as well as at night.
However, the variable zoom range of 24-70mm makes it an excellent general-purpose lens as well.
The ring-type ultrasonic autofocus switches from close-ups to wide-angle shots within the blink of an eye. The AF locks and focuses both moving and stationary objects in the fifth of a second. The remarkably quiet autofocus makes the lens a great choice for videography as well.
One of the biggest traits of the lens is spectacular sharpness and central clarity across the zoom and aperture range. The results are particularly great between f/4 and f/16. The quality remains superior even at f/22 even though images lose some details because of diffraction.
The super spectra coating means little to no contrast loss in direct sunlight. As such, there is no chromatic aberration and flaring.
The glaring omission from the lens is image stabilization. Shooting at 24mm also gives some barrel distortion and vignetting but you can remove them in post-processing.
9. Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM: Best Macro Lens for Night Photography
You should consider Canon RF 35mm f/1.8 IS Macro STM lens if you are in search of an affordable macro lens. The 35mm focal length makes it a great all-around camera that you can use for many kinds of activities.
The combination of a wide f/2.8 aperture, stepper autofocus, and image stabilization produces excellent images in low light. The pictures are also sharp from edge to edge even at maximum aperture and minimum focusing distance of 0.17 meters, especially for macro shots. The 0.5x magnification ratio makes it a versatile lens for macro and walk-around use.
The lens is also very easy to use. It features a control ring to conveniently adjust numerous settings. The 12 pin communication system accelerates image stabilization, autofocus, and other settings for a reliable user experience.
It is a compact and lightweight lens you can easily carry for capturing small objects, everyday moments, and more. It is compatible with Macro Ring Lites, Macro Twin Lites, and a wide range of Canon’s Speedlite flashes.
10. Canon EF 100m f/2.8L IS USM: Premium Lens for Low Light Macro Shots
Canon EF 10mm f/2.8L IS USM is a great macro lens with matchless low light capabilities. Therefore, it can take shots of bugs and flowers with extreme details and sharpness.
The outstanding low light performance is made possible through superb image stabilization, a wide aperture, and excellent optical properties in general. It clearly separates objects from their surrounding by creating beautiful bokeh or background blurs.
The L-series lens is neither too large nor too small. It is a lightweight yet sturdy lens that you can carry anywhere you go. The best part of the design is the flush focus ring. It has ridged texture for easy holding besides allowing accurate adjustments.
The superb in-body image stabilization makes it a perfect choice for handheld photos. It compensates for three shutter speed shots and removes shaky and jittery shots, resulting in clear images even of tiny objects such as butterflies.
The autofocus is reliable, quick, and accurate when shooting at 100mm telephoto length. However, you can also use manual focus for macro shots.
The lens delivers crystal clear macro shots, especially at the center. It doesn’t handle color fringing that well but it is still the best low light lens for Canon if you want to take fascinating macro shots.
What Makes the Best Low Light Lens for Canon?
Lenses differ from each other in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Some lenses offer phenomenal focal range while others have fixed focal length. Some have in-body image stabilization while others don’t. Similarly, different lenses have different types of autofocus such as STM or USM. Therefore, you have to determine what your requirements are and how you are going to use the lens before buying one.
A good lens for low light photography should have the following features.
Aperture is the hole in the lens that allows light to reach the sensor. The bigger the aperture, the more light will come in, and better, brighter, and sharper will be the photographs. The aperture is denoted by f-numbers or stops such as f/8, f/4, f/2, or f/1.8. The smaller the f-number, the bigger will be the aperture.
Image stabilization plays a pivotal role in removing camera shakes and blurs and delivering a steady image. It is even more important for low light or night photography because it is difficult to handle the camera while shooting at maximum aperture. You can use a tripod but is better to have in-body image stabilization.
Autofocus is another important consideration, especially if your subjects move a lot. For example, photographing cars in the street at night would require a lens with very fast and accurate autofocus. Keep in mind that autofocus with stepping motors is quieter than ultrasonic motors and is great for video. USM lenses are geared towards professional use and are more suitable for images.
Prime or Zoom Lenses
Prime lenses have fixed focal length while zoom lenses have variable focal lengths. The prime lens makes your shots brighter and allows easy fixing of mistakes. Zoom lenses, on the other hand, get you very close to the action and take close-ups of the distant objects. You need to choose between these two types depending on what time of the day you are shooting and your distance from your object.
Finally, the lens should be compatible with your camera. Lenses vary greatly when it comes to lens mounts and therefore, you must confirm your lens works with your camera otherwise you would just waste your money.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What kind of lens is best for low light?
A lens is with a fast aperture is perfect for low light and night photography. The aperture should be at least f/2.8 or even greater. The lenses with f/1.8 aperture are particularly great to take brilliant low light photos.
2. What should I look for in a low light lens?
The first thing you should look for in a low light lens is the aperture size. Wider apertures such as f/1.8 are great for making your photos brighter and sharper in low light.
3. Is f/2.8 fast enough for low light?
Yes, f/2.8 is a good aperture size for low light. It is a wide aperture allowing more light to reach the camera sensor. It can also stabilize focus and support fast shutter speeds, making it an ideal choice for low light shooting.
It is important to invest in a good lens if you already own a camera. Similarly, taking photographs in darker areas also requires you to get a specialized lens for low-light photography. The best low light lens for Canon not only helps you handle the dark effectively but create bright and beautiful photos easily.