While there are a vast array of Canon lenses available on the market for almost every different scenario possible, they can also cost you an arm and a leg.
Below is the list of my picks for the top bargain lenses for the Canon DSLR system.
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM – Retail:$125.99 (Currently $125.00)
After nearly 25 years as the best bargain lens in the system, Canon has updated their “nifty-fifty” f/1.8 lens to add an excellent STM focus motor. Like its predecessor, the 50mm 1.8 STM has excellent sharpness when stopped down and it gives you a taste of the very shallow depth of field and incredible low light performance from the wide f/1.8 aperture. In addition to the updated focusing motor, the new lens has a vastly improved manual focusing ring that make this an excellent lens for photos and video. Even if you own the old 50mm, you should upgrade to the new STM version of this excellent bargain lens.
- Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM – Retail:$149.99 (Currently $149.00)
The newest addition to the bargain list, the 24mm f/2.8 STM offers great bang for your buck, especially if you’re interested in video. Even for photographers, this lens offers fast, silent autofocus, a wide f/2.8 aperture, and a medium-wide focal length (38.4mm equivalent), with great image sharpness at all apertures. This lens is an excellent candidate to be a close to “normal” focal length lens for APS-C cameras and should be purchased for this quality if you’re less into taking close up portraits and more into taking photos with a little bit more context.
- Canon EF 40mm f/2.8 STM – Retail:$199.99 (Currently $179.00)
The EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens is a great, sharp lens for a great price. It offers the “pancake” design that is under an inch long. This lens will allow you to have a compact setup that is great for travel. Great for video and stills, the 40mm f/2.8 is a great starter lens.
- Canon EF 70-200 f/4L USM – Retail: $649.99 (Currently $599.00)
You may be thinking, “650 bucks is a bargain lens?” And the answer? Yes. The 70-200 f/4L is a beauty of a lens that is tack sharp wide open at f/4. As camera body’s high ISO settings get better and better, this lens becomes more and more valuable. More importantly, this lens blows lenses with similar focal lengths out of the water. It’s well worth the upgrade from the $200-$400 cost of those lenses. You’ll have this lens for far longer than you’ll have your camera body considering its weather-sealed and built like a tank. If you’re in the market for a new, excellent value telephoto zoom lens, this is the lens for you.
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II – Retail:$125.99 (Currently $120.99)
The original bargain lens for the Canon system, the 50mm f/1.8 II has excellent sharpness when stopped down and gives you a taste of the very shallow depth of field and incredible low light performance from a wide f/1.8 aperture. Although the new version of the lens (listed #1 above) is a great lens that I would recommend over this older version, if you can find this lens for dirt cheap and you’re looking for an even better value, this lens will still provide excellent image quality for the price.
List updated 7/8/2015