Canon’s selection of lenses for digital SLR cameras can be confusing and daunting for the beginning photographer. However, with a little knowledge about what type of lenses Canon offer and what types of features Canon provides in their lenses, finding the right lens for your needs can be easy. This article breaks up the features and types of canon lenses for digital SLR cameras.
EF Mount vs. EF-S Mount Lenses
Canon offers two lens mounts for digital SLR cameras. The first, the general EF mount, will work on any Canon digital SLR. The second, the EF-S mount, will only work properly on a 1.6x field of view crop factor body. Cameras with this type of sensor are mostly within the Digital Rebel series. EF mount lenses offer light coverage for a full-frame sensor or a 35mm film camera. EF mount lenses will also work on any Canon camera body. EF-S mounts lenses are only designed to cover the smaller image sensor of some Canon SLRs.
“L Series” Lenses
For professionals, Canon offers the “L series” of lenses. No one offers a better lens for Canon digital SLR cameras. The “L series” incorporates the best optics into a build aimed at professional photographers. These lenses are often very fast, very high quality and very expensive. You can recognize them by the red stripe on the lens barrel. Look for them at the next sporting event you watch.
Image Stabilized Lenses
Some Canon lenses for digital SLR cameras incorporate image stabilization technology. While some manufacturers incorporate image stabilization (IS) into their camera bodies, Canon prefers to incorporate it into their lenses. Many believe that this improves image quality. Image stabilized lenses work with a floating optical element that adjusts to help reduce image blur and the effects of camera shake in low light conditions. Image stabilization does not stop motion, it only reduces blur in stationary objects.
Canon zoom lenses are designed to work over a range of focal lengths. These are the most versatile Canon lenses for digital SLRs. Zoom lenses often provide the versatility of many focal lengths but sometimes sacrifice image quality over prime or fixed focal length lenses.
Fixed Focal Length Lenses
Fixed focal length (prime) lenses are the traditional Canon lens for digital SLR cameras. They are often what photographers learn to use first, as they offer the simplicity of a single focal length. Prime lenses often have a higher quality and a lower price when compared to zoom lenses.
Film and Digital Interchangeability
Canon lenses for digital SLR cameras utilize the same basic functioning parts and technology as film camera lenses. Older Canon film cameras use the same EF mount system as Canon digital SLR lenses and bodies. Therefore, older lenses made for film cameras (with an EF mount) can be used successfully on Canon digital SLRs.