Best Walk Around Lens for Canon
A walk around lens is one that you can take with you whenever you head out on a photography adventure.
It’s a versatile lens capable of doing justice to everything from landscapes to people, events to architecture.
Every photographer should have one or two of these walk around lenses, and if you have a Canon camera, you might want to consider some of the options presented in this guide.
Here’s what to expect in this article:
- Reviews of the best walk around lens for Canon
- A detailed selection guide
- Your burning questions answered in a FAQ
Without further ado, here are our top picks…
👑 Our Pick for Best Overall
⭐ Our Other Top Picks for Canon Walk Around Lens
- Best of the Best: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
- Runner Up: Canon EF-S 18-55mm
- Best Zoom: Canon EF 24-105mm f/4
Best Canon Walk Around Lens Reviews
Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM (👑 Best of the Best)
Most photographers would recommend that you have a standard 50mm lens if you want versatility in how you take photos. Canon’s EF 50mm lens is our top pick for walk around lenses from the top camera brand, and its versatility is one of the biggest reasons for this.
Versatility is a word you’ll often hear in the same sentence as the Canon EF 50mm lens, and its nickname of ‘nifty-fifty’ also alludes to this. This lens is widely considered one of the top walk-around focal length lenses out there, let alone out of Canon’s series of lenses. Further testament to the lens’ quality is the flawless five-star rating that the lens has managed to maintain on the Amazon product page even with over a thousand reviews left by discerning photographers. So if you’re just starting out with photography and you don’t want to know all the technical details, we’ll save you the effort of reading on: this is one of the best walk-around lenses you can buy.
Alright, now let’s get into the nitty gritty of the ‘nifty-fifty’. This lens provides a view angle similar to what the human eye can perceive, which means that the full-frame shots will feel satisfyingly natural and true to real-life. It’s an excellent go-to lens for documentary-style footage, portraits, and so much more. The f/1.8 aperture affords you plenty of room for on-the-fly adjustments and the widest setting is perfect for capturing nighttime scenes as well as poorly-lit subjects.
Other top features include the Super Spectra coating which reduces the amount of ghosting and flare in your photos, and the stepping motor (STM) which speeds things up when it comes to the autofocus system. Perhaps best of all, you can get all of these great features for a very reasonable price as far as lenses are concerned.
- 80mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 50mm native on full frame cameras
- Minimum focusing distance of 1.15ft
- Maximum magnification of 0.21x
WHY WE CHOSE IT AS OUR TOP PICK
1. It’s no coincidence that this lens has a flawless five star rating on Amazon and that it’s widely praised by amateur and professional photographers alike. This is the ‘nifty-fifty’ lens, so good it was given a nickname.
2. The f/1.8 aperture offers an excellent natural field of view and lets in plenty of light for those late night photo shoots.
3. The autofocus is coupled with a STM for faster and smoother performance when tracking the subject.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm (🥈 Runner Up)
Our runner up pick for the best Canon walk around lens is the EF-S 18-55mm.
Another affordable lens from Canon, the EF-S 18-55m is a highly competent, all-purpose lens with plenty to offer Canon users. It has a focal range that spans from medium to wide, which means you will be able to use it for everything from sweeping landscape shots to group photos and much more. This lens also features Canon’s 4-stop image stabilization system, which if you’ve ever used a handheld camera outdoors, you’ll know is a useful one to have. The system reduces camera shake and blur, making it much easier for you to snap photos handheld and with a low shutter speed, without needing to lug a large tripod around with you.
This lens offers up an aperture range of f/3.5 to f/5.6, which allows you to work with various shutter speeds so you can experiment to see what works best for you. This may come at the expense of solid low light performance, though, so you’ll need to be comfortable with this tradeoff. Of course, you could just buy a separate lens which does well in low light conditions if that’s also something you’re interested in.
Technically classed as a zoom lens, you’ll be able to shoot photos at a zoom range of both 18mm and 55mm. This makes it a versatile lens to use out in the field, since you should be able to snap clear photos regardless of the distance from the subject. As a result, you can pull off both stunning portraits and epic landscape shots.
- 18-55mm focal length
- f/3.5-5.6 aperture
- Diagonal angle of view
- Focus adjustment
- Maximum close-up magnification 0.24x
Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 (💎 Best Zoom)
The Canon EF 24-105mm is our pick for the best walk around zoom lens by Canon.
If you like the idea of having a powerful walk around zoom lens on hand for your photography adventures, then the Canon EF 24-105mm is an excellent option. This is a lens that provides an enormous zoom range, spanning all the way from the wide angle view to a telephoto view. Think about what you can see with your eyes barely closed, and then what you see with your eyes fully open – this is one way to think about the discrepancy between wide angle and telephoto views. As a result, you’ll be able to take incredibly focussed shots capturing a lot of detail as well as broad sweeping shots of rolling landscapes and big events like weddings.
So if you’re a keen traveler and you want the versatility of a highly competent zoom lens, this is a top option. It’s also incredibly lightweight, which makes it all the more suitable for packing up in a suitcase or rucksack. If you’re on safari for example with this one lens you’ll be able to zone in on the small bird perched high up in the tree and straight after capture a wide shot of the arid landscape and any animals on the horizon.
This is another lens that benefits from Canon’s 3-stop image stabilization, one less than our runner up pick, which means the performance should be spot on even if you don’t have a tripod or other stabilizing equipment. Camera shakiness will be a thing of the past, and your images should be largely blur-free even at the various zoom extremes. Coupled with the image stabilization is the sophisticated autofocus system which uses ring type USM to deliver steady shots and keep the subject in clear focus at all times.
- 24-105mm zoom
- f/4 maximum aperture
- Super UD glass element
- 3 aspherical lenses
- Ring type USM system autofocus
- Dust and moisture resistant
- 3-stop image stabilization
Who Is This For?
Anyone can benefit from using a walk around lens, given that it’s designed to be a versatile piece of camera equipment.
It’s a lens that will be light enough to carry around in your rucksack, but powerful enough to deliver rock solid performanc when it matters.
This is a lens that is ideal for taking photos of just about anything, including but not limited to the following:
That makes it an excellent lens for the wedding photographer, the nature photographer, and the amateur photographer alike.
It should be an essential accessory for anyone interested in photography, so if you don’t already own one, now might be the time to invest.
Which one you choose should depend on some of the factors outlined below.
There are many factors that can determine the quality of a camera lens, so you’ll want to get familiar with all of the terminology to make the best decision for your needs.
If you don’t take the time to delve into the details of each lens, you might find that the one you use is ill-suited to the type of photography you’re interested in.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to draw up this ultimate guide, detailing all the most important factors when choosing a walk around lens.
One of the first factors to take into consideration with a walk around lens is the focal length it provides.
The focal length is what determines the field of view your camera will be able to capture.
The field of view refers to how much narrow or wide your camera shot will be, so while a more narrow field of view is better for close-up photography, a wide field of view is better for taking sweeping landscape shots and distance photography.
It also impacts what is in focus as you take a photo, since the field of view encompasses both the foreground and background layers of any photo.
So given the importance of field of view and how significantly it can impact the type of photo you want to take, it makes sense that focal length is an essential attribute in a lens.
Specifically, the focal length is what determines your compositional frame, so it can provide you with a wide field of view and expand your options when capturing photos.
As for the lens decision-making process, focal length is something to strongly consider if you enjoy taking photos at distance or capturing wide shots as is the case for group and landscape photos.
The longer the lens, the more shallow the depth of field will be, so long lenses are best for detailed close-up photography which highlights features in a subject’s face such as portraits and headshots.
While some lenses will have a fixed focal length, others offer a focal range which gives you more options in terms of adjusting the shot.
If you’re an experienced photographer, you’ll know all about the importance of aperture.
If you’re just starting out, though, it can be an intimidating term that might take a while to fully understand on a practical level. It’s important that you do, since aperture is one of the top factors to consider when looking for a camera lens.
In a nutshell: aperture determines the lens speed and gives you an idea of how much light will enter the lens.
The way aperture in a lens is measured is through F-stops. The smaller the F-stops, the faster the lens and the more light will enter the camera.
This is why you will always see a number preceded by ‘f/’ when looking at camera lenses, since this tells you the aperture performance.
As you might have already guessed, the more light the lens can capture, the better the camera will perform in low light conditions. So if you’re planning on going on nighttime photoshoots, you’ll want to make sure you consider the F-stops and aperture of your lens.
An example of a good aperture for low light photography is f/1.4 as it will let a lot of light in with the small number of F-stops, whereas an f/8 aperture gives you sharp image quality.
Image stabilization is a common feature for lenses, and it refers to the compensation made to balance out any camera shaking that may occur through handheld operation.
Poor image stabilization can lead to blurry shaky cam footage, which is less than ideal to say the least.
While a decent tripod can mitigate the issue of shaky cam, built-in image stabilization can help you take crisp photos and video on the fly when outdoors and on the move. This means you can use the camera with your hands without any need to stop and set up a tripod or any other equipment. This also means you can have a much more portable setup.
So if you plan on taking photos as you travel or going on outdoor adventures, it benefits you to find a lens with excellent image stabilization.
Autofocus is hugely important if you want to make sure that every last shot keeps the subject in clear focus regardless of movement.
On cheap lenses, the autofocus will be slow and laborious, which can be a headache when you’re out and about and you want to snap your shots quickly. Inferior lenses can also result in poor autofocus which can lead to blurry subjects and unclear faces.
With the majority of lenses, you will have the ability to manually adjust the autofocus using a ring or dial. Though many these days have sophisticated automatic autofocus systems, some with advanced features such as face recognition too.
Like with any piece of camera equipment, you need to make sure that it’s not going to over encumber you or prove too heavy to be practical.
If you’re having to lug around a lot of equipment and accessories already, you might not want to add to the burden with a heavy lens. Likewise, if you travel a lot, it doesn’t make much sense to invest in an awkwardly large lens since this will limit what you are able to pack.
Lenses come in all shapes and sizes, after all, and while this might not be your number one priority, it’s important to take into account for logistical reasons.
Aside from storing the lens, you also want to consider how it will feel when attached to the camera itself.
The last thing you want is to pick the perfect lens only to find out that it significantly weighs down the camera and impacts your ability to keep things steady while handheld.
Then again, there’s a reason why manufacturers make large, heavy lenses.
Generally speaking, a lens will be large if it has sophisticated technology such as high-powered zoom and high levels of precision.
Frequently Asked Questions About Canon Walk Around Lenses
What is the most versatile lens for Canon?
We believe that the most versatile lens for Canon is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM.
This is a lens that has been dubbed by its many admirers as the ‘nifty-fifty’, since it’s incredibly versatile and the perfect walk around lens for those with Canon cameras.
It has plenty of exciting features including STM to speed up and smoothen the autofocus, as well as an excellent aperture of f/1.8 which allows for natural-looking photos and good low light performance.
What lenses should every photographer have?
While there’s no hard and fast rule as to what lenses a photographer shoiuld have, there are some lenses which are generally agreed upon to be the best for starting out.
These include the standard lens, the telephoto lens, the macro lens, and the wide angle lens.
Each of these lenses will give you something different to experiment with, for example, the standard lens is perfect for portrait photography while the macro lens is best for detail photography.
How many lenses does a photographer need?
Most people believe that you should own at least three lenses to cover all of your bases as a photographer.
With a variety of lenses, you will expand the possibilities open to you while taking photos, so three is much better than two or one.
An example of three lenses to go with include an ultra wide-angle lens for landscape photography, a standard 50mm lens for large apertures and depth of field experimentation, and a macro lens for capturing life-size images.
A Final Word From Run Gun Shoot
If you want to get your hands on the best walk around lens for Canon, do your best to figure out what the most important factors are and how much they matter to you.
These factors should include the aperture, focal length, and size of the lens, among several others.