Your top 10 ranked overall favorite EF lenses now that the final roster is available?

Ruined

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So EF lens releases have dramatically slowed if not stopped. It appears we have may seen the final roster of EF lenses.

Assuming that is the case, what are your personal top 10 (or top 3, top 5, etc) EF lenses you've had experience with?

Here are mine for full frame, ranked in order with a brief explanation - note again this is overall favorites, meaning taking all aspects of the lens into account (not just image quality). I mostly shoot people and places.

1. EF 50mm f/1.2L USM - Probably a controversial choice, but the combination of normal focal length, relatively compact size/weight, fast AF, and amazing rendering put this at #1.
2. EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM - A versatile workhorse with stunning sharpness, rendering, accurate AF, its worth its weight in gold. My best pic of all time was taken with this.
3. EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM - Another flexible mainstay that provides sharp, wonderful looking photos in the most frequently used range.
4. EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM - For those that don't always want to use a tripod, perhaps the best overall landscape lens Canon offers.
5. EF 35mm f/2 IS USM - While not as fast as its L counterpart, it's almost as fast and much more compact, light, and discreet - my fav street photography lens
6. EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM - While this lens has perhaps the best rendering, the focal length is not as versatile as the 50mm f/1.2L, slow AF, and much more fragile
7. EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM - The relatively compact travel zoom with excellent rendering which can double as a wildlife or outdoor sports lens
8. EF 135mm f/2L USM - Sharp, fast, accurate AF, nice rendering and compression. But 135mm is long and without IS requires fast shutter speeds, combined limiting its use to studio/outdoors daytime or tripod often
9. EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM - Fisheyes have limited usefulness but can produce impressive results in select cases; this one offers special creative possibilities with its circular 8mm; but lower on the list due to limited opportunities to use productively
10. EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM - Perhaps another oddball to end the list, but this is a great long hike landscape lens due to its small size and light weight plus classic 24mm landscape focal length. When you don't want to carry around the nearly 3x heavier and 2x as long 16-35mm f/4L, this is a great alternative.

So what are your personal top EF lenses from the final roster?
 
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privatebydesign

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In no particular order.

EF 300mm f2.8 IS: Changed the game when it came out and as a naked lens still holds it's own.
TS-E 17: Groundbreaking design nobody has come close to emulating. Takes TC's shockingly well too.
TS-E 50: Unbelievable refined optic.
EF 15mm fisheye: Crazy good IQ and works very well defished, outdated but Canon never went back to an f2.8 fisheye so I kept it and love it.
EF 50mm f1.4: Generally hated, but it was the first EF prime I got and I've had mine going on 20 years without issue. Nails focus at f1.4 every single time and costs nothing, what's not to love.
EF 100mm Macro L IS: Decent optics with lots of functionality and wide range of uses.
EF 11-24: Another ground breaking optic from Canon skunk works, I love those guys and would love to buy them a saké.
EF 70-200 f2.8 IS MkI: So versatile and so much nicer for portraits than the sharper MkII
EF 35mm f2 IS: This lens practically lives on my camera for general shooting. I love the vignetting and subtle falloff at f2/2.2
EF 24-70 f2.8 MkI: I love this lens, again I prefer the MkI to the MkII, I love the hood design and general look to images I get out of it.

Honorable mentions because I don't own them but will at some point:

EF 200-400 f4: Nikon owned this lens type until Canon came to the game and showed how it should be done, they even added a built in TC! What did Nikon do in answer? Quit....
TS-E24mm MkII: Another killer lens out of the skunk works, so sharp, so versatile, so much functionality...

Honorable mention I sold for a 'better' lens but was utterly awesome:
EF 16-35 f4 IS: Canon at last came out with a new generation ultra wide with the image quality Canon never previously had in that focal length range, and while they have subsequently surpassed even that massive leap forwards not at the same price! The introduction price was crazy good too.
 
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Ruined

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Aug 22, 2013
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Honorable mention I sold for a 'better' lens but was utterly awesome:
EF 16-35 f4 IS: Canon at last came out with a new generation ultra wide with the image quality Canon never previously had in that focal length range, and while they have subsequently surpassed even that massive leap forwards not at the same price! The introduction price was crazy good too.
I think I may give the EF 16-35 f/2.8L III a shot simply because I miss the sunstars of the EF 16-35 f/2.8L II; the EF 16-35 f/4L IS does not quite get there in definition. And then, use the EF 24mm f/2.8L IS for when I want a small , light, less expensive hiking lens with IS for when I don't want to bother with a tripod.
 

Maximilian

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I only vote for lenses I own(ed) and here not by IQ but by time in use and therefore importance to me:
  1. EF100-400L IS II (with or without TCs)
  2. EF24-105L IS (Mark I)
  3. EF100L Macro IS USM
  4. EF70-200mmL IS II USM
  5. EF35 IS USM
  6. EF50 STM (yes, I love that little gem for giving beginners the opotunity to dive into low DOF)
  7. EF-S 24 STM (yes, I love that one, too. As travel lens on my 200D)
For the other 3 places I have no favorites.
 
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Del Paso

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More or less in order...

EF 100-400 L II :love: :love: :love: my EDC lens
EF 24 TSE II used exclusively handheld, also for landscapes
EF 135/2 L sad it has been discontinued
EF 70-200 f4 L II my other EDC lens
EF 100 L macro used only for macro
EF 14/2,8 II nobody seems to like it, I love it !
EF 85/1,4 L competing with my Summilux 75/1,4, and often loosing...
EF 16-35 f4 L but only up to 28mm...
EF 24-70 f4 L preferred over the f 2,8, due to macro, my 3rd EDC
EF 35/2 IS an underrated great little lens
The other ones, I dare not mention, since no Canon lenses.
When I was young and beautiful, my EDC often was a 560mm plus 1,4 Apo Extender....

Edit: Number 11 would be that cute little EF 2,8/40
 
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docsmith

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Hmmm..
  1. EF 24-70 II...my most used lens. Amazing IQ, great rendering, fast AF.
  2. EF 85 f/1.4 IS...the 70-200 II, which I love, has sat in the bag so often since I picked this lens up. Sharp, great rendering, something special about the IQ.
  3. EF 500 f/4 II...Amazingly sharp, amazingly fast, amazing rendering....let me say amazing a few more times.
  4. EF 70-200 f/2.8 II. I used to say, and still might, if I could only have two lenses, 24-70 II and the 70-200 II. Versatile, great IQ, great rendering and fast AF.
  5. EF 70-300 L. Picked it up on a whim, but amazing travel lens. Something to the IQ, and a joy to walk around with.
  6. EF 16-35 f/4 IS. Beautiful images.
  7. Sigma EF 50 f/1.4. Sharp wide open, good AF, good rendering. I love the 50 mm focal length and until the RF came along, this was the best (IMO).
  8. EF 100 mm L macro. Great images, from macro to portraits.
  9. EF 100-400 II. One of my most used lenses, but it is more of a very good tool for me. Min focus distance is great.
  10. EFs 15-85. My first DSLR lens. Amazing focal range, great IQ, amazing travel lens. Still get excited when I see people using it.
Some honorable mentions:
  • Sigma 14 f/1.8. Great IQ, amazing nightscape lens, but so heavy.
  • Sigma 150-600S. Great focal length range, great IQ (underappreciated), but big and heavy
  • TSE 24 II. Great features, great IQ. I wish I used it more.
  • EF 50 f/1.4. Great little lens. Wish it was better at f/2 and wider. But at f/2.2+, wow. I do mean wow. Also needs better AF.
 

CanonFanBoy

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1. EF 135mm f/2L My favorite portrait lens in EF.
2. EF 35mm f/1.4L II Wonderful lens! Sharp and fast. Fantastic rendering.
3. EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II Great lens that was great for portraits too.
4. EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II Another great portrait lens.
 

Fischer

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The 5 I used the most:

1. 35mm f/1.4 L II - on a 5DS/R it could be your only general purpose lens
2. 300mm f/2.8 IS L II - most amazing glass ever, anywhere
3. 135mm f/2 L - lovely portraits
4. 100-400mm IS L II - so good it almost replaced my 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L II
5. 200mm f/2 IS L II - amazing rendering, only held back by its singular use cases
 

Sporgon

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Hmmm..
  1. EF 24-70 II...my most used lens. Amazing IQ, great rendering, fast AF.
  2. EF 85 f/1.4 IS...the 70-200 II, which I love, has sat in the bag so often since I picked this lens up. Sharp, great rendering, something special about the IQ.
  3. EF 500 f/4 II...Amazingly sharp, amazingly fast, amazing rendering....let me say amazing a few more times.
  4. EF 70-200 f/2.8 II. I used to say, and still might, if I could only have two lenses, 24-70 II and the 70-200 II. Versatile, great IQ, great rendering and fast AF.
  5. EF 70-300 L. Picked it up on a whim, but amazing travel lens. Something to the IQ, and a joy to walk around with.
  6. EF 16-35 f/4 IS. Beautiful images.
  7. Sigma EF 50 f/1.4. Sharp wide open, good AF, good rendering. I love the 50 mm focal length and until the RF came along, this was the best (IMO).
  8. EF 100 mm L macro. Great images, from macro to portraits.
  9. EF 100-400 II. One of my most used lenses, but it is more of a very good tool for me. Min focus distance is great.
  10. EFs 15-85. My first DSLR lens. Amazing focal range, great IQ, amazing travel lens. Still get excited when I see people using it.
Some honorable mentions:
  • Sigma 14 f/1.8. Great IQ, amazing nightscape lens, but so heavy.
  • Sigma 150-600S. Great focal length range, great IQ (underappreciated), but big and heavy
  • TSE 24 II. Great features, great IQ. I wish I used it more.
  • EF 50 f/1.4. Great little lens. Wish it was better at f/2 and wider. But at f/2.2+, wow. I do mean wow. Also needs better AF.
So....basically all of them, eh Doc ?;)
 
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SteveC

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I own less than ten, so you can look in my signature for the list. :)

Few of mine are really noteworthy, the sort of gear that gearheads will bow down before (not that that truly makes a difference in the end).

It has been interesting to see which of mine get mentioned and which do not.
 
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Ruined

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I see a lot of people praising 35L II. I find this focal length has a notable amount of perspective distortion for portraits, so when doing portraits I generally much prefer somewhere in 50mm-200mm range

For general landscape I'd rather use a 16-35 variant or if hiking the 24 IS

35mm I think is ideal for street photography though, but here I would rather have the 35mm f/2 IS since it is smaller, lighter, more covert, and doesn't scream "hey steal me I'm expensive" like the 35L does. And, at 35mm f/1.4 vs f/2 I don't think is a deal breaker given the other advantages of the 35 f/2 IS. What do people use 35L II for regularly that feel it works better than 35 f/2 IS?
 
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CanonFanBoy

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I see a lot of people praising 35L II. I find this focal length has a notable amount of perspective distortion for portraits, so when doing portraits I generally much prefer somewhere in 50mm-200mm range

For general landscape I'd rather use a 16-35 variant or if hiking the 24 IS

35mm I think is ideal for street photography though, but here I would rather have the 35mm f/2 IS since it is smaller, lighter, more covert, and doesn't scream "hey steal me I'm expensive" like the 35L does. And, at 35mm f/1.4 vs f/2 I don't think is a deal breaker given the other advantages of the 35 f/2 IS. What do people use 35L II for regularly that feel it works better than 35 f/2 IS?
I wouldn't know a thing about the 35mm f/2. When I had the EF 35mm f/1.4L II I used it for portraits, Yes, there is distortion if the lens isn't used correctly, however, it was still valuable in certain situations. I can't remember his name right now, but there is a famous portrait photographer that uses wide angle lenses for portraits almost exclusively.
 

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Ruined

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Aug 22, 2013
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I wouldn't know a thing about the 35mm f/2. When I had the EF 35mm f/1.4L II I used it for portraits, Yes, there is distortion if the lens isn't used correctly, however, it was still valuable in certain situations. I can't remember his name right now, but there is a famous portrait photographer that uses wide angle lenses for portraits almost exclusively.
I am sure one can find a specialty use for any lens. Unless you are a pro that makes tons of cash with photography as your main gig, though, there are probably a lot of other lenses worth getting first, because a $2000 dust collector is the last thing you need. Perspective distortion is characteristic of the 35mm focal length - 50mm has some also but not as much, and most of it is gone by 85mm (though not entirely until ~135mm). On my list the only specialty lens I listed was the 8-15mm fisheye, and this is only because it can make photos no other lens can remotely approach.

If one used 35mm exclusively for portraits either they are going to be distorted or all of your portraits are going to have similar framing with one's attempts to compensate for the distortion.

The 35mm f/2 IS IMO plays more to the strengths of 35mm, namely capturing a city street environment where you aren't exclusively focusing on one person - where you want to capture a scene but don't want the "big" landscape distortion of 24mm, nor the more restricted perspective of 50mm. By being a small, light, discreet lens it works well as a walkaround in these city street type environments - and while its one stop slower than the 35mm f/1.4, the f/2 has image stabilization which can be useful for things like capturing motion in city streets. If one is concerned about bokeh, the 50mm f/1.2L destroys the 35mm f/1.4L II and is a much more flexible lens for portraits and in general.
 

CanonFanBoy

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I am sure one can find a specialty use for any lens. Unless you are a pro that makes tons of cash with photography as your main gig, though, there are probably a lot of other lenses worth getting first, because a $2000 dust collector is the last thing you need. Perspective distortion is characteristic of the 35mm focal length - 50mm has some also but not as much, and most of it is gone by 85mm (though not entirely until ~135mm). On my list the only specialty lens I listed was the 8-15mm fisheye, and this is only because it can make photos no other lens can remotely approach.

If one used 35mm exclusively for portraits either they are going to be distorted or all of your portraits are going to have similar framing with one's attempts to compensate for the distortion.

The 35mm f/2 IS IMO plays more to the strengths of 35mm, namely capturing a city street environment where you aren't exclusively focusing on one person - where you want to capture a scene but don't want the "big" landscape distortion of 24mm, nor the more restricted perspective of 50mm. By being a small, light, discreet lens it works well as a walkaround in these city street type environments - and while its one stop slower than the 35mm f/1.4, the f/2 has image stabilization which can be useful for things like capturing motion in city streets. If one is concerned about bokeh, the 50mm f/1.2L destroys the 35mm f/1.4L II and is a much more flexible lens for portraits and in general.
Ahhhh.... but you are forgetting the fact that the distortion can be used creatively. It can work for you.
 
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Viggo

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35 L
35 L II
200 f2.0 L
TS 17 L
85 L II
135 L
300 f2.8 L IS
24-70 f2.8 L II
70-200 f2.8 L
16-35 f4 L IS
 

Fischer

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Mar 17, 2020
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I am sure one can find a specialty use for any lens. Unless you are a pro that makes tons of cash with photography as your main gig, though, there are probably a lot of other lenses worth getting first, because a $2000 dust collector is the last thing you need. Perspective distortion is characteristic of the 35mm focal length - 50mm has some also but not as much, and most of it is gone by 85mm (though not entirely until ~135mm). On my list the only specialty lens I listed was the 8-15mm fisheye, and this is only because it can make photos no other lens can remotely approach.

If one used 35mm exclusively for portraits either they are going to be distorted or all of your portraits are going to have similar framing with one's attempts to compensate for the distortion.

The 35mm f/2 IS IMO plays more to the strengths of 35mm, namely capturing a city street environment where you aren't exclusively focusing on one person - where you want to capture a scene but don't want the "big" landscape distortion of 24mm, nor the more restricted perspective of 50mm. By being a small, light, discreet lens it works well as a walkaround in these city street type environments - and while its one stop slower than the 35mm f/1.4, the f/2 has image stabilization which can be useful for things like capturing motion in city streets. If one is concerned about bokeh, the 50mm f/1.2L destroys the 35mm f/1.4L II and is a much more flexible lens for portraits and in general.
The portraits that made me most money were all environmental portraits taken with the 35mm f/1.4. Its a perfect focal length for those shots. Distortion is something people on photograhic forums worry about - clients have other priorities. Its like my obsession with bokeh. It matters a lot to me. But I make no illusions about what the general public thinks. Almost all older portrait pictures (pre-1970's) were taken with a wide angle lens. Works great. In fact - apart from extremely wide angle lenses - all lenses can work for portrait imho. My next-most used portrait lens is the 300mm f/2.8. I'm sure you would consider that too "flat". So use something else and be happy with your choice.
 

Ruined

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Aug 22, 2013
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The portraits that made me most money were all environmental portraits taken with the 35mm f/1.4. Its a perfect focal length for those shots. Distortion is something people on photograhic forums worry about - clients have other priorities. Its like my obsession with bokeh. It matters a lot to me. But I make no illusions about what the general public thinks. Almost all older portrait pictures (pre-1970's) were taken with a wide angle lens. Works great. In fact - apart from extremely wide angle lenses - all lenses can work for portrait imho. My next-most used portrait lens is the 300mm f/2.8. I'm sure you would consider that too "flat". So use something else and be happy with your choice.
Maybe I will try to get my wide angle portraiture technique better with the 35mm f/2.0 and consider the f/1.4 sometime. I read though the original f/1.4 actually has better bokeh than the f/1.4 II despite the latter being sharper, true?

I still can't give up the 35mm f/2 IS though, its just too sweet of a street photography lens. Would have to own two primes at same focal length!
 

Fischer

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Maybe I will try to get my wide angle portraiture technique better with the 35mm f/2.0 and consider the f/1.4 sometime. I read though the original f/1.4 actually has better bokeh than the f/1.4 II despite the latter being sharper, true?

I still can't give up the 35mm f/2 IS though, its just too sweet of a street photography lens. Would have to own two primes at same focal length!
Bokeh is a question of taste (and I'm a sickler for smooth bokeh). Too me it was positive that it showed less of onion ring effects: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-35mm-f1-4-ii/4 - as you can see here. The 35mm f/1.4 L II was also better corrected and somewhat sharper . You will see the difference between the 35mm f/2 IS and the 35mm f/1.4 L II in many shots.
 
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Ruined

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Bokeh is a question of taste (and I'm a sickler for smooth bokeh). Too me it was positive that it showed less of onion ring effects: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canon-35mm-f1-4-ii/4 - as you can see here. The 35mm f/1.4 L II was also better corrected and somewhat sharper . You will see the difference between the 35mm f/2 IS and the 35mm f/1.4 L II in many shots.
I was referring to 35L I vs 35L II btw. The former has a rep for having better bokeh but I've never used it. I believe the 35L I has more of the "classic" Canon bokeh like the 50L 1.2 and 85L II while the 35L II has the newer Canon bokeh which has less artifacts but it also less smooth.

I actually owned the 35mm f/1.4 ii a while back, and I've owned the 35mm f/2 IS twice (currently own now). I found that i didn't use the f/1.4 of the 35 II because if I was taking an environmental portrait I'd generally stop down to get more of the environment in focus, and if I really wanted a smooth bokeh transition I would just use the 50mm f/1.2 instead. The 35mm f/2 IS practically is very useful because of it's size though and the IS helps with street shots of moving cars - so that remains in my kit.

The contrast of the 35mm f/2 isn't as good (tho this can be mostly remedied in post), and the bokeh isn't as smooth.. but I never find myself reaching for 35mm anyway if I'm looking for a creamy background.
 
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