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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EF and EF-S Lenses 
Thread started 11 Dec 2009 (Friday) 10:03
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Rank your lenses

Senior Member
601 posts
Joined Jan 2007
Dec 11, 2009 10:03 |  #1

Let's see a ranking of your lenses, from favorite/most impressive vs. least favorite/least impressive. Here's mine (lenses I currently own shown in bold):

1. Canon 35L 1.4 - Picked this up for a great deal on Craigslist, essentially brand new. I intended to turn around and resell for a profit, but man, I just love everything about this lens. I don't know if I can afford it but I hate to give it up.

2. Canon 70-200mm 2.8 IS - Just a solid performer, fast AF, sharp, beautiful bokeh, great contrast & colors. Really I have no negatives to mention.

3. Canon 100mm 2.8 macro - What an awesome, sharp lens. Along with 35L probably the sharpest lens I ever had. Had a lot of fun with it but sold it since I didn't use it enough to justify keeping, but now I kinda wish I still had it. I picked up some extension tubes but they're just not the same.

4. Canon 100-400L - Great lens, I had a really good copy and dumbly sold it because it was a lens I didn't really "need". (I do mostly weddings) Probably the lens I most regret selling.

5. Canon 24-70mm 2.8 - Same characteristics as mentioned for the 70-200, another solid lens. Kinda boring, but gets the job done every time.

6. & 7. Canon 10-22mm and Canon 17-40L. Had the 10-22 on crop and now the 17-40 on full frame. They're nearly identical lenses and both do their UWA job very well, no complaints.

8. Canon 70-300mm IS - Was a really good lens, I chose it over the 70-200L non-IS and didn't regret it one bit. Had to sell to fund 70-200 2.8IS though.

8. Sigma 30mm 1.4 - This was a pretty darn good lens, if it worked on full frame I'd probably have it rather than the 35L. The 35L beats the 30mm 1.4 in every aspect, but not by much. For the price the Sigma version is a great value.

9. Canon 17-55 2.8 IS - A love/hate relationship for me, mine was really sharp at 2.8, maybe even sharper than the 24-70. I had to rank this lens a little lower though because my IS failed after 2 years, and the inner lens elements got quite dusty. A really fast focuser overall, but I also had some front-focus issues on 40D.

10. Canon 18-55 kit lens - For what it was, this was actually a decent lens and gave me some good shots, no complaints.

11. & 12. Canon 50mm 1.8 & Canon 50mm 1.4. For some reason I haven't been able to fall in love with either of these 50mm lenses yet (haven't tried the 1.2 version). I'd call these two lenses decent but not spectacular. I would like a little more sharpness & contrast wide open out of the 1.4, and better focus & bokeh from the 1.8. I'll likely end up selling the 1.4 if I keep 35L.

13. Sigma 10-20mm. Hands down the most frustrating lens I ever owned. I tried 3 copies and each had their issues, mostly with softness on one side. I know lots of people have good luck with this lens, but the Sigma Gods were against me I guess. Ended up trading for the Canon 10-22mm and never looked back.

Well making that list turned out to be harder than I thought. If you asked me again in a few days the rankings would probably be in a totally different order.

What does your list look like? Don't be shy, give a ranking no matter if you've had 2 lenses or 20.


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216 posts
Joined Sep 2008
Location: Oklahoma the 918
Dec 11, 2009 10:06 |  #2

We have too many threads like this already.

40D, XT
Promaster (tamron) 17-50F2.8
Canon 70-200F4 L, 50 f1.8 nifty

Senior Member
601 posts
Joined Jan 2007
Dec 11, 2009 10:12 |  #3

Ok Mr. Grinch. :)

I searched and didn't see one.


2,320 posts
Likes: 7
Joined Mar 2008
Location: Montreal, Quebec
Dec 11, 2009 10:17 |  #4

OK, I'll play:

1. Canon 70-200L f/4 IS. Awesome. 'Nuff said.

2. Canon 60 f/2.8 macro. Incredibly sharp, ideal focal length on my 40D, never takes a bad image, perfect all-round lens with macro capability as a bonus.

3. Canon 55-250 f/4-5.6. Great lens, super convenient to carry around, great range. I use it for travel, wildlife and outings where weight is an issue. Has never let me down, and has produced some of my favourite wildlife images.

3. Tamron 28-75 f/2.8. Gets the job done. Terrific range, nice to have the f/2.8. Focus is a bit slow; the lens hunts in low light.

4. Canon 85 f/1.8. My least-used lens. It's an odd focal length on my 40D, and I find the long MFD to be a bit limiting (I much prefer the 60 macro for most uses). The purple fringing is a pain. I keep it because when things work out, the images are just stunning.

Gear: Canon 7D, Tokina 12-24 f/4, Canon 24-105L f4, Canon 70-300L, Canon 60 macro f/2.8, Speedlite 580 EXII, 2x AB800

Website (external link)

Liquid Nitrogen
6,966 posts
Likes: 2790
Joined Jul 2007
Location: Between the palms and the pines.
Dec 11, 2009 11:10 |  #5

It's hard to rank my lenses because I like and use them all. Plus, they're each different, so hard to compare but I'll give it a try...

35mm f1.4 - Could be my favorite lens, but it is work! Shooting wide is harder than shooting tight, imo, because you're either working to include a pleasing BG or you have to get in close for the shot which usually means interaction. Either way, it's more work, but the results are worth it ;) .

300mm f/4 IS - What a fun lens! Versatile. I once coverd an entire church ceremony (for the newspaper - the church was closing) with the 16-35L and the 300 f/4 IS. I've used this lens for concerts, plays, dance, large events, hummingbirds, bif, perched birds, flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, nature, landscapes, sports and more. I almost sold it recently, but I'm glad I didn't :) .

100-300 f/4 EX - This lens continually surprises me with it's IQ and especially its focusing ability. i've said it before, but imo it is the ultimate daytime field sports lens. In midday sun shooting white uniforms with black numbers and no PF. Period. Contrast and saturation are rich. I had sold this lens after owning it for two years, only to buy it back from the second owner nearly 2 years later. Glad i did. :)

135L - I wish I could find more applications for this FL, because this is a brilliant lens with few if any flaws. Great for indoors - esp on FF, not so much on crop unless we're talking indoor sports. Obviously it is a great H&S portrait lens.

180mm macro EX - This was among my first lens purchases, when I didn't know much about lenses. I can say that it has surprised me many times with it's capabilities - namely in it's ability to act as a medium/long telephoto and to track hummingbirds in flight. That's with and without a (Sigma) 1.4x TC! An incredible feat for a 180mm macro lens if you ask me. Color, contrast and sharpness are all what you'd expect, which is to say excellent.

70-200 f/2.8 IS - A true work horse of a lens and it makes a work horse out of me (It's heavy!). This lens, with it's IS, increased my low light capabilities many fold over my non-IS 70-200 model and changed the way I shoot indoors. Probably Canon's most versatile lens and a must have for any PJ.

85mm f/1.8 - This lens has recently become my long lens for street shooting, but its main job is basketball. I also find this lens handy for smaller indoor events and portraits. PF can sometimes be a problem.

16-35L - If you gotta have it, you gotta have it, lol. I'm not a huge WA/UWA shooter, or at least I wasn't until I started as a PJ. Generally, this is a lens I mount when I don't know the layout and situation I'm going into (very often in PJ work) or when I need a landscape lens wider than 35MM. Also I use this for events where it can be very handy.

50mm f/1.8 - And lastly, my nifty fifty. It has done everything from capture images of an Academy Award winning actress to being used as am extreme macro lens. And all for $76 :D. I've heard people say the AF is noisy, but mine really isn't much noisier than my 50mm f/1.4 was (and those of you who know me, I don't tolerate noisy AF well). Love this lens.

So, there you have it.

(This list is subject to change on a whim) (external link) Miss Julia Grey (she/her/Miss)
OST, API, PPP & MLI explained (external link)

4,488 posts
Likes: 132
Joined Dec 2007
Location: Singapore
Dec 11, 2009 12:09 as a reply to  @ twoshadows's post |  #6

I use a 1DmkIIn for serious shoots now, and a 400D for when I want to go light. I shoot practically everything, from day and night events to portraiture, weddings to sports, and a mix of wildlife inside. My forte is in performance and portraiture photography, and I've been shooting for 2 years.

I have 3 lenses which get pretty equal use for events, but since I need to rank it, I'll rank it according to the time it gets on my camera for all shoots:

EF 17-40mm f/4L - My first lens, also my first L. Great colors, sharp in the center, good MFD and autofocus. f/4 is a bit restricting and f/2.8 would be better almost all the time (16-35 2.8L II) but not for 3 times the cost of a used 17-40. It's my walkaround lens. I regularly shoot blind from the hip at 17mm f/8 for street photography.

EF 50mm f/1.4 - Most fun lens to use out of the 3 that I have. With a clean background or when very near the subject, the bokeh quality is good. Colors are alright. I got a legendary copy of a lens that has no halation and is sharp wide open. AF is a bit finicky and I know there are problems with the USM dying after awhile, so knock on wood. My go-to lens for studio use. The only time I don't bring this lens for serious shoots is when I know it's going to be too short, like sports and wildlife.

EF 70-200 2.8L IS - My go-to lens for anything that the 17-40L can't do. Heavy beast for a standard kit of mine, and yes it does get tiring to use for many hours, but the pics are worth it. IS really works wonders, allowing me to handhold 200mm on 1.6 crop (recommended 1/320 shutter speed) at 1/20. Decently sharp wide open, and amazing when stopped down to f/4. Crowds part in front of me like the red sea when I bring the lens up at events.


Zexun | Flickr (external link) | YouTube (external link) |

1,835 posts
Joined Mar 2007
Dec 11, 2009 12:19 as a reply to  @ Headshotzx's post |  #7

Based on a combination of usefulness to me and IQ: 17-55/2.8 IS > 135/2L > 70-200/4L IS > 24-105/4L IS > 200/2.8L > 100/2.8 macro > 85/1.8 > 50/1.4

Too much stuff, not enough shooting time.

Canon T4i (2 lenses), Fuji X100s, Olympus OM-D EM-1 (3 lenses)

1,401 posts
Likes: 6
Joined Sep 2009
Location: Texas
Dec 11, 2009 12:32 |  #8

Mine is easy:

10-22mm USM > 55-250 IS > 18-55 IS

three guys (external link) | flickr (external link) | gear

I'm a chimper. There I said it...
36,721 posts
Gallery: 161 photos
Best ofs: 6
Likes: 6992
Joined May 2007
Location: Oak Park, Illinois
Dec 11, 2009 12:35 as a reply to  @ ThreeGuysPhoto's post |  #9

I'll play
Sharpest is the 200 2L IS is probably my fav.
most used 35L and 24L a tie
also love the 85L

Thats it.
And a couple of 5Ds.

1,024 posts
Likes: 3
Joined Jun 2009
Location: Appleton, WI
Dec 11, 2009 12:39 |  #10

StimpyJCat wrote in post #9177864 (external link)
Mine is easy:

10-22mm USM > 55-250 IS > 18-55 IS

Not as easy as mine!

1) 55-250 IS

2) 18-55 IS

"Would you really want to be the Canon rep responsible for dealing with POTN?" -FlyingPhotog
Nikon D500

Cream of the Crop
6,239 posts
Likes: 21
Joined Jul 2009
Location: West Marin
Dec 11, 2009 12:43 |  #11

Leica 180 R 2.8
Contax Planar 100/2, Zeiss 35/2, Zeiss 21/2.8 tied
Zeiss 50 1.7

they all rate high in my book so I can freely use them with little concern

Cream of the Crop
5,708 posts
Gallery: 29 photos
Likes: 528
Joined Mar 2008
Location: London, Ontario
Dec 11, 2009 12:44 |  #12

24-70L - Sig30 - 70-200/4IS - 135 - 100/2 - 11-16 - 85/1.8 - 200/2.8 - 100-400

EOS R6’ / 1D X / 1D IV (and the wife has a T4i)
Sig35A, Sig50A, Sig85A, Sig14-24A, Sig24-105A, Sig70-200S, Sig150-600C
100-400L, 100L, 100/2, 300 2.8L, 1.4x II / 2x II
600EX-II X3, 430EX-III X3

Ob ­ Com
Senior Member
697 posts
Joined Jun 2008
Location: UK
Dec 11, 2009 12:57 as a reply to  @ airfrogusmc's post |  #13

I have 6 lenses. I primarily use 24mm and 50mm focal lengths. 24mm for social landscape and 50mm for selective detail stuff/closer in. Shoot FF mostly.

1) 50L 1.2 -my favorite lens by far, despite 24mm being my prefered/most used focal length. Because of the unique way it renders-which is difficult to describe, but utterly unique. This lens just has a very characteristic look, which I love. Wide open, it is an aladins cave of creative possibilities. Stopped down it has a more conventional look but with a gravitas and authority and produces very rich images.

Extraordinary contrast. Remarkable colours. Love the bokeh, which I prefer over my 85L Mk I.

My second copy has no perceivable focus shift and is as reliable as any of my other lenses.

2) 24L 1.4 Mk1. I love the 24mm focal length on FF. its a classic FL. 28-35mm doesnt get you close enough and you lose "presence" because you have to back out to get the framing. UWA distort too much. 24mm on FF is the stone cold classic wide angle focal length for me.

An the 24L is king for me because I love shooting wide open and playing with bokeh and nothing touches the 24L 1.4 in the wide angle choices for that.

One day I will get the MkII for the better bokeh. Dont care about improved sharpness, the MKI is stella anyway for what use it for.

3) 35L 1.4- I dont use it as much as I want to/should but love the way this lens renders too. The colours are extraordinary also, like the 50L (not quite as good imo), its very very sharp, but again, like the 50L it just has its own look which I really like. Nice focal length for William Eggleston type framing.

4) 85L 1.2 MK 1 Astonishing lens, love the delicate contrast characteristics, colours it produces are unique imo. To me the remarkable thing about this lens is how Canon produced an optic so finely tuned for portraiture- ie the delacacy of the contrast and colours- perfect for capturing the essence of a person, when the moment arises.

5) 135L f2. colours, bokeh, very sharp, speed of focus.

6) 17-40 useful walkabout for a wide angle shooter like me when I want to travel light with one body/one lens combo, very sharp, delicate contrast, great colours, lightweight, reasonably well made.

"To look is to forget the name of the things you are seeing" Paul Valery

5D, 24-105L, 24L MkI, 35L, 50L, 85L MkI

Cream of the Crop
13,432 posts
Likes: 2
Joined Mar 2005
Location: Portage, Wisconsin USA
Dec 11, 2009 13:03 |  #14

Not sure what the point of this is. Not sure I should hog all the bandwidth. On the top of my list at the moment - Leica 180/2 APO. But, then again it might be at the top of anyone's ist.


Liquid Nitrogen
6,966 posts
Likes: 2790
Joined Jul 2007
Location: Between the palms and the pines.
Dec 11, 2009 13:57 |  #15

gasrocks wrote in post #9178092 (external link)
Not sure what the point of this is. Not sure I should hog all the bandwidth. On the top of my list at the moment - Leica 180/2 APO. But, then again it might be at the top of anyone's ist.

Lol, Gene. You were the first person I thought of when I saw this thread. :D (external link) Miss Julia Grey (she/her/Miss)
OST, API, PPP & MLI explained (external link)

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Rank your lenses
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