Best Canon Lens for Beginners in 2024: Top Picks for New Photographers

As photography enthusiasts, we understand the importance of finding the right lens to complement your Canon DSLR or mirrorless camera, especially if you’re just starting out.

Our curated selection aims to offer you lenses that are user-friendly, offer excellent image quality, and provide great value for your investment. Whether you’re looking to capture expansive landscapes, detailed portraits, or anything in between, our list has got you covered.

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Best Canon Lenses for Beginners

Summary of Our Picks

Note: For more details about each lens, click on a model name below.

Model NameImageOur RatingAmazon Price
Updated on 06/15/2024 12:01:17 PST
Launch DateSample ShotsBuy from AmazonLast UpdatedAmazon (Int.)Buy from B&HBuy from AdoramaAll Buying Options
Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STMCanon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM
$299.002021/10Flickr Sample Shots$249.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:17Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$249.00 from B&H$249.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USMCanon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
$1,599.002017/08Flickr Sample Shots$1,599.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:05Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$1,599.00 from B&H$1,599.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USMCanon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
$2,299.002018/09Flickr Sample Shots$2,099.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:30Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$2,099.00 from B&H$2,099.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USMCanon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM
$2,869.952018/09Flickr Sample Shots$2,754.95 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:03Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$2,799.00 from B&H$2,799.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STMCanon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM
$199.002012/07Flickr Sample Shots$199.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:25Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$199.00 from B&H$199.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STMCanon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
$149.002014/09Flickr Sample Shots$149.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:08Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$249.00 from B&H$149.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USMCanon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
$1,299.002018/09Flickr Sample Shots$1,299.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:05Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$1,299.00 from B&H$1,299.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STMCanon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM
$599.002020/10Flickr Sample Shots$549.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:07Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$549.00 from B&H$549.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USMCanon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM
$599.002005/10Flickr Sample Shots$599.00 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:05Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$599.00 from B&H$599.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Canon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USMCanon RF 135mm f/1.8L IS USM
$1,839.952022/11Flickr Sample Shots$1,744.95 from Amazon.com07/06/2024 12:01:08Not in the US? Check the price on Amazon near you.
Supports AU, BE, CA, FR, DE, IN, IT, JP, NL, PL, SG, ES, SE, and the UK.
$2,099.00 from B&H$2,099.00 from AdoramaSee All Buying Options
Learn more about how we rate products…

At PhotoWorkout, our 2024 product ratings offer a thorough and dependable guide to help you choose the best cameras and lenses. Our unique rating system is designed to provide a well-rounded evaluation, considering several crucial factors. Here’s a brief breakdown of our rating process:

Customer Reviews: The core of our rating system lies in customer feedback from major retailers. We prioritize actual user experiences and satisfaction levels in our scoring.

Review Volume Bonus: Products with a significant number of reviews get a slight boost in their score. A high review count often signifies a product’s reliability and popularity.

Age Factor: We adjust scores for older models, acknowledging that newer products may have more advanced features or enhancements.

Price Consideration: We recognize the importance of value for money. As such, very pricey items might see a modest deduction in their score to balance their cost factor.

Our final score is displayed on a clear 1 to 100% scale. A higher percentage reflects a superior overall rating, derived from customer satisfaction, value, and current technology trends. This straightforward system ensures you get a clear picture of how each product stands in the market.

1. Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM

RF Lens
Canon RF 16mm f/2.8 STM
An ideal starting lens for beginners in Canon’s mirrorless systems

We think this ultra-wide lens is an exceptional starting point for anyone new to the EOS R series due to its user-friendliness and versatility in a variety of shooting conditions.

Price at publication: $249.00

Bright f/2.8 aperture suitable for low light
Compact and lightweight for easy handling
Useful for a wide range of photography, from landscapes to vlogging
Image correction may be needed for distortion
Might not meet the expectations of professionals seeking the highest quality
Fixed focal length limits compositional flexibility

The Canon RF16mm F2.8 STM emerges into the market as a compact and affordable lens that encapsulates simplicity and functionality for beginners. Its user-friendly nature stems from its lightweight design and straightforward operation, making it a preferred choice for those starting their journey in photography with a Canon EOS R series camera.

For those exploring the world through their camera lens, this particular model presents the added advantage of a wide aperture. This feature is especially attractive for shooting in various lighting conditions. As a beginner, having such a tool means being less constrained by the environment and more focused on capturing the moment.

canon rf 16mm f28 stm
 The Canon RF 16mm F2.8 STM
© Bystrov/Shutterstock

Indeed, every piece of equipment has its limitations and this lens is no exception. Given its nature as an ultra-wide lens, distortion is to be expected, especially when photographing straight lines or architectural details. This would require a fair amount of post-processing to correct. As beginners grow and their skills develop alongside their creative aspirations, they may eventually seek more advanced lenses with a broader range of focal lengths or professional-grade optics, which this lens might not satisfy.

Overall, the Canon RF16mm F2.8 STM positions itself as a valuable entry point for novices in the world of Canon’s mirrorless systems. It allows new photographers to handle varied and challenging shooting situations with confidence, bolstering their creativity without overwhelming them with complexity.

2. Canon EF M 22mm f/2 STM

EF-M Lens
Canon EF M 22mm f/2 STM

We recommend this Canon lens for any beginner photographer who desires a compact option that excels in low-light conditions and provides a natural perspective similar to that of the human eye.

Price at publication: $199.00

Excellent in low-light environments
Silent autofocus, ideal for video recording
Produces a pleasing background blur for portraits
Fixed focal length limits versatility
The stepping motor may not satisfy professional videographers
Not suitable for those needing zoom capabilities

Those new to photography will appreciate the simplicity of using the Canon 22mm f/2 lens. Its slim profile makes it an unobtrusive companion for everyday shooting, allowing you to capture life as it unfolds without the bulk of traditional lenses.

The ability to shoot in dimly lit scenarios can be a game-changer. This lens does not disappoint, opening up at a bright f/2.0 to let in plenty of light. Meanwhile, the beautiful bokeh effect can elevate portrait shots, instilling them with a professional-looking aesthetic.

Despite the lens’s strengths, prospective buyers should be aware of its limitations. A prime lens like this one requires you to physically move to frame your shot, unlike zoom lenses that offer flexible framing from a fixed position. This can be an excellent exercise in creativity, but it might also be a challenge if you’re seeking more flexibility from your lens.

CANON LENS EF-M 22mm f/2 STM, announced by Canon in 2012. It is a lightweight pancake lens with compactness for EOS M, sliding effortlessly into most pockets.
The Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM
© happycreator/Shutterstock

In conclusion, whether you’re capturing video or stills, the Canon 22mm f/2 is a remarkable tool that provides consistent quality. We find its character and charm outweigh its lack of zoom, making it a worthy investment for those starting their photography journey.

3. Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM

RF Lens
Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM

We recommend this lens for anyone starting out in photography, as its combination of macro and telephoto capabilities offer significant versatility.

Price at publication: $499.00

Offers beautiful bokeh effect, enhancing portraits
Capable of macro photography with a 0.5x magnification
Features effective stabilization, helping to produce sharp images
F/2 aperture may not be wide enough for all low-light conditions
May have slower autofocus compared to more premium lenses
As a beginner’s model, it lacks some advanced features found in professional lenses

For those of us just stepping into the world of photography, picking a user-friendly lens that allows us to explore different styles is crucial. The Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro is a strong contender, providing an appealing blend of telephoto and macro capabilities. The aesthetic quality of the bokeh produced at f/2 aperture gives a professional touch to portraits and street scenes.

Exploring the intricacies of close-up photography becomes straightforward with this lens. Macro mode unlocks new potentials, allowing us to capture the minute details of subjects with precision. The compact design ensures it’s not overwhelming, enabling us to focus on learning and creativity.

canon r6 with 85mm canon rf f2 macro lens
The Canon RF 85mm f2 Macro STM lens mounted on the EOS R6.
© Savikutty Varghese/Shutterstock

The built-in image stabilization system is a boon, significantly reducing camera shake. For beginners dabbling in video or shooting without a tripod, this feature underpins clearer images and steadier footage. While there might be lenses with wider apertures or faster autofocus, we find that the balance between quality, functionality, and price makes this lens a wise investment for those starting their photographic journey.

4. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

EF Lens
Canon 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM

We find the Canon EF 70-300mm Lens to be an excellent starting point for beginners seeking quality and versatility in their photography journey.

Price at publication: $569.00

Efficient image stabilization for clearer shots
Fast and quiet autofocus system
User-friendly for those new to telephoto lenses
Some may find it relatively heavy
Not as fast as professional-grade lenses in low light
The manual focus override requires camera menu adjustments

For budding photographers ready to expand beyond their kit lens, this Canon telephoto zoom offers a flexible focal range that is well-suited for a variety of subjects. From sports to wildlife, users can capture sharp, detailed photos.

The implementation of a new focusing motor technology allows for a swift and virtually silent autofocus. This is particularly useful in situations where noise can be a distraction, like during intimate wildlife photography or in quiet outdoor settings.

The built-in image stabilization system significantly reduces camera shake, which is essential when shooting at longer focal lengths. This feature makes it possible for photographers to take hand-held shots with confidence, supporting slower shutter speeds without the compromise of camera shake-induced blur.

Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS II Nano USM.
The Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 IS II Nano USM lens
© bartsme/Shutterstock

Beginners will appreciate the lens’ ease of use. Despite its advanced features, the transition from a standard kit lens to this more formidable telephoto is surprisingly smooth.

In sum, the Canon EF 70-300mm Lens strikes a balance between performance and user-friendliness, making it a commendable choice for those at the start of their photography adventure.

5.Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

EF-S Lens
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
Excellent choice for Canon newcomers

As a beginner, we find this lens strikes a balance between features and ease of use, making it an excellent purchase for novice photographers wanting quality and affordability.

Price at publication: $129.00

Provides a practical wide-angle view on APS-C cameras
Compact and easy to carry, enhancing portability
Offers a fast aperture of f/2.8, favorable for low light conditions
Not a true wide angle on APS-C cameras due to the 38mm equivalent focal length
Potential lens flare issues as reported by some users
Does not offer zoom, which may limit framing options for new photographers

The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens is tailored for those starting in photography. Its lightweight design makes it an ideal travel companion, whether exploring city streets or capturing landscapes. The lens’s slim profile makes it less daunting for beginners, and it could easily become a staple in your camera bag due to its versatility.

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
© Cutler_Barrett/Shutterstock

Its maximum aperture of f/2.8 is not just a number—it opens up possibilities in low light, allowing us to take shots without relying heavily on artificial lighting or flash. That fast aperture also lends a hand in creating images with a shallow depth of field, giving those creamy backgrounds many photographers strive for.

However, it’s not without its drawbacks. The focal length, while wide on an APS-C camera, may not be the ultra-wide experience some beginners may expect.

Additionally, reports of lens flare could deter photographers planning to shoot in challenging lighting conditions. Yet these are minor issues that can be overcome with practice and understanding of the lens’s sweet spots.

canon ef s 24mm f 2.8 stm lens with cap
The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
© Cutler_Barrett/Shutterstock

In our experience, this lens merits the attention of newcomers to the Canon ecosystem. Its ease of use combined with quality output provides us with a tool that encourages learning and creativity.

6. Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

RF Lens
Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM

Investing in the Canon RF 24-105mm Lens is a smart choice for beginners seeking quality and versatility in their first steps into photography.

Versatile zoom range for various shooting scenarios
Built-in image stabilization for clearer handheld shots
Nano USM motor ensures quick and silent autofocus
Fixed f/4 aperture may not be ideal in very low light
Could be relatively heavy for those not used to carrying L-series lenses
Pricier than other entry-level options

As you embark on your photography journey, picking the right lens can be pivotal. The Canon RF 24-105mm Lens is our top selection for newcomers to the Canon EOS R system. Its wide-to-short-telephoto range means you can capture everything from landscapes to portraits without swapping lenses.

We appreciate the build quality typical of Canon’s L-series lenses. The constant f/4 maximum aperture while not the brightest still offers consistent performance across the entire zoom range. Plus, the image stabilization system is invaluable when you’re shooting in varied lighting conditions or on the move, ensuring your images remain sharp.

For those starting out, the ease of use defines this lens. The Nano USM motor delivers near-silent autofocus, making it ideal for shooting video as well. There’s also a customizable control ring, which allows for intuitive adjustments to settings. However, its price and weight might be considered drawbacks, but we believe the benefits outweigh these aspects for most beginners.

Camera Canon EOS R and Lens Canon RF 24-105mm F4.
The Canon EOS R with the RF 24-105mm F4 lens.
© Askaraputra/Shutterstock

In sum, while this lens is an investment, its broad range of uses and high-quality build make it a brilliant first lens for amateur Canon shooters. It effectively balances ease of use with the professional performance you might grow into as your skills develop.

7. Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM

EF Lens
10. Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM

For those beginning their photography journey, this Canon lens offers a robust feature set to enhance your portraits and low-light photography.

Equipped with Image Stabilization for crisp images
Bright aperture suitable for varied lighting conditions
Quick autofocus perfect for capturing fleeting moments
Higher price point may be a consideration for beginners
Weight could be cumbersome for casual use
Some may find it less versatile for everyday scenarios

Photography enthusiasts looking to step up their game will appreciate the Canon EF 85mm’s fast aperture and image stabilization. This lens is an ideal choice for portraits and indoor sports where precision and clarity are crucial. Its construction reflects Canon’s commitment to quality, pulling from their esteemed L-series lineup to give you a tool that’s both reliable and capable of delivering professional-grade photos.

We understand that a beginner might be cautious about investing in higher-end gear. However, we believe the long-term benefits of this lens justify the initial outlay. It introduces users to the kind of optical performance pros rely on, which can be a significant advantage in honing one’s skills.

Canon 5D Mark IV camera with Canon EF 85mm f1.4 L IS USM lens on a black background.
The Canon EF 85mm f1.4 L IS USM lens mounted on the EOS 5D IV.
© Maria Rzeszotarska/Shutterstock

Bear in mind the lens’s heft and price may not appeal to all novices, especially those who are still exploring their interest in photography. Yet, for those committed to pursuing this craft and willing to carry a bit more weight, the results could be more than rewarding.

The decision to purchase any photography equipment should be informed by a balance of need, interest, and budget. With the Canon EF 85mm, we find that it sets a solid foundation for beginners who are serious about exploring the depths of their photography potential.

8. Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

RF Lens
Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

We recommend this lens for photographers stepping up their game into the full-frame world, especially for those who appreciate the craft behind a creamy bokeh and low-light performance.

Price at publication: $2,099.00

Outstanding performance in low-light situations
Produces a pleasing bokeh effect for portraits
Comes with a convenient control ring for adjustments
Heavier and bulkier than other entry-level options
Pricier, which might be challenging for beginners
Lacks zoom flexibility as a prime lens

When we consider a beginner’s entrance into the realm of higher quality lenses, we can’t help but admire the Canon RF 50mm F1.2L for its ability to capture stunning images with incredible depth. Despite its heft, the build quality speaks volumes about its durability.

Its bright f/1.2 aperture paves the way for shooting in dim conditions without sacrificing image quality. This aspect alone can open up a world of creative possibilities for new photographers eager to explore different lighting scenarios.

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However, every lens comes with trade-offs. This one, in particular, possesses a steeper learning curve due to its fixed focal length and notable weight. It’s essential for beginners to weigh the substantial investment against the lens’s potential to elevate their craft substantially.

9. Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM

RF Lens
Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM

We find the Canon RF 28-70mm Lens to be an exceptional choice for beginners seeking quality and versatility in a single package.

Large constant aperture enhances performance in low light
Seamless control ring allows for quick adjustments
Robust build with dust and water resistance
Significant weight may be challenging for hand-held shooting
Lacks image stabilization
Pricier than other beginner-oriented lenses

Designed for the RF mount system, this lens offers a versatile range that covers wide-angle to portrait, making it suitable for various photography styles. Its constant f/2 aperture not only enhances low light capabilities but also contributes to achieving a shallower depth of field.

With the control ring featured on this lens, we can make direct and intuitive changes to settings, which streamlines our shooting process. The superior build quality mirrors the high standards of Canon’s L-series, ensuring durability.

However, it’s important to consider that its robust construction adds to the weight, possibly making it less convenient for prolonged handheld use. Additionally, the absence of built-in image stabilization means we’ll need steady hands or a tripod in certain situations. Lastly, the price point is at the premium end, reflecting its professional-level features which may extend beyond the needs of pure beginners.

Canon R5 45mp Full Frame Mirrorless Camera with Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8L USM Lens on white background.
The Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8L USM lens mounted on the Canon R5.
© Savikutty Varghese/Shutterstock

In conclusion, the Canon RF 28-70mm Lens represents a significant leap in versatility and image quality for beginners who are serious about their photography journey and are ready to invest in gear that can grow with them. Despite its weight and cost, its performance in varied conditions and dependable build make it a worthwhile contender for our kit.

10. Canon RF 135mm f/1.8 L IS USM

RF Lens
Canon RF 135mm f/1.8 L IS USM

Whether we’re budding portrait enthusiasts or amateur sports photographers, the Canon RF135mm Lens is a stellar choice that showcases advanced features to elevate our photography.

Excellent low-light performance due to its f/1.8 aperture
Built-in Optical Image Stabilization adds clarity to shots
Offers fast, smooth, and quiet autofocus, ideal for video
May be pricey for absolute beginners
As a prime lens, it lacks zoom versatility
Weighs nearly 3 pounds, which could be cumbersome for some

The Canon RF135mm Lens offers a leap forward in quality and capability from its predecessors. This new medium telephoto lens catered to the Canon RF mount system is particularly well-suited for portrait and sports photography. It’s outfitted with high-end optics and the build quality expected from Canon’s L-Series.

Its large f/1.8 aperture not only allows for a considerable amount of light to enter but also assists in achieving a shallow depth of field, producing images with a pleasing bokeh effect that’s highly coveted for portraits. The background blur helps subjects stand out sharply against soft, out-of-focus surroundings.

For those concerned about camera shake, especially in low-light conditions or when shooting without a tripod, the Optical Image Stabilization is a lifesaver. It provides a significant advantage by allowing us to shoot at slower shutter speeds without compromising on image sharpness.

The main trade-off with this lens comes in the shape of its fixed focal length. While 135mm is a versatile range for certain types of photography, those requiring more flexibility might miss the convenience of a zoom lens. Plus, the high investment might have beginners questioning whether this is the right starting point.

Yet, as we consider the RF135mm, it’s clear that the pros far outweigh the cons. The lens offers reliability, excellent image quality, and enhanced features that outweigh its few limitations. For anyone willing to make the investment in their photography journey, the benefits of this lens will be noticeable with every click of the shutter.

Buying Guide

Understand the compatibility between lenses and camera types

Let’s get you equipped with the perfect lens to embark on your photographic journey with our top 10 recommendations for Canon lenses perfect for beginners.

EF Lenses:

  • Compatible with Canon DSLR cameras, including full-frame models like the EOS 5D series and EOS 6D series, and APS-C models like the EOS Rebel series.
  • Can also be used on Canon mirrorless cameras (EOS R series) with an EF-EOS R mount adapter.

EF-S Lenses:

  • Specifically designed for Canon’s APS-C DSLRs, such as the EOS Rebel series.
  • Have a smaller image circle that is only compatible with APS-C sensors.
  • Not suitable for full-frame Canon DSLRs due to the image circle not covering the larger sensor completely.

EF-M Lenses:

  • Made exclusively for Canon’s EOS M series of mirrorless cameras.
  • These lenses use a different mount (EF-M mount) that is not compatible with Canon DSLRs.
  • Designed to be more compact and lightweight, matching the smaller form factor of the EOS M mirrorless cameras.

RF Lenses:

  • Designed exclusively for Canon’s EOS R series of mirrorless cameras.
  • Not compatible with Canon DSLRs.
  • Ideal for newer EOS R series models like the EOS R5, EOS R6, EOS RP, and the original EOS R.
  • Offers advanced features and superior optical performance.

When we’re entering the world of photography, choosing the right lens is essential. We’ll focus on what features are important to consider.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Focal Length: A versatile focal length for everyday shooting is vital for beginners. The typical range to look for is around 18-55mm.
  • Aperture: Look for a lens with a wide maximum aperture (e.g., f/1.8 or f/2.8). It allows for more light, aiding in low-light conditions and creating a pleasing depth of field.
  • Image Stabilization: This helps to minimize blurriness from hand shake, especially in low-light situations or when using longer focal lengths.
  • Size and Weight: A lightweight and compact lens can be more comfortable to carry, which is important for beginners who spend a lot of time practicing.
  • Auto Focus: Ensure that the lens has a reliable auto-focus system. It should be quick and quiet, especially for capturing spontaneous moments.
  • Compatibility: Confirm that the lens is compatible with your camera body, both in terms of the mount and the sensor size.
  • Price: Set a budget and look for a lens that offers good value for money.

Feature Breakdown

FeatureWhy It MattersWhat to Look For
Focal LengthVersatility in various shooting situations18-55mm for starters
ApertureBetter performance in low light, depth of fieldWide aperture (e.g., f/1.8)
Image Stabilization (IS)Reduces blur from camera shakeIncluded stabilization
Size and WeightEasier handling and portabilityCompact and lightweight
Auto FocusTo capture moments sharply and quicklyFast and quiet system
CompatibilityMust work with your cameraCompatible mount and sensor size
PriceBeginner-friendly investmentBest value within budget

STM vs USM in Camera Lenses: Key Differences

Mechanism and Speed

  • USM (Ultrasonic Motor): Fast and relatively quiet, using ultrasonic vibrations, ideal for professional use in sports and wildlife photography.
  • STM (Stepping Motor): Smooth and quiet, suitable for video recording. Not as fast as USM, but better in noise-sensitive situations.

Smoothness and Noise

  • USM: Quiet with precise focusing, suitable for high-speed photography.
  • STM: Extremely quiet and smooth, ideal for video recording to avoid focus noise.

Manual Focus Override

  • USM: Often includes full-time manual focus override.
  • STM: Some models offer manual focus override, but with varied responsiveness.

Price and Availability

  • USM: More common in higher-end, expensive Canon lenses.
  • STM: Found in entry-level to mid-range lenses, more affordable.


  • USM: Preferred for fast autofocus needs, like sports and action photography.
  • STM: Better for video recording and general photography where autofocus noise is a concern.

STM vs USM Summary

USM lenses excel in speed and precision, ideal for still photography. STM lenses, being quieter and smoother, are better suited for video work. The choice depends on your photography or videography needs.

By carefully considering these features, we can make an informed decision that balances our needs, budget, and level of expertise.

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About the Author
Close-up portrait of Andreas De Rosi, founder of

Andreas, with a background in economics and marketing, heads PhotoWorkout's editorial team in Berlin. Starting his photography with film at 14, he's developed his craft through courses and hands-on experience, focusing on travel photography. Currently using a Fuji X-S20 among other cameras, Andreas blends academic and practical insights to shed light on the latest trends in photography. Connect with him on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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