Canon has been making camera lenses for a very long time. In fact, many cinematographers and indie filmmakers love their lenses for shooting video. Even so, many may ask which lenses are the best to slap onto your DSLR and make your next short film. Lucky for you, we found the best out there.
In this guide, we have listed four lenses that all look great when shooting videos. The following sections will break all of them down, study their features, and explain what makes them so special.
- If you want the best lens to shoot an entire movie, Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is hard to beat. It’s been a favorite of Canon video shooters for a long time and makes a great choice if you can only pick up a single lens.
- If you need a lens that can reach a bit further than the 50mm, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 is the one to go with. It will give you a bit further reach, but keep that nice bokeh and shallow depth of field.
- If you’re looking for a long range prime lens, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 is what you want. It gives you a nice 100mm reach with an impressively low aperture.
- If you want a flexible lens, the Canon EF 17-40mm f/4 is a good choice. It has a decent zoom range, and the constant aperture ensures your footage looks perfect at all times.
Who Should Buy This?
If you’re an indie filmmaker looking to make your movies or short films with your Canon DSLR, these lenses will be perfect. They are some high-end glass, and will provide you professional quality images without the need for a giant, expensive cinema camera.
The following items also make great photography lenses. As they are made to fit on Canon DSLR systems, they’re ready to take your next portrait or landscape shot. Perfect for someone who uses their camera for both videography and photography!
Best Canon Lenses for Video: What to Consider in 2020
All of the lenses we have featured in this article are made to fit Canon EF mount cameras. This is the standard lens mount on Canon DSLRs. This means they will fit most newer Canon cameras without issue. Just make sure your camera takes these lenses. If it does not, you will need to buy an adapter to make them work.
If you want to get shallow depth of field, you need to find a lens with a low f-stop. The smaller the f-stop, the more blurred the background will become. This is great for portraits and close-up videos to draw your viewer’s eye to the subject.
Focal length will determine how zoomed-in your footage will be. A focal length of 20mm will be extremely wide and zoomed out. In contrast, a focal length of 100mm will be much more zoomed in.
The main thing here is to make sure that your camera lens system matches the lens mount. If it does not, it can cause a ton of headaches. After that, choosing the aperture and focal length all depends on the type of shot you want to create. It is a good idea to have multiple lenses on hand to get exactly what you want.
Best Canon Lenses for Video: Our Picks for 2020
The “nifty fifty” is a staple for any good photographer or videographer kit. This lens is extremely sharp and has a natural look many lenses can’t compete with. It is the “perfect” focal length for those who want flexibility, but also comes with a shallow depth of field.
Speaking of shallow depth of field, the smooth, creamy bokeh this lens produces will have your audience in awe. It provides a tack-sharp image, but can also create a dream-like quality for more cinematic shots. If you have to buy one lens and are on a bit of a budget, none are better than the nifty fifty.
- Length: 1.5 in
- Weight: 5.6 oz
- Zoom: No Zoom
Sometimes, you need more focal length than the 50mm can provide, but still want its smooth look. If that’s the case, the 85mm lens is exactly what you’re looking for. It still gives you that f/1.8 aperture, providing the silky smooth bokeh that’s so desirable.
This lens is a bit larger than the 50mm version, meaning it is heavier. The nifty fifty clocks in at just 5.6 ounces, while this lens weighs in at 15. That’s a big difference, but it does tend to make this lens feel substantial. The overall quality feels premium, and the build is nice and sturdy.
- Length: 2.8 in
- Weight: 15 oz
- Zoom: No Zoom
Stepping up another notch above the 85mm, we get to the big boy, the 100mm EF lens. This lens will extend your range even further, giving you those long-distance shots with ease. The aperture is a nice f/2.8, which provides you with a decent shallow depth of field for the focal length of the lens.
The lense’s build quality is absolutely amazing. It feels big and robust, weighing in at a very healthy 1.38 pounds. It is also almost double the size of the 85mm lens. Even so, it’s still very portable despite its length.
- Length: 4.8 in
- Weight: 1.38 lbs
- Zoom: No Zoom
If you want a lens capable of going from an extremely wide establishing shot to a nice midrange recording, the Canon EF 17-40mm is the way to go. The camera’s f/4 aperture is fantastic for video work, as you will not have to worry about sliding through different f-stops when doing zoom work.
This lens is 3.8 inches long, and weighs just over a pound. That’s rather compact given the zoom and constant aperture of this lens. The 17-40mm is a great range to pair with a nice long lens such as the 100 mm lens above. The build quality also feels great.
- Length: 3.8 in
- Weight: 1.1 lbs
- Zoom: 17-40mm
Useful Tips and Resources
If you’re paying a decent amount for good Canon lenses, make sure you pick up a cleaning kit to keep them in pristine condition. This will prolong the life of the lens and allow you to get any unwanted dirt or debris off the lenses without harming them. No one wants a big piece of dirt covering their footage and ruining a project!
The other thing that you may need is a lens adapter. If you plan on using these lenses on a Nikon, Sony, or Fuji camera, you will need an adapter ring to make the lenses fit on your camera of choice. They are small and don’t add much weight, which makes using them quite easy.
If you’re a fan of Canon lenses, the four listed above are the best of the best. Whether you buy all of them or just one, they all create the perfect shot at the perfect time. Not only will these lenses make you look super professional, but they will give you amazing video for your next production.
Do you have a “perfect” lens? What is it? Let us know in the comments below!
Influenced by the startup culture in the Silicon Valley, Jessica loves building things from zero to one and is keen on following news related to the Big Five tech giants and many SaaS startups.