Whats your one BEST and WORST Canon lens ever?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by rob_h|5, Feb 28, 2014.

  1. Just a friendly random survey here folks. No wrong or right answers in this thread...as the answer will vary depending on your style and what you shoot.
    What is the ONE absolute BEST and WORST Canon EF/EF-S/EF-M lens (or 3rd party lens with Canon EF mount) zoom or prime lens you personally have ever shot with...EVER?
    What I mean by "BEST" is practically a home run hit every time you shoot with the lens. Even in bad lighting or spur of the moment shots with hardly any planning you still hit it out of the park because the lens was that good.
    What I mean by "WORST" is that its not even worthy of a DMV snapshot... even a "coke bottle" would be better. No matter how much planning you did the lens was just complete junk.
    For me the ONE best lens ever is the professional Canon EF 135mm f2L lens, hands down. A home run just about every time I shoot with it. There were times I even tried to get a bad shot and it would not let me! :D
    The worst one is a tougher one for me as I usually am selective about lenses so I cant answer as I haven't yet had a bad experience with any Canon lenses. I never tried it but I heard the Canon EF-S 18-55mm kit lens is kind of a turkey.
  2. Best: EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro - sharpest lens I've ever used
    Worst: Sigma 70-300 f/4.5-5.6 (non APO) - unsharp at any focal length or aperture
  3. Best: EF-S 17-55 f/2.8. Very sharp.
    Worst: EF 24-105 f/4. Soft even after Canon worked on it.
  4. This is a joke right? You compare a Canon L lens to a kit lens you don't even own, just to start a thread?
  5. Best: EF 70-200mm f/4.0 IS L ; close runner-up would be the EF 100mm macro. Both are excellent.
    Worst: EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 non-L something-or-the-other, purchased 10 years ago, cheap. Couldn't take a sharp picture with it EVER, at any f-stop. Junk.
  6. Dave, I'll take your worst (24-105) and raise it to my best. Mine has always delivered consistent results. I like the design and feel. I also own the 70-200/4IS, which many consider to be Canon's best zoom ever (a title I think should belong to their new 24-70), but I honestly like my 24-105 more than the 70-200, just for its all-around usefulness.
    Worst? Not suitable for DMV photos? Ummmm... Well, that's pretty bad. I don't think I've ever owned such a lens, but I'll nominate a Quantaray 70-300 that my uncle bought on sale from Ritz for $100. I have no idea how it performs optically, because it immediately broke when the two of us looked at it. The barrels don't telescope with the zoom ring, but you can drag them in and out by grasping the barrels with your hand. It was a complete waste of a perfectly good $100 bill.
  7. close runner-up would be the EF 100mm macro​
    Chuck I read great reviews about that one...I have been wanting to try that lens out for macro work!
    kit lens you don't even own,​
    Patrick you got me there, I guess I have been lucky... I have shot with a number of Canon L and non L prime and zoom lenses and they have all been great! I just haven't shot with a (really) bad lens yet even though there are a boatful of them out there. You don't need to drive a Gremlin to drive a Ferrari. ;)
    If you are in the same boat and don't have a "worst" lens as well just list your BEST one.
  8. Best 85mm f1.2, this thing is marvellous, slow but marvellous.
    worst EF 28-80 3.5-56 mkii, I get it in a kit with my elan iie...
  9. None of the lenses I've owned (of any brand) has had the magical properties you describe. The majority of my shots, even with the best of lenses, aren't very memorable. I can take bad photos with any lenses. But on the bright side, none of the lenses I've used has been so terrible that it prevented me from taking good photos. I guess I'm immune to their powers.
  10. What I mean by "BEST" is practically a home run hit every time you shoot with the lens. Even in bad lighting or spur of the moment shots with hardly any planning you still hit it out of the park because the lens was that good.​
    Hitting a home run has nothing to do with the lens that you're using. My highest ratio of keepers/interesting shots come from the TS-E24 f/3.5L II. But that's because I use this lens while working carefully from a tripod, and I don't even bother to set it up unless I have light and a subject that makes shooting worthwhile.
    All of the Canon lenses that I have used range from very good to spectacular in terms of build and image quality. If I had to pick one for overall usefulness and flexibility of application, it would be the EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM. The 100mm macro (version II) is probably the sharpest lens, but all of the Canon lenses that I have tried range from more than acceptably sharp to brilliantly sharp.
    What I mean by "WORST" is that its not even worthy of a DMV snapshot... even a "coke bottle" would be better. No matter how much planning you did the lens was just complete junk.​
    If Canon makes such a lens, I'm not aware of it.
  11. Best, EF 500mm f/4L IS; Worst, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS; HOWEVER, the 24-105mm is an excellent lens after Digital Lens Optimization. All my Canon L-series lenses are excellent, but some more so than others.
  12. The worst lens I've ever shot with is this one: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Canon-R-F-3-EOS-Camera-Body/dp/B00005NPON
  13. I'll have to agree with Mike here. I have no "home run" lens. My best pictures rely on me not some silly camera or lens. Most EF lenses are pretty good and as for worst, you are talking to guy who adapts old, beat up, lenses to modern bodies to get rid of all that clinical, corrected sharpness. "sharp" does not equate to "best" for me. I treasure my coke bottle and pin hole optics next to my L lenses.
    BTW, the simple kit EF-S 18-55mm lens is a better lens than I will ever be as a photographer. You can win awards with it, you can change the world with it. It's potential is limitless.
  14. The lens I liked least was the 50/1.8; I could forgive the plastic construction, but the background blur was monstrous, I hated it and ditched it quite quickly.
    I've got a selection of lenses I like lots, the 300/4 is very good, the 24-105 can be a star and the 70-200/2.8 IS Mk1 is sensational. The 100-400 ought to get a mention because I use it so often, but it's not what I would think of as a wonderful lens.
  15. Best: EF 135mm f/2L
    Worst: EF 35mm f/2 (not the current one with IS). I have two of them. Very sharp but the M/AF switch has popped off on
    both of them.
  16. Best that I have owned - Canon 100mm f2.8 Macro or for zoom lenses - Canon 70-200 f4 L.
    My most fun lens award goes to the Sigma 12-24.
    I thought the Canon kit lens EF-S 18-55 wasn't at all bad and perfectly adequate for many shots though a bit slow.
    I tend to agree with Peter about the Canon 50mm 1.8 though I would not say it was bad.
    I don't think I have had a really bad Canon lens - not compared to the terrible third party things I have owned in the past. Top razzie there goes to a 1980's Hoya 75-150 but a 1990's Tamron 70-200 was snapping at its heels.
  17. LOL, maybe this should be in the humour section ;)
    Though (as has been pointed out already) most lenses can be made to function adequately despite their limitations. However, for 'worst' I'd stick with lenses I was disappointed in, not ones I would have reasonably expected to fail miserably ;)
    So for 'worst', I'd go w/ a EF50/1.4 USM. Bought to give me an 'upgrade' to the 50/1.8, and to cover the f1.4-2.8 range, this model was a complete disappointment. At the apertures I bought it for, it ranged from abhorrent to adequate. For example, after some experience with it, I never shot wider then f2, a point which it mostly performed adequately. Then it broke. ie. the AF locked up. NOT 'quit', but regardless of setting, could not be made to move at all .... sigh, so I bought another (since there wasn't another option at the time)... guess what happened to it... sigh, so I bought a third. A month later Sigma released their 50/1.4 HSM, a lens I am vastly more satisfied with.
    Best is harder, But I'd probably go w/ the 70-200/2.8L The worst thing about that lens is it's 'look at me!' paint job... photographically though it is a stunningly good piece of equipment.
  18. Best: EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM Lens
  19. Best: ts-e 17
    Worst? Can't say. Even the Sigmas I've tried have been not bad.
    Wait, there's a humor section?
  20. I'll start with what for me was the worst EF lens! It was the Canon EF 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS USM. Regardless of technique, I just simply could not get any reasonably sharp images at any focal length within its zoom range. Possibly just a bad sample!
    I have no lens that performs magically to the extent that I can't take a bad picture! I have lots of those! However, my most frequently used lens is the EF 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM and has become my favorite over the years for what I shoot mostly. It's followed closely by the EF 100 f/2.8 Macro IS USM.
    Where's that Humor section?
  21. Best: 100/2.8 Macro. No flaws whatsoever and focuses really fast for other than macro work. Very natural rendering. My 50/1.4 is perhaps a bit sharper(!) at f4 but 100/2.8 is just really pleasing and "right".
    Worst: EF 28-80 3.5-5.6. 35-70 and 28-90 variants are also really bad and 70-300 4-5.6 kit tele was pretty much unusable for anything else than 4x6. New kit lenses, even original 18-50, are much better.

  22. LOL, maybe this should be in the humour section ;)
    YES! :D Even us Canon folk have a comedy side!
    I think the RAZZIE AWARD has to go to one of the worst zooms ever made by Canon which may be the Canon EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6 POWER ZOOM.
    Weird zoom lens from the 1990s!

    More info at the Canon museum: http://www.canon.com/camera-museum/camera/lens/ef/data/standard_zoom/ef_35~80_4~56pz.html
    A photographer here on Photo.net said once about the Canon EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6 PZ:

    "I used to own it. It is, without a doubt, the worst lens in the entire EOS system. Bar none."​
    Thinking back I remember now I once tried out a long forgotten couple of rare Carl Zeiss Jenazoom Super zooms in Canon EF mount, not bad zooms but the Carl Zeiss Jenazoom Super 70-210mm in Canon EF AF couldn't even focus correctly. SO that was the worst lens for me. To be fair though I got another Carl Zeiss Jenazoom Super zoom , the Carl Zeiss Jenazoom Super EF AF 70-300 that turned out to be quite decent, which did focus. They were strange 1990s Japanese made zooms by Sigma contracted by Carl Zeiss. Both had that noisy old ARC motor drive, a plastic front ring but to my surprise these old lenses worked on Canon DSLR ... but only wide open. Very weird zoom lenses.
  23. Long time ago: http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00TiBr I asked about the "worst", sort of.
    I probably agree on 'worst' status of the 35-80mm PZ which I acquired as a part of my series on historical film EOS cameras (list at end of http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00WxgJ ).
    Mostly, I find the EF lenses to be pretty good overall when one considers at least a couple of variables:
    • when they were made (state of the art vs. old hat)
    • what their purpose is/was (a TS-E lens might make a poor 'portrait' lens, whatever that might be)
    My overall favorites, my preciouses, at least for my 35mm-sensors, are
    • TS-E 17mm L
    • EF 24-105mm IS L
    • EF 100-400mm IS L
    If I could only have three (3) lenses, these are the ones.
  24. EF 135mm f2 L (nice contrast, no distortion); 2nd place, EF 200mm f2.8 L ii, 3rd place 35mm f1.4 L
    50mm f1.4 USM (mine was very sharp at 5.6 -f8) when I owned 5Dmkii, 6D
    Favorite EFS, most fun for the buck lens was the 60mm f2.8 when I owned 40D, 50D bodies.
  25. Wow, that 35-80 is just about the ugliest/weirdest Canon lens I've seen. I'm somewhat ashamed to admit it, but I think I sort of want one!
    Of course who wouldn't want JDM's TS 17 -- especially his anti-gravity version, strategically placed beneath his table!
  26. Here are my votes: The info is a bit dated but the first story is a comical head-scratcher.
    Worst: (in the film days) FD 200mm f4 Macro. I came new, direct from B&H, without any internal aperture mechanism whatsoever. Just a tube with some lens elements inside. No joke. It took a nearly a year to sort out the return/refund deal but I eventually got the FD 100 f4 Macro which was superb.
    Best: (again in the film days) EOS 28-80 f2.8-4L zoom. My first L lens. A real eye-opener as to what good glass can do to the overall look of an image. I plan to take this lens into the digital arena as soon as Canon either produces a 5D Mark IV or the equivalent of Sony's a7R.
  27. The 18-55 that came with my 20D was pretty horrifying, because my new expensive digital camera gave me significantly worse photos than my film gear. A tokina 28-75 solved that problem.
    My 70-200 f4 IS is my favorite these days.
  28. I've bought new and used lenses and I've owned a total of about 10 and rented others. I must say I've never had a lens that would even qualify as "worst". Even the lens I'd rank at the low end of all others is still a good lens and a good value. (although it never gets used... waiting to give it away to a new photographer in need of a 50 1.8)
    I would think that to name a lens "worst" it would have to be a lemon or a total failure of design and material for the intended use. I'm fortunate I've not encountered that.
    The best lens is the one I'm using for the task at hand.
  29. It's funny, there are those who like the harsh pentagon-shaped bokeh produced by the 50/1.8. I agree with the bad experiences with the 50/1.4 - optically decent, but not really designed to be used below f/2 or so, and mechanically prone to seizing up. I have the Canon EF 35-80mm f/4-5.6 POWER ZOOM, got it with my first SLR, but even at the time it was obviously a piece of junk - perhaps made to appeal to some imagined market segment which would see a motorized zoom as more 'luxury' than a manual zoom ring.
    For what the original poster was asking about for 'hit a home run every time you shoot', it is usually easier to frame a shot with a longer lens. That is why I'm not surprised the 135/2 stands out.
  30. The biggest problem with the TS-E 17mm is keeping it from getting away from you - like a kid with a helium balloon. ;)
  31. John M, I have the 28-80 f/2.8-4 L and have used it on digital, currently with a 1Ds Mark II. It does indeed produce photographs with good colour and contrast (the otherwise excellent 90mm TS-E looks washed out by comparison). But it is not as sharp as a good fixed-focal lens; I see no reason to wait for some super-high-resolution sensor in order to use it. While Internet chatter often promotes an older lens as superior to its successor, and there may sometimes be some truth in those judgements, the new 24-70 Mark II is so good that it will surely thump its great-grandfather on almost any measure.
  32. Best value: 200mm f2.8 L
    Best: 135/2 and 35/2 IS
    Most useful (and therefore perhaps really the best): 24-70II and 70-200/4IS
    Worst: 28/2.8 (but not bad at all really)
  33. Best. 70-200 2.8L. Bought in 1997. It has been dropped twice on pool decks and a cement sidewalk at a wedding once. It has been covered with mud and rained on. It has done high school sports for a paper, weddings, portraits in my studio and has never been looked at or repaired. I shot a 400 picture swim meet at BU recently with it and the pictures are still sharp. It still stops action. It has made money for me.
    I may ask to be buried with it because it is like my right arm. I would not trade it for the latest 2000 dollar II model. I paid, I think 1200 dollars for it. When amortized over the years the it is the most financially productive piece of equipment that I have bought.
    I bought an EOS 650 in 1988. I got bait and switched from a canon 35-80 or whatever it was to a third party lens which promptly broke. It was a Sigma 35-80 or whatever the FL was. It took me fifteen years to buy my next third party lens; a Tamron which is quite good and very sharp.
  34. Best? I don't know, but the "most fun" lens I have ever used is the EF 100mm f/2.8 IS macro. I love that lens--even for just walking around, in spite of the somewhat long focal length.
    It also is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever shot.
  35. BTW, here is the back of the EF 35-80mm PZ (Power Zoom) - early plastic mount, too, and the camera it was "made for" - the Canon EOS 700 (also plastic mount). This was the closest to a "Point and Shoot" camera ever made in the EOS series.
    ( see also http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00Wn8K )
  36. This was my sister's first DSLR and lens. She did ok with it.
  37. Interesting camera/lens! There are a few on ebay, but I think they're asking WAY too much. I'll keep my eye out. I do need a pretty low price to entice me, because I'm looking at my camera collection, which pales in comparison to a serious collection like yours, and I'm wondering where I'm going to put it. I'll have to build a nice display case or something. But that lens is pretty weird, and I LOVE weird stuff.
  38. I'm wondering where I'm going to put it.​
    Aye, there's the rub [Hamlet Act 3, scene 1].
    My dear wife always asked me: "But where are you going to put it?"
    I think she had a definite place in mind.....
  39. BTW,
    I got the Canon EOS 700 in 2007 for US$20.
    The 35-80mm PZ came on an EOS 10s so I might have paid as much as $40 for the lens in combination?
  40. JDM, a very kind soul in this thread has offered to give me his PowerZoom 35-80. I insisted I pay him its weight in lead, plus an American super-sized Big Mac dinner for two (and shipping, of course). So I think my peculiar appetite for this weird little lens shall be satiated in due course. :)
  41. Terrific!
    I found it surprisingly good for what it is- see http://www.photo.net/canon-eos-digital-camera-forum/00WxgJ where I used it on the EOS 10s I got it on.
  42. I'm reminded of my old FD 35-70 f/3.5-4.5, which is another surprisingly good lens for what it is. It's got the boring twist-ring zoom, just like all my other boring zooms, but it came my way with a brilliantly gaudy "1984 Olympic Games" lens cap like this one:
    And because it was my mom's lens and camera (T-70), it has some sentimental value as well. She didn't LOVE that camera the same way she loved her Leica IIIf, but it was the same camera she carried on the back of a llama into the Himalayas of Nepal! :)
  43. Best: Without a doubt, the 200mm f/2L IS and the 85L II. This obviously depends on what type of photography you shoot, but these are definitely my favorites! I don't mind the size and weight because I know these put out the BEST IQ and bokeh on the market, absolutely stunning lenses! =]
    Worst? Well, in all honesty I would have to say kit lenses (except for the 24-105 f/4L IS). This is the BEST "kit lens" you can find. Personally, I dislike variable aperture zoom lenses whether they're L or non-L glass. I don't have much experience with these lenses either because I was taught with fixed aperture f/2.8 pro lenses and bought my first DSLR with L glass. Been that way ever since and have not used anything less, yes I know I'm spoiled. Anyways, this is my 2 cents.
  44. I largely agree with the initial remarks...
    Best: not every shot I took was awesome, because I make mistakes, but I was pretty consistently impressed with the output from the 135/2.
    Worst: my first SLR lens, the 18-55 EF-S that came with the Canon 650D in 2005. I did get some perfectly acceptable pictures with it, given ample good lighting, but on the whole the results looked about like what I got from much cheaper point-and-shoot cameras.
    But that said: I would guess that half or more of the pictures I've taken on Canon SLR cameras since 2005 have been with a 50/1.4 lens. I've owned a variety of "consumer" and "professional" lenses from 15mm to 300mm (including the much-talked-about 24-70/2.8 and 70-200/2.8 zooms), and for what I do, I keep coming back to the 50mm over and over. Obviously, if you need the reach of 300mm, a 50mm lens isn't going to cut it, but the point is, you don't necessarily need a full complement of focal lengths and expensive equipment to do good work.
  45. Hey Sarah Fox, that's a great story and nice reward a Big Mac dinner...:)
  46. My best ever Canon lens?
    I can only answer with the lenses that I've actually owned/used. 1) 70-200 2.8 IS ii, 2) 135 2, 3) 24-70 2.8 ii. The 24-70 is my most used lens, with 80% of my shooting. It's so versatile and great for studio, general use. The 70-200 yields amazing results especially at the high end 200mm and wide open especially for portraits. The 135 is my newest, I'm still testing it but so far it's impressive. In my past film camera life I enjoyed the Carl Zeiss 85 1.4 (C/Y mount) as my favourite portrait lens however it is manual focus and incidentally it can be used on today's modern Canon DSLR's with an adaptor. Extremely sharp even by today's standards and it's a 30 year old lens.
    My worst Canon lens? I can't say that I've had one. I was a bit disappointed with my 24-105 4 as it was quite soft at all focal lengths even after Canon service however, some photographers love it so I suppose I just got a poor unit, not really so bad though and I used it continuously for 2 years before I upgraded to the 24-70 ii. My cheapest lens is the 50 1.8 nifty fifty, a back up really just keep it in the bag and it works fine in a pinch.
    My next Canon lens? I'm dreaming of the 24 1.4 ii, the 85 1.2, and oh! the 100 2.8 IS ii macro...I think I have GAS (gear acquisition syndrome).
    I'm not interested in third party reverse engineering lenses, these are fine for some people even sharper than some Canon lenses but I'm loyal to Canon. Reason? Once you try Canon Professional Service you learn what is really the model for perfect customer service (in any industry!). This is really important in order to maintain your expensive gear and if you ever need repairs done, they will back you up with their service! New technology cameras come and go but great lenses are a long term investment...
    That's my 2 cents worth...
  47. My best would have to be my Canon EF 28-80mm f/2.8-4L USM, I love the contrast and sharpness it creates. Just hoping it doesn't die out too soon.
    The worst, definitely the Canon 35-80mm f/4-5.6 Power Zoom. Bought it from a pawn shop for $20, and soon realized it's just a novelty item.
  48. EF system is not really the most populated one in my gear, so I only got two third part zooms with my EOS500 and 1000, and recently my EOS1100D kit Zoom.
    The worst was the Tokina AF 28-70 2,8-5,6 macro, that I only kept and use because of its close focus ability, until I got my 1100D and the 18-55 DC III, then I got rid of it very fast. It is one candidate for the ugliest EF lens ever, and among all systems I had lenses in, it may be the worst of all, only little challenged by a Makinon M42 80-200 slide-zoom that was not a gem either.
    The one that impresses me quite is the other zoom I got with my EOS500, the Tamron AF 28-200 3,8-5,6 Aspherical (71DE), the first EF lens in the world with such a zoom span (even before Canon did one), and maybe not the worst from these twenty years or so on. While it shows its age in the digital world, it is still quite capable, mainly outside, because of its minimal focussing at 2,1m (at 28mm, longer at 200), but focus speed is up to DC current lenses, if I can tell from the 18-55 DCIII I have. It helped me make many candid shots over the years.
    I'm planning on buying a second-hand 50 1.8 MKII from a friend, and also replace both the 28-200 and the 18-55 at the same time, with IS optics, and this topic is quite instructive. I'm wondering if i can give up full frame ability, if I should take narrower range zoom, or sacrifice little quality for a real all-rounder.
    So the choice is between 15-85, 18-135, 28-135, and 18-200. I think the 28mm would be too long, but since I had a 20mm for film, I may end up getting a real wideangle later anyway. For the tele part, I lived well with the 200mm in my film years, but I got used to it on the crop sensor lately. Is the loss of quality is worth the largest zoom span? Will it be better, or at least on par with the 18-55 IS II and the Tamron 28-200 on their respective ranges?
    I once passed by a 35-80 PZ and EOS300n for 5€ as-is at a photo trade convention. Maybe I should have thought twice?

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