Top 10 Best All-Around Canon Lens (APS-C & Full Frame)

Are you struggling to find the best all-around Canon lens for your Canon camera to replace the underwhelming kit lens?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

Because in this article, I’m going to reveal the top selection of all-around lenses for Canon cameras.

Top 10 Best All-Around Canon Lens

The main complexity of finding the right all-around lens is that Canon manufactures and sells cameras in 2 different formats: cameras with a full-frame sensor (FF) and cameras with a crop sensor (APS-C). As a result, all lenses built for Canon cameras exist in 2 categories EF and EF-S types. 

EF-S lenses are constructed exclusively for crop sensor (APS-C) cameras and can not be used on full-frame models. EF lenses are designed for full-frame cameras but can be used on crop sensor models as well. But since full-frame EF lenses are more expensive and much larger than its EF-S siblings, it makes little sense to use them on APS-C cameras. 

My advice is to use EF lenses with full-frame cameras and EF-S lenses with crop sensor (APS-C) camera modes.

For example, all Canon EOS Rebel camera models (Rebel T8i, Rebel SL3, Rebel SL3, Rebel T7) are crop sensor (APS-C) models, and it is making more sense to accompany them with EF-S lenses.

But if you are looking for a new lens for your full-frame Canon EOS 6D, make sure to select full-frame EF lenses.

Best All-Around Canon Lens

Best All-Around Canon Lens for Crop Sensor Cameras

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If you’re looking for versatility and a boost in light gathering and image quality over the typical Canon kit lenses, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC should be on your shopping list.

With such a useful focal range you can photograph everything from architecture and landscapes to portraits at a distance. And unlike lower end kit lenses the Sigma is well corrected for chromatic aberration (purple fringing) and much sharper.

It also offers an impressive 0.22m close focus distance (0.36x) for near-macro magnification. For such an affordable price, the only real drawback is the variable aperture, which closes down to f/4 at the long end. 

What I Like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Good build & image quality
  • Very useful zoom range
  • Great alternative to kit lens

What I Don’t Like:

  • Not a true 1:1 macro lens
  • Loses sharpness at longer end of zoom range

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC

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2. Tokina ATX-i 11-16mm F2.8

Fast aperture wide-angle zooms are very uncommon. Fortunately, the Tokina ATX-i 11-16mm f/2.8 is one of the best on the market.

Wide-angle zooms give you a flexible tool for capturing expansive views of architecture, landscapes, and events. The fast f/2.8 aperture makes the Tokina well suited to astrophotography, though some slight comatic aberration and vignetting is present until closed down to f/4. 

Unusual for a wide-angle lens, the Tokina 11-16mm has stellar corner performance. Sharpness is excellent even at f/2.8 and only improves as the lens is stopped down! 

What I Like:

  • Rare ultra wide, fast aperture APS-C zoom lens
  • Reasonably priced
  • Distortion is very well controlled
  • Stellar center sharpness

What I Don’t Like:

  • Bulky & very heavy
  • Corner softness when shot at f/2.8

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Tokina ATX-i 11-16mm F2.8

3. Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM

The Canon EF-s 35mm f/2.8 Macro is the best APS-C lens for lovers of fine detail in products and nature. 50mm full-frame equivalent lenses are popular because they are truest to what we see and can be used for any kind of photography.

As a true macro lens it has 1.0x magnification, reproducing subjects on the sensor at life size. A front ring light also provides extra illumination, handy when shooting at the minimum focusing distance of 13 cm (5 inches).

For shooting handheld Canon includes image stabilization (IS) to prevent blur from hand shake. Videographers should note that the stepping motors (STM) are swift yet silent for clean audio recording.

Like most macro lenses it has a maximum aperture of f/2.8, however. This is rather slow for a prime lens and limits its use for low-light photography.

What I Like:

  • Nifty 50mm equivalent
  • Excellent image quality
  • Light yet quality construction
  • Swift, confident autofocus motors

What I Don’t Like:

  • Maximum aperture only f/2.8
  • Doesn’t focus as close as other macro lenses

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Canon EF-S 35mm f/2.8

4. Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

The Canon 18-135mm f/2.5-5.6 IS is the right lens for travel photographers who don’t want to be switching lenses constantly. By covering both moderate wide angle and telephoto focal lengths everything from wildlife to landscapes is possible.

Distortion is very well controlled for a superzoom, with it being most obvious at 18mm. Being a variable aperture lens, the exposure changes that happen as you zoom can be problematic as well. Fortunately the lens includes image stabilization for slower shutter speeds to compensate.  Purple fringing is also very well controlled and the lens is sharp throughout the zoom range!

While it’s understandable given the price, weather sealing would have made this an even better choice for travel photography!

What I Like:

  • Zoom range perfect for travel photography
  • Great optical quality for the price
  • Compact yet versatile
  • Fast and accurate autofocus

What I Don’t Like:

  • Mostly plastic construction
  • Not inexpensive

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6

5. Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

If you’re a travel photographer who needs coverage for every possible shooting situation the EF-S 18-200mm is possibly the most versatile APS-C lens available! The focal range is excellent for all kinds of subjects: portraits, landscapes, nature, and much more.

Despite covering such a wide range the 18-200mm has very good image quality, with minimal amounts of distortion on the wide end and fair to good sharpness even out to the corners.

This lens is very similar to Canon’s other APS-C superzoom, the 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6. Both provide 4 stops of image stabilization for maximum sharpness in all shooting situations. 

The 18-200mm is slightly heavier than the 180135mm and slightly more expensive. However the price and weight are fair considering you gain extra reach on the telephoto end.

What I Like:

  • One of the best superzooms for APS-C
  • Expansive focal range
  • Very effective optical image stabilization
  • Excellent image quality

What I Don’t Like:

  • Relatively expensive
  • No weather sealing

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6

Best All-Around Canon Lens for Full Frame Cameras

1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

50mm prime lenses are extremely popular because the focal length is close to how people view the world. It’s great for portraits, nature, landscape, travel, and much more, hence the nickname “Nifty Fifty.” 

The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is one of the most popular 50mm lenses in the world for several very good reasons. First, it’s both light and inexpensive, which helps it find a place in any photographer’s bag.

And despite the plastic construction image quality is stellar despite the price. While the corners are a bit soft from f/1.8 until around f/4, that’s not a big issue for portraits and other wide-open subjects.

What I Like:

  • Useful 50mm focal length
  • Fast aperture
  • Compact, light, and inexpensive
  • Also great for Canon APS-C (75mm equivalent)

What I Don’t Like:

  • Plastic construction
  • Poor corner sharpness wide open

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM

2. Sigma 24-105mm f/4 OS

Photographers looking for a one-len solution for their full-frame Canon body should consider the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 OS. 24mm is the beginning of true wide-angle coverage for expansive scenes while 105mm is a true telephoto focal length for distant subjects.

Thanks to 3 stops of optical image stabilization (OS) sharpness is corrected for blur caused by hand shake. 

Unfortunately, the Sigma does show some of the weaknesses typical of superzooms. While very usable at f/4, sharpness and chromatic aberration control don’t reach their best levels until around f/6.3-f/8.

Despite this the Sigma is slightly sharper than Canon’s own 24-105mm f/4, especially wide open at f/4!

What I Like:

  • Constant f/4 aperture
  • Zoom range effective for wide variety of photography
  • Smooth Hypersonic Motor autofocusing
  • Flare and ghosting well controlled

What I Don’t Like:

  • Fairly noisy autofocus motor
  • No weather sealing

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 OS

3. Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di VC PD

Sometimes you just don’t want to switch lenses around for a better field of view. For those moments the Tamon 28-300mm f2.5-5.6 Di VC PD will serve you well.

At 540 g., this full-frame zoom lens is very light; even lighter than the Canon 18-135mm for APS-C bodies!

Being a superzoom, we do see some compromises in terms of image quality. Sharpness is best on the wide end, with visible losses the closer you get to 300mm. 

Image quality can be improved by stopping down to at least f/8. Chromatic aberration is also pretty visible in many situations as is vignetting on both extremes of the focal range.

Still, there are few lenses that provide the amount of reach the Tamon 28-300mm provides, let alone in a weather sealed package!

What I Like:

  • Extremely wide focal range
  • Effective image stabilization
  • Weather resistant
  • Great image quality for a superzoom

What I Don’t Like:

  • Severe chromatic aberration occasionally
  • Heavy vignetting at both 28mm and 300mm

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Tamron 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3

4. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM

If architecture, interiors, and landscapes are what you prefer to shoot the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM deserves a place in your kit.

Wide-angle zooms tend to be heavy and the 16-35mm f/4 is no exception. At 615 g. it takes up a fair amount of space despite the relatively slow f/4 aperture. Fortunately, it makes up for it with stellar image quality across the focal range, even wide open.

Image stabilization helps control hand shake and keeps images sharp when shooting hand held. Unfortunately there is some noticeable barrel distortion (~3.4%) at 16mm but the lens improves substantially by 20mm. 

Vignetting and corner softness are also noticeable at f/4 but both improve by either stopping down to f/5.6 or zooming past 16mm.

What I Like:

  • One-lens solution for wide-angle photography
  • L lens build quality
  • Swift, accurate focusing in most conditions
  • Great image quality for a wide-angle zoom

What I Don’t Like:

  • Noisy autofocus motors
  • Slightly soft corners at f/4

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L

5. Canon 70-200 f/4 IS USM

Sports, wildlife, and event photographers looking for a lens meant to provide plenty of reach without sacrificing image quality should pick up a telephoto zoom. 

Like most Canon L-lenses the EF 70-200mm is weather sealed to prevent dust and moisture from penetrating within. L-lenses also tend to have the best image quality but the 70-200mm is one of the best of the series!

Distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberration are practically non-existent in nearly any shooting environment! The constant f/4 aperture helps keep the lens much lighter than Canon’s f/2.8 lineup yet still provides plenty of background separation.

Four stops of stabilization even allows you to shoot with slower shutter speeds than usual to provide good exposure without blur from hand shake! With practically no negatives to report this is a near-perfect lens and well worth considering! 

What I Like:

  • Fantastic image quality
  • Distortion, vignetting, and chromatic aberration nearly perfectly controlled
  • L-lens build quality
  • Highly effective image stabilization

What I Don’t Like:

  • Noisy autofocus motors
  • Slightly soft corners at f/4

Check Buyer Reviews & Price for the Canon 70-200 f/4