Canon lenses: what you need to know

Canon Lenses: main

The most important piece of kit in your camera bag isn’t your Canon DSLR; it’s the glass you put in front of it. This might be a cliche, but it’s true. A high-calibre lens attached to a beginner-level camera will always produce better quality images than a top-end pro body fitted with a cheap kit lens.

That said, there’s an incredible amount of creative potential in the versatile 18-55mm kit lens that came with your EOS camera, and the chances are you may not be fully exploiting it. This guide will give you all the confidence you need to start doing just that. We’ll explain how you can get the best from the lens you own, whether that’s a standard zoom, a wide-angle, telephoto zoom or specialised macro lens for close-ups.

We’ll show you how different focal lengths can transform your photographic results, and explain how best to deal with optical problems you might face in the field. Get ready to see things more clearly…

DO or Di? Your lens markings explained

DO or Di? All your lens markings explained

Does your lens has more letters after its name than a retired rocket scientist. What do all these lens markings mean? You can refer to a lens simply by the name of the manufacturer, the focal length, and its maximum aperture – a Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6, say, or Canon 50mm f/1.4. But as lenses have often evolved from decades of development, they usually have a line of additional letters after their names, stamped on the barrel or printed on the boxes.

Some lens markings are about manufacturer branding – defining a more recent range, or a lens that’s built to higher standards than another. Others are to do with the optics themselves, and to highlight specific technologies used in the lens construction. In the jargon-busting guide below, we’ll translate these lens markings for you.