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The best Canon superzoom lenses in 2021: for Canon DSLR and mirrorless

Best Canon Superzoom Lenses
(Image credit: Future)

The best Canon superzoom lenses are the perfect travel companion. Combining the zoom range of a standard zoom and telephoto zoom into a single lens means that they can be incredibly versatile and allow you to shoot a range of subjects with a single lens. 

Whether you shoot with a Canon APS-C DSLR, full-frame DSLR or one of the two varieties of Canon mirrorless cameras, superzoom lenses give you the best of all worlds. 

They allow you to shoot at wide-angle settings for an expansive viewpoint, or zoom right in to pick out distant subjects and interesting details. A good superzoom will do it all, and ideally with a physical build that isn't too heavy to carry – and that's why they are often considered the best lenses for travel

There are some trade-off though to be aware of. This extra versatility offered by superzoom lenses can mean that they're not the sharpest lenses out there as there are a lot of optical elements at work within the lens to achieve this huge focal range. Don't get us wrong, they're still sharp, but if your main concern is ultimate image quality, you'll have to sacrifice this versatility for a couple of other lenses with short focal ranges.

That said, superzoom lenses have enjoyed a lot of research and development in recent years and have seen an increase in performance, often with a reduction in size and weight. 

While superzooms for Canon APS-C DSLRs are perhaps the most popular option out there, it's possible to find a superzoom for you Canon full-frame EF DSLRs, as well as for mirrorless EOS M and EOS R cameras. We've divided our guide into sections so you can easily find the lenses that suit your setup.

If you're still not sure, take a look at our guide to the best Canon lenses to see what the different lens types do and which you're likely to find most useful.

So, let’s take a closer look at what the current contenders have to offer, and pick out the best buys.

Best Canon superzoom lenses

Canon EF-M

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di-III VC

(Image credit: Tamron)

1. Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di III VC

The only real superzoom choice for Canon EOS M-mount cameras

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 27-300mm
Lens construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.5m
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions: 96.7x102mm
Weight: 460g
Reasons to buy
+Useful Vibration Compensation+Few comparable options for this mount
Reasons to avoid
-Some sharpness issues

One of the justifiable criticisms of the EOS M system of mirrorless APS-C cameras is that the lens choice is adequate, but hardly exceptional. Accordingly, this Tamron superzoom is pretty much uncontested in its category, and if you're shopping for an EF-M lens of this type you won't exactly be swimming in choices. Happily, it's a very good lens, with a sophisticated Vibration Compensation system, a lightweight construction and decent optics that produce sharp images throughout the range; it's only at the telephoto end where things start to suffer a little. The build ergonomically complements the lightweight EOS M cameras, meaning you won't have to compromise on your travel-friendly setup.

Canon EF-M 18-150mm f3.5-6.3 IS STM

(Image credit: Canon)

2. Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM

Not quite the same reach as the Tamron, but a solid option

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 29-240mm
Lens construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.25m
Filter size: 55mm
Dimensions: 60.9x86.5mm
Weight: 300g
Reasons to buy
+4-stop image stabilisation system+Compact and lightweight+Balances nicely on an EOS M camera
Reasons to avoid
-Zoom range might not be enough for some

Marketed as the ideal all-in-one lens by Canon, this 8.3x superzoom doesn't quite pack the same range as the Tamron above, but it is a touch cheaper (though only just). With a full-frame focal length equivalent to 29-240mm, it's not quite as wide as we'd like, but you'll still be able to get a decent amount in the frame. Extended to 240mm and it should be handy for those occasions when you want to tightly crop in on something, but it's not going to fill the frame for those action shots. Available in black or silver, it's a compact lens that's no bigger than Canon's 55-200mm, making it a neat little travel lens. 

Canon EF-S

Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5- 6.3 DC Macro OS HSM C

(Image credit: Sigma)

3. Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5- 6.3 DC Macro OS HSM C

This Sigma superzoom offers extended reach for Canon APS-C DSLRs

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 28.8-480mm
Lens construction: 17 elements in 13 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.39m
Filter size: 72mm
Dimensions: 79x102mm
Weight: 585g
Reasons to buy
+FLD elements boost sharpness+Focal length up to 480mm+Dock for firmware updates
Reasons to avoid
-Focus motor sluggish and audible

This Sigma goes all out for telephoto reach, equivalent to a mighty focal length of 480mm on a full-frame camera. The trade-off is that it’s noticeably bigger and heavier than some comparable lenses, at 79x102mm and 585g. The motor-based rather than ring-type ultrasonic system helps with downsizing but is a little sluggish and audible in operation. As well as aspherical and SLD elements, the addition of FLD elements really does help to boost sharpness, which only drops at the longest extremity of the zoom range.

Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro

(Image credit: Tamron)

4. Tamron 16-300mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro

Tamron’s superzoom for Canon APS-C DSLRs goes extra-large in a new way

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 25.6-480mm
Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.39m
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 75x100mm
Weight: 540g
Reasons to buy
+Large wide-angle focal length+Big zoom range in slim build+Weather-sealed
Reasons to avoid
-Some fringing at wide/long zoom

While matching the Sigma 18-300mm for maximum telephoto reach, the Tamron also goes extra-large in wide-angle viewing, with a 16mm focal length. The PZD autofocus is much more refined than in the older Tamron 18-270mm. It’s still a motor-driven ultrasonic mechanism but the manual focus ring remains stationary during autofocus, which greatly improves handling. The optical path includes LD, XR and hybrid aspherical elements, which help to boost sharpness and contrast while keeping the size and weight to manageable proportions. In this case, however, sharpness is better throughout the entire zoom range, although colour fringing is a bit worse at either end. As you’d expect, barrel distortion is slightly worse at the wide 16mm focal length.

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC

(Image credit: Tamron)

5. Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC

A lightweight choice for Canon APS-C DSLRs with a price tag to match

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 28.8-320mm
Lens construction: 16 elements in 14 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.49-0.77m
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions: 75x97mm
Weight: 400g
Reasons to buy
+Lightweight at just 400g+Weather-sealed protection
Reasons to avoid
-Corner-sharpness suffers-Autofocus a bit pedestrian

This Tamron lens wins points for lightness at a slender weight of just 400g, i though the autofocus speed is a little pedestrian. Sharpness is pleasingly solid considering the type of lens and price, at all equivalent zoom settings, although corner-sharpness suffers noticeably when using the widest aperture in the middle sector of the zoom range. On the plus side, colour fringing at mid-zoom settings is very negligible. Overall, the lightweight Tamron is unbeatable value at the price.

Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | C

(Image credit: Sigma)

6. Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM | C

A good balance between size and reach for Canon APS-C DSLRs

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 28.8-320mm
Lens construction: 16 elements in 13 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.39m
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions: 71x86mm
Weight: 430g
Reasons to buy
+Travel-friendly dimensions+Good sharpness through the zoom range
Reasons to avoid
-Focus ring rotates during autofocus-Autofocus motor is clearly audible

It’s easy to get carried away with zoom range and to go for a superzoom lens that really bumps up the maximum telephoto reach. However, they inevitably end up being quite big and heavy. For a really portable lens, this Sigma 18-200mm for APS-C format DSLRs offers a more modest 200mm maximum focal length, equivalent to 320mm in full-frame terms. That still gives you powerful reach, but from a comparatively compact and lightweight lens. Image quality is nice and sharp throughout the entire zoom range, and it’s good for close-ups as well as general shooting, with a 0.33x macro magnification factor at its shortest focus distance. The autofocus system itself feels rather outdated. Driven by a basic electric motor, it’s clearly audible and the focus ring rotates during autofocus, which impairs handling.

Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

(Image credit: Tamron)

7. Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD

Superzoom meets supertelephoto in this long-range APS-C DSLR lens

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 28.8-640mm
Lens construction: 16 elements in 11 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.45m
Filter size: 72mm
Dimensions: 79x124mm
Weight: 710g
Reasons to buy
+Monster 640mm ‘effective’ telephoto reach+Fairly compact given the zoom range
Reasons to avoid
-Mediocre sharpness at longer zoom-Optical stabilizer only 2.5 stops

Not everybody wants a superzoom lens for travel. They’re also great when you need to react quickly to different shooting scenarios. For example, you might be shooting an expansive wide-angle landscape image, then want to zoom right in after spotting some wildlife in the distance. This Tamron covers the distance more effectively than any competing superzoom lens on the market, thanks to its unprecedented telephoto reach. On a Canon APS-C format camera, it works out to an effective 640mm at the long end, putting it firmly into super-telephoto territory. Autofocus is driven by an HLD (High/Low toque-modulated Drive) motor. It’s quick and very quiet in operation, and is able to adjust focusing speed accordingly for speedy stills performance and smooth transitions in movie capture. The VC (Vibration Compensation) system is comparatively mediocre for a Tamron lens, with just 2.5-stop effectiveness. Image quality is good overall but sharpness could be better at medium to long zoom settings.

Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)

8. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

The latest EF-S 18-135mm has upgraded autofocus but isn't that sharp

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 28.8-216 mm
Lens construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 39m
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 77x96mm
Weight: 515g
Reasons to buy
+Nano USM autofocus speed+Movie-friendly power zoom
Reasons to avoid
-Unimpressive edge sharpness-No focus distance scale

This Canon lens has distinctive styling, with a metal mounting plate and pleasing ergonomics that make it satisfying to use. While the previous STM edition of this lens is no slouch when it comes to autofocus speed this newer Nano USM version is incredibly fast for stills, while still maintaining smooth transitions when shooting movies. The image stabilizer is equally effective in very effective and image quality is of generally high quality. However, sharpness at the centre of the image frame proved slightly less than impressive from the new lens, at both ends of the zoom range.

Canon EF

Tamron 28-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD

(Image credit: Tamron)

9. Tamron 28-300mm f3.5-6.3 Di VC PZD

Tamron brings its all-in-one design to full frame Canon DSLRs

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 28-300mm
Lens construction: 19 elements in 15 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.49m
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 96x74.4mm
Weight: 540g
Reasons to buy
+Incredibly small and light+Decent performance, great price
Reasons to avoid
-Not the fastest-Less sharp at tele end

Full-frame Canon users get a great deal here: a budget-friendly Tamron superzoom covering a whopping great focal range, in a small and light body that further cements its travel credentials. If you just need something that works and works well for a good price then you're sorted here. There are a few sharpness issues at the tele end, and the autofocus and Vibration Compensation don't work as well as pricier sports-oriented options, but this lens does exactly what it sets out to do and delivers a credible, affordable superzoom option for full-frame Canon cameras. 

Canon EF 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 L IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)

10. Canon EF 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 L IS USM

The pro's choice of Canon full frame DSLR superzoom, but pricey

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 28-300mm
Lens construction: 23 elements in 16 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 8
Minimum focus distance: 0.7m
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 92x184mm
Weight: 1670g
Reasons to buy
+Pretty sharp throughout range+Solid construction
Reasons to avoid
-Still expensive-Due for an update

This lens is getting a little long in the tooth now, but is still one of the only native superzooms for full-frame Canon bodies. It's an unusual design of lens, with a zoom mechanism that operates with a push/pull action that's not unlike a trombone, and it features an ultrasonic motor driving its autofocus, ensuring the focusing action is fast and accurate. It's still generally pretty expensive, and much heavier than the Tamron alternative, but does offer some advantages in terms of sharpness throughout its zoom range.

Canon RF

Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM

(Image credit: Canon)

11. Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM

Boasts remarkable image quality for a superzoom lens

Specifications
Effective zoom range: 24-240mm
Lens construction: 21 elements in 15 groups
No. of diaphragm blades: 7
Minimum focus distance: 0.5m
Filter size: 72mm
Dimensions: 80.4x 122.5mm
Weight: 750g
Reasons to buy
+Well-balanced+Great results for a superzoom
Reasons to avoid
-Modest maximum aperture-Digital image correction

Users of Canon EOS R cameras demand the best when it comes to quality, which makes sense given the full-frame, high-resolution sensors they're using. With that in mind, you might think that a superzoom simply wouldn't be a suitable lens for these cameras, however the Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM delivers truly outstanding results for a lens of its type, with impressive sharpness right through its 10x zoom range. You might want to be aware that some of the correction at the tele end is digital, not optical, a fact that's noticeable when you boot up Adobe Camera Raw. It's very good though, and ultimately it's results that count. And the Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM produces very good results indeed.

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