Some say that the photographer makes the camera. We say the photographer/videographer and the equipment make the camera. There’s only so much a skilled photographer can accomplish with a camera that lacks any equipment to optimize it.

If you’re worked at all with telephoto lenses then you’ve probably asked yourself what’s the best telephoto lens for canon.

Take for instance action photography. Let’s say you want to shoot a fast-running animal in the wild.

It would be impossible to accomplish that with a slow motor lens or god forbid, without a lens at all.

With that said one of the most important lens types is the telephoto lens. Telephoto lenses are important for shooting subjects from a distance.

Before you buy one, you’ll need to consider a few things and know what you’re getting and what it can and cannot accomplish.

That’s why today we compiled a guide on telephoto lenses for Canon. We’re going to talk about what you need to know before buying and list some of our favorite lenses for your consideration.

So, without further ado let’s dive in.

With all this said, let’s take a look into some of our favorite telephoto lenses for Canon we’re sure will please even the pickiest of photographers.

Best Telephoto Lens For Canon

Let’s jump into our list of the best Canon telephoto lenses with the awesome and ever-reliable Canon EF 70-200mm! If you haven’t used this beast yet, then you’re in for a treat!

1. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens

Ah, yes, the workhorse – the tried-and-true and entirely versatile, Canon 70-200mm! Let’s start this list off with an absolute legend and beast of a lens!

The 70-200 f/2.8 III IS is a very popular telephoto zoom lens with photographers. It’s easy to see why.

It is equipped with image stabilization to give you sharp and clear images. It is a versatile lens capable of many things. It is also the most affordable lens with this focal length.

Thanks to its f/2.8 max aperture it’s a particularly good camera for shooting in low-light situations.

Therefore, if you want to do some indoor photography, the IS III USM will satisfy you.

The telephoto focal length enables you to take pictures with a distinct blurry background effect.

For outdoor photographers, Canon built the IS III USM with weather seals to make it durable for rough weather conditions that could arise during shooting. Are there any drawbacks to this lens, however?

Well, not that many if we’re honest. We’re not thrilled by the weight of the lens. Especially, following such light and compact picks. However, the weight justifies itself in quality and performance.


Overall, the 70-200 f/2.8L III IS was built by Canon to be a high-end lens. It offers great picture quality. The autofocus is incredibly fast and accurate. The image stabilization wraps the whole package in a neat bow.

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2. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

And now for something wholly more affordable to those looking for a telephoto lens on a budget. The Canon EF-S 55-250mm is perhaps the finest telephoto lens for Canon cameras with an APS-C sensor.

This lens is neatly designed which makes it compact and reduces its weight compared to other lenses.

The autofocus system is practically inaudible which is a lovely thing to hear, or not hear.

Whilst it covers the same range as the much more expensive previous entry on our list, the Canon 70-200mm (actually, a much bigger range of focal lengths), it is in fact nowhere near as fast when it comes to its aperture or f-stop.

This telephoto lens is the exception to the rule when it comes to weight. Most lenses of this type are very heavy and can be a burden to carry with you. The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM is no heavier than 375g.

The reason behind this mounting plate is plastic and the fact that the lens is custom made for APS-C sensor-equipped Canon models.

This is both positive and negative because the image size will be smaller compared to a full-frame sensor.


Additionally, if you upgrade to a full-frame sensor, you won’t be able to mount this lens.

One last downside we’d like to mention is the lack of a lens hood. If you want one, you’ll have to buy it separately.

With that said, this lens is a winner thanks to its budget-friendly price and its impressively silent autofocus system.

If you’re just starting out and have an APS-C Canon, this is the telephoto lens for you.

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6 is STM
  • High magnification, compact and lightweight EF-S telephoto zoom lens with Image Stabilization for up...
  • One UD lens element reduces chromatic aberration throughout the zoom range, for excellent image...
  • New six-group zoom system provides a compact design while achieving a maximum magnification of 0.29x...
  • Minimum focusing distance: 2.79 feet; 0.85 meter (full zoom range).
  • Kit Inlcudes lens, lens cap E-58II, lens dust cap E, instruction book, warranty card



What Are Telephoto Lenses?

Telephoto lenses are a specialized type of lens that is used to capture subjects from a distance. They have a long focal length and are oftentimes the only option for capturing wildlife or sports events from far away.

Telephoto lenses also come in handy when you need to zoom in on a subject without having to physically move closer, like with sporting events or concerts where you don’t want to disturb others sitting nearby.

If you’ve ever been to a concert or sporting event and wanted to take the perfect picture of your favorite band or athlete, then you know that it can be hard with so many people in the way.

Telephoto lenses are designed for this exact purpose: they have a longer zoom and capture more detail than regular-sized lenses.




3. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM

This one amazing telephoto lens of the zoom variety. You can use it on both EF-S and EF Canon DSLR models.

The picture quality of this lens is mighty impressive. It’s also a perfect lens for people looking to shoot some action.

This is thanks to the Nano USM autofocus system which is incredibly fast and adept at tracking subjects’ movements.

While some other telephoto lenses, like the L-series models, offer weather sealing and tripods, this lens instead opts to offer the same sharp image quality but without any of the extra features.

This is perfect for photographers who are on a budget and can’t spend money on fancy features.

Another feat achieved by this lens is its incredible lightweight. Moreover, you’ll get an LCD on the lens. It’s a neat feature that telegraphs focal length and other important information.

Last but not least, the camera features image stabilization which is a great asset especially for shooting action.

The only drawback to the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM is its expensive lens cap price.

For a reasonably priced lens, we were surprised at the cap costing this much. However, that’s not enough to hold this back from being a great action lens.

4. Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Canon is wickedly good at making versatile lenses that suit the needs of many photographers. The EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM is no exception.

This one is made for photographers who want to go the distance. The focal range on this lens is amazing. At 100-400mm, it’s going to give you plenty of space for good coverage.

Also, thanks to its minimum focus distance set at 3.2 feet, the possibilities are endless.

The II USM is perfect for photographers who want to capture portraits.

It’s also adept at shooting action as in sports events and wildlife. It even achieves some impressive results shooting landscapes.

The EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM, on top of performing insanely well, offers some amazing features.

For one, you’ll get image stabilization which is a staple of the company’s telephoto lens.

Canon also chose to include their Ultrasonic Motor here which greatly enhances autofocus.

Another feature of the II USM packs is ASC or Air Sphere Coating. This feature optimizes the image to reduce any unwanted lens flare or ghosting effect.

Therefore, it guarantees you get the most natural-looking image possible.


Overall, the EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM is another hit for Canon’s line-up of EF lenses.

It’s a very versatile telephoto lens with great performance, an impressive array of features.

If you’re shopping for a telephoto that’s a jack of all trades, look no further than this.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L is II USM Lens, Lens Only
  • Compact, high performance L-series super-telephoto zoom makes it ideal for sports and wildlife...
  • Rotation-type zoom ring allows for more precise composition and excellent balance when handholding
  • Improved zoom torque adjustment ring allows easy setting of zoom tension, Focal Length & Maximum...
  • New Air Sphere Coating (ASC) helps to significantly reduce backlit flaring and ghosting, Highly...
  • English (Publication Language)



Advantages of Telephoto Lenses

• Capture more detail from a distance.

• Decrease camera shake in lower light settings.

• Get that perfect video or photo regardless of the environment.

• Get an up-close view of the world with beautiful clarity.

• Capture photos of objects in motion that would otherwise be impossible to photograph.



What To Consider Before Buying

Now let’s take a moment to look at some of the buying considerations you might have when thinking about purchasing a Canon telephoto lens.

Action vs. Static

Do you want to shoot subjects in action or in a static state? This distinction can save you a lot of money if you know what you want.


If you want to shoot static images, you can get a cheaper lens with a slower motor.

However, if shooting action is what you want, then you should consider spending more on a camera with a fast motor. This will save you the money spent on upgrading your lens as time goes on.

Image Quality

This is going to be what matters most to you. Therefore, you need to know what kind of image your lens produces.

While specs are a good indication, we recommend that you look at images taken with the lens you’re interested in. After all, the eye is the best judge.

Prime vs. Zoom

Zoom lenses are pretty self-explanatory. The lens allows you to zoom in on the subject for better framing. They are versatile as they allow you to take images in different aspect ratios and modes.

The tradeoff is that you’ll lose some resolution and detail the more you zoom in. Also, the fact that zoom lenses can do a lot of things well, doesn’t mean it can do any of em exceptionally well.

Prime lenses are the opposite. You can’t zoom as there’s only one focal length. While they’re not as versatile as zoom, they are more consistent in their image quality.

The limitations don’t set the prime lens back. Instead, they force you to move around the scenery and come up with more interesting solutions rather than lazily zooming in all the time.

Best Telephoto Lens For Canon – Wrapping Up

This concludes our guide on the best telephoto lens for Canon. It’s easy to see that Canon itself has you covered on all fronts.

Regardless of what you need, Canon has it. The rest depends on you.

Ask yourself what’s your budget and what do you want out of your lens:

  • Do you want great performance and couldn’t care less for portability?
  • Maybe the IS III USM is the lens for you.
  • Do you want portability and autofocus that’ll capture fast-moving subjects?

Our first pick, the IS STM might be just what you need.

All in all, the most important aspect of a telephoto lens is to support your needs. Everything else is just a bonus. At the end of the day, enjoying the lens is what matters most.

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