Even those loyal to other brands don’t doubt the quality and reputation of Canon cameras. If you own the amazing EOS 70D mid-range Digital-SLR, you are serious about photography!
What we have here is a feature-packed camera with dual-pixel AF technology. My guide looks at some of the best lenses for Canon 70D cameras including high-end primes, zooms, telephotos, and a macro.
This is a serious DSLR camera for serious shutterbugs. You want to make the most of the 20.2MP image sensor and max ISO of 25,600. And let’s not forget its all-powerful DIGIC 5+ image processor.
To get the most out of your wonderful camera, you need some serious glass. The exact lenses that suit you depends on your desires and budget. Consider your photographic or videography expectations, as well.
My six picks here cover a range of high-quality optics for the Canon 70D. It may surprise you that some lenses are not the Canon brand, and there are good reasons for that.
Canon’s EOS 70D never disappoints when fitted with the right lenses. Pros and semi-pros love it for portraiture, action, and sports. It’s also a great choice for everyday street photography and video.
Top 6 Lenses for Canon 70D
|#1||Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM||Prime Portrait||F/1.4||10 oz.||50mm||58mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#2||Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM||Standard Zoom||F/1.8||29 oz.||18-35mm||72mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#3||Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM||Macro||F/2.8||22 oz.||100mm||67mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#4||Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM||Telephoto Zoom||F/4||25 oz.||70-200mm||67mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#5||Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II||Ultra-Wide-Angle Zoom||F/2.8||19 oz.||11-16mm||77mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
|#6||Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS||All-In-One Zoom||F/3.5-5.6||21 oz.||18-200mm||72mm||Read Review||See Price on Amazon|
What to Look for in a Lens for the Canon 70D
The first and most basic thing you should look for when choosing a lens is if it will be compatible for your Canon EOS 70d.
You should also be aware of what you’ll be filming or photographing, how many lenses you can take to your shoot, and what your end-goals are.
The following list can help in determining what lens or lenses to choose:
- Lenses that have electro focus (EF) or short back focus (EF-S) work. Check the manufacturer’s website for compatibility if a lens does not have EF or EF-S.
- Focal lengths come in three main categories: wide-angle (under 35mm – used typically for landscapes), telephoto (over 70mm- used typically for birding or sports), and normal (35mm-70mm- used typically for anything else).
- Prime lens which is single-focal length, or zoom lens which has a range of focal lengths.
- Aperture range, or how much light can enter through the lens.
What to Expect When Spending More
Seasoned photographers and filmmakers may notice the differences between an expensive lens and a less expensive lens.
Maximum aperture is one big reason to spend more on a quality lens since aperture controls how much light comes in the lens as well as depth of field.
Most lower quality lenses have a maximum aperture of f/5.6 while professional lenses have an aperture of f/2.8 and lower, creating more of a shallow depth of field.
Constant aperture is another feature in expensive, professional lenses. This feature allows for the aperture to stay constant at any zoom level such as at 50mm or 200mm.
Professional lenses come with a high amount of weather sealing which helps stop the build of dust, mold, and everything else you don’t want in your lens. This in turn gives your lens a longer life.
Lenses that cost more usually produce sharper images, but this is also determined on technique. Be sure to check out Photophique’s look at a range of macro lenses at different price points for Canon DSLRs.
Professional lenses also produce more saturated colors which is a great thing if you want contrast in your photos.
In the end, technique is what can get you a great photo. Professional lenses cost more than kit lenses and other starter lenses, but quality in the end does make a difference.
- Type: Prime Portrait
- Aperture: f/1.4
- Weight: 10 oz.
- Focal Length: 50mm
- Filter: 58mm
- The high points: Fast aperture, amazing bokeh, stunning image quality, great for low-light
- The high points: Takes some practice, no internal focus (IF), cost
We all need a lightweight, everyday capable lens in the gadget bag. For this category, I chose the much sought-after Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM for its speed, low-light capability, and shallow DOF.
I’m a big fan of Canon’s Ultrasonic ‘autofocus’ motor, or USM for short. Not only is it fast, but it’s ultra-smooth and almost silent. And the peripheral brightness of this lens is excellent even at the wide end.
I love an out of focus background, and this one delivers beautiful blur. The colors and contrast are nice, too. Image quality falls short a tad compared to L primes, but only if you compare them side by side.
What I really like about this lens is that it lets you view the world pretty much as you see it. Sometimes we need that perspective in photography.
My only major gripe is with the autofocus at the lower f-stops. I found that a little manual tweaking was necessary at times. But overall I find the product-to-price ratio just about perfect.
Let’s see if others agree with my overview of the Canon’s EF 50mm f/1.4 USM.
What Reviewers Say
To say this lens sells like hotcakes would not be an understatement. It has high ratings and many people take the time to write reviews. That’s always helpful for undecided shoppers.
Those who bought this lens wanted something superior to the 50mm F1.8. They also wanted something more affordable than the F1.2 L. On the whole, reviewers are happy campers.
Most agree that it’s a great everyday prime lens. It gets a lot of praise as a quality tool for portraits in particular. It’s popular for low-light shooting and its ability to isolate subjects from backgrounds.
The f/1.4 USM is an ideal lens for serious photographers who want light, fast, and affordable. It checks plenty of the right boxes and that’s why it sells so well.
One of the main attractions of the Canon EF 50mm USM is its fast f1.4 aperture. It simply provides more opportunities within a wider range of shooting conditions than the cheaper f1.8.
The wide aperture also means buttery bokeh. These amazing out-of-focus backgrounds are what Canon portrait photographers love to show off. It’s a shame it doesn’t have a rounded diaphragm though.
The image quality is superb but you don’t have to take my word for it. There are plenty of uploaded samples by real users to illustrate their appreciation for colors, contrast, and background effects.
One of the biggest frustrations for opportunistic photographers, in particular, is light restrictions. Well, the f1.4 aperture lets photographers shoot in available low light situations without a tripod or flash.
This really is an amazing prime portrait lens and one to keep on the camera more often than not.
What Could Be Better
As simple as this lens is, it does take a bit of practice to perfect. It has abilities and a few limitations, but once you get familiar with it, you’ll be shooting with your eyes shut.
Internal focus (IF) would have been nice. Creative photographers prefer IF as it makes working with orientation-sensitive filters easier. Polarizers and graduated ND filters are a couple of prime examples.
If this lens had Internal focus the price would be even higher. The cost—even with its maximum f1.4 aperture—gets a few moans. Still, the price is not a big enough issue to deter folks from buying it.
This lens is over three times the price of the popular Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM. But then it’s around 1000 bucks cheaper than the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L USM.
- Type: Standard Zoom
- Aperture: f/1.8
- Weight: 29 oz.
- Focal Length: 18-35mm
- Filter: 72mm
- The high points: Sharp, fast, constant aperture, metal construction, clear AF switch
- The high points: Heavy, no weather sealing, fiddly lens cap, noisy HSM motor
Most of us like to have a capable walk-around lens in the camera bag, and this one fits the bill. It can seem heavy to those not used to zooms, but it doesn’t take long to get accustomed to its heft.
Build quality is always an important consideration and even more so with lenses that get regular use. The Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM has a solid barrel that gives it a pro feel.
The tack sharp images and minimal distortions make this a surefire winner for me. The great thing about any lens from the Sigma ART family is consistency, and that affords loyalty in my book.
Some people complain about the price of this lens. I think price criticisms come from wannabe owners rather than real users. Surely those who own this lens will tell you it’s worth every dime, won’t they?
What Reviewers Say
This is not a cheap lens but it sells really well. That alone tells us a lot about the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art. Another good sign for the undecided are the many users who leave favorable reviews.
The reviews for this 18-35mm F1.8 are somewhere in the neighborhood of 90% favorable. Even the biggest critics have a bunch of good things to report amid their gripes.
There are a lot of compliments on the low-light capability of this lens. People write about the uncompromised resolution at f/1.8. They appreciate the smooth operation and the quality of images.
Most negative reviews are desire-orientated more so than actual gripes. Some complain about the absence of vibration compensation and weather sealing. I tend to agree with that last point.
It’s hard to find bad reviews. We can’t say the same for all lenses—third-party or otherwise.
There are a lot of good things to say about the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 lens. As far as image quality goes the results are consistently sharp. Some new users may find it tricky to keep focus at the start though.
It can take a while to get familiar with settings and controls. This goes for all lenses but especially fast constant apertures. The low levels of lens aberrations are amazing for a large aperture lens.
Despite its heft, the lens barrel feels nice in the hand thanks to the smooth metal. The rubber focus and zoom rings are the ideal size and add to the pro quality of this chunk of protected glass.
Checking the on/off status of the AF switch is easy. There’s a bit white behind the button that indicates what the current status is. It’s a small detail but one that has a big influence on photographers.
What Could Be Better
If you’re not used to heavier lenses the 29 ounces of this beauty is going to tell. It won’t be an issue on shorter shoots but it’ll certainly make its presence when mounted to a camera for long periods.
The absence of weather sealing is a letdown for a quality standard zoom lens. Alas, most cameras don’t provide it right now but some do. That’s why it’s a disappointment.
The lens cap that comes with the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art is annoying to say the least. Not only is it difficult to put on it won’t always stay put. I’m surprised Sigma let this slip the testing net.
The last gripe is with the noisy HSM motor. This is something that videographers are more likely to notice as it can mess with their audio. Photographers probably won’t even hear it.
- Type: Macro
- Aperture: f/2.8
- Weight: 22 oz.
- Focal Length: 100mm
- Filter: 67mm
- The high points: Weather sealed, inner focusing w/ USM, full-time manual focus, IS
- The high points: AF hunts in low light, noisy Image Stabilization (IS)
The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro is a beautiful highly-rated lens. There’s so much to like for macro enthusiasts. The weather sealing is one of the extra attractions of this particular lens.
I know it’s not cheap but it’s a lens for keeps which makes it excellent value for money in my book. The image quality is simply superb. It’s not surprising as macros tend to be the sharpest of all primes.
The focus is fast and accurate but it does tend to hunt a little in lower light. I think that different cameras can also contribute to AF hunting. The Canon 70D fares quite well in this regard.
This is Canon’s first IS macro lens. My impression is that they’ve pretty much got everything right. Not everyone will agree because no one ever does but most reviews tend to love this chunk of glass.
What Reviewers Say
There’s no shortage of online reviews for the EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM. This is one of those rare occasions where the feedback is almost 100% positive—not quite, but almost.
Photographers tend to research lenses that cost hundreds of dollars more than they would cheaper options. They read reviews and expert opinions so they can make better informed buying decisions.
Extensive research means folks have a pretty good idea of what they’re buying before they get it. It’s why we see so many glowing reviews for the Canon’s EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro.
There’s plenty of praise for the quality build and the lens’ weight distribution. Its true capability as an ultra-sharp macro lens gets lots of mention. There are a few complaints (see below) but nothing major.
Many reviewers are happy to support their feedback with images, especially close-up shots.
The Canon 70D DSLR and the EF 100mm f/2.8L lens have some degree of weather sealing. Equipment like this is costly to buy and expensive to repair, so any protection is always welcome.
I haven’t ever exposed any loaned lenses or cameras to the full weather protection tests. I say enjoy the added armor with cautious optimism but always err on the side of caution.
The second standout feature is the Inner Focusing or IF. This is what you want with a macro lens, especially when focusing at the Minimum Focus Distance (MFD).
With IF you don’t frighten bugs or bump the lens into whatever you’re shooting. The other advantage is that screw-on filters don’t move. There’s also full-time manual focus and image stabilization to boot.
This L version 100mm macro is a true workhorse that’s loved by pro photographers the world over.
What Could Be Better
There’s criticism about AF hunting in low light. It happens when the lens can’t pick up enough contrast to focus. It’s not a problem unique to Cannon but that doesn’t make it any less vexing.
There is a focusing limiter switch to lock out selected focus distances where hunting occurs most. Hunting issues also relates to cameras as well as lenses. I didn’t find it too troubling with the 70D.
The image stabilization (IS) is a welcome feature for a 22-ounce lens but it can get a bit noisy. The clicking whirring sound doesn’t affect the ability of the IS and it’s easy enough to ignore after a while.
There are other complaints from different people. Most of these are minor nitpicks and also subjective.
- Type: Telephoto Zoom
- Aperture: f/4
- Weight: 25 oz.
- Focal Length: 70-200mm
- Filter: 67mm
- The high points: Lightweight, durable, sharp, fast AF, hood & case, price
- The high points: No tripod ring, no IS, F4 aperture
My telephoto zoom pick is a very capable 70-200mm lens from the Canon L (Luxury) series. It’s a quality piece of glass for the Canon 70D with a price tag that was too good to skip.
It may not be light but at 25 ounces it is luggable for a Canon telephoto zoom in its range. I’d have liked a faster aperture but for the money, the constant F4 is good enough and keeps the price down.
This lens looks like a beast and I suppose it is. It certainly has that “look at me” appeal which is not always a good thing if you’re trying to blend in with the crowds.
I like this lens for lots of reasons. It’s travel-friendly, has a high-quality build, a non-extending zoom, and two focus range modes. Most importantly, it’s easy to use and tack sharp.
Yes, there are also a few areas for improvements and I’ll get to those shortly.
What Reviewers Say
Reviewers love this lens as it checks a lot of boxes that people look for in an L series. There’s plenty of praise for the quality build and feel of the lens in particular.
Those who buy the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM telephoto zoom know its limitations. It’s a perfect chunk of glass for those who shoot objects in good light and don’t mind occasional tripod use.
Some reviewers complain that the constant F4 aperture is too slow for lower light action. The fast shutter speeds are not there when they need them.
Others find it a great action lens but it depends on what the action is and the lighting conditions. Although it’s light, there’s no image stabilization which restricts handheld shooting to certain conditions
Overall, though, photographers who invest in this lens love it. They appreciate its high-quality construction, ease of use, and sharpness.
This is a heavy piece of glass for first-time users. But it’s a virtual featherweight for those who’ve experienced rival lenses. The weight is an amazing achievement for such a solid telephoto.
The metal construction means it’s durable and that’s especially important for a costly lens. The ergonomics entice you to hold it and shoot although it does take some practice to perfect.
You’ll get to enjoy colorful tack sharp images and smooth bokeh with practice. There are plenty of online tips to help get to grips with this amazing lens for those who need it.
The USM delivers fast, quiet, and accurate focus which enhances user experience further. And if the price wasn’t attractive enough, this one comes with its own hood and carrying case. Many don’t.
What Could Be Better
A big disappointment with this 70-200mm telephoto zoom is the missing tripod collar. Canon knows it needs one which is why they sell a separate tripod mount ring for around $150. Yes, you read that right.
Shame on Canon because there’s no image stabilization (IS) with this lens. The 70D can compensate for no IS by increasing the ISO. The 70D has lower noise (distortion) than some other cameras too.
The missing tripod ring is an unnecessary and greedy move by Canon in my opinion. You can buy much, much cheaper third-party rings at your own risk.
The constant F4 aperture isn’t ideal in low-light. It’s not slow but it’s not fast either. If you want the F2.8 version it’s available—at a price. Alas, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS costs 186% more.
The upgraded F2.8 lens is also 84% heavier than the F4 version. Most of the extra weight is down to the inclusion of the image stabilization system.
- Type: Ultra-Wide-Angle Zoom
- Aperture: f/2.8
- Weight: 19 oz.
- Focal Length: 11-16mm
- Filter: 77mm
- The high points: Tack sharp, infinity focus, versatile, 3 Year Tokina warranty (US only)
- The high points: Narrow zoom range, notable chromatic aberration, awkward lens hood
An ultra-wide angle Canon zoom lens is often one of the last pieces of glass photographers think about. It’s also one of those lenses they wished they’d bought earlier after some use.
The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II is a quality lens at an affordable price. It’s a serious choice for all kinds of photographers, landscape, real estate, and astrophotographers in particular.
One of the reasons I chose this particular lens was because of the uploaded user sample images. They are tack sharp, the colors are amazing, and the infinity setting means no focus issues in low light.
How many times have you missed a great shot because your lens wasn’t wide enough? This puppy gives an opportunity to get up close and personal and transform the mundane into the amazing.
What Reviewers Say
There’s plenty of written reaction for this lens, some with accompanying images. You’ll find positive adjectives like excellent, awesome, amazing, and incredible sprinkled throughout the feedback.
There’s a lot of praise for the sharpness and ease of use of the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. Some say it’s the best all around lens for Canon cameras they ever owned and now use it as their primary lens most of the time.
It is a truly versatile product, but that’s something you have to experience to appreciate. Critics notice how it softens a tad at the outer edges, at wide apertures, but not enough to matter.
Value for money; that’s what I picked up from most of the reviews I read. Even the biggest critics don’t argue about the affordability and overall value.
Most who buy this lens appreciate it for similar uses. These typically include landscapes, nightscapes, real estate, and photographing large groups. It can go wherever your imagination takes it.
The Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 is tack sharp from close-up to infinity. You just have to view some of the sample images that folks upload to appreciate the colors and clarity.
This lens has infinity focus which is the opposite of a narrow DOF (Depth of Field). It means everything in your frame will be in focus from the nearest focal point to infinity. Astrophotographers love it.
As an ultra-wide zoom, you get versatility and unusual perspectives compared to other lenses. It’s a great choice for creative types and businesses that need to capture more in tight spaces.
I was very impressed with the image quality across the range, especially between F8-F11. The little CA that occurs at wider apertures is easy to clear up using imaging software.
US sales of the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 come with an extended 3-year warranty. That speaks volumes about Tokina’s confidence in their product.
What Could Be Better
It’s important to note that the zoom range for this lens is pretty narrow. It’s versatile as ultra-wide angle lens but not so versatile when it comes to focal range.
There’s some notable chromatic aberration at wider apertures in high contrast settings. Although it’s unfortunate, it’s also not difficult to correct using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
The lens hood—though good—is annoying. When reversed it’s hard to access the focus ring. It’s also difficult to take off and put back on. My advice would be to watch a YouTube tutorial just on the hood.
The hood is often a necessary extra but it’s a design flaw from hell so please take heed.
- Type: All-In-One Zoom
- Aperture: f/3.5-5.6
- Weight: 21 oz.
- Focal Length: 18-200mm
- Filter: 72mm
- The high points: Nice colors, sharp, compact, IS, circular aperture, beautiful bokeh
- The high points: Slight distortion at 18mm, little CA at 200mm, AF slow
I wanted to add an all-in-one zoom for the Canon 70D and the EF-S 18-200mm got the vote. It’s very compact (for a zoom) and offers a wide-angle telephoto perspective.
The build is nice and the lens feels good in the hand. I thought it felt a little heavy on the front end at first but soon got used to it. Overall, it’s a good price for a fast performing Canon lens.
As an everyday lens, I had to put it through the “everyday” lens test. I was not disappointed. I shot some lovely portraits, sports photos, landscapes, and various objects over the course of a few days.
Of all the above, indoor sports and action photography gave the biggest challenge. The lens performed fine. It’s just that I had to play around with apertures, ISO settings, and shutters to prepare.
There are a few common complaints, though, and we’ll look at those in the review.
What Reviewers Say
It’s a Canon lens so there are always the diehard supporters as well as a few first-timers. From what I’ve read, over 90% of reviewers are more than satisfied with the Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6.
Some have had the lens for a while and put it through a lot. It’s a workhorse and continues to perform consistently well. People seem to like the zoom placement and comfortable grip of this lens too.
There are a few minor gripes about sharpness. Reviewers who complain about this have probably only experienced prime lenses until now. I can tell you this lens is tack sharp for a product in its class.
Experienced users know that prime lenses have the edge on image quality over zooms. People have more good things to say than bad things for this everyday lens and its fairly wide focal range.
The lens is sharp and produces nice colors for a zoom. It’s fairly compact and therefore travel-friendly too. It has a lock that keeps the lens from opening, which is good as it tends to walk otherwise.
Image Stabilization is the main reason I chose this quality zoom. It’s guaranteed to save a lot of otherwise lost pics, especially when light levels fall. This one works well giving an extra four stops.
Bokeh lovers won’t be disappointed either. Okay, so it’s not the quality of say an F2.4 lens but it’s very pleasing nonetheless. The circular aperture also helps to enhance the blurred background effect.
The Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 is a nice lens. It provides good photographic quality and opportunities across its wide angle to telephoto range.
What Could Be Better
No lens is 100% perfect, and Canon’s EF-S 18–200mm is no exception. The few drawbacks it has are minor, though, and don’t deter most buyers. It’s still important to point them out.
On the quality front, there’s some barrel and pincushion distortion at the wider end. It’s not extreme but it is noticeable. At the 200mm end there’s a little chromatic aberration (CA) as well.
The good news is that these imperfections are quick and easy to correct. You can fix them using free or paid post-processing software programs.
Another complaint from some users is the fairly slow autofocus. It’s more noticeable in lower light situations and an issue that will vary slightly with different cameras. I did notice it on the 70D.
The AF can be a bit noisy, too. This is something that can interfere with the video’s audio.