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Best prime lens for Canon

Looking for a Canon fixed focal length? Here are my current recommendations for Canon SLR and system camera fixed focal lengths!

Why do fixed focal lengths help you improve your photography?

Photographing with fixed focal lengths is a great way to develop your photography. Unlike working with a zoom lens, you automatically put more thought into your image composition. If you want to change your framing, you can’t zoom in, you have to move around. That alone creates a completely different approach to photography.

What do fixed focal lengths do better than zoom lenses? Why is a fixed focal length worthwhile?

Fixed focal lengths have two major advantages over zoom lenses:

  1. They are generally sharper because the construction is less complex. The image quality is therefore better than with most zoom lenses.
  2. They are usually faster than zoom lenses, so they let more light into the camera due to a larger aperture. This means you can still shoot without a tripod even in lower light and the background is more blurred.

Sometimes fixed focal lengths are also lighter than zoom lenses. Looking for recommendations and tests on other Canon lenses? On my page about Canon lenses I have listed all the articles I have written about them.

Best prime lens for Canon
Best prime lens for Canon

My recommendations for Canon fixed focal lengths

Fixed focal lengths for Canon SLR cameras

Below you will find my top 5 recommendations for Canon fixed focal lengths. These lenses work on all Canon EOS cameras, whether crop or full frame. The ideal and at the same time most affordable entry into this world of photography is the first recommendation.

Recommendation #1: Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM

If you want to start with a Canon fixed focal length, go for the Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM. It’s small, light, sharp, and fast. On a crop camera like my Canon EOS 700D, it’s great for portraits. On a full-frame camera like the Canon EOS 5D IV, it’s a normal focal length. One of the best arguments for this lens, however, is the price. At around 120 Euros, it is absolutely affordable and offers great value for money. You can find more info in my detailed Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 STM review.

Recommendation #2: Canon EF 85mm 1.8 USM

The Canon EF 85mm 1.8 USM also has a very good price-performance ratio. It is probably suitable on crop (APS-C) as well as full frame camera especially for portraits. With a starting aperture of 1.8 it is very fast and in contrast to the 1.4 and 1.2 of the Canon 85mm lenses also very light. The autofocus is snappy and accurate due to the ultrasonic motor(USM). If you shoot portraits, you’ll love the Canon EF 85mm 1.8 USM.

Recommendation #3: Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM Art

If we’re talking about fixed focal lengths, then after a 50mm and an 85mm, there definitely needs to be a 35mm fixed focal length. Some photographers use these three fixed focal lengths exclusively. Canon also offers a 35mm 1.4 lens, but I find the Sigma 35mm 1.4 DG HSM Art even better. It is extremely sharp and very fast. In return, it also brings a certain weight with it. Lately, there are more and more photographers in my circle of friends who only use a 35mm lens. Often it is the Sigma.

Recommendation #4: Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM Art

If you want to upgrade your Canon 50mm 1.8 STM at some point, I recommend the Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM Art. It’s already very sharp at open aperture. The lens is especially popular for its soft bokeh, in which the background blurs. Like the 35mm, it is also very fast with a starting aperture of 1.4. At 815 grams, the Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM Art is not exactly a lightweight. But it is worth it.

Recommendation #5: Canon EF 135mm 2.0 L USM

The Canon EF 135mm 2.0 L USM belongs to the royal class of Canon fixed focal lengths. It is one of the sharpest lenses available for Canon anywhere. For this lightweight telephoto lens, the starting aperture of 2.0 is remarkable. At 750 grams, it’s no lightweight either, but quality has to be worn. The Canon EF 135mm 2.0 L USM is a great fixed focal length for portraits, but also for event photography. For working in demanding environments, the 135mm is sealed. This means it is protected against dust and splashing water.

Fixed focal lengths for Canon mirrorless crop system cameras with EF-M mount

Below you will find my recommendations for Canon system cameras with crop sensor. These lenses are suitable for all Canon EOS M cameras with EF-M mount. These are for example the EOS M6, M6 Mark II, M5, M50, M200 and M100.

Recommendation #1: Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM

Canon has fortunately made a good selection when offering new lenses for the EOS M system. Analogous to the angle of view of a 50mm lens on a full frame camera, there is the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM for EF-M. It’s sharp, relatively small, and comes with an STM motor. So you can also use it well for video, because this motor is virtually inaudible when you refocus during video.

The highlight of this lens, however, is the aperture of 1.4, which makes it considered very fast. With such a large open aperture, you can blur the background well in pictures. This is a great thing for portrait shots, for example. In addition, the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM allows you to set the focus to the entire range or 0.5 meters to infinity with a switch. The advantage of the latter setting is that you’ll have even faster autofocus because the camera only checks that range.

Recommendation #2: Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM

If you want it even smaller, the Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM is worth a look. Mirrorless cameras are, after all, usually smaller than SLRs anyway. A small lens like this 22mm pancake fits very well with that. The name pancake comes from the flat construction. A fast and quiet STM motor is also installed here. Despite its exceedingly compact size, this lens is pleasantly fast and sharp with a starting aperture of 2.0.

The Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM is a good choice for you if the 32mm of my first recommendation is too long for you. This focal length is mainly used by reportage photographers. The viewer of the images feels right in the middle of the action. Nevertheless, your camera-lens combination remains small and light. Another argument for this lens: it is very affordable.

Fixed focal lengths for mirrorless Canon full frame system cameras with RF mount

Below you will find my recommendations for Canon system cameras with full-frame sensor. These lenses are suitable for all Canon EOS R cameras with RF mount. These are for example the EOS R5, R6, R, Ra and RP.

Recommendation #1: Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM

The Canon RF 50mm F1.2L USM has its price, but it is currently the only 50mm lens for the Canon EOS R cameras. With a starting aperture of 1.2, it is extremely fast. In combination with the full-frame sensor of your EOS R camera, you can completely blur the background of your subject.

A ring USM motor is used for focusing, which works quickly and quietly. The L designation in the lens name tells you that this lens is part of the Canon L series. This means that it is sealed and insensitive to dust and splash water. So you can use it in more demanding environments without any problems.

Recommendation #2: Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM

Canon has a whole three 85mm lenses for the RF mount in its lineup? Of these, the Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is the most universal and cheapest. With an initial aperture, it is fast and also offers an image stabilizer. This stabilizer captures a full 5 stops, which would have been unthinkable 10 years ago.

In addition to these features, the lens has a closest focusing distance of only 35 cm. This means that it is also suitable for macro photography. So you can get very close to small subjects. The STM motor works quickly and quietly, making it good for video as well.

The Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is my recommendation for portraits.

Which Canon fixed focal lengths do you like the most? Which ones would you definitely recommend? Write me in the comments!