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Tips & Tutorials >> All Tips & Tutorials

Beyond The Kit Lens: Telephoto and Macro Options


Whether your first interchangeable lens camera is a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, there is a high chance that it came with a kit lens. These kit lenses are great for beginners to learn photography with. It covers a good range from wide angle to telephoto for budding photographers to understand how different focal length works. But as you progress in your photography journey, you may want a wider lens to cover more field of view, or a dedicated telephoto lens to zoom in more on your subject.  

This is probably where upgrading specialised lenses are necessary to let photographers get the shot that they envision.  


In this second of a two-part series, we will explore the telephoto and macro lens options for Canon’s four lens mounts. We will look not only at the native choices, but also how some lenses can be attached to another mount via an adapter. For example, the EF-M mount can accept both EF and EF-S lenses with the Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS M.  


To find out what options you have for wide angle and standard lenses, click here


For easy reference on which mount can accept which lenses, here’s a handy table.


Telephoto Zoom 

EF-M55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM (equivalent to approximately 88mm-320mm in 35mm format) 

An affordable telephoto lens for EF-M users, the EF-M55-200mm f4.5-6.3 IS STM is a good addition to photographers who want that extra reach when shooting wildlife. Lens-based IS will assist photographers by stabilizing the shot when shooting handheld even when the lens is zoomed out. That being said, the f4.5-6.3 aperture range may be a tad limiting for some photographers.  


EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS (equivalent to approximately 29mm-320mm in 35mm format) 

The great thing about using a telephoto lens on a crop sensor is the additional reach you get on telephoto lenses. The EF-S18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS is such an example. When zoomed in, it reaches 320mm. Birding photographers who want to double that range can put on a teleconverter to get 640mm. This range is the same for both EF-S and EF-M users. 


There is no shortage of telephoto lenses in Canon's portfolio, but the 70-200mm f/4L is probably one of the most popular and affordable choices among EF photographers. Despite the slightly shorter range of 200mm, the fixed f/4 aperture has made this lens a staple for photographers who need a reliable telephoto lens.  


One of the best things about the RF lenses with IS is that with the R5 or R6, you can get up to 7.5 stops of image stabilization. This is especially important if you're shooting handheld when the lens is zoomed out, or panning a moving subject. In the RF line of lenses, there are no shortage of choices of telephoto zoom optics, but the RF70-200mm f/4L IS USM should be one of your top considerations if you're looking out for a telephoto lens for your R camera.  



EF-M28mm f/2.5 Macro IS STM (equivalent to approximately 45mm in 35mm format) 

Built for the EF-M range of mirrorless cameras, this lens comes with its own built-in ring light to illuminate the subject when shooting close up. A compact and lightweight lens, it pairs well with the EOS M cameras, making the combination an easy-to-carry option for macro photographers.  


EF-S60mm f/2.8 Macro USM (equivalent to approximately 96mm in 35mm format) 

A popular choice among macro photographers who are using cropped sensor DSLRs, this lens gives an FOV of 96mm when fitted on compatible bodies. Photographers who need IS can look to the EF-S35mm f/2.8 Macro IS STM, which, like the EF-M version, comes with its own onboard ring light.  


Photographers who need to do close-up work will often pivot to the EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM. It's so well designed that it's hardly been changed since its first iteration was launched in 2000. A versatile and sharp lens, it can go on any Canon camera body with the right adapter.  


With a large aperture of f/2, macro photographers have the ability of getting creamy bokeh in their photos. The lens-based IS, coupled with the R5 or R6's IBIS, gives photographers up to 8-stop of stabilization. Perfect when shooting close up subjects handheld. RF photographers also have the option of the new RF100mm f/2.8L MACRO IS USM.  


The choice of lenses is vast, depending on the mount of the camera you are using. On top of that, using an appropriate adapter will open up even more options for you. Some adapters are multi-functional, such as the EF-EOS R Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter, allowing you to mount EF and EF-S lenses on an RF body, and also slot in a neutral density filter.  


Click here to read the first part of this series, detailing options for wide-angle and standard lenses. 


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