Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash
I know that the mantra in photography is that really good lenses are expensive.
But that's not always the case...
In fact, you can find some really great glass on the cheap - you just have to know what to look for.
That's where this quick guide comes in.
If you're in the market for a better Canon lens, look no further than these budget-friendly options.
Editor's Tip: Learn more about your gear and how to use it by learning how to find the effective focal length of a lens.
Best Cheap Camera Lenses for Canon: EF 40mm f/2.8 STM
If you're a Canon shooter, the 40mm f/2.8 STM is a great option for everything from travel photography to street photography. Heck, use it for video as well!
It's thin, pancake design makes it beautifully easy to use thanks to its small form factor and featherlight weight.
The f/2.8 aperture isn't the biggest in the world, but if you're upgrading your kit to include a good prime lens, f/2.8 is certainly a step up from what a kit lens offers.
This isn't a lens just for beginners with crop sensor cameras, though. Pros often use this lens on a full frame rig to get a beautiful standard view of the subject that's a little narrower than a typical 35mm wide-angle view.
Better still, this lens has one aspherical element that limits distortion and spherical aberrations. The addition of a Super Spectra Coating further eliminates ghosting and flare while boosting color neutrality and contrast.
For $129 brand new, that's an awful long list of features! You might even be able to find one for less if you buy pre-owned. Get more details on this great lens in the video above by Christopher Frost Photography.
Another option to consider: The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 USM is one of the sharpest in Canon's lineup and is supremely versatile, too.
Best Budget Canon Zoom Lens: EF 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 III
The EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III is not the best the Canon has ever made. In fact, it feels super cheap when you hold it.
However, just because it can't compete with Canon's L-series professional lenses doesn't mean that it's not a good lens for the price.
In fact, for $179 brand-new (or perhaps much less used), you get a huge focal range of 75-300mm. That means that with a single lens, you can photograph everything from portraits to sports to wildlife.
The maximum f/4.5-5.6 aperture isn't going to blow anyone away, but in good lighting conditions, this lens will perform admirably. See the lens in action in the video below by Christopher Frost Photography:
For a telephoto lens, it's quite small and lightweight, which makes it an ideal companion for travel photography.
Like the 40mm lens discussed above, this one sports Canon's Super Spectra coating, and with its seven-blade diaphragm, this lens produces nice-looking bokeh.
Another option to consider: If you have a Canon crop sensor camera, it doesn't get much better than the EF-S55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II.
Editor's Tip: Need an ideal lens for portraiture? Learn why 85mm is the perfect focal length for portraits.
The Best Canon Lens for Beginners: EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
Honestly, if you're going to purchase a Canon lens, there's really no better choice than the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM.
Sure, it's made of plastic, but it's one of the best lenses Canon has made (outside the L-series). It's only $129 brand-new, too.
What's great about this lens - apart from the f/1.8 aperture, the silent motor, and the small form factor, it's unbelievably versatile.
Use it for portraits or landscapes, or even video work for that matter. On an APS-C camera, it acts like an 80mm lens, so you can even do a little short telephoto work.
And though it's plastic, it's made well and is durable, so it can take a few lumps and still work perfectly.
Still, if you're on a budget, it's an awesome little lens that you can pick up for next to nothing at all, especially if you can find a nice pre-owned one!
Another option to consider: If you have a bit more money, go for the EF 50mm f/1.4 STM.