5 Best Canon Lenses for Video

When considering the right Canon lens to pair with your camera body, it is important to look at the crop factor of the lens along with other factors such as bokeh. Sometimes novice videographers get caught up in comparing focal lengths and other features, which can be confusing.

Hello, fellow videographers! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional photographer and videographer. Since 2009 I have been providing professional services for clients across the United States. During that time, I have created countless videos using Canon lenses. I have also served as the Director on a few independent films and have used Canon lenses for my projects.

In this article, I will go over some of the things you should look for in a lens for video production. I will also share with you my list of the best Canon Lens for video footage. Additionally, I will answer a few frequently asked questions.

Key Takeaways

  • The best lens for video depends on several factors including the camera body you are using, your skill level, and the story you intend to tell.
  • Choose a lens that pulls out dramatic scenes or one that isolates the subject from the background for things like documentaries.
  • Look for a lens that helps you to avoid common issues such as chromatic aberration, ghosting, flaring, etc.
What is the best focal length to use for the video?

It depends on how much space you have to work with and how much of the background you want to capture, however, I recommend a lens with focal lengths that range somewhere between 35mm and 50mm.

Depending on the camera body you are using to record interviews, I recommend that you use a lens with a focal length of 24mm to 85mm. Additionally, your lens should feature a low aperture of something like an f-stop of 3.5. These specs give you more flexibility with your depth of field and will help you isolate your subject from the background.

What Makes The Best Canon Lens for Video

When it comes to deciding on which lens to shoot your videos with, there are several important factors to consider. Understanding what kind of story you want to tell and what subject (s) you are filming are integral parts of video production. 

Additionally, determining the type of look you want, be it cinematic, documentary, etc., is an important piece of information to know when looking for the right lens.

Here are some more factors to consider when looking for the best Canon lens for video production.

  • Lens Breathing: When shooting video, your lens should have minimal breathing. Lens breathing is the amount of shifting that occurs when you are focusing your lens. Most high-end lenses will come pre-designed with no or little lens breathing. However, some lenses breathe to some extent. You should consider cine lenses to avoid the breathing issue.
  • Lens Flaring: Lens flaring is another consideration to look at when looking for the right lens to shoot your video with. Flaring occurs when light is dispersed throughout the system, causing a flare to be seen. Look for lenses that offer as much protection as possible against flaring.
  • Chromatic Aberration: When colors converge at a single point and your lens fails to focus all these colors, it results in chromatic aberration. You want to look for a lens that helps to protect your project against this occurrence. Lenses with low dispersion features are best at avoiding this problem.
  • Bokeh: This is out-of-focus points of light coming through your lens. Good bokeh can result in tasteful types of blur or haze that enhance your video creation. You want to use a lens that gives you an anamorphic look.
  • Aspect Ratio: You want a lens that has the correct aspect ratio for the camera body that you are using. Even when a lens may fit the camera body mount, it may not have the correct opening size to match the camera’s sensor size. Therefore, you want to ensure that you choose a lens that is compatible with your camera body from the ratio standpoint so that it doesn’t result in vignetting when light is absent.

The Best Canon Lenses for Video Reviewed

Now that we have a better understanding of what to look for, let’s take a look at my list of the best Canon lenses for video production.

1. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM (Best Overall)

  • Lens Type: Telephoto
  • Lens Design: Zoom
  • Focus Type: Micromotor
  • Image Stabilization: 4 stops

When it comes to a great all-around lens for video, the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 lens is my top choice. This option is remarkably stable with Canon’s stepper motor technology. It is also a good combination of size and range.

The zoom feature and the optics on this lens are exceptional. With its micromotor technology and impressive image stabilization, this lens works well for users of all levels.

The thing that I like most about Canon EF-S 18-135mm is the spectra coat present on each element that keeps the lens from flaring or ghosting. This feature alone is well worth using this lens for video purposes. 

The one area of concern is the amount of chromatic aberration. As I mentioned above, aberrations are problematic. However, the good far outweighs the bad with this lens and the chromatic aberrations can be avoided with the right technique.

My Verdict: Versatility is what sets this lens apart. The focal range is great and the image quality is exceptional. This lens gives you options for video production that may be limited by other lens choices.

2. Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens (Best Performance)

  • Lens Type: Wide angle
  • Lens Design: Zoom
  • Focus Type: Stepper motor
  • Image Stabilization: Optical

The Canon 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is one of the best-performing lenses’ that you can find for video production. The wide angle aspect sets it apart from others in this class.

It presents some excellent features including a single aspheric element, a high-performance ratio, and an ultra-low dispersion element. Additionally, the lens has a large diameter element. 

It also has a seven-blade diaphragm, that allows the lens to enhance image quality. It also has excellent shallow depth of field which is important when using it for videos. 

The f/4.5 maximum aperture of this lens is the only thing that worries me. The aperture issue causes problems in low light conditions. Otherwise, this lens is a solid number two choice and is the top-performing lens among the remaining lenses on my list.

My Verdict: This is a great lens choice for producing high-quality video images with exceptional stability, allowing videos to be shot in a handheld form without experiencing a camera shake. 

3. Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM Lens (Best Outdoors)

  • Lens Type: Telephoto
  • Lens Design: Prime
  • Focus Type: Autofocus
  • Image Stabilization: None

The Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM is a dynamic, powerfully designed lens that is a part of the well-respected L-series from Canon. This option is perfectly designed for video production.

Videographers who specialize in documentaries and films love this lens. It is great to use in outdoor settings because it is weather resistant to moisture and dust. This lens also gives you excellent usage with UV filters.

The thing that stands out about Canon EF 135mm f/2 L USM is the super spectra coat which all but eliminates ghosting and flaring. With so many instances of external light possible when filming, the spectra coat on the elements of this lens help to avoid the issues with flaring.

However, you cannot zoom in using the ultrasonic motor. This comes down to an efficiency issue, causing you to have to switch lenses for different shots when performing video production.

My Verdict: This is a good choice for filmmakers who are shooting outdoor scenes. The rugged design and weather-resistant body allow you to work in many adverse conditions.

4. Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye Lens (Best Budget)

  • Lens Type: Fisheye
  • Lens Design: Prime
  • Focus Type: Autofocus
  • Image Stabilization: None

The EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens is a nice choice for an EF-mount camera like the Canon D60. It has great FOV and offers a 180-degree ultra-wide lens. 

This unique lens gives you great detail on closeup images. You can focus on a subject as close as 8 inches away with nearly perfect clarity. It is also well constructed with 8 elements in 7 groups.

The internal focusing feature is outstanding. This function allows you to lock onto a subject and focus quickly and smoothly. With a decent shutter speed on your camera body, this lens can take burst shots easily and efficiently. 

There is no optical image stabilization, therefore, when shooting video with this lens, you need additional support or an extremely stable hand (which is never steady enough for smooth video). 

My Verdict: This is a good lens choice for creating unique video footage and for playing to your creative tastes.

5. Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro Lens (Best Low Light)

  • Lens Type: Macro
  • Lens Design: Linear
  • Focus Type: Auto
  • Image Stabilization: Yes

The last choice on my list is the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro lens. While this option is at the end of my list, that doesn’t mean it’s a subpar lens because it is far from that. When it comes to macro needs, this lens meets or surpasses any standard that you find.

This lens allows you to delineate any subject you shoot using a good camera body from any distance. That is quite remarkable given the original production date of this lens. Additionally, this lens has an available EF converter that facilitates a macro reproduction ratio of 1:1.

What I like most is the bokeh it gives you. It brings colors into a point of focus that is nothing short of remarkable. The options for blur and haze that come with this lens are creatively outstanding.

Unfortunately, the autofocus on Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 is louder than on other lenses and it is somewhat sluggish. This can cause a problem when there is a need for quick, quiet focusing and shooting.

My Verdict: This is a good lens to add to your bag for video shooting. It is priced nicely and has a lengthy history of sound performance.

Final Thoughts

There are so many Canon lenses that contribute to video production. Keep in mind the factors discussed in this article to ensure that you find the perfect Canon lens for your video needs.

I highly recommend that you look at use specificity first, then align your intended use with the camera body’s specs, to determine the best fit.

Also, remember that skill levels differ among videographers and you must understand your current skill set to know which lens will enhance the things you do well and provide some assistance in the areas that you still need to grow in.

Which Canon lenses have worked best for you? Share your experience and feel free to leave any questions below.

Until next time, enjoy making great videos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *