5 Best Lenses for Canon T3i

With so many lens options in the market, it takes some serious deliberation to find the best lens for your Canon T3i. Understanding your intended uses and being able to capture the right images are two of the most important pieces to consider when choosing that perfect lens.

Hello fellow Canon enthusiasts! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional photographer and videographer. Since 2009 I have been providing professional services to clients across the United States and I have worked as a filmmaker and videographer for television.

Today, I will go over some of the things you should look for in a lens for Canon and share my picks for the top lenses for the Canon T3i camera body. I’ll also address a few frequently asked questions.

Key Takeaways

  • When looking for the best lens to use with the Canon T3i, you should consider lenses that fit the scene you intend to shoot. Focal length and maximum aperture are great aspects to look at to determine what’s best for the shot you’re taking.
  • The best shots are often based on angles. Therefore, choose a lens that gives you the best opportunity to maximize angles.
  • Consider the collateral issues that may be present with certain lenses such as chromatic aberrations and distortions. These issues can be problematic if not anticipated.
What is the difference between STM and USM lenses?

STM is a stepper motor and USM is the ultrasonic motor. Each of these has a different way of moving its inner focusing elements. Both have strengths and weaknesses and both can be used with the T3i. Learn more here.

I’d suggest the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens as a great choice for a wide angle lens to use with the T3i. This lens combines high image quality and excellent optical performance at a very affordable price.

The T3i uses a CMOS sensor and is capable of delivering 1080 HD video. The image quality is better than average. You do have to be aware of the rolling shutter effect that occurs with its video production.

What to Look for in a Lens for Canon T3i

  • Motor Type: One of the most important things to look for in a lens that works well with the T3i is the motor type. USM and STM motors are the most notable ones. They combine speed and durability and can be used in several settings.
  • Maximum Aperture: The aperture determines how much light can come through the lens to the image sensor. To shoot action or fast-paced scenes and not experience blur, the maximum aperture should be the focal point of the lens that you choose.
  • Focal Length: Focal length is another key aspect that you should look at when deciding on the right lens for your T3i. For landscape scenes, you want a focal length between 8-24mm. For subjects such as architecture, interiors, and some landscapes, the focal length should be between 24-35mm. Still yet, for medium distances, you need a focal length between 135-300mm.
  • Image Stabilization: Many of your shots will be taken by hand and at slower shutter speeds and a good image stabilization system is necessary to avoid the dreaded camera shake.

The Best Lenses for Canon T3i Reviewed

Now let’s get to the good part! Here are my top choices for the best lenses for the Canon T3i.

1. Canon EF-S 35mm (Best Overall)

  • Mount: EF-S
  • Diaphragm Blades: 7
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Stabilization: Optical

The top choice on my list is the Canon EF-S 35mm lens. This compact option is designed for APS-C bodies and delivers some remarkable close-up images that are nearly life-sized. When fitted on the T3i, this lens produces a 56mm equivalent focal length.

The EF-S 35mm has a powerful macro mode and an optical stabilizer that compensates nicely for any camera shake. It also delivers crisp images using the front-facing macro lite LED. The 7 diaphragm blades are also notable.

One of the best things about this lens is the 5.1” close focusing distance. With this feature, this 35mm lens produces excellent close-up magnification. The f/2.8 maximum aperture is also a nice quality of this lens.

There is a slight barrel distortion that you get when pushing it to its maximum aperture. Otherwise, this lens easily delivers high-quality, crisp images.

My Verdict: The EF-S 35mm is a good, all-around lens that works exceptionally well with the T3i. It’s a good focal length for several types of shots. This is also an affordable lens.

2. Canon EF 75-300mm (Best Telephoto)

  • Mount: EF
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Stabilization: None

The next lens on my list is the Canon EF 75-300mm. This practical telephoto lens is a popular choice for many photographers. With its silent autofocus feature and 4x zoom, it works very well with the T3i.

This lens easily covers portrait and medium-range telephoto shots. Some of the elements on this lens have the super spectra coating which helps to prevent flaring and ghosting. This lens also delivers precision coloring and high-quality contrast.

The crispness you get when shooting at the maximum focal length is outstanding. Whether you are taking shots at a sporting event or doing portraits, this lens offers the versatility needed to be a mainstay in your bag.

I don’t like that Canon EF 75-300mm is not weather sealed at all. While it is a great lens to cover outdoor events, the lack of weather sealing exposes the lens to unpredictable conditions that can occur quickly outdoors.

My Verdict: This is a great telephoto lens to acquire at a very good price point and it works great with the T3i. It’s a lightweight and powerful lens that all photographers should have.

3. Meike 8mm f3.5 (Best Budget)

  • Mount: EF
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: None
  • Stabilization: None

Next up on my list might be a surprising choice for some of you. The Meike 8mm f/3.5 is one of the best choices when pairing a lens with the T3i. This is a very affordable lens with several great features.

It is uniquely designed and offers nice vignetting and a very wide field of view. It also enhances your ability to capture perspective on images. Some of the lens elements have multi-layer nano coating which helps to prevent reflection, flaring, and ghosting.

I really like the ability to minimize chromatic aberration and lens flaring. The 9 diaphragm blades really position this lens to deliver nice, crisp images.

For reasons that I haven’t quite understood yet, this lens doesn’t hold the manual focus settings well at all. It may be because of the imbalance of the lens elements.

My Verdict: This lens is well-designed and easy to use for photographers of all levels. It works well with the T3i and is also compatible with full-frame cameras.

4. Sigma 150-600mm (Best Focus)

  • Mount: EF
  • Diaphragm blades: 9
  • Autofocus: Yes
  • Stabilization: Optical

The next choice on my list is the Sigma 150-600mm. This lens has a remarkable focusing feature that is smooth and fast. With its optical stabilization system and 9 diaphragm blades, it is an exceptional lens that is well-designed.

Even when used handheld or while moving, this lens produces high-quality images and has an impressive telephoto reach. This is a go-to lens for sports and nature photography enthusiasts.

The thing that stands out nicely is the powerful optical stabilization system. Since it is widely used for moving subjects, it is remarkable that the stabilization system works so well. This lens delivers exceptional sharp images as well.

The biggest drawback is the slight chromatic aberration. Along with that, it also has a little pincushion distortion which can be an issue that needs to be corrected in post editing.

My Verdict: This is a long-reaching telephoto lens that is great for wildlife and sporting events. When coupled with the T3i, it turns that camera body into a powerful photography tool.

5. Lightdow 85mm F1.8 (Best Performance)

  • Mount: EF
  • Diaphragm blades: 7
  • Autofocus: None
  • Stabilization: None

The last choice on my list may also be a surprise to some of you. The Lightdow 85mm f/1.8 is a high-performing workhorse lens that has a lot to offer. It has excellent light transmission and is great for reducing flaring and ghosting.

Even in challenged lighting, this lens delivers crisp images. When manually focusing, you can create some remarkable images that really capture impressive moods. It’s a versatile option that delivers high quality under many conditions.

The ultra multi-coating design helps to create exceptional sharp images while reducing flaring and ghosting. The aperture and optics of this lens are really high-grade.

The slow aperture at the wide end can be an issue when too much light comes into the lens. 

My Verdict: This is an affordable option that can really work well with the T3i. It’s a powerful lens with exceptional image quality and is definitely worth keeping handy.

Final Thoughts

Pairing your Canon T3i with the right lens is situational. Depending on what scene you are shooting, you will choose a lens that is suitable for that use. Each of the lenses listed here offers great options for you to consider. Again, the most important thing is understanding which lens enhances your scene the most. 

A couple of other options in addition to the five on this list include the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM and the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4. Both of these lenses have their primary usage applications and can provide exceptional value to your lens inventory.

What lens have you liked most with your T3i? Leave your comments or questions below and I will respond to you as soon as possible.

Until next time, capture the best of the best and share them with the world!

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