In this discussion, we shall examine the best Canon lenses for video shooting. We have recommended primes and zoom lenses on this list without prejudice to any particular focal length or focusing type.
If you’re looking to create your next cinematic masterpiece on your Canon camera, you’re in the right place.
List of Top Canon Lens for Video
Reviews of Best Canon Lenses for Video
Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L USM
The Canon RF 28-70mm is an f/2 aperture lens designed for Canon’s RF mount mirrorless camera system. This lens is compatible with many RF camera systems like the Canon EOS R5, R6, and R7. It’s also compatible with the Canon EOS C70 and the Red Digital Cinema camera.
The most impressive thing about this lens is the fast f/2 aperture. It easily beats many of the standard f/2.8 primes and even wide zooms with a maximum aperture of f/2.8. At f/2, it is a full one-stop faster than f/2.8 lenses. Incidentally, this is the world’s first wide zoom lens of a focal length longer than 35mm with an aperture faster than f/2.8.
The lens can collect a lot of light even when the lighting conditions are less than optimal. With a fast aperture like this, you don’t have to push the ISO too high to get sharp exposure.
The second significant advantage of wide-open apertures is that these lenses can capture a beautiful background blur known as bokeh in photography.
Of course, there are advantages when shooting videos as well.
The lens covers an excellent focal length range, perfect for everyday photography. From 28mm to 70mm, the lens is a versatile focal length for shooting almost all kinds of videography. It covers all the focal lengths of popular everyday prime lenses, such as the 35mm, the 40mm, and the 50mm.
You can use this lens for shooting portraits, weddings, group shots, fashion, studio, and candid shots of all kinds. Plus, if you are a landscape photographer, you will find the 28 to 70mm to be an effective lens for landscape photography. But this is an excellent lens for shooting videos, and the shallow depth of field that’s possible with this lens for this purpose.
At 28mm, this lens captures a wider scope of the scene in front of the camera. You don’t always have to shoot at the widest aperture of f/2. You can always shoot at a smaller aperture for landscape photography, bringing the entire frame into focus. This lens is capable of such a composition.
Autofocusing on the lens is powered by Canon’s ring-type ultrasonic motor. Autofocusing performance is very fast, and the lens has a full-time manual focusing override for precise focusing adjustment when needed.
This lens competes with the likes of the 24-70mm wide zoom all-purpose lens and a few others. However, I feel that every lens has its sweet spot in terms of applications, and even though the 24-70 mm is a little wider than this lens, I still find the 28-70mm to be a good lens.
Canon RF 85mm F1.2 L USM DS
Regarding focal length, the Canon RF 85mm f/1.2 is a fantastic portrait lens. It is smack bang on the money for autofocus, has fantastic optics, and is a well-made L series lens. Let’s learn more about it in this short review.
If you love portraits and are an RF mount camera user, there is hardly a better lens than the RF 85mm. It uses the entry-level minimum focal length for shooting portraits (85 to 135mm).
This lens has many features that make it an excellent option. The fantastic f/1.2 maximum aperture performs in every lighting situation. It’s 2 and 1/3rd stops faster than an f/2.8 standard lens. It’s also 1 and 1/3rd stops faster than the 28-70mm f/2 lens I listed above.
The f/1.2 aperture gives an incredible advantage in most lighting conditions but is also beneficial for blurring the background to emphasize the subject.
This is an excellent lens for shooting videos, thanks to the shallow depth of field and the outstanding background blur.
If you notice the side of the lens, you will find the acronym DS which means defocused smoothing. This indicates a special coating on two lens elements that enables them to behave as radial graduated ND filters. In other words, these coated lens elements allow a decreasing amount of light transmission from the center to the periphery. It results in softer out-of-focus highlights that create a beautiful background blur.
An additional unique element named Blue Spectrum Refractive optics has been incorporated into the design that almost eliminates chromatic aberrations and color fringing, enhancing color accuracy and clarity of the images.
Canon’s ring-type autofocusing motor powers the autofocusing feature, making this function pretty quick and reliable.
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM
If you’re looking for an everyday lens that can shoot any photography, including portraits, products, sports, and everything in between, then the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM is a great lens to work with. This lens is also suitable for shooting videos.
This is a sturdy L series lens – Canon’s L series lenses are known for their build quality. The lens also features weather sealing. It can take a bit of abuse and is very well built.
A 70 to 200mm lens is a very versatile option. You can shoot videos with it and take advantage of the f/2.8 aperture to produce a shallow depth of field. Beyond its applications as a video camera, this lens is extremely useful for shooting portraits. It covers all the prime focal lengths of 85mm, 105mm, and 135mm, considered the best for shooting portraits.
The 70-200mm provides a lot of working space. You can shoot from a distance and zoom in for a tight composition if you wish to. Then the 70mm gives you a wider angle of view which you can use for that natural tight composition. It’s not as flexible as a 24-70mm lens, though, where you can exploit a greater angle of view, but it’s still useful.
The lens features Canon’s ring-type ultrasonic motor-powered autofocusing system. The autofocusing is very smooth and precise. This system features an internal focusing mechanism that ensures that the barrel length of the lens does not change while it is autofocusing.
The lens features optical image stabilization. Canon rates the optical image stabilization to 3.5 stops, which is great for videographers as handheld shooting is a lot easier with higher optical image stabilization.
Additionally, the lens features a full-time manual autofocusing override. We know this feature’s importance, especially when you’re shooting videos. You can precisely control where your lens is focusing. Autofocusing may sometimes hunt for focus, which is unacceptable when shooting videos. Full-time manual focusing override helps in such circumstances.
Additionally, the lens features a focus delimiter option. You can limit the extent to which the lens will hunt for focus. This increases focusing speed and helps during video shooting because the lens does not use the entire focusing range but only the range you preselect.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
Widely considered one of the best zoom lenses for everyday photography, the 24-70 mm’s popularity is second only to the 70-200mm. Regarding video shooting, 24-70mm is a better choice because it covers the prime focal lengths of 35mm and 50mm.
This is an L series lens, and just like all L series lenses, this one also comes with weather sealing and solid build quality. The lens has special seals around the joints and buttons, making it impervious to rain, dirt, and dust.
The fast f/2.8 aperture ensures that the lens can collect a lot of light. Especially in low light situations when regular kit lenses tend to struggle, this lens will not be struggling with its wide-open aperture.
The other benefit of the wide aperture is the shallow depth of field that you can capture with this lens. For shooting movies and capturing the cine-look, it’s pertinent that the lens has a fast wide-open aperture.
Let’s briefly talk about the autofocusing prowess of the lens. The 24-70mm is a very sharp lens. Even wide open at f/2.8, you can get good optical sharpness. Sharpness improves when the lens is stopped down, especially at the corners. Corner softness is more apparent when the lens is zoomed in at about 50mm to 70mm than at 24mm and thereabout.
This is an excellent lens if you’re a wedding videographer or do documentary-style indie movies. The 24-70mm covers the standard focal length to shoot a wide range of videos. However, this isn’t the best focal length for portraits. You will need the 70-200mm or a fast prime such as the 85mm or the 135mm.
Like the 28-70mm f/2, this lens is an excellent tool for shooting landscapes. Let’s say you want to shoot a wide-open vista; you can keep a subject in the center of the frame and stop down the aperture to capture a vast depth of field in your clips. A wide-angle lens does not suck in the scenery like a telephoto lens, so capturing wide scenery is a great option.
Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Nano USM
The EF-S 18-135mm is an inexpensive wide zoom lens designed for the APS-C format Canon camera systems such as the EOS Rebel SL2. Don’t bother mounting this on a full-frame Canon camera like the 5D Mark II. In an APS-C format, this Canon lens offers a 35mm format effective focal length of 28.8-216mm.
This is the sort of lens that you mount on your camera and forget it’s even there. It offers a significant amount of flexibility for still shooting because even after considering the FOVCF, the lens still offers an excellent focal length range.
Speaking of which, this lens can serve as an excellent travel lens. If you’re packing this lens for your trip, this is the only lens you will require in terms of focal length. It does not matter whether you’re going to shoot stills or videos. This lens will serve you in a lot of photography and videography situations.
At its widest focal length, a 35mm format equivalent of 28.8mm, this lens is an excellent example of a landscape lens. Perhaps some of you will say that a 24-70mm with its wider focal length is better suited for landscapes; I would like to add that there isn’t much difference in landscapes. All you need to do is take a few steps back, and you can capture the same frame that you would be able to capture with a 24mm lens.
The only problem that I can foresee is the maximum aperture. Starting at f/3.5, that’s still good. But when you zoom to 135mm, the maximum aperture drops to f/5.6. For a telephoto lens that requires a considerable space between the camera and the subject to capture a frame that you would typically capture using a 50mm or 35mm prime, the shallow depth of field capture will still be good. But the lens will struggle in low light, and you have to push the ISO to capture a good exposure.
Autofocusing on the lens uses a new nano USM technology. This technology combines the benefits of a standard ring-type USM motor and a lead-screw-type STM motor. The advantage is a twin. During photo shooting, the benefits of the ring-type autofocusing technology are apparent; during video shooting, the STM motor technology ensures a super-quiet experience.
Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM
This RF mount lens is designed for Canon’s RF mount camera systems. This is intended for full-frame camera systems and will not work with any APS-C camera system. The wide-angle focal length range of 15-35mm makes it ideal for shooting landscapes, street photography, weddings, group shots, interiors, and architecture. Though I don’t think there is a better option to shoot architecture than a tilt-shift lens, the Canon RF 15-35mm is a decent performer.
Speaking of, a focal range from 15mm to 35mm is an excellent focal range for shooting videos. You can shoot expansive sweeping vistas and capture panoramic views of a location without any issues.
The bright f/2.8 maximum aperture ensures that the lens can capture a lot of light. This fast aperture comes in handy, especially in low light conditions. You don’t have to push the ISO to take a sharp photo in common light conditions. The f/2.8 aperture is wide open, letting in a lot of light, even with little light available.
As has already been explained in some of the previous lens reviews, a wide-open aperture has a secondary advantage. That advantage is to be able to produce a shallow depth of field. A shallow depth of field is beneficial for shooting cinema-type videos. You can blur out everything in the background and the foreground and highlight the subject.
Regarding video shooting, the constant aperture of f/2.8 ensures that you can maintain the same depth of field across the focal length. This is useful when maintaining consistency across the different clips.
Please note that the lens features Canon’s Nano USM technology. This is an upgraded version of the standard USM autofocusing technology we have seen thus far. This same technology has been used in the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Nano USM reviewed above.
Being an L series lens, this one has superior build quality and the associated weather sealing. It can work in bad weather and dusty or dirty conditions. In addition to the weather sealing aspects, this lens also features an air-sphere and fluorine coating. Fluorine coatings ensure the lens can repel fingerprints and dirt on its front element.
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II
This is a standard zoom lens designed to be one lens that meets a lot of shooting requirements. This is the upgraded version of this lens, as seen from the II marking on the lens body.
The lowest zoom is 55mm, and the widest focal length is 250mm, giving you a 5x optical zoom that takes care of almost all everyday photography requirements. Once you mount it on your camera, this is the lens you have no reason to take off.
That said, don’t forget this is a lens designed for the APS-C camera systems of Canon. It won’t mount on a full-frame Canon camera. On an APS-C camera, there is a crop factor of 1.6x. The 1.6x crop factor results in an effective focal length of 88-400mm (35mm format equivalent).
The 55-250mm is a perfect companion to the 18-55mm kit lens. It’s one of the most popular lenses that entry-level camera owners tend to purchase. This lens is the one that they either purchase as a dual kit lens package or a second lens once they’re used to the 18-55mm kit lens.
The maximum aperture of the lens is only f/4 when fully zoomed out. When fully zoomed in, the maximum aperture is f/5.6. Compared to some of the other lenses we have discussed here, this is one of the slower ones in the business.
There are tell-tale signs that this is one of the cheaper Canon-made lenses. There is no full-time manual focusing override. You need to push a lever for the lens to switch from auto to manual focusing.
For video shooting, this lens is only moderately useful. The significant advantage is the long focal length range that ensures you can use a single lens to capture different perspectives. But I am not a fan of the variable aperture of the lens. You can’t maintain the same depth of field across the focal range because the maximum aperture keeps changing as you zoom in.
One of the advantages of the lens is the four stops of image shake correction that the lens comes with. Four stops of image shake correction means handheld shooting will be much easier with this lens.
Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 Di-II VC
Tamron’s Di II lenses are specifically designed for working with APS-C camera systems in the same way that all Tamron Di lenses are designed to work with full frame camera systems, and all Di III lenses are designed to work with respective mirrorless camera systems.
This is a Di II lens and therefore compatible with APS-C camera systems. The lens is made for several camera mounts, including the Nikon F-mount and the Canon EF-S mount. On an APS-C camera, the crop factor results in the lens producing an effective focal length of 28.8-320mm (35mm Canon full-frame equivalent).
This is an all-purpose lens. A single lens that works for a variety of shooting situations. You can use this lens to shoot portraits, weddings, landscapes, group shots, and anything else you may have in mind. Even at 27mm, the lens offers a fantastic field of view for shooting landscapes and wide-angle views.
The wider angle is an excellent perspective for shooting videos. You can use it to shoot any video, including travel videos. This is, in fact, an excellent lens for shooting travel videos. The variable aperture is the only thing that does not work in favor of the lens.
At f/3.5, the aperture is still decent for shooting videos and stills but when you zoom in, the maximum aperture drops down to f/6.3. Maintaining a fixed field depth while shooting videos and stills will be challenging. Speaking of which, no depth of field indicator or scale can assist when shooting videos and stills.
The lens’s image stabilization feature is rated at up to four stops. This ensures that the lens can withstand a decent amount of hand-shake during exposure or when a video is being shot.
Although this is a moisture-resistant construction, the lens is unsuitable for heavy rain, dust, and dirt exposure.
Autofocusing on the lens is powered by Tamron’s DC motor gear train AF drive module. This second version of this lens comes with an improved gear train which is why the AF performance is much quieter and smoother. At the same time, it must be mentioned that autofocusing engages, and with it, the focusing ring rotates. Plus, the lens does not have a full-time manual focusing override.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM is version two of the fantastic original 24-70mm f/2.8. Version two has been upgraded with all new optics to improve image quality and reduce distortion across the focal length range. Apart from that, the internal construction has been revised, leading to a lighter build.
This is an L series lens; therefore, the build quality is among the best in the business. L series lenses are known for their superb build quality and the excellent weather sealing that ensures you can use this lens in any shooting situation. You can use this lens for shooting in inclement weather as well.
The lens has a fluorine coating that prevents the lens’s front element from becoming dirt, dust, and fingerprint magnet.
The fast f/2.8 aperture across the focal length ensures that the lens can maintain consistency when shooting with a shallow depth of field. The lens has an electronic focusing distance indicator.
Primarily designed for Canon’s full-frame camera systems, this lens is also compatible with Canon’s APS-C series cameras, such as the EOS SL2 and the EOS 90D. On crop camera systems, the FOVCF kicks in, and the 1.6x crop factor results in a 35mm format equivalent focal length of 38-112mm.
Canon systems are known for their superior autofocusing performance. In terms of still shooting, there are no issues as the lens locks focus instantly. Though this lens does not come with STM autofocusing and is powered by Canon’s ring-type USM technology, this lens is a good performer for video shooting.
Still, on the subject of autofocusing, the lens does not showcase fast autofocusing or anywhere near the same level of consistency as on a full-frame system when used with entry-level DSLRs like the EOS 650D. The lens misses focus and is very inconsistent when mounted on such cameras.
The lens features an internal focusing mechanism, which means the barrel length of the lens does not change when the lens focuses. Also, the lens has a full-time manual focusing override. Full-time manual focusing is very useful for shooting videos because you can precisely lock your focus on the subject.
Sometimes autofocusing can get it wrong, and if your camera supports focus assist, manual focusing can be a better option, especially when shooting videos.
Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
This is a standard prime and one of Canon’s most popular lenses. This lens and the 35mm prime are considered standard primes because of the common belief that they offer a field of view that’s the closest to the field of view captured by the human eye.
Unlike the 50mm f/1.8, which is a 2/3rd stop slower than this lens and is the more popular choice, the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 offers a faster aperture and a better autofocusing performance. Canon even has an f/1.2 USM version of the same focal length and an f/1.8 STM version, which is the better choice for shooting videos.
But I have chosen this one because of the faster aperture and the shallower depth of field it offers. Also, the f/1.2 version is out of the reach of many entry-level photographers’ and videographers’ budgets.
With this lens, you’ll have to be careful when playing with depth of field. Focusing is complex, and sometimes it can be easy to over or undershoot focus because of the narrow depth of field.
The 50mm is a great focal length because it sits on a watershed point between the short telephoto and wide-angle lenses. Thus this lens does not suffer from some of the perspective distortion issues that both wide angle and telephoto lenses tend to suffer from.
Despite not being an L series lens, the 50mm f/1.4 is an excellent lens in terms of build quality. Please make no mistake; there is no weather sealing on this lens, meaning you cannot risk exposing it to inclement weather.
Autofocusing is powered by Canon’s micro-type ultrasonic motor (USM). This isn’t as quick as the ring-type USM that later Canon lenses have nor is it as smooth as the STM lenses.
The autofocusing is, however, pretty accurate when it gets it right. The problem is when you’re shooting wide open, it sometimes hunts for focus. But thanks to the full-time manual focusing override, you can constantly adjust the focus with a turn of the focusing ring.
This is a great video lens if you disregard the slight issues with the autofocusing performance. If you’re using manual focusing, this lens does wonders. Plus, the shallow depth of field helps create beautifully blurred shots to provide a cinematic masterpiece.
Video shooting requires different kinds of lenses. No one lens is perfect for all situations. Videographers shooting videos may require a standard prime lens like the 50mm prime. This lens provides an angle of view that is more or less the same as the human eye. Then again, a videographer can also require a telephoto lens or the trendy standard zoom lens. We have discussed a few standard zooms and prime lenses in this article.
Some aspects need to be considered when looking for a good video lens. First is the shallow depth of field or fast temperature requirement. With a fast aperture, you can create a very shallow depth of field and mimic a cinematic look. Most of the lenses we have recommended here are f/2.8 or faster, with a few exceptions where we have recommended APS-C lenses, which are a tad slower than their fast prime and fast zoom cousins.
We also recommend a lens that has a full-time manual focusing override. This feature allows the videographer to grab the manual focusing ring and adjust the focus as required. Many of the high-end lenses we have recommended on this list have this feature as it allows full control over the video production process.