The best lens for Canon 70D

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is also the best lens for Canon 7D MKII.

Canon 70D and Canon 7D MK2 are top models of the Canon cameras with an APS-C sensor. These advanced SLR cameras are intended for advanced amateurs and prosumers. They place high demands on lenses and therefore come at a higher price, in a larger size and at a heavier weight.
We selected the best lenses from the 42 lenses that we have reviewed on a Canon APS-C camera for you. We assume that the upper limit for a new lens, for most Canon 70D users, is around a thousand euros. For prosumers (read: the Canon 7D MK2 owners), we sometimes also include more expensive options. We only report lenses that we have reviewed. Naturally, there are more for sale. We review a new lens almost every week, so that we can supplement this advice later. Are the lenses we name too expensive for you? See: The best lens for a Canon 700D with lenses for starting amateur photographers.

Best Lenses for Canon 70D or 7D MK2:

Kit lens: Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS STM

Kit lens: Canon EF-S 18-135mm IS STM
Greater range than the 18-55 mm, without too much of a loss of quality.

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Kit lens upgrade:Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 Contemporary

Kit lens upgrade:Sigma 17-70/2.8-4 Contemporary
Higher brightness and higher construction and image quality

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Low Light: Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Low Light:  Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art
Short, bright telephoto lens with beautiful bokeh

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Macro: Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

Macro:  Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
Ideal focal distance for macro on APS-C, very high price-to-quality ratio

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Macro: Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro

Macro: Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM Macro
Ideal focal distance for macro on APS-C, very high price-to-quality ratio

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Wide angle: Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM

Wide angle:  Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
Currently unbeatable in price-to-quality ratio

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Telephoto: Canon EF 70-300 mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

Telephoto: Canon EF 70-300 mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
Good image quality at a reasonable brightness, but at a price that does exceed a thousand euros

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Standard & bokeh: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art

Standard & bokeh: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
Beats out lenses with a fixed focal length, when it comes to construction and image quality

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MG1777EditWho wants to get that close??

The best 70D kit lens: Canon 18-55 STM or 18-135 mm STM?

The Canon 70D (the body currently costs around 940 euros) will be offered in combination with a Canon EF-S 18-135 mm IS STM (kit price 1200 euros) or for less than 900 euros with a Canon EF-S 18-55 mm IS STM. In terms of image quality, the two lenses aren't that different from each other, so if you have the money to spare, choose the extra zoom range of the 18-135 mm. But if you think that lens is too expensive, or the 18-135 mm is a bit too large, then you still have very good image quality with the standard 18-55 mm IS STM.

Kit lens upgrade? Sigma 17-70 mm Contemporary

Many advanced amateurs and prosumers exchange their kit lens after a while for a more expensive zoom lens. Possible reasons for this are:

  • You choose a zoom lens with an even greater zoom range, so that you don't need to change lenses.
  • You would like a lens with higher brightness, with which you can better photograph in the dark without a flash. The background blur ("bokeh") also becomes nicer then.
  • You are very critical of image quality and don't mind paying a bit more for higher sharpness, less vignetting or less chromatic aberration.
  • You're going to photograph under extremely damp, dusty, cold or hot conditions, and you want to be sure that your shots will work.
  • You're going to specialize more in one type of photography (nature, concert, bridal or street photography) and now want a lens that better suits your specialty.
The Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM is a zoom lens with higher brightness and higher image quality than the 18-55 mm STM and the 18-135 mm STM kit lenses. The list price for this great lens is just above a thousand euros, and the store price is around 700 euros. We chose the Sigma 17-70 mm f/2.8-4 OS Contemporary. This lens is a bit less bright than the Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8, but the construction quality and image quality of this compact Sigma zoom are surprisingly good, while the price is around 400 euros. 

The best super-zoom/vacation zoom for Canon 70D

We consider all zoom lenses with a zoom range of 5 or more as super-zooms. With such a zoom lens, the shortest focal distance and the longest focal distance are so different that you can photograph throughout your whole vacation without having to change lenses once. A super-zoom is longer—especially when you zoom out to the longest focal distance—and heavier than a kit lens, but much smaller and lighter than a set of zoom lenses. The image quality of a super-zoom is a bit lower than that of the kit lens, since the greater the zoom range, the more compromises have to be made in the design of the lens. That's why we refrain from naming a specific super-zoom as our choice. It's the experienced amateurs who initially expect miracles from this kind of lens, just to toss out the super-zoom after a critical examination. The image quality differences between the super-zooms that we've reviewed are small. Every lens has its own strong and weak points. For Canon APS-C, we've reviewed the following super-zooms (disregarding the older types):

Macro photography with a Canon 70D

With a shorter focal distance, the chance is great when photographing live subjects that you'll scare off your subject when you come close to get the shot. Another disadvantage of a macro lens with a relatively short focal distance is that you're standing so close to the subject that you end up blocking the light. Therefore, macro lenses with a focal distance greater than 100 mm are preferred. We've reviewed the following macro lenses:

The Canon EF-S 60 mm Macro USM aims highest in terms of image quality. We chose the qualitatively comparable Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 for its longer focal distance and the fact that this lens can also be used on a camera with a full-frame sensor. If you ever want to switch to a Canon 6D or a Canon 5D MK3, then you don't have to purchase a new macro lens.

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Wide-angle lenses

 MG 1645 1

If you want let an impressively wide overview come into its own, then choose a lens with a focal distance of 15 mm or less. Then, on an APS-C sensor, you get a field of view that corresponds with a 24 mm lens on a camera with a full-frame sensor.

A really great wide-angle zoom that we can advise for every Canon 70D owner is the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. The construction quality is not comparable with that of more expensive lenses, but for a very attractive price, you get solid optical performance, a quiet AF step motor for video and built-in image stabilization. We've reviewed the following wide-angle zoom lenses:

Fisheye lens: Canon 8-15 mm

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Price tip: For those who sporadically use a Fisheye, the Tokina 10-17mm is an optically surprising, high-quality, affordable Fisheye

If you're thinking about a Canon Fisheye lens, then think about the Canon 8-15 mm. This Fisheye zoom lens can also be used on a camera with a full-frame sensor, in case you ever want to switch from your Canon 7D MK2 or Canon 7D to a Canon 6D or 5D MK3. The construction quality of the Canon 8-15 mm is beyond reproach, and you make great, characteristic Fisheye pictures with it. This is lens, however, is not inexpensive.

Portrait lenses

A good portrait lens is bright and has a focal distance of 85 mm or more (converted to a full-frame sensor). When you make a portrait in which you leave a bit of space around the model, then a 50 mm standard lens—with which the field of view corresponds with 80 mm on full-frame—is an attractive option for photographers with an APS-C camera. The first lens that you think about there is the Canon 50 mm f/1.8, which is very attractively priced. We have not yet reviewed this lens. Of the standard lenses that we've reviewed (Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, Canon 50 mm f/1.2L, Tamron 60 mm f/2 Di II LD IF Macro), we suggest the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art due to its high image quality, great bokeh and high sharpness.

Telephoto lenses for Canon 70D

MG1722


If you use a telephoto lens for shooting a portrait: you not only bring the subject close to you, the long focal distance is also flattering, and you can more easily isolate the subject from the environment.
Canon 40D + Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS @ 200mm  f/2.8

While we had an opening for the best telephoto lens (with a focal distance of at least 200 mm) for the Canon 70D, for the 7D we have multiple suitable candidates. That mostly has to do with the available budget. Owners of a Canon 7D Mark 2 are, we think, well prepared to put down more than a thousand euros for a good telephoto lens. In that case, there are several candidates that come to the fore from the selection of lenses that we have so far reviewed for Canon APS-C cameras.

The Canon EF 70-300 mm f/4-5.6L IS USM is the winner from this group because the zoom range is greater and the price is significantly lower than Canon's 70-200 mm. If the 70-300 mm is over your budget, then the Sigma is an attractive option with a store price under a thousand euros.

Lenses with a fixed focal distance?

Experienced photographers like to work, due to creative considerations, with a fixed focus. Because you can't zoom in or out, a fixed focus forces you to think more about the composition of a photo. We have so far reviewed 9 lenses with a fixed focus (and 33 zoom lenses) on a camera with an APS-C sensor:

Several of these lenses are absolute gems when it comes to image quality. Users or a Canon 70D or Canon 7D MK2 often photograph in RAW. The Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 comes out on top in our reviews on a Canon camera with an APS-C.

Low-light: Concert photography, night photography

Concert photography and night photography place heavy demands on lenses when it comes to internal reflections. Because a photo often has darker parts and includes a bright light source, ghosts and reduced contrast result from internal reflections more so with concert shots or night photos. The Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS and the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art score very well on this point. Both lenses deliver very good image quality starting at full aperture, which is an extra plus point when you photograph in low light. The construction quality of both lenses is fantastic. The higher brightness, the shorter focal distance, the lower price and the lower weight of the Sigma 50 mm f/1.4 Art win the recommendation for the Sigma for night photography and concert photography. 

Canon 70D with the same great bokeh as an FX camera?

Do you want the same beautiful background blur as in the shots of photographers with an expensive full-frame camera and an expensive, heavy, bright f/2.8 lens? You don't have to trade in your Canon 70D or Canon 7D MK2 with a Canon 6D, if you just choose a good, bright lens of f/2 or lower.
The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art is an exceptional, bright zoom lens with a beautiful bokeh and—for a bright lens—an attractive price tag. The same applies for the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art. In terms of construction and image quality, we think they both win. Both Sigma lenses shine with surprisingly high sharpness at full aperture and very low longitudinal chromatic aberration/color bokeh. That phenomenon causes, with other bright lenses, disturbing purple and green edges in non-focus areas. It only happens with bright (f/2.8 or lower) lenses and is relatively troublesome to remove from your photo. On this point, this Sigma scores better than the brightest Canon lenses. On the one hand, the 50 mm is brighter, and the longer focal distance delivers limited focal depth. On the other hand, the focal distance range of the 18-35 mm is more broadly applicable. For that reason, we make an exception and advise both lenses for bokeh on a Canon with an APS-C sensor. The choice is yours.

Ivo Freriks
Author: Ivo Freriks
With Camera Review Stuff I hope to make a modest contribution to the pleasure that you get from photography. By testing cameras and lenses in the same way, evluating the results and weighing up the pros and cons, I hope to help you find the right camera or lens.

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