Why You Should Buy a Canon EF-Lens

A couple days ago I went ahead and bought a Canon 24-105L lens just like the one I had rented from BorrowLenses a few weeks earlier. I’m so stoked about this.

You can debate with me all you want but this is one of the finest purchases I’ve made since I bought my 60D about a year ago. The long term plan has been to acquire an arsenal of EF lenses so as to have maximum compatibility with future camera upgrades. For those of you who don’t know or aren’t camera savvy, there are two types of sensors on DSLRs. There are the APS-C sized sensors, which stands for “Advanced Photo System type-C.” These are the sensors that are built in to most consumer grade DSLRs in the current market, my 60D has an APS-C sensor and it’s great.

There is a caveat to the APS-C sized sensor though, it results in a cropped field of view. You wouldn’t notice it really unless you did a side-by-side comparison but cropped frame sensors result in an image that is cropped in about 1.5-1.6x depending on if you’re using a Canon brand camera or a Nikon. For some types of photography this is fantastic, if I was really into wildlife/bird photography and I had a 100mm lens on my cropped frame APS-C sized sensor it would give me a zoom of about 150mm instead of 100. Great for telephoto lenses but not so much for wide shots.

The lenses that usually come with crop frame cameras are known as the EF-S lenses in Canon’s lineup. All this means is that the lens’ opening on the inside of the camera body is sized so that the entire image fits onto the small sensor. Were you to somehow fashion one of these lenses onto a full-frame camera, a camera where there is not crop factor of 1.5x or 1.6x then you would get a dark circle or vignette around your image.

So, EF-S lenses are great but it’s best, if you’re going to buy lenses, to get the EF lenses because they are sized for full-frame cameras and also have backwards compatibility to the APS-C sized camera sensors like what I currently own. I would have to think that the reason that all lenses are not made to be EF lenses largely has to do with cost as they are usually more expensive. But, of course, there’s always the 50mm 1.8 which is an EF lens for about $100 no matter where you look.

If I look at Canon’s lineup of DSLRs, the next camera worth upgrading to from a 60D would be either a 5D Mark II or a Mark III. The reason I haven’t bought one already is because until recently I only had EF-S lenses which are not compatible with Full-Frame cameras. The 24-105L is an EF lens and is also amongst some of the best optics Canon has ever made.

Personally, if I had to buy one lens and leave it on my camera forever, this would be it. I think it’s kind of silly to have to go through this extra gyration of changing out my entire lens collection in order to make upgrading to a full-frame camera viable, but I think it’s probably something a lot of budding professionals like myself have to go through at some point. It’ll be nice to have another piece of equipment that is up to my standards. Normally I’d feel bad about dropping hundreds of dollars on something like this but I know it will pay for itself a million times over.

Have yourself a lovely summer and see you next week,

-Alex

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