Best Telephoto Lenses For Canon – 2020 Buyer’s Guide

Have you ever seen a stunning photographic masterpiece? Have you ever wondered how these masterpieces were captured in the first place? Here is the answer: it’s the lenses.

The way you select and use them creates a difference between a standard shot and an eye-catching sensation.

This guide will help you find some of the best telephoto lenses for Canon so that you can also master the art.

Comparison Chart of the Best Telephoto Lenses For Canon

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens

  • Inner focusing system allows a close focusing distance of 1.2m/3.9 ft
  • Features circular polarizing filter attachment effective while focusing
  • Highlights a maximum aperture and focal length of 1:4.0 and 70-200mm respectively
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Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM

  • Floating mechanism and inner focusing focus cam for lens extension: 1.2m/3.9ft
  • Diagonal Angle of View is 34° - 8° 15’
  • Features a maximum aperture and focal length of 1:4-5.6 and 70-300mm
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Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II Telephoto Zoom Lens

  • Features a maximum aperture of f/4.0 – f/5.6
  • Lens construction is 12 elements in 10 groups alongside UD glass element
  • Best budget telephoto lens for Canon
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Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens

  • Best telephoto zoom lens for Canon
  • A 75 - 300mm focal length and 1:4 – 5.6 aperture
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 32degree 11ft – 8degree 15ft
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Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3

  • Compact design and lightweight for great portability
  • Best super-telephoto lens for Canon
  • Features a minimum focusing distance of 280cm/110.2inches while 150 - 600mm focal length
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Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L

  • Best Canon EF telephoto lens
  • One fluorite and one super UD glass element for reduced chromatic aberration and sharp images
  • Optical Image Stabilizer enables fast shutter speeds
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Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III

  • Focal length of 75-300mm and f/4-5.6 maximum aperture
  • Best Canon T3i telephoto lens
  • 0.25x maximum magnification
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Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 is USM

  • Image Stabilizer paired with precise gyro-sensors and a microprocessor
  • Best Canon 70D telephoto lens
  • Advanced optics and aspherical lens element for sharpness and clarity
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What is a Telephoto Lens, and What is it Used For?

A telephoto lens is a type of lens that allows you to capture images of a subject that is far away from it. A lens is generally considered a ‘telephoto’ if it has a focal length of 60mm or longer.

Telephoto lenses are immensely popular among amateur and professional photographers. It is because they allow you to capture some stunning pictures of the subject. They enhance your photography to a whole new level and allow the photographer to click magnified pictures of distant subjects. Some of the major reasons why a telephoto lens is popular are:

  • It enables the subject to appear closer to the camera

  • Focuses on the subject while blurring the background

  • Creates flattering portraits of people and various landscapes

Will Any Telephoto Lens Work with a Canon Camera?

No, not all telephoto lenses will work with a Canon camera. There are three different types of lenses that are compatible with a Canon camera, EF, EF-S, and the EF-M. To find out which one would be acceptable for your device, search the indicators on the lens mount on the front of your camera. Remove the lens by pressing the release button on the camera while twisting the lens in an anti-clockwise direction. If the lens mount shows a red circle, it will accept EF lenses. If you witness a red circle and a white square, it will also support EF-S lenses. Only a white circle would indicate that the camera will accept EF-M lenses.

What Makes a Great Telephoto Lens?

Telephoto lenses are known for their exceptional ability to capture images of a distant subject with extraordinary sharpness and speed. Where you can’t reach yourself for a photograph, the telephoto lens makes it possible with amazing results. Featuring a long focal length enables it to capture moments that are far from the eye. Its mind-blowing ability to make distant objects seem near the camera enables some sensational images of far-off landscapes, wildlife, and sporty images. However, there are certain features to keep in mind while purchasing an ideal telephoto lens.

Focal Length

The focal length of the lens would always be the most important feature of a telephoto lens. The greater the focal length, the longer its magnifying capability. Thus, a distant image could be captured, which might be inaccessible.

Aperture

The second most important feature is the aperture. If quality is what you desire, then a telephoto lens of f/2.8 lens would be far more superior than an f/5.6. However, it depends whether you prefer a heavier f/2.8 lens and twice as wide or a lightweight f/5.6.

Image Stabilization

A very useful feature to consider while picking a telephoto lens is image stabilization. It is extremely important while hand-holding lenses at these focal lengths. The longer the length, the more camera shake you experience. This is why these lenses are usually mounted on a monopod or a tripod stand.

Quick Take - Best Telephoto Lenses For Canon

Before we dive into our review, here are the best telephoto lenses for Canon:

  1. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens
  2. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM
  3. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II Telephoto Zoom Lens

Review of the Best Telephoto Lenses For Canon

To save you from the agonizing task of selecting the most suitable lens for your needs, we have reviewed a list of products. However, it’s important to consider the purpose and subject under focus because it will determine the type of lens required. Listed below are some of the top lenses for Canon.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras, Lens Only

PROS

  • Construction is 16 elements in 13 groups
  • Features USM focus adjustment: 1.2m/3.9 ft
  • Diagonal Angle of View is 34 degree - 12 degrees
  • Comes with a circular polarizing filter attachment
  • Focal length 70-200mm and maximum aperture 1:4.0

CONS

  • No image stabilization
  • Tripod stand unavailable
  • Weather-sealing not present

What Recent Buyers Report

Nearly all of the recent buyers talk about the fabulous results and stunning images captured by this lens. They deem it as one of the best Canon lenses out there, which captures sharp images, quickly and effectively. The users highly recommend this product to people who are looking to purchase a value-for-money telephoto lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The value for money is the most attractive feature for the buyers of this product. What stands out to us is the combination of a non-plastic body and an amazing focal length for magnified images. We also like that it captures high-quality images with fabulous sharpness while the aperture remains constant throughout the focal length.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an amazing telephoto lens designed with a reduced size and weight that enables high mobility where portability is important. Its lightweight design makes it most suitable for hitchhikers and landscape portraits. Thus, it’s an ideal pick for anyone who is looking to capture drastic events that are highly inaccessible.

Bottom Line

A professional telephoto lens of the Canon L-series, this is the most affordable Canon lens with all the existing features that make it an eye-catching choice. High contrast and sharp images with its ring-type USM enables the closest minimum focus compared to any of the L-series 70 - 200mm designs.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM UD Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras

PROS

  • Compact design for high portability
  • Maximum magnification is 0.21 at 300mm
  • Features an amazing focal range, DAV of 34° - 8° 15’
  • Impressive landscape, nature and travel photography
  • Focal length of 70-300mm and 1:4-5.6 maximum aperture

CONS

  • Vulnerable to ghosting
  • No tripod collar available
  • Expensive for an f/4 – 5.6 zoom

What Recent Buyers Report

This is an incredible lens that appeals to everyone with their mesmerizing images. Although it’s a bit expensive, the recent buyers believe that it’s worth it. If you are ready to capture some sporty or wildlife images, then this is the ultimate option for you.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Despite a higher price tag, this telephoto lens appeals to us a great deal. What strikes us about it the most is the combination of image stabilization with water and a dust-resistant build. This allows hand holding and capturing drastic sports, travel, and wildlife events at these focal lengths.

Who Will Use This Most

This lens is a traveler’s most loved equipment or anyone who wishes to capture an incredible landscape, sports, or wildlife images. Its lightning-fast lens and floating focus mechanism combined with two Ultra-Low Dispersion elements enable phenomenally sharp images. With water and dust-resistant design and a fluorine coating, this is ideal for professional photography.

Bottom Line

This is the ultimate choice for professional photographers. With an impressive focal length, it shoots extraordinary images of distant subjects. Its two Ultra-Low dispersion elements allow high-quality images with reduced chromatic aberration. The floating focus mechanism enables sharp images, while the fluorine coating protects it from smears and fingerprints.

Best Budget Telephoto Lens for Canon:
Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS II Telephoto Zoom Lens

PROS

  • Good zoom range of 55-250mm
  • Only provides high-quality images
  • This module supports image stabilization
  • Available at an extremely reasonable price
  • A compact design offers greater portability

CONS

  • Variable aperture
  • Cheap plastic build of the lens
  • Auto focus is not up to the mark

What Recent Buyers Report

Most of the recent buyer reviews are positive regarding the product. With a compact design, this lens offers great mobility with some sensational images. The price tag is also reasonable while it supports image stabilization. Its lightweight and image stabilization make it ideal for handheld photography.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Its affordable price definitely appeals to the customers. What appeals to us is the lightning-fast handheld shutter speeds as slow as 1/15th of a second. Apart from this, it features optical image stabilizer technology considering the compact design of this lens. Plus, the UD glass element allows reduced chromatic aberration and crisp image quality.

Who Will Use This Most

The features of this telephoto lens make it an ideal pick for both amateur and professional photographers. Its 55-250mm telephoto zoom lens captures mind-blowing images at high distances. Its compact design combined with Image Stabilization makes it an ideal pick for hand-held, sporty, or portrait photographs.

Bottom Line

All in all, it’s an affordable lens with all the features of a high-quality lens. From distant images to portrait images with blurred background, it is the ultimate budget lens for your needs. It’s UD glass element allows photographers to capture exceptional high-quality images throughout the zoom range.

Best Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon:
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras (Renewed)

PROS

  • EF mount for greater use
  • 58mm Filter Thread Diameter
  • Lens construction is 13 elements in 9 groups
  • Closest possible focusing distance is 1.5m/4.9ft
  • Telephoto zoom lens is 75 – 300mm with f/4.5 – 5.6 maximum aperture

CONS

  • No image stabilization
  • Loud while capturing photos
  • Does not work well in dim lighting

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report it to be a quality lens, given the price range of the product. It delivers what it promises on paper and makes it a great product in the given price tag. However, some users report chromatic aberration at higher zoom levels. Apart from this minor flaw, there was nothing much to complain about this zoom lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What strikes us is the price of this product, keeping in mind the features it possesses. It captures sharp images and displays a high image quality at decent zoom levels. Although it does not possess image stabilization, hand-held images at lower zoom levels might deliver astounding results.

Who Will Use This Most

If you are looking for a telephoto lens in a minimum budget, then we suggest going for this one. Its highly affordable price and decent image quality make it a great option for personal use. It can be highly reliable in family functions where you don’t have to zoom a lot.

Bottom Line

This is a worthwhile investment considering you have a low budget. Not only does it allow you to capture high-quality images, but it makes doing so possible at a significantly low price. With its cost-effective nature, this device can prove to be extremely handy for personal photographs, delivering sound image quality.

Best Super Telephoto Lens for Canon:
Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3

Sigma 150-600mm 5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM Lens for Canon

PROS

  • 95 mm filter size
  • Glass is resistant to oil and water
  • Close packed and light design allows better movement
  • Sigma USB Dock enables lens firmware update and adjusting parameters
  • Features 150 - 600mm focal length and 280cm/110.2inches minimum focusing distance

CONS

  • Focus ring is hard to find
  • Weather-resilient only at the mount
  • Front heavy and demands a tripod plate

What Recent Buyers Report

Well, the reviews say it all. A vast majority of users appreciate the product due to its extremely sharp and clear images. Although it’s a bit on the heavier side considering a 600mm focal length, it is truly a sensation. Users recommend using a tripod to ensure crisp images since it’s not a lightweight lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

A lot of features about this product appealed to us. Based on Sigma technology and optimized Hyper Sonic Motor, it enables a quiet experience. It also features a new Optical Stabilizer with an accelerometer for enhanced panning photography. A new zoom lock switch and a manual override switch is provided for enhanced focus controls.

Who Will Use This Most

You will truly be amazed by the utmost quality of images that this telephoto lens has to offer. With a combination of unique features, it is a dream-come-true for everyone. Its swift design and extraordinary image quality make it stand out for birding, wildlife, and landscape photos.

Bottom Line

This is one of the best telephoto lenses you could want. Comprising of countless features and promising the ultimate image quality, this is a beast of a lens. With immense clarity and sharp images, it will provide you with some unbelievable pictures at extremely high zoom levels.

Best Canon EF Telephoto Lens:
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L is II USM Lens - 9524B002 (Renewed)

PROS

  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Super UD lens and one fluorite
  • Original accessories and a 90-day warranty
  • Perfect for sports and wildlife photography
  • High performance and firm design L-series super-telephoto zoom

CONS

  • Relatively quite expensive
  • Barrel distortion at 100mm
  • Auto focus is not that reliable

What Recent Buyers Report

Users are highly satisfied with this phenomenal zoom lens. Its brilliantly sharp images and great build-quality delivers the ultimate user experience. The stellar performance of this amazing telephoto lens allows you to capture the ultimate sports and wildlife photography. All in all, it’s a value-for-money investment.

Why it Stands Out to Us

What strikes us the most about this telephoto lens is the combination of cutting-edge performance and compact design. Its astounding resolving power is ideal for capturing ultra-high-resolution images. Furthermore, Canon’s new Air Sphere Coating (ASC) drastically reduces backlit flaring and ghosting. It has everything you can ask for in a telephoto lens.

Who Will Use This Most

Despite being on the expensive side, this zoom lens is worth the investment. Professional photographers would consider this to be ideal for sports and wildlife photography. Its brilliant performance and unique design render unbelievable pictures either at a higher or lower zoom level.

Bottom Line

A final word on this lens would be that it is a gem of a lens with all the features you can desire. Possessing a ton of features, it is the ultimate choice for everyone only if you can afford it. Its ability to capture amazing wildlife photographs and incredible sports image makes it an eye-catching sensation.

Best Canon T3i Telephoto Lens:
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras (Renewed)

PROS

  • 4x telephoto zoom lens
  • Extremely cheap price tag
  • Compact and lightweight design
  • Compatible with full-frame and APS-C format
  • Great wildlife, sports and portrait photographs

CONS

  • No image stabilization
  • Auto focus is a bit slow
  • Noisy pictures while zoomed in over 200mm

What Recent Buyers Report

Users report that it is a great lens, given the price tag of this device. They recommend it for beginners who wish to refine their photography skills. Some users also reported blurry images at higher zoom levels. The auto focus is a bit on the slower side. However, this device is highly capable of capturing high-quality images at decent zoom levels.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Its compact and extremely lightweight design is what stands out to us. Its smaller size and low weight enable high portability. Its simple mechanics make it an ideal start for beginners to improve their image capturing skills. Plus, its low weight makes it a perfect choice for handheld images with extreme precision.

Who Will Use This Most

This zoom lens can be used for both amateur and professional photography. However, we would recommend it for beginners who seek to hone their photography skills while using a telephoto lens. Its low price and decent features target all those who want to purchase a low budget lens.

Bottom Line

This is a great choice for amateur photographers considering a low budget. It is capable of taking some decent high-quality images with a lower zoom level. It’s a great purchase if you are considering it for personal use. Plus, its simple and easy-to-use design makes it ideal for beginners.

Best Canon 70D Telephoto Lens:
Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 is USM

Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 is USM Standard Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - White Box

PROS

  • 5x zoom range
  • Uses an advanced USM
  • 72mm lens filters supported
  • Clear images with aspherical glass element and advanced optics
  • Features Image Stabilization with microprocessor and gyro-sensors

CONS

  • Average build quality
  • Questionable low light performance
  • 28mm not wide enough for full frames

What Recent Buyers Report

Users find this to be a budget device that offers some high-end features as well, like image stabilization. Buyers' report suggests good image quality with this lens. It’s lightweight and compact, but most importantly, it’s fairly cheap. All in all, it’s a highly durable and versatile lens.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Its impressive 28-135mm focal length range is what that appeals to us the most. Its firm design makes it a very affordable walk-around lens. The image quality is quite sharp while also featuring image stabilization at a low price. You can capture some amazing photographs using this zoom lens.

Who Will Use This Most

This Canon model targets a mid-range market. Its affordable price is highly convincing, combined with the features it possesses. It’s a great purchase for anyone looking to capture some professional portrait pictures. It’s IS system reduces blurred images in relatively dim lighting, making it ideal for handheld photography.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a good value lens and your budget limits you, then look no further. The unit features an impressive focal length range while allowing considerably sharp and clear images. It also provides Image Stabilization at a cheap price point, making it a convincing choice.

Benefits of Investing in a Quality Telephoto Lens

Investing in a quality telephoto lens can be quite expensive yet, a considerable purchase might yield a great amount of satisfaction. It is necessary to understand the advantages of investing in a good quality telephoto lens.

Compact Design

The compact design of a telephoto lens allows you to carry it easily and safely anywhere you want. Unlike prime lenses, you don’t have to carry several lenses while traveling. It is also easier and safer to carry a single unit as compared to taking care of several lenses.

Cost-Effective and Versatile

Zoom lenses are relatively cheap nowadays. With a little investment, you can purchase a quality zoom lens. Their improved focusing mechanics and Ultra-Low Dispersion glass elements enable reduced chromatic aberrations and distortions.

No Need to Purchase Filters

You don’t have to purchase filters for your telephoto lens. Unlike prime lenses, you won’t require a separate filter for each lens.

Highly Flexible and Convenient

The wide focal range of a telephoto lens allows you to shoot at any angle without thinking about the lens. Therefore, you can easily capture wide landscapes or zoom in to any physical subject you want.

Close Up Photos and Enhanced Miniature Images

With a decent telephoto lens, you would be able to capture images of small insects or flowers with a much greater appearance and impression.

Aspects to Consider Before Buying

Before purchasing a telephoto lens, there are several aspects to consider.

Budget

The amount of money you have determines which lenses come into consideration. If you have a considerably higher budget, look for a more highly-featured model and vice versa.

APS-C or Full-Frame?

You should know the type of camera you possess and the lens it can withhold. Some lenses are designed for an APS-C frame while some are manufactured for full-frame cameras.

Purpose

Before investing, consider the purpose of your purchase. Landscape and birding require more powerful and large focal length cameras while personal portrait clicks don’t.

Weight and Size

If you like traveling a lot and favor mobility, then consider buying a lightweight, compact design. If you seek wildlife and landscape portraits, consider a more feature enriched design that probably has more weight and size.

Build Quality

Before you purchase a lens, beware of its build quality. You might want to check the build quality, auto focus, and the weather-proofing of your lens. Several cheap models do not offer weather-proofing and use good quality auto focus lenses. Therefore, make sure your lens has capable auto focus and is weatherproofed to ensure its safety and reliability. 

Conclusion

If you are a nature-loving person, a traveler, or a sport-loving individual and want to capture moments of your life in an ultimate way, then a telephoto lens is the answer. It will capture simply unbelievable pictures with the highest quality you can only dream of.