After The Kit: 5 Killer Lens Upgrades for Canon

Canon is still the top dog in this industry and no doubt many of you received a new camera over the recent holiday season, quite possibly a Canon camera. Today, just as we have done with Fujifilm previously, we will be taking a look at some of our picks as the top lens upgrades to grow your Canon kit following whatever kit lens you got with your camera (likely the 18-55mm).

Please note, these are great kit upgrades, not necessarily the best lenses available. 

Two Primes

Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM

Canon’s updated nifty 50mm, the 50mm f/1.8, is a no-brainer upgrade for Canon shooters looking to go beyond their 18-55mm kit lens. The lens is fast to focus, quiet, and offers low-light and bokeh abilities that the kit lens can’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Oh, and it is also incredibly affordable at only $125 or so.

Read our review, or Buy one.

Canon 35mm F/2 IS

Canon’s 35mm F/2 IS is a great lens, and while you do pay a little premium for having image stabilization built into it, this is one of Canon’s best brand name upgrades over the 18-55mm kit lens. Its fast to focus, looks slick, and offers a solid image quality. You can’t go wrong with this choice.

Read our review, or Buy one.

Two Zooms

Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L III

If you are looking for a solid lens that gets you a little wider than your kit lens, while offering superior image quality and a constant aperture, than the Canon 16-35mm F/2.8L III is a great option for you. It is expensive (there is a cheaper F/4 version for those more concerned about the price than the aperture.) and heavy, but this is a killer choice if you have the money.

Read our review, or Buy one.

Canon 24-70mm F/4


A great option, if you are not in need of an F/2.8 aperture throughout the range, is a 24-70mm F/4. Canon’s is a perfect option for upgrading your kit beyond the kit lens. You can always opt for the larger, heavier, and more expensive F/2.8 version if you like, but for most people we feel like the F/4 is more than enough lens.

Read our review, or Buy one.

Third Party

Tamron 35mm F/1.8

If you don’t mind going to a third party brand, we really love what Tamron has done with their 35mm F/1.8. Just like the Canon we mentioned above, it offers image stabilization, but it also features an incredibly close focusing distance, making it almost a macro lens in terms of being close to your subject. It also offers a slightly wider aperture than the Canon F/2 lens.

Read our review, or Buy one.

Anthony Thurston

Anthony is a Portland, Oregon based Boudoir Photographer specializing in a dark, moody style that promotes female body positivity, empowerment, and sexuality. Besides The Phoblographer, he also reviews gear and produces his own educational content on his website.