The First Prime Lenses You Should Get for Your Canon EF Mount Camera

portrait lenses
If you have a Canon DSLR or Mirrorless camera these are the prime lenses you should get first.

If there is one thing Canon users aren’t short of it’s quality prime lenses. The EF mount has been around for what seems like forever. With companies like Rokinon, Sigma, Tamron, and of course Canon making affordable prime lenses, owners of Canon EF mount cameras are spoiled for choice. The prime lenses we have chosen for this roundup are perfect for those picking up their first prime lenses, and more than good enough for seasoned pros as well. Check out eight prime lenses that all Canon users should try with their Canon EF mount cameras after the break.

We at The Phoblographer love prime lenses for the simple reason that they are generally superior to zoom lenses. Primes are sharper because they have less moving parts, and are often much smaller, lighter, and easier to carry around. Prime lenses will also force you to find the best place for your composition as you cannot rely on a zoom to adjust it for you. These prime lenses have fast apertures, which will make subject isolation incredibly easy, and they all focus quickly. Some of these lenses cost as little as $125, but don’t let the low prices fool you. These prime lenses perform as if they cost significantly more. Check our eight suggestions below.

 

Rokinon 14mm F2.8 AF

 

Prime Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review?

Pros

  • Sharp output
  • Accurate autofocus in most situations
  • The clear, crisp color we’ve come to expect from Rokinon
  • Bokeh when needed
  • Weather sealing

Cons

  • We’re still wondering why Rokinon chose to make this lens for DSLRs
  • A few inconsistencies with the focus

Buy now ($599): Adorama

 

Canon 35mm F2 IS

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent build quality that feels better than the L version
  • The addition of IS is a nice touch
  • Fast aperture
  • Fairly compact size
  • Excellent image quality
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Perhaps the absolute best lens for every wedding photographer on a budget

Cons

  • A tad more pricey than we’d prefer

Buy now ($549): Adorama

 

Shot with the Rokinon 14mm f2.8 AF

Pro Tip: If you have moved from Canon EF mount cameras to their newer RF mount EOS R or EOS RP you can still easily use the lenses we have mentioned thanks to the Canon EF to RF mount adapter. There aren’t a lot of wide-angle options available with a native RF mount just yet, but with the adapter you can easily use the very impressive Rokinon 14mm AF and any other EF mount lens. The EF to RF adapter is super cheap. Pick one up and you will have access to hundreds of fantastic prime lenses, zoom lenses, and more.

 

Canon EF 40mm F2.8 STM

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Extremely compact and lightweight
  • Not the fastest autofocus performance but very accurate
  • Well built, and features a metal mount which is a nice touch
  • Very sharp lens overall with edge-to-edge sharpness by f4
  • Outstanding value for money

Cons

  • Very small focusing ring

Buy now ($179): Adorama

 

Canon 50mm F1.8 STM

 

Prime Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Very sharp image quality when only slightly stopped down
  • Better image quality when shot wide open than previous versions
  • Nice bokeh
  • Small size
  • Silent focusing and manual focusing is much more simple
  • Better build quality

Cons

  • For those of you who care about this, purple fringing is still a problem

Buy now ($125): Adorama

 

Shot with the Sigma 50mm f1.4

Pro Tip: These prime lenses really are fantastic. They are so good you may find that they stay permanently attached to your camera. What you may have to keep in mind though is that not all of these lenses offer weather sealing. However, there is a way around this. For next to nothing, you can get your hands on some weatherproof covers that will protect your camera and your lens in the most torrential downpours and snowstorms. Keep some in your camera bag so that you can protect your gear in a hurry should the need arise.

 

Sigma 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Incredibly sharp lens
  • Great build quality and feel
  • Fast-focusing
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Nice saturation of colors

Cons

  • Everyone and their mother is going to compare it to the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus. It’s not really a comparable lens since due to the price point and the fact that, if someone wants Zeiss glass, they’re going to go for it no matter what
  • Pretty large for a 50mm f1.4, but all the new 50mm lenses that have been coming out are also quite big

Buy now ($949): Adorama

 

Canon 85mm F1.8 USM

 

Prime Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Nice size lens which feels great in the hand
  • Accurate distance scale
  • Nice solid build quality
  • The focus motor is quiet and fast
  • Sharp wide open at f1.8

Cons

  • The switch which controls AF/MF function is too small
  • The lens does exhibit some purple fringing, but it can be fixed in post easily

Buy now ($369): Adorama

 

Shot with the Tamron 85mm f1.8

Pro Tip: The 85mm focal length offers just enough compression to flatten and soften your subject’s features along with apertures fast enough to provide excellent subject isolation and creamy bokeh. When shooting wide open with a lens like the Sony 85mm f1.8, make sure the eye that is closest to the camera is in focus. If you want more tips on how to shoot great portraits, you should check out this guide.

 

Tamron 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD

 

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Super sharp image quality
  • No focusing issues with the Canon 6D or other Canon SLR cameras
  • Fast-focusing
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice feel in the hand
  • Vibration compensation built-in is a godsend
  • Fantastic color
  • A unique look that makes everything seem like it’s got quite a bit of Clarity in Lightroom increased.
  • Beautiful bokeh

Cons

  • Quite honestly, not a single thing is wrong with this lens

Buy now ($749): Adorama

 

Sigma 135mm F1.8 DG HSM Art

 

Prime Lenses

Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Fast autofocus
  • Not as contrasty, so better for skin tones
  • f1.8 aperture
  • Weather sealing
  • Not as heavy as the Sigma 85mm f1.4

Cons

  • Not a darn thing

Buy now ($1,399): Adorama