Getting quality images with acute sharpness and punchy contrast and vibrance does not mean you have to shell out a Lakh of Rupees on a lens. Canon is a very popular brand across both amateurs and professionals, and produces many lenses that do a fantastic job of delivering quality results without slashing down on your bank balance. Plus there are always 3rd party manufacturers that provide a good substitute.
Over the years, I have used many canon lenses. Here are my top 5 That deliver quality result and don’t cost too much
1. Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 VC
This is the best lens to use on crop factor bodies for everyday use. I have been using the not image stabilised version of this lens for a long time. The stabilised (VC- Vibration Control) version is even better. The images are as sharp as a knife-edge and you get the advantage of f/2.8 constant throughout the range. There is some softness in the edges at wide open aperture, but that it too be expected with a lens in this range. This is the best lens if you are a one lens type of person, ideal for street, travel and most journalistic work. Priced at approx. Rupees 30,000/- for the stabilised version. I bought the Non stabilised version for Rupees 18,000/- 6 years ago, I have not been disappointed.
2. Canon 40mm f2.8 STM
I was surprised first when I saw the images it produced, compared to its size. It is a small “Tikki” lens, as a good friend of mine likes to call it. It is priced at approx. 9,000/- rupees and delivers sharpness and contrast, equivalent to a much more expensive lens. It is ideal is you would like a very compact and light weight system for street shooting or journalistic work when using on a full frame body. If you would like to use it on a crop sensor body, it would become a 60mm lens, which would be very good for shooting, loosely composed portraits. Manual focussing is not very comfortable though due to the very small focus ring.
3. Canon 50mm f1.8 STM
Though I have not had a good chance to play with this yet, going by what its previous version offered, I am really looking forward to this one. I expect good contrast and sharp images and much faster autofocus as compared to the previous 50mm f/1.8 from canon due to the presence of the STM motor. It is priced at Rupees 8,995/- and should deliver decent images on a full frame body. Moreover, on an aps-c body it becomes a very good lens for tightly composed head and shoulder portraits.
4. Canon Ef-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 II
I have used this lens a couple of times and have been very happy with the results it offers. I especially like it compact and light weight form factor. I would prefer a slightly more robust build though. Canon India often supplies this lens as part of a Two-lens Kit with its entry level DSLR. This kit of 2 lenses is one of the best ways for young photographers who are just getting into photography. It is a ideal option to learn about lensing and different fields of view. Also, for the travelling photographer, it is the ideal compact system. The lens is priced at Rupees 11,995/- and delivers very sharp images for its stature. Contrast is fair.
5. Rokinon/ Samyang 85mm f/ 1.4
THIS LENS IS SHARP. It delivers excellent overall contrast and vibrance. It can be used as a head and shoulder portrait lens on a full frame body or a tight, head only portrait lens on a crop body with great effectiveness. This is soon becoming the portrait lens of choice for wedding photographers who prefer to shoot bridal portraits at full open aperture. At the price point of approx. Rupees 20,000/- it is a steal considering the image quality and full manual control.