10 Best Canon Telephoto Lenses

A telephoto lens is a must-have for shooting a wide variety of subjects. They’re ideal for capturing sports, fast action, birds, animals, and anything.

You can even shoot portraits using a short telephoto lens like 200mm, and use it for weddings and landscapes. They’re incredibly versatile when it comes to shooting everyday photos.

However, buying a short telephoto lens isn’t that easy. The fact that they come in so many focal-length features makes it easy to get confused in no time at all.

This discussion lists the ten best Canon telephoto lenses you can buy. We’ll check out each of the ten lenses and discuss their features, pros, and cons so that you have a decent amount of information to make your buying decision.

10 Best Canon Telephoto Lenses

⭐ What is the Best Canon Telephoto Lens?

1. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS III

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 70–200 mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F32
  • Weight: 1440 g (3.17 lb)
  • Diameter: 89 mm (3.5″)
  • Length: 199 mm (7.83″)
  • Sealing: Yes

Among the three Canon-made 70-200mm short-telephoto lenses we discussed here, this one has the fastest aperture at f/2.8. A complete one-stop faster than the f/4L IS II and the f/4 L (listed below).

The lens’s construction includes 23 elements arranged in 19 groups. It contains one fluorite element and five UD elements to address the issues of chromatic aberration (color fringing) and better clarity of images.

Apart from that, the lens consists of Canon’s Air Sphere Coating, which handles flares and ghosting and ensures that the lens can take bursts and ghost better than uncoated lenses.

The lens’s maximum aperture is f/2.8 and can handle low light well. This versatile lens works in several situations, including weddings, portraits, and landscapes. You can also shoot sports and wildlife because the lens is compatible with Canon’s 1.4x and 2x extenders, albeit with a drop in maximum aperture.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Excellent optical performance.

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Priciest 70-200mm on this list.

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart and Best Buy.

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2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f4L IS II

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 70–200 mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (4 stops)
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F32
  • Weight: 1490 g (3.28 lb)
  • Diameter: 89 mm (3.5″)
  • Length:199 mm (7.83″)
  • Sealing: Yes

The pricier variety of the two f/4L 70-200mm lenses that Canon makes. Or you could say a cheaper version of the 70-200 f/2.8 discussed above. This one comes with image stabilization (please note that the EF 70-200mm f/4L USM listed below does not have image stabilization built-in), so your shots are steadier and sharper even when shooting at shutter speeds less than 1/200. 

A very complex construction includes 20 elements arranged in 15 groups. This contains two UD elements and one fluorite element.

Together they offer a safeguard from color fringing. In addition, the lens also features Super Spectra coating that safeguards from ghosting and flares.

The aperture diaphragm comprises nine rounded blades and produces a beautiful background blur (bokeh).

The lens is suitable for sports, wildlife, birding, portraits, and other genres. It’s compatible with the Canon Extender EF 1.4X III and the Extender EF 2X III and offers 1.4x and 2x simultaneous extended focal length reach with a drop in maximum aperture.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Nearly 500 dollars cheaper than the f/2.8 version.

My Cons With This Lens:

  • n/a

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3. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f4L USM

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 70–200 mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Maximum aperture: F4
  • Minimum aperture: F32
  • Weight: 705 g (1.55 lb)
  • Diameter: 76 mm (2.99″)
  • Length: 172 mm (6.77″)

The cheaper of the two f/4L versions that Canon makes, this particular lens is hard to get by because most online retailers have listed it as unavailable. You can probably get it at a pre-owned store or check local listings if someone is selling this away.

The only reason someone will buy this lens is if they’re shooting in broad daylight; therefore, they don’t need image stabilization. And that’s the only reason this lens will still find a user, mainly because the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM is now available.

You can use this lens for portraits, landscapes, and other genres. If you plan on using this lens for wildlife and sports, you will need an extended. But with an extender, the lens’s maximum aperture will drop down further, forcing you to push the ISO or risk image blurring.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Cheaper than the EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM

My Cons With This Lens:

  • No image stabilization built-in.
  • Hard to find a brand-new version these days.

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart.

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4. Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Tamron SP 70-200mm F2.8

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 70–200 mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (5 stops)
  • Lens mount: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX)
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8–22
  • Minimum aperture: F2.8–22
  • Weight: 1500 g (3.31 lb)
  • Diameter: 88 mm (3.46″)
  • Length: 194 mm (7.63″)
  • Sealing: Yes

This one is relatively cheaper than the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM discussed above. It offers the same /2.8 aperture and a super performance compared to the higher-priced lens.

The construction of this lens includes 23 elements arranged in 17 groups, including one XLD element and five LD elements that suppress chromatic aberrations for superior color accuracy, contrast, and sharpness. 

This is a complicated build because the lens features Tamron’s Vibration Compensation (VC) element for steady hand-held shooting. Vibration Compensation is rated to up to five stops and comes in handy when shooting hand-held.

On top of that, the lens gets Tamron’s BBAR and eBAND coatings that suppress flares and ghosting, improving contrast in difficult lighting conditions.

A ring-type ultra-sonic drive motor powers autofocusing on the lens. This motor is very silent when in operation.

Suitable for portraits, landscapes, headshots, and weddings. 

My Pros With This Lens:

  • A cheaper option compared to the EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM

My Cons With This Lens:

  • n/a

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart and Best Buy.

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5. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

Canon EF-S 55-250mm F4-5.6

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Max Format size: APS-C / DX
  • Focal length: 55–250 mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (4 stops)
  • Lens mount: Canon EF-S
  • Maximum aperture: F4–5.6
  • Minimum aperture: F22–32
  • Weight: 375 g (0.83 lb)
  • Diameter: 70 mm (2.76″)
  • Length: 111 mm (4.37″)
  • Sealing: No

The best thing about this lens is that it’s inexpensive. If you’re looking for a medium telephoto lens and don’t have much money to spare, you can look at EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM. You can use a 250mm lens for less than three hundred dollars.

However, it’s to be noted that this lens is designed for the image circle of smaller APS-C sensor-powered Canon cameras. The effective focal length becomes 88-400mm when mounted on cameras like the EOS 90D and the Rebel SL2.

You get image stabilization with this lens. It’s adequate for up to four stops. That means you can use a shutter speed under 1/200 of a second when fully zoomed in, yet you can shoot steady, blur-free images.

There are more surprises. The construction includes Ultra-low Dispersion elements, which ensures chromatic aberrations are suppressed. The lens also comprises a Super Spectra coating that counters ghosting and lens flare. When working in bright conditions, especially when the sun is lower on the horizon, the lens shows better contrast and color accuracy than non-coated lenses.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • STM autofocusing is smoother and more reliable.

My Cons With This Lens:

  • The maximum aperture drops down to f/5.6 when fully zoomed in.
  • It isn’t an L series lens and therefore does not have weather-sealing

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart and Best Buy.

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6. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM

Canon EF 70-300mm f4-5.6 is II USM

If you want an inexpensive lens to get started in wildlife photography, you cannot overlook the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM.

The 300mm lens takes you closer to where the action is. The only drawback is the aperture range that starts at f/4 and drops down to f/5.6. That means you will struggle with this lens while shooting in less than good lighting conditions.

Autofocusing is smooth and reasonably accurate, and it uses a NANO USM technology that combines a dual autofocusing system. The first one uses the older ring-type ultra-sonic motor optimized for still shooting. The second one is a stepping motor that’s optimized for shooting videos. Resultantly, the lens benefits immensely from this dual system autofocusing system.

Let’s briefly take a look at the construction of the lens. The lens comprises 17 elements arranged in 12 groups, including one Ultra-Low Dispersion.

Additionally, you get image stabilization that’s rated up to four stops of image shake correction.

This lens has a unique electronic display where all shooting information is displayed. So you can check and confirm the focusing distance, focal length, and extent of image stabilization applied quickly on the LCD.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Inexpensive 300mm lens to boot.

My Cons With This Lens:

  • The maximum aperture drops to f/5.6 when fully zoomed in.

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart.

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7. Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 100–400 mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (4 stops)
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Maximum aperture: F4.5–5.6
  • Minimum aperture: F32–40
  • Weight: 1570 g (3.46 lb)
  • Diameter: 94 mm (3.7″)
  • Length: 193 mm (7.6″)
  • Sealing: Yes

Another expensive L series lens combines a focal length range of 100-400mm and is designed for the full-frame camera sensor. When combined with a 1.4x or 2x teleconverter, this lens will reach a super-telephoto reach of 800 (2x) optical zoom, albeit with a drop in the lens’s maximum aperture (two stops with the 2x teleconverter and one-stop with the 1.4x teleconverter).

The lens’s construction includes 21 elements arranged in 16 groups, including one fluorite element and one Super UD element. Together these two elements help overcome chromatic and other aberrations and distortions, helping improve color reproduction and increased sharpness.

In addition to the above, the lens also incorporates Canon’s Air Sphere coating. This element ensures that the lens can suppress the effect of ghosting and flares and help to improve the overall contrast of the images, especially when working in difficult lighting conditions. 

The lens features Canon’s Image Stabilization system. Image Stabilization is rated at up to four stops, ensuring that you can hand hold the lens for the best part and yet capture stunning sharp photos without the need for a tripod.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • L series lens with superior build quality and weather sealing.
  • Four stops image stabilization system.
  • Compatible with Canon’s 1.4x and 2x extenders.

My Cons With This Lens:

  • One of the more expensive lenses on this list.

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart and Best Buy.

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8. Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C Lens

Sigma 100-400mm f5-6.3 DG OS HSM

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 100–400 mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes
  • Lens mount: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet
  • Maximum aperture: F5–6.3
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Weight: 1160 g (2.56 lb)
  • Diameter: 86 mm (3.4″)
  • Length: 182 mm (7.18″)
  • Sealing: Yes

Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM C is a telephoto zoom lens designed for significant mounts, including Canon EF. Here C stands for Contemporary. 21 elements arranged in 15 groups make up for the lens’s construction.

That includes four SLD glass elements that suppress color fringing and help improve the images’ sharpness and color contrast. The lens also has a Super Multi-Layer Coating that worksstopsadverse effects of working in difficult lighting conditions and improimproves

Autofocusing is powered by Canon’s Hypersonic motor, which is smooth and quiet. However, it must be said that the autofocusing prowess isn’t at par with that of the STM lenses. Focus lock is still quicker than STM focusing motor.

The aperture diaphragm consists of nine rounded blades, ensuring that the lens can produce nice creamy bokeh.

Lens front ends are susceptible to fingerprints, dust, and dirt, which is why the front element has been treated with a water and oil repellant coating. This is handy when working in less than perfect weather conditions and dusty environments.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • A lot cheaper than the Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS II USM

My Cons With This Lens:

  • The maximum aperture is a stop slower than the Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L discussed above. 
  • Optical performance lags behind the Canon EF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6L discussed above.

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart and Best Buy.

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9. Sigma 105mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art

Sigma 105mm f1.4 DG HSM Art

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Prime lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 105 mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet, Sony FE
  • Maximum aperture: F1.4
  • Minimum aperture: F16
  • Weight: 1645 g (3.63 lb)
  • Diameter: 116 mm (4.57″)
  • Length: 132 mm (5.2″)
  • Sealing: Yes

This is a prime short telephoto lens designed by Sigma and available for several OEM mounts, including Canon. The focal length is perfect for portraits, along with the 85mm and the 135mm prime focal lengths.

This short telephoto prime has been designed for optical superiority. The construction of the lens includes 17 elements arranged in 12 groups. 

The f/1.4 aperture is blazing fast, and you can take full advantage of the fastest shutter speed your camera can shoot at when using this lens in broad daylight. Contrastingly, with this lens, you can shoot in darker conditions and yet capture well-exposed photos without having to push the ISO number too high.

f/1.4 is also great for silky smooth background blur for subject separation.

Nine rounded aperture blades make up for the aperture diaphragm and ensure beautiful background blur (bokeh).

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Superb optical performance.

My Cons With This Lens:

  • At a shade under US$1600, this is a pricey prime lens.

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart and Best Buy.

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10. Sigma 135mm f/1.8 DG HSM Art

Sigma 135mm f1.8 DG HSM Art

Lens Features:

  • Lens type: Prime lens
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 135 mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: Canon EF, Nikon F (FX), Sigma SA Bayonet, Sony FE
  • Maximum aperture: F1.8
  • Minimum aperture: F16
  • Weight: 1130 g (2.49 lb)
  • Diameter: 91 mm (3.6″)
  • Length: 115 mm (4.52″)
  • Sealing: Yes

If you’re looking for a short telephoto lens for portrait shoots, something in the vicinity of a 105-150mm, you should check out two lenses. The first is the Sigma 105mm f/1.4 Art (listed above), and the second is this.

Yes, this is an expensive lens, but there are many positive things in favor of this lens.

This is perhaps one of the best lenses Sigma made for third-party camera systems (Canon, Nikon, etc.). This lens is exceptionally sharp, perfect for portraits and headshots, and comes with a fast f/1.8 aperture that allows this lens to collect a lot of light in any lighting situation.

The construction of this lens includes 13 elements arranged in 10 groups and has FLD and SLD glass elements that take care of a series of. The large focusing ring is precise and is a joy to work with.

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Extremely sharp.

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Pricey for a prime lens

Also checkout it’s prices on Walmart and Best Buy.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many excellent telephoto lenses for Canon cameras out there, but the best one for your needs depends on several important factors.

Be sure to consider things like focal length, image quality, and autofocus speed when comparing different models.

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