Recommended lens for Canon EOS T2i, T1i, XSi and XS

by Enche Tjin on September 12, 2009

So you’ve just got your entry level Canon DSLR cameras and now considering for one or several lenses to accompany your kit lens 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. Here are some lenses that I recommend for the camera.

canon-55-250mm-isCanon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS Price: $230

It is a telephoto lens that complement your kit lens. It is light (390 g) and short (108mm). it covers a wide focal length. It has IS too to help combat camera shake. The main purpose of this lens is for shooting birds and wildlife, and also field sports. Because the lens is capable to blur the background, it is good for portrait as well. Perfect complement of your 18-55mm kit lens.

canon-18-135mm-isCanon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Price: $385

This new Canon lens is light and more versatile than the lens that comes with your camera. If you get this lens, you can sell your kit lens. The lens is a bit heavier (455 g) and long (110mm) compare to your kit lens. But this lens might be your favorite because it has a very versatile focal length and balance very well.

canon-18-200mm-isCanon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Price: $575

This is considered a super zoom lens. It is the most versatile among all Canon lens. It is great for traveling or general purpose. Because of the massive focal range, this lens is quite long (162mm) and heavy (595 g). But if you don’t want to carry additional lens or be bother to switch lenses, this lens is ideal for you.

canon-50mm-f18Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 Price: $90

This small, inexpensive lens is great for low light condition or portraiture. Because it has very wide aperture (f/1.8), you an achieve very shallow depth of field. Great for artistic portraits or still life. Ideal for students, or anybody in tight budget.

canon-85mm-f18Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Price: 385

If you are serious about portraiture, especially girls, you might want to invest on this lens. It produces very nice background blur (bokeh), and produces great colors. The auto focus is amazingly fast. Beside portraits, you can use it for candids and indoor sports. This lens always amaze me, it worth every penny. [Review]

canon-70-200mm-f4-isCanon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Price: $1200

This high quality telephoto lens has been regarded one of the most consistent and sharpest in any aperture and focal length. It is also smaller in size compared to the f/2.8 version and balance Canon rebel series body well. Furthermore, IS (image stabilization) will help tremendously in indoor or low light condition.

canon-60mm-macroCanon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 USM Macro lens Price: $395

If you like to shoot small subjects like insects, then this macro lens is for you. It is quite expensive, but you will have a lot of fun with it. The other application for this lens is portrait. Although it might be too sharp for girls portrait.

canon-10-22mmCanon EF-S 10-22mm f/2.8 Price: $765

This is super wide-angle lens for Canon. This is  a special lens which is especially designed for landscape or architecture.  Although it is a bit expensive, but the optic quality is excellent.

You might be overwhelmed with above lenses. Which one to get?

Here are some advice:

If you need to cover wide focal length from 18-200mm and don’t mind to carry additional lens and switch lens depending on your subject, get the 55-250mm. This plan is great if you have limited budget too.

If you only want one lens to carry with you, then get 18-135mm or 18-200mm. If you desire a better built quality, faster auto focus and love wide angle, then get 15-85mm.

For prime lens category. I will recommend you to get 50mm f/1.8. It is the cheapest lens, but it could make a lot of impact on your photography. If you love shooting portraits and have some extra cash to burn, skip 50mm and get the 85mm.

I hope this helps. You can get your lenses from Amazon, they have a very competitive price and great service.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

ken November 15, 2009 at 12:36 am

Thanks for the advice. This is exactly what I was looking for.


Rob Osterndorff December 31, 2010 at 1:29 am

XTi may be entry level but as far as lenses go I would not recommend entry level lenses. Camera bodies change with every season. If you are serious about photography then get the best lenses you can get your hands on. My personal recommendations are as follows.
For Zooms:
Tokina 11-16 f/2.8
Canon EF-S 15-35 f/3.5-5.6 USM
Canon EF 24-105 f/4L IS USM (I like the 24-70 f/2.8L but I would love to see it with IS)
Canon EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM (overpriced for a non L)
Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM II w/2x converter
For primes:
Anything Zeiss or
Canon EF 50 f/1.2L USM
Canon EF 85 f/1.2L USM
Canon EF 100 f/2.8L IS USM Macro
Canon EF-S 60 f/2.8 USM Macro w/12mm extention tube

O.K. Wake me up if I begin to drool on myself. Going full frame is always something to keep in mind. Personally, I will always have a Full frame and a crop body. The crop body is like having a 1.6x converter without the light loss.

Remember, glass will last, the body won’t.

Rob Osterndorff December 31, 2010 at 5:18 am

P.S. As for the adapter, they would have to throw that in for free or forget it. I also forgot to mention the EF-17-35 f/2.8L or the newer 16-35. Great lens. Like I always say, “a good image starts at the lens”.

Tammy Watts June 22, 2011 at 11:18 am

I have a question about which lens to purchase for my daughter. She has a Canon EOS T1i and needs a zoom lens that can also take action shots, but I can’t pay a fortune for one. Which lens do you suggest?
Tammy Watts

Enche Tjin June 22, 2011 at 11:26 am

I’ll recommend Canon 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

LD Matte November 24, 2011 at 6:07 pm

With a rebel xti taking animals (close ups) photos (deer, rabbit, bears and birds), and mountain scenery, would you upgrade to the 60D or 7d, or just buy better lenses? I get beautiful photos with my rebel, but often have to switch to my SX10IS to get those close up shots. I would like to do that with my slr since it takes sharper photos, but the 75-300 kit lens does not get close enough and is not IS.
I have started experimenting with the AV exposure instead of auto, and most of the time 5.6 is the setting I use, sometimes 6.3 so I don’t know that the 2.8 lense 70-200 would be the one to get? Stictly an amateur, but have gotten many compliments on my photos, even suggesting I make calendars to sell.

Enche Tjin November 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm

higher quality lens will yield better pictures and faster auto focus. But better camera will help you in continuous shooting and faster auto focus as well. It is hard to decide on one. But i think i’ll invest on 70-200mm f/2.8 lens + lens extender.

btw why do you use f/6.3?

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