The Sharpest Lenses for Canon

The Sharpest Lenses for Canon

Canon has some of the best lenses available for DSLR and mirrorless cameras. However, some of their lenses go above and beyond and offer the ultimate standard in terms of quality and sharpness. If you are looking to capture crisp details and enhance your images, you need one of the 10 sharpest lenses for Canon.

In this article, we’ve compiled the best Canon lenses out there that offer incredible sharpness.

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The Sharpest Lenses for Canon1. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM2. Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM3. Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM4. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM5. Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM6. Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM7. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM8. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM9. Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM10. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USMWhich Canon Lens is Right for You?Canon Lens FAQs

Our Top Three Picks

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
Our Pick

Excellent image quality with corner-to-corner sharpness

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Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM
Another Great Option

Brilliant wide-angle quality with useful image stabilization

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Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM
Best on a Budget

A solid budget wide-angle alternative

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1. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
Exceptional wide-angle quality
The EF 35mm f/1.4L is a superior lens that is perfect for advanced wide-angle photography.

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Dust and weather sealed
Excellent maximum aperture
Advanced BR optics and lens construction

No image stabilization

Aperture Range – f/1.4 – f/16Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – NoWeight – 760g / 1.67lbsDimensions – 80.4×105.5mm / 31.65×41.53 inches

The first lens featured is the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM. This L-series lens is renowned for having excellent performance and creating ultra-sharp images. Its lens construction has a range of elements that will boost contrast and clarity, but also eliminate distortions.

If you want to produce professional photos bursting with color, this is a great lens. It is easy to use due to the fast and accurate USM AF system. This means you can quickly focus on moving objects even in situations with low contrast.

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM

When working at larger maximum apertures above f/2.8, the circular aperture blades also allow you to create beautiful bokeh effects that are expected in professional photography. You can also comfortably use this lens outdoors thanks to its dust and weather-sealed exterior coating.

2. Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM
An excellent budget wide-angle lens
The EF 24mm f/2.8 remains a fantastic budget option and still provides sharp wide-angle images.

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Lightweight and compact design
Anti-distortion lens coatings
Sharp images from corner to corner

Not as sharp as L-series lenses

Aperture Range – f/2.8 – f/22Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – YesWeight – 280g / 0.617lbsDimensions – 68.4×55.7mm / 26.92×21.92 inches

One of the best budget lenses that still provides sharp photos is the Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM. The design of this lens has changed little over the years and it remains a popular choice.

Despite its reduced-price tag, the images it can produce will be sharp and have minimal softening and distortions. This is partially achieved by advanced lens coatings that help reduce distortions like ghosting, and flare.

This lens is compact and incredibly easy to use. It weighs just 280g and could make a great travel lens when you don’t want to carry heavier L-series lenses.

Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM

In terms of functionality, this lens also features image stabilization which corrects for up to 4-stops of camera shake. As a result, using this lens handheld in a variety of situations should be easy.

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3. Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM
A budget alternative to the EF 35mm f/1.4L
If you can’t quite stretch to the L series version of this lens, the EF 35mm f/2 is still a high-quality lens.

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Fast and accurate AF system
Improved optical performance
Built-in image stabilization up to 4-stops

Not as sharp as L-series lenses

Aperture Range – f/2 – f/22Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – YesWeight – 335g / 0.738lbsDimensions – 77.9×62.6mm / 30.66×24.64 inches

It is possible to get sharp lenses without spending a fortune. The Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM is a perfect example of this. It is a great budget counterpart to the 35mm f/1.4L and still offers fantastic image quality. Compared to previous versions, it has an improved optical build which provides sharp images with minimal distortions.

It is also compact, lightweight, and could make an excellent travel lens for those who don’t want to carry an expensive L-series lens but still want high-quality photos. For ease of use, this wide-angle lens features optical image stabilization which should allow you to use it comfortably handheld.

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM

You should also be able to easily focus on moving subjects even in low contrast situations because of the USM autofocusing system that is both accurate and fast. This lens may not be as good as some L-series lenses but it is still one of the sharpest lenses for Canon on a budget.

4. Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM
The best wide-angle lens Canon has to offer
The EF 24mm f/1.4L offers supreme wide-angle image quality and low-light performance.

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Excellent low light performance
Large maximum aperture of f/1.4
Durable build quality

No image stabilization

Aperture Range – f/1.4 – f/22Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – NoWeight – 650g / 1.433lbsDimensions – 93.8x93mm / 36.92×36.61 inches

The Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM represents the ultimate in quality for a wide-angle lens. This is one of the sharpest lenses for Canon available and it is certainly worth the price tag. You can guarantee that your images will be sharp, even at extreme apertures like f/1.4. There will be no softening and distortions which is perfect for creating professional photos.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM

This lens also excels in low-light situations and can be used to produce some stunning night-sky photos thanks to its large maximum aperture, and wide-angle focal distance. At 24mm, you can use this lens for anything from landscapes and street photography to astrophotography and more.

It does not have any built-in image stabilization; however, this should not pose a problem as this lens is incredibly easy to use. You can guarantee professional shots regardless of the shooting conditions.

Related Post: Best Canon Lenses for Astrophotography

5. Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM
A brilliant and sharp portrait lens for EOS R cameras
The RF 50mm f/1.2L is a versatile lens that offers pin-sharp quality for portraits and more.

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Fantastic maximum aperture of f/1.2
Features a programmable control ring
Fast and accurate nano USM AF system

No image stabilization

Aperture Range – f/1.2 – f/16Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – NoWeight – 950g / 2.094lbsDimensions – 89.8×108.0mm / 35.35×42.51 inches

The range of prime lenses for the RF-mount is still relatively limited. However, the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM is one of the best options available. 50mm remains a popular focal distance for various types of photography, and this L-series lens has supreme photo quality.

Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L USM

Within the lens, you can find three aspheric elements and one UD element that will eliminate distortions and boost image contrast. You can guarantee that your images will look superb, even at wider apertures like f/1.2.

This sharp lens is also highly versatile – with its Nano USM autofocus system you should easily be able to focus on the subject even in low light conditions. Although it doesn’t have image stabilization, it can still be used handheld easily.

6. Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM

Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM
The best RF kit-lens
If you want a versatile kit lens for your EOS R camera, this is a brilliant choice.

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Great maximum f/2.8 aperture
Built-in image stabilization
Advanced lens construction with ED elements

A hefty price tag

Aperture Range – f/2.8 – f/22Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – YesWeight – 900g / 1.984lbsDimensions – 88.5mm / 34.84 inches

EOS R owners have a decent choice for kit-lenses, but the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L is USM is one of the sharpest lenses for Canon available. If you want a multi-purpose lens that can create amazing quality images, whatever the situation, this is a great pick.

This L-series RF lens offers corner-to-corner sharpness, even at the 70mm focal distance. At most, there will be minimal softening at the edges of your photos. If you want to create professional-grade photos in various situations, this lens will perform every time.

Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM

It also benefits from built-in image stabilization which will work with the in-body image stabilization of EOS R cameras like the EOS R and R6. This means that using this lens handheld should present no issues – even in low light compositions.

7. Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM
A fantastic quality kit-lens
The EF 24-70mm f/4 remains a solid choice due to its corner to corner sharpness at all focal distances.

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Maximum constant aperture of f/4
Advanced lens construction for minimal distortions
Versatile for different photography types

Not as sharp as some prime lenses

Aperture Range – f/4 – f/22Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – YesWeight – 600g / 1.322lbsDimensions – 83.4x93mm / 32.83×36.61 inches

Having an all-purpose kit lens that creates sharp photos is essential for general photography. Enter the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM. This remains one of the best L-series kit lenses available for the EF mount due to its excellent photo quality and versatility.

For sharpness, it features 2x aspheric, and 2x ED elements. These help to reduce distortions and ensure your images are sharp throughout – regardless of the focal zoom. Also, the constant maximum aperture of f/4 should allow you to tackle various photographic situations, and also allow you to shoot comfortably in low light situations.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM

When using this lens handheld, you can still easily get sharp images due to the image stabilization and the fast and accurate USM autofocus system. Before purchasing specialist lenses, a high-quality, sharp kit-lens like this is a must-have for any professional photographer.

8. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
An amazing mid-range telephoto lens
The EF 70-200mm f/2.8L is one of the most popular Canon L-series zoom lenses due to its versatility and quality.

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Fantastic constant f/2.8 aperture
Fast USM autofocus system
High-quality optics

Extremely heavy and bulky

Aperture Range – f/2.8 – f/22Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – YesWeight – 1440g / 3.174lbsDimensions – 88.8x199mm / 34.96×78.34 inches

The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is an expensive lens. However, the quality it provides is superb. It has long been a favorite of professional wildlife and sports photographers. This is mainly due to the corner-to-corner sharpness it offers, even at 200mm.

The lens elements and glass also feature numerous coatings like an ASC coating which reduces reflections and aberrations. This means your telephoto shots will have excellent contrast and clarity even in difficult lighting conditions.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

To complement the fantastic optics, this lens also has built-in image stabilization which will help when tracking moving objects. It has a dust and water-resistant coating which means you can still create fantastic images in adverse weather conditions.

9. Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM

Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM
A great telephoto lens for sharp Macro shots
The RF 85mm Macro is an interesting choice that allows you create amazing Macro capabilities.

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Excellent macro capabilities
Relatively lightweight and easy to use
Hybrid IS to allow for handheld macro work

Not as sharp as L-series lenses

Aperture Range – f2 – f/16Autofocus System – STMImage Stabilization – YesWeight – 500g / 1.102lbsDimensions – 78×90.5mm / 30.70×35.62 inches

Decent native Macro lenses for Canon’s EOS R cameras are still relatively few and far between. However, the Canon RF 85mm F2 Macro is STM is an interesting choice and offers sharp macro quality for a reasonable price. It costs far less than other RF lenses, however, it is not an L-series lens.

Canon RF 85mm f/2 Macro IS STM

Regardless, it still has a fantastic lens construction that features a 9-blade circular aperture. This means that you can take amazing macro shots using the 0.5x magnification and create stunning rounded bokeh effects for that professional look. With a maximum aperture of f/2, you can also focus on particular parts of your subject.

At 85mm, this lens also serves as a decent general-purpose prime lens that you can use to create a range of different sharp photos.

10. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM
The best super-telephoto lens
The EF 100-400mm f/4.5 is the best super-telephoto lens for under $5000 from Canon.

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Fantastic 400mm telephoto capabilities
Has high-quality image stabilization
Various lens coatings to improve sharpness

Quite heavy and bulky

Aperture Range – f/4.5 – f/22Autofocus System – USMImage Stabilization – YesWeight – 1570g / 3.461lbsDimensions – 94x193mm / 37.00×75.98 inches

Canon L-series telephoto lenses look amazing with their stylish white coating. However, they also have unbelievable performance. This is what you can expect from the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM. It has a superior lens construction that offers excellent sharpness at any focal range.

This means that you can create unbelievable telephoto shots of wildlife, and sporting events, for example. It also has image stabilization which can help when tracking moving subjects at a high zoom level. If you want one of the sharpest lenses for Canon for professional telephoto photography, this is an amazing option.

Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM

The only downside is that aside from being expensive, it is also quite heavy at 1.57kg, and you will probably need a tripod to use it effectively. It may not be the easiest lens to use handheld.

Which Canon Lens is Right for You?

We hope you have found this guide on the sharpest lenses for Canon informative. Having an ultra-sharp lens can improve the quality of your photography greatly and any one of the above lenses would make a superb choice.

For wide-angle photography, the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM, EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM, or Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM would all make an excellent choice. Alternatively, for a sharp multi-purpose kit lens, you can’t go wrong with the Canon RF 24-70mm F2.8 L is USM, or Canon EF 24-70mm f/4.0L IS USM. Finally, for sharp telephoto photography, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, and Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM offers unrivaled quality.

Canon Lens FAQs

Can you use EF lenses on an EOS R camera? Yes, providing that you have an EF lens adapter for your EOS R camera.

Do Canon L-series lenses offer better image quality? Yes. There are some fantastic standard Canon lenses, but the L-series range represents the pinnacle in lens quality for Canon.

What is the sharpest aperture to use? The general rule for this, is that the sharpest aperture is located between 2 to 3 stops from the widest aperture of the Canon lens.

What are the different Canon lens mounts? Currently there are EF, EF-S, RF, and EF-M lens mounts for Canon full-frame, mirrorless, and APS-C cameras.