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I am trying to find a compatible lens for my Canon EOS 60D. A Tamron lens is my preferred option as I used to have one for my old Minolta when I used 35mm film. The motor in my EOS 60D is a USM. I believe I need a USD Tamron lens, but I am unsure. I see HLD Tamron lens on the market that make reference to APS-C format, but I am unsure if this is compatible with my EOS 60D. Advice is welcome.

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A Tamron lens is my preferred option as I used to have one for my old Minolta when I used 35mm film.

That's all well and good; I'm sure Tamron appreciates your brand loyalty. That being said, there are a plethora of good lenses made by Tamron, Canon, Sigma, etc., and a plethora of absolute garbage lenses. Do your homework on a specific lens - the brand doesn't mean much to inherent quality.

The motor in my EOS 60D is a USM.

No, it's not. Some Nikon cameras have an autofocus motor in the body. All Canon cameras do not. Canon uses a couple of different types of autofocus motor in their lenses. See these existing questions for more info:

What does STM mean on a Canon lens?

What is Nano USM and how does it compare to an STM or USM lens?

I believe I need a USD Tamron lens, but I am unsure. I see HLD Tamron lens on the market that make reference to APS-C format but I am unsure if this is compatible with my EOS 60D.

The USD stands for Ultrasonic Silent Drive. This has nothing to do with the mount. (It's a designation for type of autofocus technology)

The HLD stands for High refraction, low dispersion. This has nothing to do with the mount. (It's a glass technology that affects image quality)

So, why do some brands put all the crap into the product name? Simple: to show off. Instead of offering a simple 15-30mm f/2.8 and putting the specs in the description, they name it the SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. Note that this name does not include the actual mount, as it comes in both the Nikon and Canon flavors. (Typically, the mount name will be appended to the name or the lens listed as "For Canon EF" or "For Nikon F")

Unfortunately, there's no way around learning a thing or two about lens technology if you want to be an educated buyer. You'll need to learn about stabilization tech, which Canon calls IS and Tamron calls VC, among all of the other acronyms that will affect the lens.

Advice is welcome.

Your Canon 60D uses the Canon EF mount. This mount has existed since 1987 - there are a lot of lenses for it, and they work with any Canon autofocus camera - film or digital.

Your Canon 60D can also attach to EF-S lenses. I like to think of this as EF-small. This is because the original lens lineup (EF) was designed to work with the size of a 35mm film frame. Your 60D uses a sensor size called APS-C. This is smaller than a 35mm frame. Canon introduced lenses designed for this smaller frame and designated them EF-S.

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    Simple: to show off. Instead of offering a simple 15-30mm f/2.8 and putting the specs in the description, they name it the SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2. On the other hand it makes it easy to differentiate versions of a lens (Canon EF-S 18-55mm, anyone?). – xenoid Jul 11 at 18:51
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    It's difficult to pass around the spec sheets when having a dickscussion about lenses with fellow photographers... – xenoid Jul 11 at 19:11
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    @xenoid again, I think Canon solved for this the best with the mark designation. Even with Tamron, specifying using gen 1/2/3 is enough for another photographer to know. Photographers are not the target market here - consumer who shoot are - and Tamron could be doing quite a bit more to help consumers IMO. – Hueco Jul 11 at 19:13
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    @xenoid But saying "SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2" is essentially passing around the spec sheet! And, proving your point, it's hard. 😁 – David Richerby Jul 12 at 9:24
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    Why is it "Ford F150 XLT", "Ford F150 XL", "Ford F250 Lariat", etc instead of just "Ford Truck" ? – Ryan Cavanaugh Jul 12 at 20:04
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TL/DR: You want to look for "for Canon" in the description; and stick with Di and Di II lenses and stay away from Di III.

The easiest way to make sure a Sigma/Tamron/Tokina or other 3rd-party lens works with your 60D is to make sure they're in the Canon mount, and that they're new/current versions, or firmware upgradeable to be current.

The one big issue with purchasing used, vintage 3rd party lenses is that over time the OEM manufacturer (in this case Canon) can change the lens mount communication protocol over time, and while Canon lenses will remain compatible, they don't care about reverse-engineered 3rd-party lenses.

See also: How risky are 3rd party lenses?

A Tamron lens is my preferred option as I used to have one for my old Minolta when I used 35mm film.

Just want to note this is an atypical reason for someone to purchase a 3rd-party lens. Most folks go to 3rd party because the options are lower cost, or don't exist in the OEM lineup. I would advocate considering a Canon lens as well.

The motor in my EOS 60D is a USM. I believe I need a USD Tamron lens, but I am unsure. I see HLD Tamron lens on the market that make reference to APS-C format, but I am unsure if this is compatible with my EOS 60D. Advice is welcome.

USM is a designation for Canon lenses; Canon bodies don't have focus motors. USD is one of Tamron's names for their version of an ultrasonic motor. But focus motors do not determine mount compatibility, which is about the electronic communication and the physical bayonet flanges. In terms of nearest translation of Tamron to Canon terminology, the main ones are:

  • VC → IS
  • USD → USM/STM
  • Di → EF
  • Di II → EF-S
  • Di III → EF-M

See also: What do all those cryptic number and letter codes in a lens name mean?

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    Why oh why did they use sequential numbering for format size? (Di I/II/III)? That seems the most confusing way to name something. I wonder if they even market test their names? – Hueco Jul 11 at 21:54
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    @Hueco totally agree. But the ways of lens makers are mysterious and not to be understood by our simple earth logic. – inkista Jul 12 at 2:43
  • First party makers don't really change the lens communication protocol over time. They just start requiring code that was more or less "silently hidden" in the older version of lenses/cameras. – Michael C 8 hours ago
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There is no autofocus motor in the 60D, the autofocus motor is always in the lenses.

Your 60D works with lenses designed for the EF or EF-S mounts(*), and lens that work on the 60D will always state this. The EF-S is specific to APS-C cameras, the EF mount is for full-frame or APS-C cameras. Keep in mind that on a 60D (APS-C) the field of view of the lens is reduced compared to what it provided on a film/fullframe camera, this make it appear at a longer focal length, so a "standard" 50mm lens on a APS-C makes it look like a short 80mm tele, and the "standard" focal length on APS is therefore around 35mm.

(*) There are two other mounts types for Canon lenses: EF-M and RF. These will only work on mirrorless cameras.

  • Well, except that in the case of Tamron and Sigma, APS-C lenses typically will use the EF, rather than EF-S, mount. So the lenses will mount on a FF EOS camera, but the image circle projected by the lens will not cover the entire sensor. – Michael C 8 hours ago
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I am trying to find a compatible lens for my Canon EOS 60D.

  • Consider supporting your local economy by purchasing a lens at a local camera store. Someone should be happy to assist you. Lenses are often organized by mount, so all lenses of interest should located together. You can try them out in store.

  • When searching online, look for lenses that specifically state they are for Canon EOS, EF, or EF-S.

    • Avoid lenses that do not say they are compatible with Canon.

    • Avoid lenses that say they are for Canon FL, FD, EF-M, EOS-M, or RF. 

  • If a picture of the mount is shown in an item listing, compare it with your existing lens. Note:

    • Apparent overall diameter.
    • Number and position of contacts.
    • Number and relative size of tabs.
    • Position of locking slot.
    • Presence of any mechanical linkages (there should be none).
  • Canon EOS 60D has an APS-C crop sensor (EF-S). It will work fine with lenses made for full frame (EF).

  • Canon cameras do not have built-in motors.

  • See What do all those cryptic number and letter codes in a lens name mean?

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