I have a canon T2i camera. I am beginner looking for some tips on the best lenses to carry around.

  • 2
    What kind of photography are you interested in? General, portrait, landscape, etc. That will dictate what kind of lenses you get in answer.
    – jrista
    Jul 16 '10 at 0:24
  • portrait and landscape Jul 16 '10 at 0:33
  • 3
    50mm 1.8 is your best bet. It's cheap too.
    – BokehMan
    Aug 8 '10 at 11:47

The 50 1.8, for sure. It's a good lens for portraits and general usage. I even recommend people to just skip the kit lens all together and start with the 50 1.8 when buying a Rebel. It's also a good lens for shooting video because it's lightweight.

Since you're into landscapes, you'd enjoy Canon's 10-22. It's a great lens for the smaller sensor and isn't terrible expensive. Sharpness and color is good. It shows a little bit of CA, but offers good image quality overall.

As far as telephotos, you can't go wrong with Canon's 70-200 f/4L. These can be had for around $500 used. 70-200 is a "must have" focal length in my opinion. There are some other options in that focal length, like the 70-300 or 55-250, but you'll really appreciate the colors and contrast from a L-series lens.

For a little over $1,000 total, those are three great lenses that will go a long way and you'll pretty much be equipped for anything.

  • "... Canon's 10-22. It's a great lens for the smaller sensor" - I'm not sure I agree with this. With a 1.6 sensor, no wide angle is a good option, as the sensor pushes them all up in focal length. I think I missed your intent?
    – reuscam
    Jul 16 '10 at 3:08
  • 8
    What? The 10-22 is specifically designed for the smaller sensor. It's effectively a 16-35 on 35mm. The horizontal viewing angle is near 100°! That's the widest option Canon offers for a 1.6x sensor. Jul 16 '10 at 4:57
  • Guys, thanks for your comments. I currently own the following 18-55 mm Kit lens + I now bought f/1.8 50mm. Now tell me what other lenses are useful. Jul 17 '10 at 15:03
  • I have to agree that the 10-22 is a great lens for the smaller sensor. I've rented one on numerous occasions and it is really a great wide angle for the small sensor cameras.
    – Avalanchis
    Aug 9 '10 at 20:49
  • If you can find an 80-200 2.8L, I would definatly buy that over the 70-200 f4L. It's sharper, in my experience and has a larger aperture. You can find them for around $600-800. It's built like a tank too. Apr 10 '12 at 13:36

I stretched my budget to the Canon 15-85 3.5-5.6 IS USM when I upgraded my camera a month or so ago, and I'm very happy with it. The 15mm wide end is great for landscapes and the lens is impressively sharp at all focal lengths. The image quality and 15-85mm range has kept me from changing to another lens at all since I got it.

I can't say it's great value as it costs a pretty penny and it's not compatible with full-format bodies should I want to upgrade later, but as a general purpose lens for a crop-sensor canon I think it's about as good as it gets.


One of the most popular lenses in in the Canon arsenal is the nifty 50 - a 50mm, f/1.8 lens. Its prime so it won't zoom, but it's aperture opens WAAAAY up so that you can use it in those low light situations without uglying everything up with the on camera flash. Check it here.


Something I found helpful with my T2i was a good collection of fast primes. Indoors with less light you'll find many of the Canon lenses to be very slow and hard to work with. The T2i's sensor starts getting pretty noisy around 1600 ISO so you'll want all the light you can get.

I highly recommend grabbing a nice M42 (screw mount) adapter for 5 bucks or so off Amazon/E-bay and buying a bunch of cheap, fast M42 primes. Most of these older lenses can be had for under 100$ easy. Since you already have the nifty fifty you can look at some other focal lengths and see what suits you.

The best thing about these old primes is that they're built like tanks--rarely any plastic like the Canon lenses. Just remember that you're on a 1.6x crop sensor so multiply the listed focal length of the lenses by 1.6 to get an idea of actual zoom factor.

  • M42 lenses are great fun but bit tricky to focus quickly, even with a AF confirm adapter.
    – Petteri H
    Aug 4 '10 at 15:02
  • They can be tricky but the price is certainly right. Aug 4 '10 at 16:47
  • 2
    can you point me to some really good m42 primes that are less than 100 bucks? Where should I find them and what adapter should I buy? Aug 8 '10 at 23:54
  • Definitely get a focus confirm adapter if you can swing it. They have an electronic connection to the camera that will show you when the picture is focused in the viewfinder. Some nice primes to look for in M42 are the Vivitar 28mm/2.8, Takumar 50mm/1.4, and the Vivitar 70-210mm/3.5 (Kiron). Honestly some of these lenses are cheap enough (~15-20 bucks) that you can do some experimenting and see what you like. Oct 15 '10 at 15:07

While the 50mm 1.8 is a great lens for a great price, keep in mind that 50mm on your camera is fairly zoomed in. The 50mm became popular on full frame cameras - on those cameras, 50mm is a great focal length because it is similar to your own visual field. On cropped sensor cameras like yours, everything is zoomed in ~60%, so you'll have to step further away to capture everything your eyes see.

If you have the kit lens, set it to 50mm (almost all the way zoomed in) and walk around taking photos without changing the zoom at all. While the 50mm lens is much nicer than the kit lens, you will get a chance to determine if the zoom level works for you. It was too zoomed in for me, especially because I wanted the lens for indoor shots, so I went with the 35mm f2 instead.


As deciding on a lens is generally a personal choice, rather than offering my own subjective opinions, I'll direct you towards my favorite lens review site: The Digital Picture. This site has excellent, hands-on reviews of a multitude of brand and off-brand lenses for Canon gear. You should be able to find the information you need here.

That said, here are some of the reviews I recommend:


Having used both the 10-22 EF-S and the 70-200 F4 EF L I have to agree with the earlier answers that included these lenses.

I've also enjoyed the 24-105 EF L for a high quality walk-around lens.

I would like to recommend that you try renting a few of the lenses that you are thinking about purchasing. It is relatively inexpensive to do so and you can really find out if they are what you want to buy or not. Just search for "canon lens rental" and you'll find a lot of options.


I've bought a 50mm 1.8; Tamron 17-50 2.8 VC and Tamron 18-270 VC, for my 450D (the model before the T1i)

All three have been fantastic so far. I'd recommend all three.

Though, if you don't mind changing lenses more often, then get a dedicated telephoto zoom instead of the 18-270, like the 70-200 f/4 as suggested above.


I'm a real amataur, but I upgraded to the t2i from the original digital rebel. I've got the t2i kit lens, the Canon EF 50mm II and Canon EF 75-300mm 1:4-5.6 III. I stuggled to get any kind of indoor sports picture with the old rebel, but with the higher iso of the t2i I'm able to use any of the lens for decent shots. Definitely the 50mm is worthwhile, for a cheaper zoom i've been happy with the EF 75-300.

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