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What lenses work best with the Canon 7D?

Jolene Young , Nov 21, 2012; 09:43 a.m.

I am a college student about to buy the Canon EOS 7D, body only. I found the body only on sale for black friday. However now looking into lenses, which lenses will work best with it. I shoot everything from weddings to sports/dancing events to nature. I prefer lenses that are of quality


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Travis McGee , Nov 21, 2012; 09:49 a.m.

Hi Jolene,

There is no single answer to that question, but I have a 7D and I use an EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 as my primary lens and I carry an EF 70-200 f/4 L in my bag. That combination works well for me.

By the way,there are rumors of the 7D II coming out early next year. If you can wait, you might find the 7D on sale after that happens.


Mark Sanderson , Nov 21, 2012; 10:27 a.m.

The 7D can take EFS (for crop bodies only) and regular Canon EF lenses. Bob Atkins has a very good Canon oriented website with lens reviews.....click the link

Mark Ethridge , Nov 21, 2012; 12:03 p.m.

Unless you want to buy several lenses at once, you really need to narrow down a bit. For sports/dancing it's going to depend on your distance to the subject and how much light you have to work with. Ballet from the front row requires a much different lens than mid-day football from the sideline. If you can narrow down the distance to the subject to get an ideal focal length or zoom range, that will help a lot. Then you can look at whether you need a fast lens (shooting moving subjects in low light) or if you can get by with a slower one to save some money. The EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 is a great lens, but it's pricey and 55mm is short if you can't get very close to your subject. It also has image stabilization. If you like the speed and focal length range of this lens but can live without the IS, look at the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 without IS (Tamron calls it VC-vibration compensation) for less than half the price. Both of these are also really good all-around/nature lenses. They just doesn't give you a lot of reach.

If you think that lens will be too short and you need to start with something longer because you can't get close to your subject, I would look at an EF 70-200 L . Depending on how much light you're going to have, you will have to decide between the pretty affordable f/4 version or the faster but much more expensive f/2.8 model. These lenses will be difficult to use in tight quarters because 70mm (particularly on and APS-C camera like the 7D) is getting into the telephoto range.

Often, you can find a new EF-S 18-55 kit lens on Craigslist very cheap--people buy a new camera, but already have a set of lenses and don't need it. This is a pretty good lens and it may be all you need for now.

Any of those lenses can be used for weddings or nature, but it's really going to depend on your specific needs and your budget.

Luis G , Nov 21, 2012; 01:18 p.m.

"I shoot everything from weddings to sports/dancing events to nature. I prefer lenses that are of quality"

That means expensive. Optics like the 17-55/2.8, 70-200/2.8 and a few fast primes and if by nature you mean animals/birds, maybe a 400-600mm tele thrown in. If the budget doesn't stretch that far, let us know. You can compromise and get by for less (and enjoy a lighter camera bag).

Wm. Reed Lovick , Nov 21, 2012; 04:43 p.m.

If you can find a Canon Zoom Lens EF 24-105mm 1:4 L IS USM at a good price it will make a very good starter lens. A very good starter lens indeed! Of course the lens automatically becomes a 38.4 - 168mm with the 1.6 crop factored in. If I had to choose between this lens and food next week I'd choose the lens! ; )

JDM von Weinberg , Nov 21, 2012; 06:06 p.m.

I'd personally recommend the 15-85mm IS for the 7D over the 24-105mm IS. With the latter lens, you basically have no wide angle at all, unless you swap over to an ultrawide separate lens.
I have the older 17-85 and still use it on my APS-C bodies, as well has having a 24-105 that I use on 35mm-sensor bodies.

William W , Nov 21, 2012; 06:08 p.m.

. . . it appears that you are presently making photos with a Rebel T3i.
What lenses do you already have?


G Dan Mitchell , Nov 21, 2012; 06:37 p.m.

Colleen, if you aren't sure what lenses you need at this point, I strongly urge you to not spend a lot of money on lenses or to get things that might be right for some uses but not for others. (If you are not new to this, you would already know which lens features you need, and perhaps be asking "which lenses provide these features?" rather than "what lens should I get?".)

For almost all first-time DSLR shooters who have yet to develop specific shooting preferences based on experience and the nature of the work they do, these days the best starting lens is virtually always the EFS 18-55mm IS kit lens. It is quite inexpensive, it works quite decently, produces fine image quality, includes the useful image-stabilzation (IS) feature, and covers the typical "normal" focal length range for somewhat wide to portrait long. Even more important, since you have not yet evolved a shooting style and had enough experience to know what specific lens features might be (and not be) critical for your approach to photography, this flexible and inexpensive lens lets you do a lot of shooting and gain a lot of experience without investing a ton of money.

And the lens really can produce quite fine image quality. Most people in your situation who think that the lens isn't good enough actually have technique and other issues to iron out - at this point, putting a much more expensive lens on the camera would not result in better image quality.

Later, after doing a lot of shooting, you will understand your specific needs better - after using this inexpensive lens as a test bed - and that way when/if you do start investing in more expensive and specialized lenses you will make much smarter decisions.

Good luck!


Marcus Ian , Nov 22, 2012; 09:26 a.m.

G Dan has the right of it, and, most likely, if you are shooting with a T3i now (?), you've already got at least a 18-55IS, maybe even an 55-250/IS?
I think that an 'intermediate' upgrade to the 18-55 is going to be a Tamron 17-50/2.8, a lens which produces astounding quality, for a minimal cost (350-400 used). As well, a 70-200/4 is a significant upgrade in quality, though, if you need range more than absolute quality, the 70-300/3.5-5.6 IS is pretty darn good (optically), has great range (especially on the crop), and is fairly inexpensive.

Just don't expect (as G Dan alludes) better lenses, and a better body to automatically equal better imagery - better imagery comes with learning and experience far more than with lenses and bodies.

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