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  Canon telephoto prime lenses
 

Lenses with focal lengths bigger than 50mm are commonly known as telephoto models. These fit less in, and are therefore ideal for getting closer to distant subjects or picking out detail; they also give a more flattering effect when taking photos of people. In contrast to wide-angle, lenses with longer focal lengths have an inherently smaller depth-of-field, which means it’s easier to get a blurred background effect – again ideal for portrait, wildlife and sports photography.

Good focal lengths for portraits are typically between 85mm and 135mm – these are often known as short telephotos. Appropriate focal lengths for sports or wildlife are generally much longer – at least 200mm, and ideally 300mm or more. Professional sports and wildlife photographers often use 600mm lenses, or even longer still. These are known as super-telephotos.

Lenses with smaller f-numbers gather more light thanks to their bigger apertures, which makes them better in dim conditions and for minimising the depth-of-field. Bigger apertures however mean a larger, heavier and more expensive lens.

 
 

As focal lengths increase, the risk of camera-shake becomes greater, so telephoto zooms with image stabilisation are preferred. Canon refers to these models with the letters IS and these can let you handhold shots with shutter speeds three to four times slower than normal. Note these won’t stop a moving subject from blurring though, which brings many enthusiasts back to large aperture models.

As always, bear in mind any reduction in field due to your DSLRs sensor when choosing a lens. Canon’s APS-C models like the EOS 400D / XTi and 40D have a reduction factor of 1.6x, which effectively multiply lens focal lengths by 1.6 times. So if you’re after a portrait lens with an equivalent focal length of 85 to 135mm, you’ll need a model with an actual focal length of around 50 to 85mm.

For a full explanation of lens specifications and examples of coverage at different focal lengths, check out our Camera Labs Lens Buyers Guide.


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM
     
Focal length: 85mm
Aperture: f1.8
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR: 136mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
  Closest focus: 85cm
Filter thread: 58mm
Lens hood: Optional ET-65III
Construction: 9 el. / 7 groups
Diaphragm blades: 8
Weight:425g
Size (diam x length): 75x72mm


 
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM
     
Focal length: 85mm
Aperture: f1.2
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR: 136mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
  Closest focus: 95cm
Filter thread: 72mm
Lens hood: ES-79II included
Construction: 8 el. / 7 groups
Diaphragm blades: 8
Weight:1025g
Size (diam x length): 92x84mm


 
Canon EF 100 mm f/2.0 USM

Canon EF 100 mm f/2.0 USM

Canon EF 100 mm f/2.0 USM Canon EF 100 mm f/2.0 USM
     
Focal length: 100mm
Aperture: f2
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR: 160mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
  Closest focus: 90cm
Filter thread: 58mm
Lens hood: Optional ET-65III
Construction: 8 el. / 6 groups
Diaphragm blades: 8
Weight:460g
Size (diam x length): 75x74mm


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2.8 SF

Canon EF 135 mm f/2.8 SF

Canon EF 135 mm f/2.8 SF Canon EF 135 mm f/2.8 SF
     
Focal length: 135mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR:216mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: AFD
  Closest focus: 130cm
Filter thread: 52mm
Lens hood: Optional ET-65III
Construction: 7 el. / 6 groups
Diaphragm blades: 6
Weight:390g
Size (diam x length): 69x98mm


 
Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM

Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L USM
     
Focal length: 135mm
Aperture: f2
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR: 216mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
  Closest focus: 90cm
Filter thread: 72mm
Lens hood: ET-78II included
Construction: 10 el. / 8 groups
Diaphragm blades: 8
Weight: 750g
Size (diam x length): 83x112mm


 
Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
     
Focal length: 200mm
Aperture: f2
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR: 320mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: Yes
AF motor: USM
  Closest focus: 190cm
Filter thread: 52mm Drop-in
Lens hood:
Construction: 17 el. / 12 groups
Diaphragm blades: 8
Weight: 2 ,520g
Size (diam x length): 128x208mm



 
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM

Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM
     
Focal length: 200mm
Aperture: f2.8
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR: 320mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: No
AF motor: USM
  Closest focus: 150cm
Filter thread: 72mm
Lens hood: ET-83BII included
Construction: 9 el. / 7 groups
Diaphragm blades: 8
Weight: 765g
Size (diam x length): 83x136mm


 
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM

Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM
     
Focal length: 300mm
Aperture: f4
Lens mount: Canon EF
Equiv on EF-S DSLR: 480mm
Full-frame compatible: Yes
Anti-shake: Yes
AF motor: USM
 

Closest focus: 150cm
Filter thread: 77mm
Lens hood: Built-in
Construction: 15 el. / 11 groups
Diaphragm blades: 8
Weight: 1,190g
Size (diam x length): 90x221mm


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