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Best Low Light Lens for Canon [2021 Review]

In: 
Published: 14/05/2021

Selecting the best low-light lens for Canon involves numerous considerations starting with compatibility. A burst of brightness is not enough, and you need other features like the right focal length to get an option that’s good for real estate photography.

Our Top Low Light Lens for Canon Reviews

Below are the best lenses for Canon cameras suitable for low-light photography. Diverse in price points, focal lengths, maximum aperture, and more, there should likely be something for your taste.

Brand
Best Overall
Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III
Best for the Money
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II
Best Cheap Pick
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8
Product
Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens, Black...
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Wide Angle
Wide Angle
Item Weight
1.74 lbs
1.77 lbs
4.41 ounces
Rating
-
-
-
Best Overall
Brand
Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III
Product
Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens, Black...
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Item Weight
1.74 lbs
Rating
-
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II
Product
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Item Weight
1.77 lbs
Rating
-
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8
Product
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Item Weight
4.41 ounces
Rating
-
Price

Best Overall Low Light Lens for Canon: Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III

While not having the smallest f/stop number amongst our selections, the Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III packs undeniable features for superb low-light shooting. At f/2.8, it lets in adequate light to picture subjects better without being overly bright.

Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens, Black...

Although the difference may be negligible compared to the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, having the smallest focal length on the list matters a lot. Landscape and real estate photographers have something to give them dramatic and well-lit photos thanks to its ultrawide angle.

Added to its ability to photograph many details in tight spaces, the unit also comes with image stabilization. Whenever too close to the subjects or shooting quickly-changing action, the stability and precision are commendable.

Canon doesn’t have many excellent full-frame ultrawide angle lenses, and that is why this unit is unique. Their Canon 14mm f/2.8, for instance, is expensive yet with a limited focal range, and the images are not sharp enough.

If you want something that goes beyond supporting low-light photography to offer you fabulous features and versatility, then our best low-light lens for Canon may suit you.

Our only complaint with the Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III is the exorbitant pricing. Going for over ten times the price of our cheapest option, it isn’t something for just any pocket.

Pros

  • Ultra-wide angle to capture many details
  • Sharp images

Cons

  • Expensive
Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens, Black...
  • High performance L-series ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with constant f/2.8 maximum aperture.
  • All-new optical design for significant improvements in outer and corner sharpness.
  • Sub wave length Coating (SWC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) help to significantly reduce flare and...

Best Low Light Lens for Canon for the Money: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II

Being the second most expensive option we picked, you might be curious to know what makes the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II special.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens

Its aperture distance is similar to all our low light zoom lenses for Canon apart from the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8. It is still impressive, though, letting in much light while providing fast, shorter speeds and opening up night photography and video work.

Picture quality at f/2.8 is superb at the center, with some blurriness experienced at the corners. While f/4 offers a bit better definition on the edges than f/2.8, it still isn’t the best. f/5.8, however, is quite impressive, with much clarity seen all around the image.

The lens’s zoom ranges from 24-70mm, transcending from a vast angle to short close-ups is ideal for many usages. From architecture shots to portrait work, the lens can serve various niches in dimly lit situations.

What can hesitate your hand beside the price is the absence of image stabilization for precision in quick capturing. With its massive size and pretty hefty weight, the lack of optical stability is a letdown for handheld videography.

Pros

  • Extensive zoom range for versatility
  • Image precision
  • Minimal to no chromatic aberration and flaring

Cons

  • Not a budget pick
  • Lacks image stabilization
  • Heavy with an overly-sized lens hood
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens
  • 24 70 millimetre focal length, 38.4 112 millimetre equivalent focal length on Canon APS C cameras
  • F2.8 constant maximum aperture; F22 minimum, ring type ultrasonic type AF motor with full time...
  • 82 millimetre filters, closest focusing distance: 0.38 meter/1.25 feet

Best Cheap Low Light Lens for Canon: Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8

The first thing you notice about the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 is compactness and light mass.

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens

We particularly like how at 125g, this pancake lens is the lightest and smallest lens on our list. If you want to carry two lenses without a bag, you can slide it in your pocket and have the other lens on the camera.

How is its low-light performance, though? Its maximum aperture is similar to our best option, the Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L. It lets in relatively the same amount of light, though much goes into the final picture quality beyond this attribute.

Pictures corners may not be so defined at f/2.8, while at f/5.6, the sharpness is quite remarkable.

It has a fixed focal length of 24mm, which is a fantastic wide-angle length. Giving you the bigger picture while not being too wide, the lens ensures you don’t lose the emphasis on the main subject.

It isn’t only a good choice for architecture and scenery shooting as it works fine for general-purpose photography.

Being an EF-S lens, it only fits on Canon’s less expensive APS-C cameras. If you love to get a little while spending less, this may be a great pair to suit your low-light photography needs.

Our biggest disappointment was the lack of image stabilization. If you like fast-paced, handheld shooting, the outcome may be less than desirable.

Pros

  • Highly affordable
  • Small-sized and very light

Cons

  • It doesn’t fit full-frame cameras
  • No optical stabilization: unideal for handheld photography
Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens
  • Wide angle lens for Canon APS C cameras (equivalent to 38 millimeter on a full frame camera)
  • Focal length & maximum aperture: 24 millimeter 1:2.8, maximum magnification of x0.27
  • Slimmest and lightest lens of the EF S series

Best Low Light Prime Lens for Canon: Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L

While having a similar focal length to our cheapest option, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L takes its aperture game a notch higher. At a maximum aperture of f/1.4, it ties with the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 to offer the broadest maximum aperture amongst our top picks.

Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Wide Angle Lens -...

Besides letting in immense light amounts at f/1.4, the lens also features chromatic aberration correction for brightness and accuracy.

The sharpness at the edges may not be the best at f/1.4. Switching to f/2.8 is ideal when you need all-around sharpness in dim lighting. While unsuitable for low light, f/4 provides very sharp corners.

On a full-frame camera, 24mm is a vast angle. Your picture images may end up stretched at the edges, and the subject may recede into the picture, emphasizing your background. The length, however, offers a standard wide-angle on APS-C cameras.

Unlike the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8, it fits both full-frame and APS-C cameras. If you are a camera collector, this is a fantastic choice to carry more cameras with fewer lenses. The price is, however, pretty high.

Though you can switch it between your cameras, it is pretty heavy and tedious during extended handheld photography. Another less impressive aspect is the lack of image stabilization, so you may find it a bit challenging in handheld shooting.

Pros

  • It fits both full-frame and APS-C cameras
  • Wide maximum aperture for adequate picture brightness
  • Chromatic aberration correction for precision

Con

  • Lacks image stabilization
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Wide Angle Lens -...
  • Lens not zoomable
  • Minimum focus Distance is 0.8ft
  • Focal Length -24 mm

Best Low Light Wide-Angle Zoom Lens for Canon: Sigma 18-35mm F1.8

Breaking our otherwise monotonous Canon line-up is the Sigma 18-35mm F1.8. Parked with multiple impressive specifications, the unit delivers just the right juice to knock out some top Canon contenders.

Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM Lens for Canon,...

Right off the bat, the lens draws you in with the f/1.8 aperture, a first of its kind amongst zoom lenses. It may not offer the widest aperture on our list though it is our top zoom lens for Canon with the widest aperture.

The aperture is fast, letting in loads of light for low-light indoor shooting and videography applications. To give you some perspective, the f/1.8 lets in twice as much light as f/2.8. You can see how useful this lens is in poor lighting.

The f/1.8 aperture means you can use a much lower ISO than smaller apertures to ensure better video quality.

The 18-35mm zoom range isn’t very long, so don’t expect to shoot far off subjects. For real estate and landscape photographers, though, this wide-angle is an absolute gold mine.

Portrait shooters may also benefit, more so with the f/1.8 aperture providing you with twice as intense bokeh as the f/2.8 counterparts.

Designed for APS-C cameras, the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 presents solid attributes to mid-range spenders. You can attach it to a full-frame camera though the amount of vignetting even at 35mm is sadly unacceptable.

Pros

  • Large aperture for immense brightness
  • Wide-angle zooming supports extensive coverage

Cons

  • Unideal for far subjects
  • Excessive vignetting on full-frames
Sale
Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 Art DC HSM Lens for Canon,...
  • F1.8 maximum aperture
  • F16 minimum
  • Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing, 72mm filter size

Best Ultra-Wide Low Light Lens for Canon APS-C Cameras: Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8

On an APS-C camera, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 may be a much more suitable selection than the Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L, which offers a standard wide-angle in this case.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for Canon...

With its zoom range being the second most extensive on our list, the unit offers more flexibility. You can fully zoom out for a wide field of view in architectural or landscape images. The 55mm range can draw in your subjects during portraiture and offer a very appealing out-of-focus background.

Paired with the extensive zoom range, the f/2.8 aperture provides ample lighting for night shoots. The constant aperture of the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 ensures you maintain impressive brightness levels as you alter the focal range.

At f/2.8, image centers are sharp as expected for most lenses. Though a bit blurred, there is nothing to complain about the edges apart from some chromatic aberration. Sharpness increases progressively as you switch to f/4 and f/5.6, though aberration remains.

Akin to lenses like the Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L, it includes image stabilization. Focusing on a subject is a cinch, and it eases accuracy in handheld videography.

Like the highly affordable Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8, it can only fit APS-C cameras and therefore unsuitable for full-frame options. Although designed for a smaller sensor, the lens is pretty big and heavy, especially compared to kit lenses or smaller alternatives like Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8.

Pros

  • Image stabilization for clarity
  • Wide zoom range for flexibility

Cons

  • Pretty heavy and big
  • Experiences chromatic aberration
Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for Canon...
  • 17-55mm wide-angle zoom lens with f/2.8 maximum aperture for Canon DSLR cameras
  • AD and aspherical elements deliver impressive image quality through entire zoom range, Closest...
  • Image Stabilizer lens groups shift to compensate for image shake even in dim lighting

Best Mid-Range Low Light Prime Lens for Canon: Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4

Typical for most prime lenses apart from a few like the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II, the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 comes at a budget price. Being our second most affordable lens, consider trying it out if you are into budget-prized prime lenses.

Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM Lens, Black - 2439C002

Sharing the top spot with the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L in offering the widest aperture on our list, the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 lets in vast amounts of light. It is a highly convenient choice for nighttime photography and getting pleasantly blurred backgrounds.

The 32mm focal length is a full-frame equivalent of 51mm, so you are getting a standard focal length with this unit. It is wide enough to capture the bigger picture while remaining tight enough for slight subject emphasis.

Although not as light as the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8, it still is very compact and comes at second place on our list in terms of ergonomics.

Bear in mind that the Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 lacks image stabilization. You would therefore want to use it with a tripod for videography purposes.

Pros

  • Affordable cost
  • Wide aperture for adequate light let-in
  • Minimalistic construction for convenience

Con

  • Forfeits image stabilization
Canon EF-M 32mm f/1.4 STM Lens, Black - 2439C002
  • Fixed focal length Lens with high image quality
  • Bright f/1.4 maximum aperture
  • 32mm field of view equivalent to 51mm on 35mm full-frame

Conclusion

Canon 24-70mm camera lens

The Canon EF 16–35mm f/2.8L III is our favorite choice though photographers looking for a more versatile full-frame option are better off with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II.

With the comprehensive comparisons highlighted, we believe you can still select from the rest of the options and meet your requirements.

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