Before we decide on the best lens for Canon T3i in 2020, we must first delve into the world that is the Canon T3i! The Canon eos Rebel T3i is one of the top entry-level DSLR cameras on the market. When it was released, it was an impressive improvement on its predecessor, the Canon T2i, offering a variety of useful features that make it an incredibly versatile shooter. While it offers the same processor and image sensor as its predecessor, it boasts HD video recording, more shooting modes, and filters, an articulated screen, as well as some great software enhancements.
But while the standard 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS kit lens produces solid results, enhancing your camera with some of the other Canon lenses available can make a dramatic difference. There are plenty of Canon lenses available for use with the eos Rebel T3i. But all of the different specs and prices can make choosing the right lens to purchase pretty confusing. Plus, you need to consider what each lens is for, sifting through lenses designed for zooming, taking portraits, capturing images in low-light conditions, shooting wide angles, and a host of other photographic situations.
That’s why we did the hard work for you. We took a look at all of the lenses out there and have come up with our list of the 12 best lenses for the Canon T3i. After reading through this article, we’re sure that you’ll be able to find the right lens for your shooting needs.
TD;LR - Best Lens for a Canon T3i:
- Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
- Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
- Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom
- Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto
- Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
- Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro
- Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
- Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM
- Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM
- Canon EFS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization
1. Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
One of the top wide-angle lenses available for the Canon T3i, the Canon EF-S 10-18 f/4.5-5.6 IS STM was a game-changer when it was released. It was the first truly affordable wide angle lens that didn't skimp on image quality or design, delivering optical excellence and cutting-edge performance. The EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens provides an ultra-wide angle of view in a lightweight, compact package that is perfect for DSLR cameras with an APS-C sensor.
It features a 4 group optical zoom system with a spherical lens, large-diameter, UD lens elements as well as an enhanced lens coating for high-resolution, high-contrast images without glare or aberration. The circular, 7-blade aperture ensures a stunning background blur while the Canon Optical Image Stabilizer system delivers up to four stops of shake correction.
A stepping motor, or STM, and a powerful focus mechanism delivers smooth and accurate autofocus while recording or moving. And the rear focus system offers high speed AF as well as a full-time manual focus for quick, on-the-fly adjustments.
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens offers reliability, speed, and silent wide angle performance. At under $300, it's the most affordable option in its class while not sacrificing on performance or design. It's lightweight and is the perfect lens for travel, video, and everyday photography.
2. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is one of the top premium lenses on the market for the Rebel T3i. It offers the perfect combination of specs for any photographer looking for stunning low-light and ultra-wide angle performance. With L-series optics and compact construction, the EF 16-35mm f/4.0L IS USM Lens is the perfect addition to any EOS DSLR camera. This wide angle zoom lens features an Optical Image Stabilizer and delivers up to 4 stops of correction, making it a solid performer in low-light conditions.
With 3 aspheric and 2 UD lens elements, this product minimizes aberrations and glare while its optimized coatings reduce the chance of ghosting. The circular, 9-blade aperture delivers professional-quality background blur while the inner focusing and ring USM ensure quiet, precise, and fast AF.
With full-time manual focus and a minimum focusing distance of 0.92 ft across the whole zoom range, it's ideal for quick fine tuning and adjustments. And its dust and water-resistant design lets you enjoy its professional performance in practically any weather condition.
While it will cost you around $1,000, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is one of the best wide angle lenses that you can buy for the T3i. It offers incredibly optical performance and a lightning fast AF. Its wide angle zoom is perfect for indoor and outdoor shooting and, thanks to its weather-resistant design, it can tackle any shooting condition.
3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
The compact and lightweight Canon EF 50mm f18 ii STM is one of the top entry-level EOS prime lenses on the market today. It's perfect for anyone looking for an entry into the world of EOS prime lenses at an affordable price and is ideal for action, nighttime, and portrait photography. With an 80mm effective focal-length of APS-C digital cameras like the T3i and a bright maximum aperture of f/1.8, it's a great low-light lens.
And the aperture's circular 7-blade design helps capture stunningly vivid images with artistic blurred backgrounds. A new lens coating on the lens arrangement minimizes ghosting and flare while rendering impressive detail and color balance. The STM motor runs virtually silent for continuous Movie Servo AF and fast, smooth still image AF.
And the newly redesigned exterior features better focus ring placement for simple manual focal adjustments. And the rugged metal mount and minimal focusing distance of 1.15 ft makes this a reliable and versatile fixed focal length lens.
At just over $100, the Canon EF 50mm f18 STM is one of the best deals for anyone looking for a high-quality prime, fixed focal length lens that can deliver truly impressive results. It renders highly detailed images with stunning colors and is perfect for low-light shoots. Whether shooting films or still portraits, its AF system is rapid and smooth, making this lens one of the most impressive options in its class.
4. Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom
If you're on the market for an impressive telephoto zoom lens that is available at a surprisingly affordable price, then the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III is the perfect option for you. Compact and light, it's the ideal lens for anyone traveling. And its 4x telephoto zoom is great for capturing sporting events, wildlife, landscapes, and even portraits. Compatible with full-frame and APS-C format Canon DSLRs, you'll be using this lens even if you decide to upgrade from your T3i eventually.
And a maximum aperture of f/4-5.6 and a minimum aperture of 32-45 allows you to use it in various shooting conditions. This Canon Telephoto Zoom lens features the same optical system, construction, and exterior as the EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM but uses a DC motor instead of the USM to drive the AF system. And with a minimum focus point of 1.50m, you can shoot practically anything.
You wouldn't expect much from a telephoto zoom lens that's priced around $100 but the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 can stand toe-to-toe with some of its pricier competitors. Its wide zoom range guarantees that you can capture any shot, however far away. And its aperture range is generous enough to perform well in a variety of lighting conditions.
5. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto
The Canon EF 85mm f18 USM Medium Telephoto Lens is one of the top models in its class and is perfect for a wide-variety of applications such as nature shots and portraiture. Its ultrasonic autofocus motor, or USM, offers fast, smooth, and quiet AF and its fast f/1.8 aperture make it great for capturing low-light shots or creating a shallow depth of field. This 85mm lens produces clear, sharp images throughout its aperture range and, through computer simulations, it was designed to produce spectacular background blur that guarantees that your subject will truly shine.
Since the front lens group doesn't rotate while focusing, you don't have to worry about special filter effects being affected. The medium telephoto power is great for pulling subjects closer. And with a 1/3-stop speed advantage over the 100mm f/2 USM lens, it's truly impressive in low-light shooting conditions.
If you're planning on taking nature, landscape, or portrait photography, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Medium Telephoto Zoom Lens is one of the best options out there. While it doesn't offer the wide zoom range that a 300mm telephoto zoom lens provides, it's perfect for pulling in subjects that are just out of reach. Its AF is fast and smooth and the maximum aperture of f/1.8 makes it a low-light powerhouse. At under $400, it's one of the top options in its class.
6. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
One of the best all-in-one lenses available today is the Canon EFS 24mm f/2.8 STM. This compact, lightweight lens comes in at an affordable price while delivering a great aperture and impressive image clarity and sharpness. This all-purpose lens is small enough to stow away in your camera bag easily but offers a moderate wide angle and a wide f/2.8 aperture for solid low-light performance. And designed for optimum sharpness and clarity, this lens delivers consistency across apertures with minimal chromatic aberration.
With advanced AF and an equivalent focal length of 38mm, it's great for a variety of purposes. And the optimized lens element placement and aspheric element offer high image quality from the center of the image out to the corners. Specialized coatings eliminate flare and reduce ghosting. And for fantastic out-of-focus blur and color balance, it was designed with a 7-blade circular aperture.
If you're looking for an affordable, all-in-one lens for your Canon 3Ti, then the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is one of the best products on the market for you. Its autofocus is fast, accurate, and quiet, making it perfect for both video and still photography. And it is capable of producing high-quality images with impressive color balance and minimal ghosting and flare. At around $150, it's one of the best bargains on the market today.
7. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro
If you're interested in purchasing a true macro powerhouse, then we highly recommend the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM Macro. It's one of the best prime lenses available today and delivers impressive macro capabilities. This lens has a true macro magnification ratio of 1:1. This means that the object you're shooting in real life is the same size as it is on your camera's sensor. This makes this lens ideal for both portrait photography as well as videography since it delivers a stunning shallow depth of field and unparalleled image quality.
With built-in Hybrid Image Stabilization, this mid-telephoto macro lens offers the highest optics available as well as virtually-silent focusing on life-size close-up capabilities. And this stabilization system automatically compensates for angular and shift camera shake during close-up shooting, reducing distortion for amazing clarity whether you are using this lens to shoot portraits, films, nature, or close-up photography.
At around $800, the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 IS USM Macro is one of the most expensive options on our list. But it's also one of the best lenses in its class today. It allows you to bring objects up close in true-to-life size while delivering unrivalled image quality and stunning detail. And with the impressive image stabilization system, it's perfect for eliminating shakes when working with close-up shots or shooting video by hand.
8. Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is one of the best mid-range standard zoom lenses on the market today. It offers the AF, aperture, and stabilization that you need to capture sharp, natural-looking images every time. With a built-in image stabilizer and high zoom ratio, this lens captures stunning images regardless of how far away your subject might be. And with an impressive maximum aperture of f/3.5, it lets you capture impressive photos in dim lighting without the need for a flash or a tripod.
It's designed with a ring-type USM for swift and quiet autofocus as well as full-time manual focusing capabilities. Its AF even locks onto moving targets swiftly and the 20" minimum focusing distance and focal length of 28-135mm ensure that your subject is never too near or too far away.
The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is one of the top standard zoom products on the market today. It offers an impressive zoom range and delivers stunning, high-quality images. It works well in a variety of shooting conditions such as dim lighting and features a robust AF and Image Stabilization system.
9. Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
One of the absolute best high-end lenses on the market today, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is sure to become one of the favorite accessories in your camera bag. This zoom lens offers stunning image quality with enough zoom to make it perfect for portrait photography. Adding to the versatility and performance of this lens is its impressive f/2.8 constant aperture which allows it to excel at capturing indoor and low-light images.
And a fast, silent AF with full-time mechanical manual focusing capabilities ensures that you'll lock onto your subject quickly and silently. The large circular aperture delivers a great shallow depth of field with a stunning background blur that draws attention to your subject.
And the lens construction includes UD and aspherical elements, allowing for impressive image quality throughout the entire zoom range. The Image Stabilizer lens groups shift to compensate for camera and hand movement so that every shot is crisp and clear, even in poor lighting.
While some people might be hesitant to pay just under $900 for a new lens, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is likely the only purchase you'll ever have to make to capture stunning, high-quality portrait shots in any lighting condition. Its zoom range is perfect for pulling in subjects that are just out of reach and its Image Stabilization and AF capabilities are the best in its class. While it's certainly a considerable investment, you'll be hard pressed to find a reason to ever take this lens off your camera.
10. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM is a sturdy but lightweight L Series telephoto lens that is ideal for anyone looking for a top-of-the-line option. This lens is perfect for capturing the far-off action, intimate portraits, or fast-paced action, making it one of the most versatile tools that you can add to your photographic arsenal. This lens features an impressive maximum aperture of f/4 for increased versatility in a number of lighting conditions. And its incredibly wide zoom range ensures that your subject is never out of reach.
And the optical Image Stabilization provides up to 4 stops of shake correction, which is a first for Canon IS lenses. Fluorite UD lens elements provide exceptional optical performance and stunning resolution and contrast. A ring-type USM motor enables swift and silent autofocusing and full-time mechanical manual focusing. And the sturdy construction is both water and dust-proof for increased durability and the ability to use this lens in a variety of weather conditions.
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM is one of the best telephoto zoom lenses on the market today. It is capable of delivering truly stunning image quality in a variety of shooting conditions and features a fantastic image stabilization and AF system. Its wide zoom range is perfect for ensuring that you can capture any subject, however near or far. At over $1,000, it's certainly the most expensive model featured on our list but it's the perfect option for anyone looking for a premium zoom lens.
11. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM
The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM is one of the best outdoor telephoto zoom lenses on the market today and is perfect for shooting nature, wildlife, and outdoor sporting events. While it lacks some of the specs you'd find in a professional-grade lens, it's an impressive mid-range lens that is perfect for amateurs and serious photo enthusiasts while costing a fraction of what you'd expect to spend on a pro-level zoom. The wide zoom capabilities of this lens give you an extra 100mm of reach compared to many of the comparable 70-200mm zoom models on the market.
And paired with the smaller sensor of your T3i, it gives you the reach of a 420mm lens on a full-frame camera at a much lower price. Plus, NANO USM technology ensures that the high-speed autofocus is smooth and virtually silent. Coupled with an impressive Image Stabilizer system that offers shake reduction for up to 4 stops, this lens produces reliable, steady performance without the need for a tripod.
A Lens Information Display offers you easy access to a wide variety of information such as focusing distance, shake amount, and focal length. And one UD lens reduces chromatic aberration and produces amazing high-contrast, high-resolution results. Plus, the ability to manually adjust your focus even when shooting in AF mode allows you to create some stunning videos and still images.
The Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM is one of the top buys on the market today. It delivers stunning results that are very close to what you'd expect from a pro-level lens while costing several hundred dollars less than those expensive options. It offers an outstanding amount of zoom and has a lightning-quick AF system that is perfect for catching fast-paced action. With an aperture of f/4-5.6, it might not be ideal for indoor sporting events or concerts but for outdoor action, it's hard to find a better option.
12. Canon EFS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 Image Stabilization
The Canon EFS 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens is one of the top all-around lenses available. A moderate zoom, solid aperture range, fantastic stabilization and AF systems, and great optics ensure that you can use this lens for almost any application. Equipped with Canon's NANO USM technology, this lens features high-speed, virtually-silent AF and the Power Zoom Adapter PZ-E1 that allows for more natural zooming while shooting video. Ring USM and STM technology allows it's motor to deliver high-speed precision and impressive optics.
With a AF that focuses about 4.3 times faster at the telephoto end and 2.5 times faster at the wide end for a significant speed advantage. A dynamic Image Stabilization system helps to reduce shake when shooting without a tripod, delivering sharp, focused images and videos. And the manual focus adjustment capability allows you to adjust your focal point, even when shooting in AF mode.
This is a high quality all-around lens that is perfect for portrait, film, landscape, nature, and action photography. It is capable of producing high-quality, professional images with stunning contrast and high-resolution at any zoom range. With a wide zoom, solid AF and IS systems, and great aperture range, it is a powerhouse lens that is perfect for everyday use.
Buyers Guide Questions
What to Look for When Buying a Canon T3i Lens
There are several specs to consider when you are purchasing a new lens for your Canon T3i. These specs include motor type, lens type, maximum aperture, focal length, and image stabilization. By looking at each of these factors, you’ll be able to find the lens that’s perfect for your needs.
There are several types of motors that power today’s Canon lenses. Two of the most popular and common are USM and STM lenses. USM lens are designed to be incredibly fast, making them perfect for capturing fast-paced still images such as sporting events, action shots, and nature photos. STM lenses are slightly slower than USM models but are quieter and smoother. This makes them perfect for standard photography while allowing them to excel at capturing smooth, even video.
The next thing to consider is the type of lens you need. The most popular styles are standard, macro, telephoto, and wide angle. Each style is best-suited for specific situations and tasks. A standard lens offers mid-range focal length, usually around 50mm.
This angle of view is about the same as what the human eye can view which means that these lenses tend to produce images that seem natural to a viewer. With their fixed focal length and wide aperture, standard lenses are great in low-light conditions and are ideal for shooting portrait, candid, and landscape images.
A macro lens is built for close-up work. They are designed to offer amazing sharpness and contrast making them very useful for use at a very close range. Because of this design, macro lenses are great for taking detailed photos of subjects or objects. Telephoto lenses feature a long focal length that offers a tremendous amount of magnification. This means that you can capture subjects that are rather far away.
Due to this magnification ability, telephoto zoom lenses, are great for shooting sporting events or wildlife photography while moderate zoom lenses are frequently used for portrait photography. Wide angle lenses feature a short focal length that is wider than a standard lens, allowing them to capture a larger scene in each shot. These lenses are great for taking in larger scenes like landscapes, panoramic scenes, or subjects that won’t fit in a standard lens’ field of view.
The aperture of a lens describes how much light can come through to the image sensor of the camera. The wider the aperture the lens has, the lower the f/ value it will have. Low f/ numbers will allow your lens to take great photos indoors and in low-light conditions. A wide aperture is also important when capturing fast-paced scenes because it allows you to use a faster shutter speed to capture the action without adding blur to your image.
The focal length of your lens is another critical factor. It determines what sort of subjects you’ll be able to photograph. While ranges may vary, there is a general rule of thumb that you can follow. 8-24mm lenses are also known as ultra-wide angle lenses and are used to capture wide scenes like landscapes, panoramas, and cityscapes. 24-35mm lenses are known as wide angle lenses and are ideal for interiors, architecture, and landscapes.
Standard 35-85mm lenses are perfect general purpose models that give enough versatility to serve as all-purpose, everyday lenses. Short telephoto lenses range from 85-135mm and are terrific for shooting portraits and capturing candid images.
135-300mm medium telephoto lenses are used to zoom in on the action and capture subjects that are a medium distance away from sporting events. And super telephoto lenses with a focal range greater than 300mm are ideal for shooting nature and distant subjects.
Image stabilization is the final spec you should look at. When you shoot at slower shutter speeds, the movement of your camera can create a blur. To compensate for this, many lenses are designed with Image Stabilization systems or IS, that is designed to make your images sharper and allow you to operate at slower speeds without the use of a tripod.
Most lenses that feature optical stabilization give you an extra 2 to 4 stops of exposure which allows for exposures 4 to 16 times longer without any increase in a blur. This is ideal for shooting in low-light conditions or when using your zoom. By considering all of the factors we discussed above and thinking about what you plan on photographing, choosing the perfect lens kit or lenses for Canon Rebel T3i is incredibly easy.
What is the Top Zoom Lens for Canon T3i?
There are some fantastic telephoto zoom lenses available for the Canon T3i but one of the best options is the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 II USM digital slr. This lens was designed with Canon’s NANO USM technology which allows its high-speed AF system to capture fast-paced action with impressively smooth and silent performance. And its Image Stabilization system provides an outstanding 4 stops of shake reduction.
But what really sets this lens apart from some of the other zoom options out there is its zoom range. While most models offer a zoom of up to 200mm, this one offers up to 300mm. That extra 100mm of zoom is great for pulling even far away subjects into reach.
And when equipped with a T3i, this means you’ll enjoy the equivalent reach of a 420mm full-frame camera at a fraction of the price. It even features a newly-designed Lens Information Display.
This feature allows you to view important lens information with ease, showing stats such as shake amount, focal length, and focusing distance. With impressive optics and the ability to render high-contrast, high-resolution images throughout the zoom range, this is one of the top lenses for anyone looking for the best zoom performance on the market today.
What Wide Angle Lens for Canon T3i?
If you’re looking to purchase a great wide angle lens for your Canon EOS T3i, then you should consider picking up the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. This lens changed the game when it was first released because it was the first wide angle lens to offer impressive image quality and optical excellence at an affordable price and it’s still one of the top options out there.
The ultra-wide angle of view that this lens offers is comparable to many of the more expensive options on the market and its 4 group optical zoom system features aspherical, large-diameter, and UD lens elements for high-resolution, high-contrast images with minimal glare and aberration. And its circular, 7-blade aperture helps to create a stunning background blur that keeps all attention on your subject.
Offering you the equivalent of 16mm on a full-frame camera when shooting at 10mm, You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better wide-angle lens at any price. And at less than $300, this isn’t just one of the best zooms around, it’s also one of the most affordable. You may also wish to look into a fisheye lens.
What is the Best Portrait Lens for Canon T3i?
The Canon T3i is capable of taking truly stunning still images and is perfect for enthusiasts and pros looking to capture amazing portrait photography. But to render the most vibrant, detailed, professional portraits, you’ll need to upgrade your kit lens for something better suited to the task. One of the best portrait lenses that you can buy is the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.
This portrait lens produces images of stunning quality and a great shallow depth of field thanks to its large circular aperture. The wide maximum aperture of f/2.8 also allows it to perform very well in low-light conditions, making it perfect for capturing portraits in any lighting situation.
And its modest zoom of 17-55mm ensures that you have just the right amount of zoom to perfectly capture your subject. The fast AF system locks onto your subject quietly and smoothly while the full-time mechanical manual focusing adjustment feature lets you fine-tune your focusing, even while shooting in AF mode. A fantastic IS system helps compensate for camera shake and hand movement, ensuring that every shot is detailed and perfect.
And the lens construction features UD and aspherical elements that help to deliver optimum image quality throughout the entire zoom range. Adding to the versatility and performance of this lens is its impressive f/2.8 constant aperture which allows it to excel at capturing indoor and low-light images. And a fast, silent AF with full-time mechanical manual focusing capabilities ensures that you’ll lock onto your subject quickly and silently.
The large circular aperture delivers a great shallow depth of field with a stunning background blur that draws attention to your subject. And the lens construction includes UD and aspherical elements, allowing for impressive image quality throughout the entire zoom range.
The Image Stabilizer lens groups shift to compensate for camera and hand movement so that every shot is crisp and clear, even in poor or low lighting. While it’s more expensive than some other options on the market, this is a lens that you can count on to deliver spectacular portrait results in practically any shooting condition.
Are Canon EF and EFS Lenses Interchangeable?
Before you purchase your next lens, you might be wondering about the difference between Canon EF and EF-S lenses. EF and EF-S lenses are terms used to refer to the mount type of the lens, or what type of camera sensor the lens is compatible with. Canon presently has two styles of DSLR cameras, full frame, and APS-C. Full frame cameras have a larger sensor that is the size of a 35mm frame of film.
APS-C, or crop sensors, are smaller and offer a smaller field of view compared to a full frame camera. The basic rule is that Canon EF lenses are designed to work with both full frame and APS-C cameras made by Canon while EF-S lenses are only compatible with APS-C cameras. Canon EF-S lenses are designed with a smaller image circle that is only suited for cropped APS-C cameras.
An EF-S lens is too small to cover the larger full frame sensor so attempting to use an EF-S lens with a full frame model camera will produce heavy vignetting or black corners. Canon EF lenses were made to fit 35mm film frames. This larger circle is perfect for covering the full frame sensor and is also compatible with smaller APS-C sensors.
What is the Difference Between STM and USM Lenses?
When you research Canon DSLR lenses, you might notice that they have the letters “USM” or “STM” written on them. These letters refer to the type of motor that is built into the body of the lens. USM stands for Ultra Sonic Motor and STM stands for Step Motor technology. Each of these motors offers specific advantages and disadvantages. STM lenses feature Canon’s Stepper Motor technology. Prior to the introduction of the STM lens, DSLR cameras weren’t commonly used to record video.
This meant that the AF system didn’t have to be exceptionally smooth or quiet. As video became more popular, Canon introduced this motor design which features a smoother, quieter focus system that allows for silent focus during video recording. The benefit of these lenses is that they are impressively smooth and quiet, making them perfect for capturing video and most still images. The downside is that the lenses are designed to focus-by-wire.
This means that the focus movement ring sends an electronic signal instead of being attached to an actual mechanical mechanism. This means that you sacrifice a lot of the tactile nature of conventional focusing systems in order to achieve the liquid smooth tracking that STM lenses are known for. USM lenses are designed with motors that provide faster AF than other models on the market. This means that your autofocus is incredibly fast, making it perfect for capturing wildlife, sports, and other fast-paced still images.
And since these motors are also known for being quieter than other models, nature photographers who don’t want to scare off their subjects prize them. The downside to USM lenses is that their speed causes them to sacrifice a bit of smoothness. This means that using a USM lens isn’t ideal if you need to record video and need to switch focal points since the results can be somewhat jerky and unsteady.If you liked our article on lenses for canon t3i, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.