There is no such thing as a best lens under $600 and certainly there is no such thing as a best Canon lens under $600 either. There are several different parameters which determine the choice of lenses for different photographers. If one is passionate about shooting wildlife, then a telephoto lens is what he would be looking for. Again, if someone is interested in architectural photography then a wide angle lens is what he would be looking to buy. So there can be no one best lens, rather many different lenses for different purposes appealing to different photographers. As such we shall look at a few Canon lenses under $600 each belonging to a different segment of the focal length.
Best Canon wide angle lens under $600
The Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM lens is a lot of landscape photographers go to lens. It is great because of several factors. First it has a very wide f-stop. At f/1.8 the lens allows a lot of light in and is thus perfect for shooting stunning landscape shots combined with a fast shutter speed. It utilizes Canon’s ring-type USM and also FTM (full time manual focusing), two technologies that are borrowed from Canon’s premium L series lenses. Incidentally at f/1.8, this lens is Canon’s faster of all the 28mm lenses. The lens will cost a mere $510, well within our target of $600.
Best Canon telephoto lens under $600
The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II is a great lens to have if you’re starting to show some interest in the longer focal length and is looking for a lens to compliment your 15-55mm Canon kit lens. The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II retails at only $300 and packs quite a punch even for a non L series lens. For full frame users however, this lens is not for them as the EF-S can be used only with a crop body Canon DSLR.
The build quality of the lens (and for that matter any non-L series lens) is a matter of discontent and the EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II is no different. It feels like plastic and in fact contains a lot of the material that is used in building lenses in the lower end. The AF system is powered by MicroMotor and is slow to focus perfectly, living up to their reputation. However focusing, even if it slow would not be a problem. At f/4.5-5.6 this is not exactly a sports photography lens (unless you call shooting chess players as sports photography) and can is more suitable for stationery targets such as a bird perched on a tree at 100 meters or even a deer at 200 meters.
The long focal length is really handy in the field. On a crop body like a rebel T2i (Canon 550D) the lens will have a crop factor of 1.6x. This means the focal length extends to 88mm-400mm. This lens although is a cheap alternative is a real handy lens to have in case you don’t have the budget for a more expensive L series lens and just looking to take advantage of the longer focal length.
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