Zoom lenses provide versatility, so instead of purchasing a handful of expensive prime lenses for various purposes, you can purchase a single zoom lens that can do it all. For example, a lens with a focal distance of 24-70mm can cover many photography types including wide-angle, portraits, street photography, and events photography.
These lenses are a great idea for traveling when to reduce your luggage, and they are ideal for day trips and outings when you don’t want to carry a whole array of camera equipment. When choosing a zoom lens, be sure to check the maximum aperture range, and other features like image stabilization, and the autofocusing motor.
Affordable zoom lenses are an essential item for any photographer’s kit, so to help you out, we’ve gathered a list of the five best Canon zoom lenses under $500.
1. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM (Overall Winner)
Our top affordable choice for Canon zoom lenses under $500 is the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM. This is a good lens under $500 and one of the best telephoto zoom lenses for Canon DSLR cameras. The focal distance of 70-300mm makes it versatile, and you can cover anything from portraits to detailed zoom shots.
You could comfortably use this as a lens for wildlife or sports photography. The maximum aperture range is also OK. At 70mm you can shoot at f/4, whilst at 300mm you can shoot at f/5.6. This still allows for control over light and depth of field.
This budget lens benefits from Canon’s image stabilization technology and corrects for up to four-stops of camera shake. It also has a USM motor that provides fast and quiet autofocusing.
Finally, this lens has a superior glass element that reduces chromatic aberration whilst keeping images sharp and colorful. For full-frame Canon DSLR cameras, this is a good budget option.
The Canon EF-M 55-200mm f/4.5-6.3 IS STM is currently the best zoom lens available for Canon EOS M cameras. It provides a solid focal distance of 55-200mm which allows you to cover anything from street photography, to telephoto zoom shots. You can have one great lens instead of a bunch of just-good lenses.
When used on EOS M cameras, it has an effective focal distance of 88-320mm. Although a zoom lens, it is still quite compact and has a stylish exterior design. The textured grip in the center makes this lens easy to hold and twist.
It also has built-in image stabilization that corrects up to four-stops of camera shake. This is complemented by the STM motor which is standard in all Canon EF-M lenses, providing silent and accurate autofocusing.
The lens element is made from a five-group optical system that provides high-quality images. Detail and colors are great, and there is minimal distortion at both extremes of the zoom distance. This is definitely one of the best Canon zoom lenses under $500 for EOS M cameras.
The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4-7.1 IS STM is a good lens under $500 for Canon EOS R cameras. It is a multi-purpose zoom lens that could be used as a kit lens. At 24mm, you have good wide-angle capabilities, whilst at 105mm, you have a mid-range telephoto zoom. This could be used as an affordable travel lens for your EOS R camera.
The maximum aperture range of f/4-7.1 is OK although we would like to see the 105mm aperture be lower. At f/7.1 you are losing some of the control and flexibility with backgrounds. The lower maximum aperture of f/4 at 24mm, however, is more than adequate.
This affordable RF lens has a solid build and looks great. It also benefits from image stabilization which corrects up to five-stops of shake correction. Finally, it also has the STM silent autofocus motor.
The Canon EF-M 15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM is one of the best Canon zoom lenses under $500 for EOS M cameras. It is sold as the standard kit lens for the mirrorless M cameras and replaces the previous Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM.
The focal distance of 15-45mm make this a good all-purpose lens. At 15mm you can create brilliant wide-angle shots for landscape photography. Alternatively, at 45mm, you can create solid portrait shots and street photography. It is a good affordable multi-use lens.
In terms of design, this lens does have a locking clip that you must slide upwards before using the lens. Some people find this irritating and counter intuitive. Regardless, the lens performs well and is incredibly lightweight and compact.
As an affordable kit lens, it also benefits from image stabilization and a stepping motor that offers quiet and accurate autofocusing.
5. Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM (Budget Winner)
Our budget option for best Canon zoom lenses under $500 is the Canon EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM. This is a great multi-purpose lens that covers a wide focal distance.
Realistically, this could be used as your only lens for your Canon EOS M camera as it covers everything from wide-angle shots through to telephoto zoom. This is accompanied by a solid maximum aperture range of f/3.5-6.3.
Despite the large focal distance it still provides solid image quality with minimal distortion. This is enabled via built-in image stabilization and a stepping autofocus motor. This is a good lens under $500, and a solid choice for EOS M camera owners.
Vary Your Focal Distance with the Best Canon Zoom Lenses Under $500
We hope you have found this guide on the best Canon zoom lenses under $500 beneficial. Budget zoom lenses are a great addition to any photographer’s kit. They offer unrivaled versatility and flexibility and provide a viable solution for traveling light while still being able to shoot multiple types of photography.