Contrary to popular belief, if you own a Canon camera, you are not stuck buying expensive official Canon lenses. Fortunately, there is a range of quality third-party zoom lenses for Canon cameras too. Manufacturers like Tamron and Sigma produce high quality, affordable lenses for Canon DSLRs.
Instead of limiting yourself to official Canon lenses, why not consider a third-party alternative? The quality and end results are exactly the same!
We have chosen five great examples of third-party zoom lenses. These include mid-range zoom lenses and several super-telephoto zooms for capturing minute details.
1. Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD (Overall Winner)
Top choice on our list of best third-party zoom lenses for Canon is the Tamron SP 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di VC USD. It remains a popular choice and is one of the most versatile third-party zoom lenses available.
The focal distance of 70-300mm allows you to cover a range of photography styles. At 300mm, you have good telephoto capabilities, while at 70mm, you could use this lens for portraits or even street photography.
It has a decent aperture range of f/4-5.6. At f/4 and 70mm, you can still control the depth of field and create a decent bokeh effect.
As an SP lens, the 70-300mm has a superior build quality and additional features. For example, it has XLD glass which reduces distortion and provides clearer images. Moreover, it has VC anti-shake technology and Tamron’s Ultrasonic Silent Drive for autofocusing.
Tamron has an excellent range of super-telephoto zoom lenses. However, the best choice is definitely the Tamron SP 150-600mm f/4-6.2 Di VC USD. It offers impressive zoom levels and is a great option for wildlife and sports photography.
Due to its large size and weight, it is advised to use a tripod with this lens. There is a tripod mount on the lens itself meaning you can mount the lens instead of the camera.
The aperture range of f/5-6.3 is okay, but for this price, you can’t really expect any better. It is usually only ultra-expensive telephoto lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/4 or less.
This super-telephoto lens has Vibration Compensation which is imperative when used at the 600mm focal distance. It also has Tamron’s USD autofocusing technology. In essence, it has everything you need to easily take sharp zoom photos.
Similar to the Tamron 150-600mm, Sigma also has a super-telephoto zoom lens. This is the powerful Sigma 150-600mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary. It boasts similar features to the Tamron lens and is a similar price as well.
As part of the Contemporary range, it has a bunch of improved features. For example, it has a water and oil repellant coating on the front glass element, allowing you to easily clean the lens and leave minimal streaks and smears.
This lens benefits from OS which is Sigma’s version of image stabilization. Combined with the Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM), and the lens is highly functional with a quick autofocus system. A drawback of this lens is its size and weight. As expected, it is bulky and heavy, you may want to use it with a tripod for extra stability.
Regardless, the maximum aperture, amazing zoom capabilities, and features make this one of the best third-party zoom lenses for Canon cameras.
If you don’t need a super-telephoto zoom level of 600mm, the Tamron 100-400mm f/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD could be a good alternative. This lens still offers a high level of telephoto zoom but is easier to carry and a little less expensive.
With a focal distance of 100-400mm, you can still capture great detail making this lens is ideal for wildlife and sports photography. It has a superior maximum aperture of f/4.5-6.3 which is one-stop higher than the 150-600mm lens.
Although this lens is not part of the Super Performance (SP) range, it still gives good image quality. This is enabled via Vibration Compensation (VC) technology and a solid autofocusing system. You can quickly focus on far-off objects and keep your lens steady.
Due to its decent price and good features, this is one of the best third-party zoom lenses for Canon DSLR cameras.
5. Tamron 70-210mm f/4 Di VC USD (Budget Winner)
Our choice for the best budget third-party zoom lens for Canon cameras is the Tamron 70-210mm f/4 Di VC USD. This is a flexible lens that can fill a range of photographic roles. For example, at 70mm it can be used for highly detailed shots like portraits.
Although it does not boast the telephoto capabilities of other lenses on this list, 210mm still provides great detail on medium-distance subjects. If you used this lens on an APS-C cropped sensor camera, that 210mm would be boosted to 300mm.
This is a basic Tamron lens and not part of the SP range, but it still has image stabilization and a good autofocusing motor as well as a good consistent maximum aperture of f/4.
Shoot in Greater Detail with the Best Third-Party Lenses for Canon Cameras
We hope you have found this buying guide on the best third-party lenses for Canon cameras useful. It is clear that you have options. Whilst Canon telephoto lenses are excellent quality, there is no harm in looking at third-party alternatives too.
When choosing a telephoto lens, always check the features. Ideally, you want image stabilization and an advanced autofocusing system. Also, consider the maximum aperture and think if it is sufficient for your needs. It is also handy to know the overall weight and size as these lenses are often bulky.