One of the most important elements that make a difference in an image’s quality is the lens choice. Canon is one of the leading brands offering great quality lenses. So why not choose the best Canon lens for family portraits?
In this article, you will find the top most recommended Canon lenses with their detailed features, advantages, and drawbacks, and learn about some of the crucial factors you must consider before buying a lens.
Best Canon Lens For Family Portraits: Which Do You Need to Buy?
Canon offers a wide range of EF mount series lenses. But which one would be appropriate for shooting family portraits?
Here are our recommendations for the top 10 best canon lenses for family portraits.
1. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens is a good option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly lens for shooting family portraits. It is one of the best value-for-money lenses. The lens allows in a lot of light, resulting in brighter images. Therefore, it is ideal for shooting portraits indoors or in low-light settings.
It is also popular as a pancake lens for its flat and compact size. Although it lacks image stabilization, it is still worth buying because of its other incredible features, including a wide aperture, autofocus, and sharp images.
- Dimension: Approx. 69.2 x 39.3mm/ 2.7 x 1.5 inches
- Weight: 159g/ 5.6 oz.
- Focal Length: 50mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
- Maximum Magnification: 0.21x
- Angle of View: 46° (diagonal), 27° (vertical), 40° (horizontal)
|Very responsive focus ring||Average contrast level|
|Images are sharp||Focus motor is noisy|
|Bokeh is average||Functions a bit slowly|
|Super spectra coatings reduce flaring||No image stabilization|
|Controlled chromatic aberration||Noticeable ghosting|
|1-year warranty||Heavy vignetting at f/1.8 in full frame camera|
2. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is a popular high-performance portrait lens, especially on cameras with an APS-C-sized sensor. It can also be used with a full-frame camera, which will give a wider angle of view.
Its great build quality, longer focal length, and impressive image quality make it an excellent fit for shooting portraits. Moreover, the wide maximum aperture makes an appealing out-of-focus background or bokeh. However, it doesn’t have image stabilization. Therefore, using a tripod is a must to create sharp images.
- Dimension: 2.83 x 2.95 x 2.95 inches
- Weight: 15 Ounces
- Lens type: Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Maximum focal length: 85mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.8
- Lens Construction: 9 elements in 7 groups
- Diagonal Angle of View: 28°30′
|Fast autofocus||Function is quite slow|
|Amazing Bokeh effect||Fixed zoom|
|Lack image stabilization||Shows color fringing|
|Controlled chromatic aberration||Cause longitudinal chromatic aberration|
|Almost no distortion||Images have less sharpness in corners|
3. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM Lens
The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM can be the best lens to shoot close-up family portraits as well as landscape family photography. This prime, wide-angle lens is suitable for use on full-frame, APS-C cameras. Also, if you have the right adapter, it can be used on a mirrorless camera.
If sharpness is your top concern, this lens is fantastic. Besides, its wide maximum aperture performs well in low-light conditions and also produces artistically out-of-focus backgrounds. Moreover, its weather sealing ensures protection from dust, oil, water, or fingerprints. Therefore, it can be used for beach family photography as well.
- Dimension: 80.4 x 105.5mm/ 3.2 x 4.2 inches
- Weight: 760g/ 1.68 lbs
- Lens type: wide angle
- Lens Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups
- Maximum aperture: f/1.4
- Maximum focal length: 35mm
- Diagonal Angle of View: 63°
|Fast autofocus||Quite Expensive|
|Focus ring turns very smoothly and precisely||Lack image stabilization|
|Sharp and great contrast images||Shows strong vignetting|
|Nice bokeh effect||Shows a bit of chromatic aberration in the corners|
|Excellent distortion control|
|Weather sealing gasket protects against dust and moisture|
|Controlled lens ghosting and flares|
|1-year limited warranty.|
4. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L
Wondering which can be the best Canon lens for family portraits? Try out the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens. This lens is considered the master of the professional zoom lens. The durable & high-end construction, compact size, precise autofocusing, and great image quality make it a good fit for portrait photography.
It has some amazing advanced features, such as the UD lens elements help to minimize chromatic aberration and color blurring around the edges; aspherical lenses decrease spherical aberration; an improved AF system performs quiet and fast autofocusing; and many more.
- Dimensions: 4.45 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 1.77 pounds
- Lens type: Wide Angle
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
- Minimum Aperture: 22
- Focal Length Range: 24-70mm
- Lens construction: 18 elements in 13 groups
- Diagonal Angle of View: 84° – 34°
- Zoom System: Rotating Type
|Suitable for both formal and casual portraits||Expensive|
|Fast & quiet autofocus||No image stabilization|
|Dust and water resistant||No Infra-red focus|
|Enhance optical design||Noticeable barrel and pincushion for straight lines near the edges|
|Amazing flare control|
|Images are sharp & have more contrast|
|Fluorine coating reduces fingerprints, smearing and soiling|
5. Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens
Another best Canon lens for family photography is the Canon EF 135mm f/2L USM Lens. The lens’s sharpness and image quality will blow your mind. Despite being designed in the 1990s, the image quality of this telephoto lens beats some of the latest ones.
Although it lacks some modern features like stabilization, weather sealing, etc., it has some excellent features that make it worth buying. For instance, using manual focus in the AF mode, UD glass elements minimizing chromatic aberrations, and many more. Besides, it creates an amazing background blur, making it ideal for portraits, especially headshots.
- Dimension:4.41 x 3.27 x 3.27 inches
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Lens type: Telephoto
- Maximum focal length: 135mm
- Maximum aperture: f/2
- Minimum aperture: f/32
- Diagonal angle of view: 18°
- Lens construction: 10 elements in 8 groups
- Warranty: 1-year
|Well built, sharp and fast||A bit heavier|
|Well-controlled distortion||Images appear too sharp, highlighting facial flaws|
|Great color and contrast||Lack weather sealing|
|Fast and accurate autofocus in low light||Lack stabilization|
|Full-time manual focusing||Bad flaring|
|Minimal barrel distortion|
6. Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
The top-notch technology and versatile zoom range are bound to convince you that the Canon EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 is the best Canon lens for family photoshoots. The NANO USM technology improved AF speed, and image stabilization is among its greatest features, making it one of the best beasts in the best lens race.
The elegant shape, satin finish, metallic mount, and other outer construction elements give the lens a premium outlook. Moreover, its fast and precise autofocus makes it perfect for shooting family portraits, even if there is a restless toddler in the composition.
- Dimension: 4.8 x 4.8 x 7.1 inches
- Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Lens type: Wide Angle, Normal, Telephoto
- Minimum aperture: f/5.6
- Maximum aperture: f/3.5
- Minimum focal length: 18
- Maximum focal length: 135
- Maximum format size: APS-C
- Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
- Diagonal Angle of View: 74°20’–11°30′
|Improved autofocus system||Cause chromatic aberration|
|Image stabilization is quite smooth||Cause barrel and pincushion distortion|
|Zoom ring works nice and smooth||Sharpness decreases in the corners|
|Zoom range is wide|
|Quiet and fast autofocus system|
|Great sharpness and contrast|
|Good bokeh effect|
7. Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L IS II
Canon EF 24–105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens is a full-frame classic lens. It’s compatible for use on both full-frame and APS-C cameras. Although there are better options out there, the long focal length of this zoom lens makes it a good choice for shooting family photos.
Its image stabilization functions work pretty well, creating sharp images when cameras are operated handheld. Besides, the Air Sphere Coating (ASC) on the lens elements helps to control reflection, ghosting, and flare. It also has a weather shield and fluorine coating to make it easy to clean dust, water, oil, or fingerprints from the lenses.
- Dimension: 4.6 x 3.3 x 3.3 inches
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Minimum aperture: f/22
- Maximum aperture: f/4
- Minimum focal length: 24mm
- Maximum focal length: 105mm
- Maximum format size: Full Frame
- Lens type: Normal
- Diagonal angle of view: 84°00’–23°20’
- Lens construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
|Zoom ring is very smooth||Aperture is a bit slow for low light or shallow depth of field|
|Full-time manual focusing||Cause mild chromatic aberrations|
|Autofocus is precise, quiet and fast||Cause strong vignette|
|Great image stabilization||Cause barrel distortion at 24mm & 35mm|
|Good bokeh effect||24mm focal length is not much wide on an APS-C camera|
|Great flare resistance|
|Captures sharp images|
8. Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM is one of the top candidates for the best Canon lens for family photography. Its sturdy polycarbonate construction, angle of view, great image stabilization, manual focus, and other top-notch features make it an ideal lens for shooting portraits.
Besides, it is compatible with both full-frame and APS-C cameras. Additionally, its 9-blade circular aperture produces stunning out-of-focus areas and soft backgrounds, making it the go-to lens for every bokeh enthusiast.
- Dimension: 4.1 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 2.09 pounds/ 950gm
- Lens type: Telephoto
- Maximum Aperture: f/1.4
- Minimum focal length: 85mm
- Maximum format size: Full frame
- Lens Construction: 14 elements in 10 groups
- Diagonal Angle of View: 28°30’
|Full-time manual focusing||Quite heavy|
|Precise, fast and quiet autofocus||Cause color fringing|
|Creates soft bokeh||Corners loose contrast and sharpness a bit|
|Satisfactory image quality||Gives average performance in APS-C cameras|
|Great image stabilization||Vignette can be seen in the corners at f/1.4|
|Controls flare quite well|
9. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a highly recommended telephoto lens. Its versatile focal length, exceptional sharpness and high resolution through the entire zoom range, including the corners, make it deserving of being at the top of the list of the best Canon lenses for an outdoor family portrait photoshoot.
This long telephoto lens is one of the best-built lenses from Canon. It has two rubberized rings: a focus ring for fine-tuning the focusing and a zoom ring with a zoom range of telephoto to super telephoto. Considering its weight, it is designed with a lens collar to connect to a tripod and ensure the safety of the lens when mounted on a tripod.
- Dimensions: 7.83 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
- Lens type: Telephoto
- Lens construction: 23 elements in 19 groups
- Weight: 2.90 lbs
- Maximum Aperture: 2.8
- Minimum Focal Length: 70mm
- Maximum Focal Length: 200mm
- Minimum aperture: f/32
- Maximum aperture: f/2.8
- Diagonal angle of view: 34°-12°
|Has full-time manual focus option||Cause bad flaring and hazing shooting near or into the sun without lens hood|
|Has minimal barrel and pincushion distortion|
|Exceptional bokeh effect|
|Quickest focus motor|
|Quick, quiet and precise focus|
10. Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
Last but not least, consider the Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III if you are looking for an inexpensive lens for family portrait photography. It supports both full-frame and APS-C cameras. Besides, its high zoom range and fast autofocus are suitable to capture intimate family portraits as well as outdoor family moments.
- Dimensions: 4.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches
- Weight: 1.06 pounds
- Lens type: Telephoto
- Maximum aperture range: f/4-f/5.6
- Minimum focal length: 75mm
- Maximum focal length: 300mm
- Maximum format size: 35mm full-frame
- Lens construction: 13 elements in 9 groups
- Zoom system: Rotating type
- Diagonal angle of view: 32° (at 11 feet) to 8° (at 15 feet)
|Great bokeh effect||Doesn’t have stabilization|
|Quick and quiet autofocus||Zoom ring operation is not smooth for slow zooming|
|Captures sharp images in full-frame camera||Autofocus is loud and slow|
|1-year guarantee||Resolution and contrast are below average at 300mm|
|Chromatic aberrations are visible throughout the zoom range|
|Flaring occurs in bright light|
What to Look Before Buying a Canon Lense for Family Portraits?
Choosing the best Canon lens for family portraits will be a piece of cake if you pay attention to the following while purchasing the lens.
1. Lens Type
The lens type is the first thing to consider before buying a lens for shooting creative portraits. There are two types of lenses: prime lens and zoom lens. A prime lens has a fixed focal length. Compared to a zoom lens, it offers much wider apertures, sharp images, and is lighter in weight.
In contrast, a zoom lens can be used for both close-up and far-off photography. The flexible zooming ability is the greatest advantage of this lens. However, they are heavy and cost much more than a prime lens. Therefore, choose the one you are most comfortable using and that is compatible with your budget.
2. Wide Maximum Aperture
The aperture of a lens is another important factor to consider when buying one to use for taking portraits. The aperture of the lens determines the amount of light that can pass through the lens. Therefore, select a lens that has a wide maximum aperture. It will help to shoot bright images indoors and in a low-light environment. Besides, it helps to create amazing bokeh.
3. Image Stabilization
Image stabilization is one of the useful modern technologies that makes handheld photography sharp and clear. It controls the natural vibration caused when the camera is operated without a tripod. Since using a tripod is not always possible for outdoor family photoshoots, it’s best to choose a lens with an in-built image stabilization feature.
4. Sensor Compatibility
Some lenses have sensors that are specifically made to work with full-frame, APS-C, or mirrorless cameras. Some lenses can, however, be mounted on various camera types, either with or without an extension. So, while purchasing the lens, look for one that is compatible with your camera.
5. Dimensions and Weight
The dimension and weight of the lens are also important to consider. A heavy lens is tough to carry around for the whole day or mount on a normal tripod. Hence, if you don’t have a sturdy tripod or have to shoot for a whole day, selecting a lightweight lens would be a wise decision.
Purchasing a lens is a great investment. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your investment doesn’t go to waste due to a manufacturing defect or other internal defects of the lens. Although the warranty period varies from brand to brand, it’s crucial to check whether the lens comes with a warranty or not.
Hope you have found this article helpful and have learned about various Canon lens models and the things you should consider while purchasing a lens. Use this information to help you choose the lens that will best capture your family’s priceless memories.