The Canon EOS 60D has a lot going for it–it’s a small frame, full-featured DSLR that has some of Canon’s best technologies rolled in.
But with so many lenses in the Canon lineup, it’s difficult to pick the right ones for your photography.
Here’s a look at the best lenses for your 60D, along with some of the questions many new owners ask.
If there’s one high-quality lens you should have for your EOS 60D, it’s the 17-55 mm f/2.8. With a constant wide and fast aperture of 2.8, you will never be disappointed in this lens’s ability to capture light or to limit its depth of field.
With an equivalent of a 27 to 88 mm lens, the zoom range is perfect for all-around, everyday use. I personally like a wider lens, but in this case, I would give it up to have the constant f/2.8 aperture. This lens is very similar to the L-series 24-70 mm, but optimized for the APS-C sensor.
If you’d like something with more wide-angle ability, check out the Canon EF-S 15-85 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM.
This lens gets down to 24 mm equivalent, but its variable aperture means that you lose light as you move to the telephoto end. It does have IS, which helps in low-light situations, but f/5.6 at 85 mm is marginal for portrait work.
However, the lens makes up for it with its compact size, which is only 3.5 inches long.
The Sigma 17-50 mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD is another interesting lens that competes directly with Canon’s 17-55 mm.
It has also got IS (Sigma calls it OS) and Sigma’s best Hypersonic Motor (HSM) for autofocusing. At less than $350, though, the Sigma is a significant value over the much more expensive Canon.
If you’d like a lens with as much reach as possible, look at the Canon EF-S 18-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. This lens has an incredible zoom ability on the 60D, from 29 to 320 mm equivalent.
Its aperture isn’t the fastest, but it’s one of the most versatile travel lenses you can buy.
When considering the APS-C camera’s crop factor, it can be challenging to find a wide-angle landscape lens.
You want to find an EF-S lens for this specialty because these lenses can be built wider than EF options at much lower price points.
This EF-S lens is made to fill that gap, with an equivalent focal length range of 16 to 29 mm.
It’s not very fast, and there are better options out there for specialized landscapes like night shots or star photography.
But for street and city use, or daytime landscapes, this lens is hard to beat. When combined with the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM, you’d have a solid collection of lenses that would fill nearly every need.
Whereas you want an EF-S lens for wide-angle shots, you’ll usually get a bigger bang for your buck with an EF lens for telephotos.
In this instance, the 1.6x crop factor works to your advantage, giving your lens even more reach than it already has.
The Canon EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III is an inexpensive option that gives you a lot of telephoto reach.
It’s equivalent to 480 mm on a full-frame camera, which is more reach than many photographers have at their disposal.
Its one downfall is its lack of IS, though, and that’s a big problem on telephoto lenses.
A better quality option, although much more expensive, is the premium Canon EF 70-200 mm f/2.8L IS III USM.
At over $2,000, it’s quite the investment, but few lenses in the world match its optical quality, IS technology, and overall versatility. Another great lens to consider is its smaller and less expensive cousin, the Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4L IS USM.
The standard focal length for a prime portrait lens is 85 mm, so with the 60D’s crop factor, you would want a lens of approximately 53 mm.
That puts it close to the focal length of a standard “nifty-fifty, ” which are inexpensive, fast, and very versatile.
The best budget option is the 50 mm f/1.4, but there is also the Canon EF 50 mm f/1.2L if you have some extra cash lying around.
Some portrait photographers like doing more close-up work with a longer telephoto, and if that’s the case, you might be interested in getting the Canon EF 85 mm f/1.8 USM.
This is a gorgeous lens and is one of Canon’s most popular portrait primes.
If you put it on a 60D, you’d be shooting with the equivalent of about 136 mm.
For shooting portraits with a zoom, you’ll want the fastest one you can find. That means the L-series Canon EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II. This is one of my all-time favorite lenses, and on the 60D, it makes a stellar portrait lens.
If you want a “normal” prime with a 50 mm focal length, you need to shop for something around 31 mm.
There aren’t many options that wide, and the perspective issues introduced get more and more complex.
The EF 40 mm f/2 STM will make many street and art photographers very happy, though. It’s very fast at f/2, and it’s tiny.
The lens is described as a “pancake” since it is barely larger than a lens cap.
Even closer to the desired 50 mm equivalent is the Canon EF 35 mm f/2 IS USM. This lens adds IS and isn’t too much larger.
There are several macro options available from Canon, but the best is undoubtedly the EF 100 mm f/2.8L.
This is a beautiful L-series lens that is fast and dependable.
With an equivalent focal length of 160 mm, it’s a little long for portraits and other uses. But that enables you to get right up close and personal with the macro world.
Sports and wildlife photographers need zoom lenses with as much reach as they can get. It’s not uncommon to see 600 and 800 mm prime lenses in the field.
A nice compromise is the EF 100-400 mm zoom, which gives you 160 to 640 mm equivalent.
It’s a very solidly built L-series lens, with its distinctive white body and smooth zoom and focus rings. The excellent IS is sure to be appreciated at 640 mm, as is the beefy tripod mount.
You can save a little money and get a very nice lens with even more reach in the Sigma 150-600 mm f/5-6.3 Contemporary DG OS HSM.
It’s priced under $1000, it also has optical image stabilization, and its effective focal length is a whopping 960 mm.
Several companies have adopted an interesting business model in recent years.
hey started producing classic lens designs using modern technology and making inexpensive manual lenses.
Three of the most common companies are Rokinon, Samyang, and Yongnuo. Their fisheye and ultra-wide angle offerings are second to none in terms of value. The optical quality of these bargain lenses never ceases to impress me.
Are they the same as an L-series version? No, but lenses like this are almost too enjoyable not to buy.
They easily capture the market of photographers who are thinking of buying second-hand classic lenses.
The Rokinon 14 mm f/2.8 is a manual focus, manual exposure lens with a physical aperture ring. You’ll have to set your camera to either Tv or M modes and set the aperture first.
It’s relatively easy to do once you get the hang of it. This lens is a 22 mm equivalent, and it’s perfect for landscapes, nighttime shots, or even astrophotography.
Canon EOS 60D Glass FAQ
Canon Lens Labels and Naming
When trying to complete your camera bag, what lenses are compatible with the Canon 60D?
It’s important to understand a little bit about the camera and the Canon naming system.
The company makes four different series of autofocus lenses, the EF, EF-S, EF-M, and RF. EF-M and RF are for Canon’s mirrorless cameras from the EOS M and EOS R series, respectively.
EF and EF-S lenses are for SLRs and DSLRs like the 60D. Either of these two types of lens will fit on the 60D, but there are some differences you should know about.
Additionally, the best Canon lenses have the letter “L” in their names, like the EF 24-70 mm f/2.8L II.
These lenses have the best optics and fastest apertures that Canon makes, and they have a better build quality than the rest of Canon’s lens lineup. They are weather-sealed and use high-quality metal hulls where other lenses might use less expensive plastic pieces.
Canon also uses the letters IS to denote their Image Stabilizer lenses. These lenses allow for shooting in lower light conditions at slower shutter speeds than non-stabilized lenses. While nothing can replace a tripod in some instances, IS can help you get more shots with less handshake blur.
Finally, Canon denotes the autofocus drive motor technology used in the lens. The previous generation was known as USM or Ultrasonic Motor.
These were fast and accurate drives, and while they were quiet, you could still hear them on video audio recordings.
The newest generation of lenses features the STM, or Stepper Motor Technology. It’s important to note, though, that the noise a drive motor makes is more of a factor of the lens’s quality and condition than which technology it uses.
An L-series USM lens will outperform an entry-level STM motor any day of the week.
Picking the Right Lenses--EF vs. EF-S
The 60D allows you to pick between EF and EF-S mount lenses.
Both lenses will work mostly the same on this camera, but if you ever want to upgrade a full-frame sensor camera like the EOS 5D or 6D, you can only use the EF lenses on that camera.
So if upgrading is possibly in your future, you might want to avoid adding EF-S lenses to your collection.
EF-S lenses work only with a cropped sensor, or APS-C, cameras. Since the sensor in this camera is smaller, the lenses can use smaller optical elements, which keeps the size, weight, and price of the lens down. All of those are good things, and Canon is now making some very high-quality EF-S lenses.
Understanding Sensor Size and Crop Factor
The Canon EOS 60D is a cropped sensor (APS-C) camera. The image sensor in the 60D measures 22.3 by 14.9 mm.
In contrast, a Canon full-frame sensor like the one in the EOS 6D is 35.8 by 23.9 mm, approximately the same as a 35mm film negative. While a full-frame sensor is physically bigger, that does not necessarily mean it contains more pixels. The pixels on a full-frame sensor are generally larger and spaced farther apart.
The tricky part to understand is the relationship between the sensor size and the lens’s focal length.
All lenses use the full-frame sensor as a baseline. So if your lens has a focal length of 50 mm, it is projecting onto a full-frame sensor. If it’s projected the image on a smaller sensor, the result is as if you were cropping down the image provided.
The amount of that crop is known as the crop factor of the lens. The crop factor of the EOS 60D is 1.6x.
This means that you need to multiply all focal lengths by 1.6 to find out what they will be once attached to the 60D. A lens marked as 50 mm will actually have an effective focal length of 80 mm (50 mm X 1.6).
Even though EF-S and EF-M lenses can only be used on cropped sensor cameras, the crop factor still applies. The marked focal lengths assume a full-frame camera, as do all SLR camera lenses.
This is a benefit of EF-S lenses because they are designed with this in mind. When looking at wide-angle zooms, the focal lengths available tend to be much wider for EF-S lenses than EF.
All manufacturers are producing lenses specifically for APS-C cameras. Sigma lenses denote APS-C lenses as “DC” and full-frame lenses as “DG.” Many other manufacturers state is clearly in the lens description.
Are L-series Lenses Worth the Money?
Canon L-series lenses are denoted with an “L” in the name and a distinctive red band on the outer lens barrel. They are the nicest lenses that Canon makes, and they never fail to provide outstanding image quality. All of these things make them quite expensive, however.
So, are they worth it? The answer entirely depends on the type of photography that you do. If you are a professional or in a position that demands the most from your camera and its lens, then yes, L-series glass is worth the investment.
The key things you get when you purchase an L-series lens include the following.
- The fastest, widest apertures possible
- The best optical glass and lens coatings Canon offers
- Weather-sealed construction for extreme environments
- High build quality and rugged all-metal construction
- Dependable, accurate, and fast Canon-native autofocus and IS systems
It’s also worth noting that these lenses are always in demand in the photographic community.
An L-series lens will have a good resale value, and you can usually sell it very quickly and easily online.
Does all of this mean that the L-series lenses are right for everyone? Sometimes, you want an inexpensive lens that does the job. Hobbyists and consumers are a lot less picky than professionals.
They may put a higher premium on qualities like broader ranges of focal lengths or lower weight and smaller size. In these cases, there’s nothing wrong with Canon’s entry-level lens lineup.
Do I need Image Stabilization lenses for the 60D?
Many Canon lenses come with IS, or Image Stabilization, but many others do not. Deciding when and if you need IS is a big choice in lens selection for your 60D.
While some newer bodies have in-body image stabilization (IBIS), the 60D does not. That means that you’ll need to get it from the lens if you want any stabilization.
Canon has been making IS lenses for decades, and some of them are very good. Of course, the L-series IS is the most advanced, but many cheaper lenses also have IS technology.
The difference is in the smoothness and the quality of that IS. On cheaper lenses, especially older models, the IS can be quite noisy. This could easily affect video audio quality.
Stabilization is most useful in three situations. Video shooters appreciate it because it can smooth out hand-held video clips.
Coupled with a smooth gimbaled mount, an IS system is how creators get those silky smooth panning and motion shots.
For photographers, IS comes in handy when dealing with low light. The general rule of thumb for low-light shooting is that you should never allow the shutter speed’s denominator to get lower than the focal length of the lens.
So with a 50 mm lens, you should never shoot with a speed less than 1/50th second.
Image stabilization helps you lower this number, and good IS might allow you to shoot a sharp image down to 1/25th or even 1/10th a second.
With this rule in mind, it’s especially important to have IS on longer lenses. If you are shooting at 200 mm, you would need to keep your shutter speed above 1/200th second. Without IS, this would require high ISO settings or strobe lights.
Finally, there are some special applications where IS is very handy.
Aerial photographers who work out of moving and vibrating airplanes love the technology. On any sort of vehicle, IS can help you keep your images sharp.
Focal Length and Aperture Considerations
New photographers often spend a lot of time wondering what focal lengths they should use for their photos. Before you get into the swing of things, it’s hard to visualize what you’ll use and when.
Camera lenses come in two basic types–primes and zooms. Prime lenses have one fixed focal length, while zooms allow you to select between a range of focal lengths. Most kit lenses that come with cameras are zoom lenses that fit in the most common range used.
Before zoom lenses caught on, photographers used to carry three to four prime lenses.
This enabled them to shoot in pretty much any scenario they desired. The four lenses they would want are as follows.
Keep in mind, the focal lengths mentioned are in terms of a full-frame camera. For the 60D, you need to divide these numbers by 1.6.
- A 35 mm lens is considered a standard wide-angle. The most common use is for landscape photography. Of course, you can get much wider angle lenses, but anything wider tends to distort the image to some extent. The second most common wide-angle focal length is 28 mm.
- A 50 mm lens is often called the “Nifty-Fifty.” These lenses are the Goldilocks of focal lengths, they aren’t too wide, and they aren’t telephotos (magnified). They render things more or less as they appear in real life. The most common example of their use is for street photography, but you can use them for landscapes, portraits, still lifes, and nearly anything else. If you want a prime lens, and you don’t know which focal length to get, pick up an inexpensive 50 mm to play with.
- An 85 mm is a short telephoto lens, usually used for portraits. It zooms in slightly, which produces a flattering effect on your subjects. The background compresses slightly, which brings the image together into a cohesive composition. A 100 mm is another great short telephoto focal length.
- The last thing a photographer might want is a long telephoto lens, which would be 135 mm or more. These are sometimes used in portraits, though they are more commonly associated with sports or wildlife photography.
Prime Versus Zoom Lenses
The list of focal lengths above isn’t made to convince you to buy prime lenses. It’s just to demonstrate what focal lengths are useful for different activities.
Prime lenses are wonderful for a few reasons, but most modern photographers choose zooms. Let’s look at each one separately.
Prime lenses are built for only one focal length, which reduces a lot of size, weight, and complexity from their design. It also means that they are generally less expensive than zoom lenses.
For a given focal length, the prime lens version will generally be sharper, cheaper, lighter, smaller, and faster.
A lot of photographers like shooting with a prime because it forces a little bit more creativity. You can’t just zoom in, so you have to move your body and your perspective around. That can lead to some fantastic creative results.
Zoom lenses win out in the versatility column, however. Some photographers do not want to switch lenses, so they shoot with one or two zoom lenses that meet their needs.
The most common zoom range covers anywhere between 28 and 80 mm or so. Some super versatile zooms cover much larger ranges, but they usually suffer in the sharpness, clarity, and aperture categories.
How Do You Pick the Right Lens for You?
The key to picking the right lenses is to identify precisely how and where you’re going to want to use your camera.
You need to identify what features are “must-haves” versus what features are just “nice-to-haves.”
Even if you know what genre of photography you’d like to work on, it’s still important to understand that each photographer does so in their own style.
A landscape photographer might like to work from their car, which means they can carry enormous tripods and work with super-fast, large, and heavy lenses.
Another photograph might like to shoot the same subjects, but backpack in and camp. That shooter may prefer a lighter and more mobile lens.
All lens purchases are a balance between focal length, aperture size, and budget. We’d all have tiny lenses that are fast and cover every possible focal length in the ideal world.
But in reality, manufacturers have yet to make that lens. While they continue to try, we’ll still figure out what we want to carry in our camera bag based on what’s most important to each of us.
Canon EOS 60D Specification & Resources
EOS 60D Specifications
|Body type||Mid-size SLR|
|Max resolution||5184 x 3456|
|Other resolutions||5184 x 2912, 4608 x 3456, 3456 x 3456, 3456 x 2304, 3456 x 1944, 3072 x 2304, 2592 x 1456, 2592 x 1728, 2304 x 1728, 2304 x 2304, 1920 x 1280, 1920 x 1080, 1728 x 1728, 1696 x 1280, 1280 x 1280, 720 x 480, 720 x 400, 640 x 480, 480 x 480|
|Image ratio w:h||1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9|
|Effective pixels||18 megapixels|
|Sensor photo detectors||19 megapixels|
|Sensor size||APS-C (22.3 x 14.9 mm)|
|ISO||Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, (12800 with boost)|
|Boosted ISO (maximum)||12800|
|White balance presets||6|
|Custom white balance||Yes|
|JPEG quality levels||Fine, Normal|
|Optics & Focus|
|Number of focus points||9|
|Lens mount||Canon EF/EF-S|
|Focal length multiplier||1.6×|
|Screen / viewfinder|
|Articulated LCD||Fully articulated|
|Screen type||Clear View TFT color LCD|
|Viewfinder type||Optical (pentaprism)|
|Viewfinder magnification||0.95× (0.59× 35mm equiv.)|
|Minimum shutter speed||30 sec|
|Maximum shutter speed||1/8000 sec|
|Manual exposure mode||Yes|
|Subject / scene modes||Yes|
|Built-in flash||Yes (Pop-up)|
|Flash range||13.00 m|
|External flash||Yes (Hot-shoe, Wireless plus Sync connector)|
|Flash modes||Auto, On, Off, Red-eye|
|Continuous drive||5.3 fps|
|Self-timer||Yes (2 or 10 sec, remote)|
|Exposure compensation||±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|AE Bracketing||±3 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)|
|WB Bracketing||Yes (3 frames in either blue/amber or magenta/green axis)|
|Resolutions||1920 x 1080 (29.97, 25, 23.976 fps), 1280 x 720 (59.94, 50 fps), 640 x 480 (59.94, 50 fps)|
|USB||USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)|
|HDMI||Yes (HDMI mini)|
|Remote control||Yes (Optional)|
|Environmentally sealed||Yes (Water and Dust resistant)|
|Battery description||Lithium-Ion LP-E6 rechargeable battery & charger|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1100|
|Weight (inc. batteries)||755 g (1.66 lb / 26.63 oz)|
|Dimensions||145 x 106 x 79 mm (5.71 x 4.17 x 3.11″)|
|Timelapse recording||Yes (by USB cable and PC)|
Picking the right lens for any camera takes a little bit of time and introspection. What do you want to do with it, and how and where will you do it?
What’s more important, portability, price, or quality of the image?
It’s always a give and take, and most photographers find that they need multiple lenses to meet all their needs. Do you get by with just one or two lenses, or do you have a bigger camera bag? Let me know in the comments.