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Lens Choice for EOS Rebel T5i and Mirrorless


Hello All-

I am a new user and a totally green, newbie photographer.  I was gifted a used EOS Rebel T5i.  I would like to purchase a quality, perhaps "L" series, lens while I navigate around the exciting digital photography waters.  What is a highly versatile lens that would work on my camera that would also be adaptable to a future mirrorless camera.

Thank you for any assistance/advice you can offer! 



This was the best advice, "...the ubiquitous 18 - 55 it should be fine for you to get your feet wet"

Along with this, "... you'd be better off saving up for RF lenses as well as an R-series camera."

As to what to do right now an investment in Photoshop and /or Lightroom is a great idea. Even the free form Canon DPP4 is worthwhile to learn. Post editing your shots is where it is at. 

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

View solution in original post



What lens do you have now? Even if it is the ubiquitous 18 - 55 it should be fine for you to get your feet wet,

Yes it is the original 18-55 and works fine.  I just curious what options I had and how someone else with experience might grow their gear.

-Thank you

Lens choice depends very much on what you want to photograph. You haven't told us, so we're only  able to give some general answers.

But first, any Canon EF or EF-S lens that fits your T5i will be adaptable later for use on Canon R-series (newer) or M-series (older) mirrorless cameras. That said, it is better to use the native lenses for each of those systems, as they are often newer, improved designs and can be smaller and lighter than adapted DSLR lenses. There aren't a lot of EF-M lenses for the older M-series mirrorless. More likely you would be looking at the larger and growing selection of RF and/or RF-S lenses for the newer R-series cameras. This because the R-system is gradually replacing the previous systems (the M-series and their lenses, and the Canon DSLRs and their EF/EF-S lenses will be phased out over time). Note that RF and EF-M lenses are NOT interchangeable. Neither can be adapted for use on the other's system cameras.

Lenses choice depends upon the purpose...

  • A general purpose "walkaround" lens is usually a mid-range zoom like the kit 18-55mm or the step up to the EF-S 18-135mm (18-150mm avail. in RF and EF-M versions). There also are more premium alternatives in the EF-S 15-85mm and EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8. The 15-85mm might be a good choice for someone who wants a little wider than the usual kit lenses, but doesn't want to get a separate ultrawide (see below). The 17-55mm has a larger, non-variable f/2.8 aperture so would be a better choice for someone needing to shoot in lower light conditions frequently (though there are other solutions for that challenge). A very affordable alternative that just doesn't go very wide is a used EF 28-135mm. That's an older lens design, among the first lenses to have IS, but was in production for more than 20 years, is quite capable and was sold a lot as a kit lens for various cameras. There are a lot of them available on the used market and good copies can be found at relatively low cost. Since 28mm isn't very wide on an APS-C camera like a T5i, the 28-135mm might be best if complemented by some ultrawide lens. 
  • Wide angle lenses are useful for a variety of things, but are often chosen for landscape, cityscape, seascape, architecture and a few other specialties. This is not to say this is the only type of lens used for those purposes or that wide lenses are only limited to these purposes. Just that these are some popular uses. There are a variety of wide angle lenses available. Just to narrow it down a bit... Canon EF-S 10-18mm and EF-S 10-22mm are a couple very good ultrawide zooms. The 10-18mm is a newer lens, with IS, and quite affordable. It's also rather plasticky. The 10-22mm is brighter lens, with larger maximum lens aperture, a bit better build and faster USM autofocus drive (the STM drive in the 10-18mm certainly isn't slow... ultrawide lenses focus quickly simply because they don't need to move their elements very much to do so). Either lens can do you proud. There are a number of third party lenses... both with and without autofocus... at a wide range of prices.
  • Longer telephoto lenses are popular for many things including sports photography, wildlife, "birding", and more. Short telephotos may be preferred for a lot of portraiture. There are both telephoto zooms and "primes" (lenses that only have a single focal length, that don't "zoom"). I shoot a lot of sports and some wildlife, so I have a number of telephotos: two 70-200mm, four 300mm, a 100-400mm and a 500mm. I also have 1.4X and 2X teleconverters that I use with some of these lenses. For more portrait purposes, I also use 50mm (which is a short telephoto on an APS-C camera), 85mm and 135mm.
  • Specialty lenses include macro/close-up, tilt-shift for perspective correction, fisheye for uncorrected ultrawide effects, ultra-large aperture lenses for dreamy background blur effects and more.

So decide what you want to shoot, then choose the lens for it (or ask around for recommendations). Or if you just aren't sure what you'll be doing, get a generalist type of lens, go shoot a lot and find your limitations.... then look for lenses (or other accessories) that will help you overcome those limitations.


Alan Myers
San Jose, Calif., USA
"Walk softly and carry a big lens."
GEAR: 5DII, 7DII (x2), 7D(x2), EOS M5, some other cameras, various lenses & accessories

Since you have the 18-55, adding the EF-S 55-250mm zoom (STM version) will give you a wide range of focal lengths. Available used for under $200.

Screenshot 2023-03-29 152540.jpg

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

1D X Mark III, Many lenses, Pixma PRO-100, Pixma TR8620a, LR Classic


Fact check.  The T5i is a 10yr old body now.  Its EOL as far as support and repair goes.  Sounds like its had a great life.  Now its ready for its next adventure.

Any of Canon's EF, EF-S lenses will work on this body, including "L" or non "L" series glass.  EF and EF-S lenses can be adapted to EOS R (mirrorless) body's.  Most will function extremely well and provide wonderful photos.  

EOS R body's use a different lens mount, RF.  RF lenses are a completely different architecture.  They offer additional features, and faster focus than their EF counterparts.  Unfortunately, they cannot be adapted to a EF mount camera.

In order for us to make good suggestions, we need to know what kind of photography you do most.  What do you plan to take the most pictures of?  Also, a budget.

Did the camera come with any lenses?  You're also going to need at least 2 batteries, some memory cards and a card reader.  These items are not expensive, but are necessary.

Bay Area - CA

~R5 C ( ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10

~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw ~Pixel 8 ~CarePaks Are Worth It

Most of my interest lie in still photography (landscape, street, portraits, etc..)with occasional dabbling in action.  As far as budgets ... approximately $1000, but I was hoping to invest it in a lens that could provide visible results now and  options (adaptability) for a future as yet unknown mirrorless purchase.  


Yes ...  the camera was given to me with the standard 18-55 kit lens.  Also I have the batteries and memory card but thank you for the reminder


Agree with kvbarkley.  Use the lens you currently have with the T5i.  If it didn't come with a lens, I would go with either the EF-S 18-55mm or more versatile EF-S 18-135mm.

While investing in lenses is a good thing to do, since mirrorless is the future, you'd be better off saving up for RF lenses as well as an R-series camera.


EOS 5D IV, EF 50mm f/1.2L, EF 135mm f/2L, 600EX-RT (x6), ST-E3-RT
EOS C70, RF 24-70 f/2.8L IS, EF-EOS R 0.71x

Thank you.  I just wanted to see how the experienced photographers might grow their equipment from my situation.

I appreciate your time!

It grows as you determine your needs. Your next lens might be a wide angle for landscapes or a macro for food/flowers/coins/bugs. From there you might want a telephoto to get closeups of things far away. Let your craft guide your purchases.

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