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What lenses to get for EOS 80D Body?


Hi there! I'm about to purchase my first Canon camera and I'm quite thrilled about it. I would say I'm an "experienced" beginner as I took some photography classes in school but after a few years of thinking about it, I've finally decided to get involved in photography again and try to learn and practice where I can. It's truly a beautiful art form.


I am purchasing an EOS 80D (body only) and would like to invest in a few lenses. I've tried to search the forums, Internet, and Flickr for as much information as I can find but, understandably, there's a lot of variety and combinations suggested. 


Here are my main uses for the foreseeable future:


1) Portraiture. I love taking photos of my family members as they're preparing/posing to go out and candid photos of friends/family at parties. Sometimes it's shoulders and up, sometimes it's from the waist and up, sometimes it's full body shots. I would say most settings have decent to great lighting, but I'd also like to be able to take photos in low lighting if the opportunity were to present itself.


2) Landscape. I live near the country side but a bustling city is a mere train ride away. I really like taking photos of the streets downtown at night or on the mornings its foggy. Of course, full sunlight too.


3) Videos. My family likes to send little video messages for family members' special occasions around the world. Ideally, it's just sitting in front of the camera. Nothing too intense. I might dapple in creating vlogging-type videos next summer for fun.


From what I've gathered so far, going with EF-S lenses is good because it works with what I have instead of trying to figure out if I'd want a full body camera later down the road? Oh, and I'd definitely like to start around mid-grade lenses.


Sorry for the overload of information! I can tell there's a wealth of knowledge and expertise on these boards so I truly appreciate any and all help!


Thank you!



If you are set on the 80D, the, visit the Canon Online Refurbished Store.  Look for the 80D kit with the EF-S 18-55mm STM lens.  This is a great lens, though not that “fast”.  


The EF-S 18-55mm STM is a good “starter: lens, that is roughly equivalent to using a 24-70mm on a full frame sensor body camera.  It is also a good lens for the advanced video found features found in the 80D.

A great lens for any new Canon DSLR photographer to have is a fast prime.  The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens is a great portrait lens on an APS-C sensor body like the 80D.


The EF-S 18-55mm STM kit lens would be a good landscape lens.  Actually, most any lens short of a super telephoto lens would do a great job at landscape photography.  But, sometimes even a super telephoto focal length is good for landscape shots.




The above photo of the NYC skyline was hot from 40+ miles away, from the top of Bear Mountain.  7D2, 100-400mm, 1.4x III.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

Good advice from Wadizzle about the refurb store. I have purchased all my cameras trough it.


For a little more flexibility with one lens consider the 18-135 STM.


For a two lens kit 18-55 STM and 55-250 STM.


If your budget can stretch to it, consider the EF-S 17-55 as your first lens versus the 18-55.

John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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


Buy the EOS 80D and buy one lens with it. The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens.  Don't spend or waste any more money until you get to know your new camera and lens.  At this stage you don't know what you want. Confirmed by your inquiry here.  It is not fun to buy the wrong stuff or stuff that you won't use very often.


Why the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens?  Over the cheaper kit lens with nearly the same specs?  One huge difference is the much faster f2.8 aperture that is a constant f2.8.  It is better built and can stick with you for ever.  I guarantee if you are bitten by the photography bug you will buy a better lens than the kit lens sooner or later.  So why not just forgo that waste of money and get the better lens first?


You will also need and you might as well jump in right from the start, a post editing program.  This is not a choice, it is mandatory. You do have several choices on which post editor but not the fact it is mandatory. Here again if you are truly serious you will want Photoshop. However, you will get DPP4 free with the 80D from Canon.  It is fine for a short starter period but the end game will probably be PS.


Bottom line buy just the camera (80D) and the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens.  Nothing more!  Love it, learn it and enjoy it.


Remember no matter how cheap a bargain is, if you don't need it or you don't use it, it is not a bargain.

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

The whole point of having a camera that allow you to remove one lens to attach another is that there is no single "best" lens.  It really depends on what you want to do.  While there are people who buy a camera and the "kit" lens that might be bundled ... and never buy another lens, many people end up with a few lenses (often 2 or 3).  


As Ernie suggests... if you could only have ONE lens, wanted it to be versatile, and wanted the best versatile single lens... that would be the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM.  Just be aware that this is a bit more expensive than the kit lens (the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM)


The focal ratio value printed on the lens is the lowest possible focal ratio the lens can provide.  For most budget-priced zoom lenses, this will be a variable focal ratio so the value is printed as range:


e.g.   EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM


This means that at the 18mm end the lowest possible focal ratio is f/3.5 ... while at the 55mm end the lowest focal ratio is f/5.6.


The EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is different.  This lens can provide a low f/2.8 focal ratio at ALL focal lengths in the range.  f/2.8 is two stops faster than f/5.6  This means that much of the time, this lens is able to collect 4x more light than the kit lens.  


For portraits you may want a lower focal ratio and a slightly longer focal length and this will help produce a softly blurred background against your tack-sharp subject.  A great lens for this might be the EF 85mm f/1.8 USM ... but 85mm on a camera body that has an APS-C size sensor (the 80D) means you'll need to stand farther away to get the shot.  A full-length body shot might require you to be so far away that it isn't practical to use indoors (but it would be fantastic outdoors).  The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is extremely popular and might be another good choice ... it'll let you frame your subject while standing slightly closer than would be possible using the 85mm.  The amount of background blur will be reduced a bit.


There are lots of great lenses ... but many of them aren't cheap (the best ones never are).  Maing lenses with a low focal ratio (highly desired) means the lens must physically be larger (the diamter is much larger).  The glass elements are all bigger and thicker.  The dispersion issues get stronger and that means they need more corrective elements to control these effects.  Basically they cost a lot more to make and that's why they're more expensive.  They are also heavier lenses (some people don't like that ... but the only way to get a lower focal ratio is to increase the diameter and larger diameter glass also has to be thicker... it stands to reason that it will weigh more.)


If the 17-55mm f/2.8 lens is in your budget, that's probably what I'd suggest you get.


KEEP IN MIND... you can rent lenses before you buy them.  If you're not sure you'll like a lens, rent it.  LensRentals and BorrowLenses are two online rental agencies with solid reputations.  Many local camera stores also rent gear.  From time to time local camera stores (by which I mean REAL camera stores... not big-box stores that happen to sell cameras) will have 'demo days'.  The Canon rep will be in the store with a lot of equipment to show off.  You can take your camera to the store and test-drive various bits of gear to see how you like it.  My own local camera store just had one of these last weekend.



Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da


I can't help you much with the video... I just shoot stills.


But the 80D is usually sold in kit with the EF-S 18-135mm IS USM that has the new "Nano USM" focus that's supposed to be excellent for video. It's also unique among the Canon lenses in that it can optionally be fitted with a PZ-E1 Power Zoom module, which might be nice to have for video. Nano USM is both fast like USM, and it's quiet and smooth like STM. Best of both worlds.


For portraiture, especially candids, I'd recommend an EF 50mm f/1.8 STM (good) or an EF 50mm f/1.4 (better) or EF 50mm f/1.2L (best). On an 80D those will act as a short telephoto and be great for portraits. The EF 85mm f/1.8 (better) or EF 85mm f/1.4L (best) are longer alternatives, for tighter shots or when you have more working space. Sometimes a wider "environmental" portrait might be wanted, in which case the EF 35mm f/2 IS or the EF 28mm f/1.8 can be great choices. You have to be careful not to shoot too close with shorter focal lengths, though. Up close they exaggerate things... make noses look big and ears look tiny.


For landscape the above lenses can serve well.... but often an even wider view is wanted. For that the Canon EF-S 10-18mm IS STM is a reasonably compact and affordable choice.... or the EF-S 10-22mm USM is an upgrade option that costs more. Both have excellent image quality and offer a very wide view on an 80D.


I'd recommend a quality, multi-coated Circular Polarizer for use on whichever ultrawide you choose, too. Some folks panic about the uneven effect that can occur... but those can be seen in the viewfinder and worked with or worked around. A CPL simply can make the difference between a good landscape and a great one. This was shot with Canon 20mm f/2.8 and a B+W Kaesemann CPL filter (dialed down a bit so that not all the reflections were removed from the image)...


Morro Bay Harbor


The Canon L-series lenses all come with matched lens hoods. The other Canon lenses don't, but I strongly recommend buying the correct one for each lens. The hood will provide both shade to improve images and physical protection for the lens while using it.


I also recommend getting one fo the guide books specific to the camera. I see on Amazon that David Busch, Doug Klostermann and David Taylor each have guides for the 80D. I've gotten books from each of them for different models over the years and all have been good. There may be other good guides, so check the reviews on Amazon.


Depending upon your experience with photography, I'd recommend Bryan Peterson's "Understanding Exposure" too. It's a great overview of photography in general.


You get Canon software with the camera... but might want a copy of Adobe Elements 2019. Since you plan to shoot video, the bundle that includes both Elements and Premier may be even better. I also recommend considering a basic monitor calibration device (Datacolor Spyder or X-Rite ColorMunki, for example). Most computer monitors are too bright and don't render very accurate color... plus they change over time. Occasional calibration solves that and makes for much more accurately optimized and edited images. (I calibrate approx. monthly.)


Some memory cards and an extra battery or two should then be all you need to get started.




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

Cool shot Alan Myers!  Smiley Happy

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

@ebiggs1 wrote:

Cool shot Alan Myers!  Smiley Happy

+1 !  Smiley Wink

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA


Thank you so much, Waddizzle, jrhoffman75, ebiggs1, TCampbell, and amfoto1




I don’t see it as an either/or choice because the listed lenses cover different focal length ranges.

The 17-55 would be the choice and then add the 10-18 if you fund that you aren’t wide enough.
John Hoffman
Conway, NH

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