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EOS Rebel T3 Lens compatibility


Hi everyone,  I have a EOS Rebel T3 camera, and when I bought it several years ago at a garage sale, all it had is a Canon Zoom Lens EF 75-300mm lens. I am looking at getting more of a "standard lens" for just taking regular photos. The issue I am having is knowing how to tell what lenses would be compatible with my particular camera. Hopefully without having to buy some kind of mounting adapter. 



Hi and welcome to the forum:
Your T3 can take lenses with an EF or EF-S prefix.  It will NOT work with EF-M, RF and RF-S lenses.

For a more standard lens, I would strongly recommend the EF-S 18-135 IS USM.  This unit is not expensive, but is a great optic and has image stabilization.  The wide focal range will make a perfect walk-around unit.
If you eventually decide to improve your images at the long end, I would suggest losing the 75-300 (which are arguably Canon's worst optic) and get the EF 70-300, or for wildlife the Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens.
I just checked and don't seem to sell the EF-S lenses any more otherwise I would direct you there, but you can pick one up used from a company called KEH, which rates sells used or refurb lenses and provides a six-month warranty.
EF-S 18-135 USM lenses at KEH 
EF 70-300 at KEH 

cheers, TREVOR

"The Amount of Misery expands to fill the space available"
"All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow", Leo Tolstoy;
"Skill in photography is acquired by practice and not by purchase" Percy W. Harris


How much is your budget. Canon's entry level cameras come with some variant of the EF-S 18-55mm lens. If going with one of those variants stick to the versions with the STM AF motor. Older version lack IS (Image Stabilization) and use very old and slow AF motors. Those models use an AF motor called Micro Motor which was first released in 1993. This AF motor was retired by Canon in 2012 and replaced by the STM AF motor. I've listed a few lens choices below and a lens compatibility chart. Also the EF 75-300mm F/4-5.6 III lens lineup are all poor optically and use very old slow AF motors. They also lack IS (Image Stabilization). I would recommend upgrading to a better lens. You own an APS-C DSLR camera not a Full Frame DSLR, Full Frame Mirrorless or an APS-C mirrorless camera. Note 3rd Party manufacturers use different naming conventions and its up to them to ensure compatibility NOT Canon. When purchasing lenses stick with Canon Authorized dealers. Stay away from Amazon or any other type of online marketplaces. B&H Photo NY, Adorama & Canon USA Online are great places to buy gear.

Standard Zoom Options

  • EF-S 17-55mm F/2.8 IS USM (Best lens for APS-C cameras and great for low light)
  • EF-S 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6 IS STM
  • EF-S 18-55mm F/4-5.6 IS STM
  • EF-S 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS Nano USM (Great walkaround lens for APS-C)

Telephoto Options

  • EF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS II Nano USM
  • EF-S 55-20mm F/4-5.6 IS STM

Lens compatability pt. 1 + footnotes .pngLens compatability pt. 2 + footnotes .png

  • EOS: Electro Optical System (What EOS stands for)
  • EF: Electronic Focus: lens mount ALL EOS DSLRs & Film SLRs use (original EOS Mount) (Red Circle Mounting Index, 12 o’clock position)
  • EF-S: A separate lens Mount designed for APS-C DSLRs NOT compatible and won’t mount to any Full Frame Digital, 35mm Film SLRs or APS-H DSLRs. Note this is a DSLR Crop Sensor ONLY Mount. (White Square Mounting Index, 1 o’clock position)
  • EF-M: Lens Mount for EOS-M series Mirrorless cameras. Incompatible with DSLRs or EOS Film SLRs & EOS R Series. (White Circle Mounting Index, 11 o’clock position) (2012-2023, discontinued). 
  • RF: Lens Mount for EOS R series Mirrorless cameras. ALL RF & RF-S lenses use focus by wire for Full Time Manual Focus. Regardless of USM or STM in the name. Incompatible with EOS DSLRs or EOS Film SLRs. (Red Oval Mounting Index, 12 o’clock position)
  • RF-S: Lens is optimized for EOS R series APS-C cameras. Can be used on EOS R series Full Frame cameras but the image is cropped to the APS-C image circle. Note this is NOT a separate lens mount.
  • Full Frame Digital: Image sensor is the same size as a single negative of 35mm Film which measures 36x24.
  • APS-H (Advanced Photo System Half Frame): Image sensor is 1.3x smaller than 35mm Film. An APS-H image sensor measures (27.7x18.5). This format was previously used by Canon in older 1D series cameras.
  • APS-C (Advanced Photo System Classic): Image sensor is 1.5 or 1.6x smaller than 35mm Film. An APS-C image sensor measures 22.6x15 Canon uses a 1.6x crop factor.
  • L: Canon's professional grade lenses only available in Full Frame lenses NO APS-C lenses available. Lens has a red ring on the lens barrel.
  • DO: Diffractive Optics uses Fresnel lenses. Lens has a green ring on the lens barrel.
  • I, II, III, IV, V: Some lenses have multiple revisions such as the EF 28-80 F/3.5-5.6 V USM (ONLY lens to have a Version V)
  • Ring Type USM: AF motor type. Provides fast focusing stands for Ultrasonic Motor. Ring Type USM is the original USM AF motor. Shaped like a ring inside the lens. Allows Full Time Manual Focus either Focus by Wire or mechanical. ALL RF Mount lenses use focus by wire for Full Time Manual Focus.
  • Micro Motor USM: Cheaper and slower AF Motor doesn't allow Full Time Manual Focus. Lens uses gears to adjust focus. EXCEPT for the EF 50mm F/1.4 USM lens (refer to Ring Type USM Mechanical Focus override). EF/ EF-S Mount ONLY. (1993-2008 retired, replaced by Nano USM)
  • Nano USM: Combines STM and Ring Type USM technology for fast AF. Allows Full Time Manual Focus is Focus by wire. (2016- Present)
  • STM: Stepper Motor for quiet AF. Allows Full Time Manual Focus which is Focus by Wire. ALL EF-M lenses used an STM AF motor. RF 10-20mm F4L IS STM (First L series lens to use an STM AF Motor) (2012- Present)
  • AFD: Arc-Form Drive original EOS AF motor. No longer in use was replaced by Micro Motor in 1993 for new lens designs. No Full Time Manual Focus. ONLY used in the EF Mount NO EF-S, EF-M or RF Mount lenses. (Retired 1987-1992)
  • Micro Motor: Older least advanced AF motor slower AF used in cheaper lenses. No Full Time Manual Focus. ONLY used in the EF/ EF-S Mount. (Retired, 1993-2012) Replaced by STM in 2012.
  • IS: Image Stabilization available in the lens.
  • IBIS: In Body Image Stabilization available in select EOS R Series cameras.
  • Macro: A macro lens with 1:1 magnification
  • Compact Macro: Lens is able to focus closer than a normal macro lens.
  • MP-E: Manual Focus only electronic aperture control no focus to infinity.
  • TS-E: Tilt Shift lens with electronic aperture control no Autofocus. 
  • Soft Focus: Lens is designed to provide a creamy bokeh effect.
  • PZ: Power Zoom lens. Only 1 lens released with this feature. Only the EF 35-80mm F/4-5.6 PZ lens used this. 
  • TTL: Through The Lens Flash metering. Flash system relies on light reflected off the film. NOT compatible with EOS Digital cameras.
  • A-TTL: Advanced Through The Lens Flash metering system in EOS film bodies released in 1986 with the FD Mount T90 SLR. Replaced by E-TTL in 1995. System uses a pre-flash measured by a sensor on the speedlite itself. NOT compatible with EOS Digital cameras. Uses EZ series speedlites.
  • E-TTL Version 1: Evaluative Through The lens Flash metering system. System uses a pre-flash measured by the camera body to calculate flash exposure. System also relies on AF point selection too. Compatible with EX or EL series speedlites. Replaced by E-TTL II in 2004.
  • E-TTL II: Refer to E-TTL Version 1. System was released in 2004 and works similarly to the original E-TTL. But uses focus distance information from the lens. Via a distance encoder in the lens. E-TTL II doesn't rely on AF point selection. Note E-TTL II is IMPLEMENTED in the camera body NOT the speedlite.
  • EOS M Series: A discontinued APS-C mirrorless lineup of cameras (2012-2023). Replaced by EOS R Series APS-C cameras in 2023. EF-M lenses CAN NOT BE ADAPTED to EOS DSLRs or EOS R cameras.
  • EOS R Series: Originally released in 2018 with Full Frame cameras only. Later in 2023 with APS-C cameras. New APS-C lenses were released. 
  •  Z: Lens has an optional attachment to allow power zoom. Only the RF 24-105mm F/2.8L IS USM Z lens has this feature.
  • Automatic Brightness Adjustment of LED AF Assist Beam: Feature IS NOT SUPPORTED on the R3, R7 & R10 camera bodies when the speedlite EL-5 is used. LED AF Assist Beam is projected at FULL BRIGHTNESS ONLY. Or will switch to Intermittent Flash Firing. All other cameras with a Multi-Function hot shoe will automatically adjust the LED AF Assist Beam depending on the ambient brightness.
  • AF Assist Beam: An AF Assist Lamp to aid the camera’s AF system in low light or low contrast situations.
  • IR AF Assist Beam: A red grid pattern projected by the speedlite to aid an SLR/ DSLR camera’s AF system. Note this red grid pattern IS NOT Infrared. This AF Assist Beam type is compatible on all EOS SLRs & DSLRs. This type of AF Assist Beam IS INCOMPATIBLE with mirrorless cameras.
  • Intermittent Flash Firing AF Assist Beam: Camera rapidly pulses the speedlite for AF Assist. This AF Assist Beam type IS SUPPORTED ON ALL EX & EL speedlites when used on the EOS R Series. Note speedlites that have a PERSONAL FUNCTION for IR & Intermittent Flash Firing. Always use Intermittent Flash Firing on the EOS R series regardless of the projection method. When set to Intermittent Flash Firing. If a color filter or flash diffuser is used. The camera body emits an LED AF Assist Beam on the EOS R series. Intermittent Flash Firing is DISABLED when a color filter or flash diffuser is used. Speedlites without a PERSONAL FUNCTION between IR and Intermittent Flash Firing. The speedlite WILL use Intermittent Flash Firing on the EOS R series. Note depending on the ambient lighting an AF Assist Beam may be projected by the camera body instead of the speedlite on the EOS R series. This AF Assist Beam type ONLY works on cameras released from 2007-onward. 
  • LED AF Assist Beam: Bright white light (on a speedlite) or orange LED light (on an EOS R series camera body) that aids the camera for AF Assist. This AF Assist Beam type ONLY works on cameras released from 2007-onward. 



Current Gear: EOS 5D Mark IV, EF F/2.8 Trinity, EF 50mm F/1.8 STM, EF 85mm F/1.8 USM, 470EX-AI & 600EX II-RT

Retired Gear: EOS 40D