The standard zoom lens is a lens that you are likely to use a lot. It is a versatile lens that is a key part of any photographer’s kit. There are several options when choosing the right standard zoom lens for you, and in this article we’ll highlight six of the best options for Canon users.

For landscape and nature photographers we recommend that your kit includes at least three lenses:

  • a wide angle lens
  • a standard lens
  • a telephoto lens

In other articles we’ve listed the best wide angle lenses for Canon users and the best telephoto lenses for Canon users. This article will help you to round out your kit with a quality standard zoom lens.

Related reading: The Best Landscape Photography Lenses

The Best Standard Zoom Lenses for Canons

Tokina AT-X 24-70mm f/2.8 PRO FX Lens

We start off our list with a third-part lens from Tokina. The 24-70mm focal length range is a popular choice and you will see three other 24-70mm lens on this list. This one from Tokina is a good quality lens at a very good price. The constant maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes this a fast lens that is capable of creating beautiful bokeh effects. If you’re looking for a 24-70mm f/2.8 without the pricetag of our #1 rated lens from Canon, this one can be a good alternative for the price.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal range: 24-70mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/22
  • image stabilization: no
  • 82mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 2.2 lbs.

Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 DI VC USD Lens

Another third-party 24-70mm lens is available from Tamron. This one is more expensive than the Tokina lens, but we have it rated a little higher for image quality and sharpness. It also features a constant max aperture of f/2.8. This lens also offers vibration compensation (image stabilization). Although the price is higher than the Tokina 24-70mm f/2.8, it is still considerably less than the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal range: 24-70mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/22
  • image stabilization: yes
  • 82mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.8 lbs.

Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art Lens

If you’re looking for a little more reach than you can get with a 24-70mm lens, a 24-105mm is a good choice. Canon makes a popular 24-70mm lens, which we will get to in a minute. Sigma’s 24-105mm is also a quality lens and is priced a little less than the Canon version. This lens gives you a maximum aperture of f/4, as compared to the f/2.8 from the lenses mentioned previously. For most landscape photographers the f/4 is sufficient. This lense also features image stabilization.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal range: 24-105mm
  • aperture range: f/4 – f/22
  • image stabilization: yes
  • 82mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.95 lbs.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM Lens

The Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM is one of the most popular standard zoom lenses for Canon users. This is a high-quality L series lens that offers nice flexibility going from 24mm all the way to 105mm. It’s a very versatile, all around lens that produces sharp images. The price is a little bit higher than the Sigma 24-105 art lens, but not by that much. You can also save a small amount by opting for the older generation version of this lens.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal range: 24-105mm
  • aperture range: f/4 – f/22
  • image stabilization: yes
  • 77mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.75 lbs.

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Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens

As was mentioned earlier, the 24-70mm is a popular choice for a standard zoom lens. Our top two rated lenses are 24-70mm lenses made by Canon. This one is the runner-up and comes with a maximum aperture of f/4, as compared to the f/2.8 of our top-rated lens. While having the max aperture of f/2.8 is a nice option, most landscape photographers can live without it. The f/4 is still sufficient, and it comes at a much lower price tag.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal range: 24-70mm
  • aperture range: f/4 – f/22
  • image stabilization: yes
  • 77mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.3 lbs.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens

The top-rated lens on our list is a favorite of many Canon users. Although it does not have image stabilization, the 24-70mm f/2.8 is an excellent quality lens that is capable of very sharp images. As you might expect from the highest-quality lens on our list, it is also the most expensive. This professional lens is well worth the price if it is in your budget. It it stretches your budget a bit too much you can always go with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM, our #2  rated lens, to save considerably and still get a high-quality lens. The Tamron and Tokina lenses mentioned earlier are also decent substitutes that come at much lower prices.

  • For full frame or APS-C sensors
  • focal range: 24-70mm
  • aperture range: f/2.8 – f/22
  • image stabilization: no
  • 82mm front filter diameter
  • weight: 1.8 lbs.

Choosing the Right Standard Zoom Lens for You

All of the lenses mentioned here are good quality lenses, so the key is to find the right one for you. These lenses are all reasonably priced, but there is still a big difference between our top-rated lens and some of the others.

Aside from budget, probably the biggest decision you will need to make is what focal distance you want to be able to cover with this lens. All of the lenses mentioned here are either 24-70mm or 24-105mm. This decision may also be impacted by the telephoto lens you have, or are planning to buy. If your telephoto lens starts at 70mm you may decide that it is unnecessary to have a standard zoom that goes all the way to 105mm since you can cover that range with your telephoto.

The other significant factor will be the maximum aperture that you want or need. The lenses here are either f/2.8 or f/4. The f/2.8 certainly has an upside, but it can also come at a price. If you shoot mostly landscapes you may decide that f/4 is sufficient.