If you have the T3i from Canon, chances are you’re using the provided 18-55IS II and the 55-250IS II Kit lenses. So now, as you’re looking for the best lenses available for your Canon T3i, you definitely want to expand the photography capabilities of your camera. For example, getting super close macro shots or capturing a wide landscape, and things that your current lenses can’t do.
Even if you’re divided on if you should actually upgrade from your kit lenses, I can tell you that you absolutely should. These kit lenses aren’t exactly the most capable things and they can only do so much. If you want to get good wide-angle shots, or those crispy portraits, or crazy zoom levels, you’ll need the right lenses that are capable of doing those things.
To give you an idea, here are a few examples of different types of lenses you can use for different types of photography:
- If you’re taking a group photo where you need to fit a lot of people inside the frame or if you want to fit-in a beautiful landscape, you’ll need a Wide-angle lens.
- In case you’re trying to click the best-looking solo shots of your friends or maybe you want to do some crispy product photography, getting a Prime/Portrait lens is the solution for you.
- If you take photos of the Moon or perhaps the Milky Way, you need a great Telephoto Lens.
- You can also use Telephoto lenses for wildlife photography, wedding photography, and many more scenarios.
- For street photography, you can use a combination of Wide, Telephoto & Prime lenses as there are a lot of possible situations.
- For taking pictures of super-close or tiny objects you’ll require a Macro lens.
Deciding on which lenses are perfect for you, can still be really confusing sometimes. So, to make things a lot easier for you, I’ve handpicked the most useful lenses that you can buy for your Canon T3i. And you don’t have to just take my word for it as I’ve talked to a total of 62 photographers who are actively using these lenses themselves.
- Best Canon Rebel T3i Lenses in 2021
- 1. Best Wide-Angle: Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
- 2. Best for Landscape: Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
- 3. Best for Professionals: Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
- 4. Best for Product Photography: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
- 5. Best for Portraits: Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
- 6. Best Macro Lens: Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
- 7. Best for Sports Photography: Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
- 8. Best for Wedding Photography: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
- 9. Best for Wildlife Photography: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM
- Factors to Consider when Buying
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Canon Rebel T3i Lenses in 2021
To create this list of the best lenses for Canon T3i, I actually started off with a ton of lenses and divided them into several respected categories. After a thorough evaluation & also taking the feedback of the professional photographers into consideration, I’ve picked the best lens for each category. All of these lenses are excellent performers in their fields and they don’t have any significant drawbacks.
1. Best Wide-Angle: Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
The Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM is the new inexpensive wide-angle lenses for canon t3i camera with a small sensor. It is a newer version of its more expensive cousin – the 10-22mm.
The built-quality of this lens is perfect for amateurs as well as professionals. Controls like IS and focus are at finger-tips. Thereby it makes found that the manual override is possible with just a thumb. Being made of plastic, the lens feels cheap and lightweight.
The Stepper Motor technology in this Canon EOS Rebel T3i lenses is very efficient and the Canon 10-18mm remains silent while focusing. It is quite smooth and there were no hiccups that I noticed while changing the focus. This makes AF instantaneous and accurate. You can handle the focus ring for a manual override if you want.
Canon 10-18 wide angle lens helps you to stabilize the images best with Image Stabilization technology. Your images will never show any camera shake. Image quality is quite awesome. There is almost no flare visible in bright light focus. But there is a slight chromatic aberration with wide aperture images.
If you are a landscape or architecture photographer, this might be the lens for you. Canon EF-S 10-18mm is an ultra-wide-angle lens. This keeps every element of the picture in sharp focus.
This can be the best lens for canon t3i to begin your wide-angle journey with. Canon 10-18mm is recommended for people who would like to click photos of buildings, landscapes, and astrophotography. The wide-angle lens is ideal for all APS-C models.
- Small and light
- Maintains clarity and sharpness of the image
- Canon’s latest technology
- Attractively priced
- Slight ghosting and chromatic aberration
- Very slight barrel distortion at wider focal lengths
2. Best for Landscape: Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM
The Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM is a superior quality full-frame lens ideal for Canon EOS models. However, on APS-C cameras like the T3i, it works as a normal lens and not as an ultra-wide lens.
Canon EF 16-35mm scores well in the design front with its simplicity and effectiveness.The focus ring is easily reachable by the fingers while having a one-handed usage. It weighs 1.36 lbs which is slightly heavy and I would prefer a lighter version of it. Plastic make and rubber design makes the wide angle companion a little less likeable and steals some marks in the design factor.
The Electronic Autofocus is silent and quick. It managed to get to the subject quickly. However, Canon 16-35mm does not have any significant Bokeh or depth of field effect. Image stabilization takes care of any accidental camera shake.
I found a slight image distortion at 16mm. This is much less evident on the other end. There are very minor aberrations or distortions noticed while using this. The Canon wide angle lens is very effective and powerful.
This canon wide-angle lens is aimed for full-frame cameras but it does a great job even on the Canon EOS Rebe T3i. Picture clarity and additional lens protection make Canon EF 16-35mm a wise choice for outdoor photography.
This lens is recommended for taking wide-angle shots that can cover buildings and landscapes. Do not expect full 180-degree coverage but the lightweight lens is definitely worth the price and the quality of images that it gives. This canon rebel t3i wide-angle lens can be used for various purposes and the range also allows you to use it as a portrait lens.
- Image stabilization to counter camera shake
- Excellent for cameras with full-frame lens
- Very thoughtful lens protection
- USM for speed
- Slight image distortion
- Unsuitable for small sensor cameras
3. Best for Professionals: Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM
The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM is an improved version of the EF-S zoom lens. The 17-55mm lens comes with a broader opening that is compatible with a few select Canon models and the Rebel T3i is one of them.
Durability and shock absorption are some highlights of the Canon 17-55mm. The canon t3i lens is also equally easy to handle with its perfect length and the well-placed buttons. You do not have to stretch your finger and struggle to change the focus.
You get quick and efficient autofocus with this offering from Canon. I could easily focus on the moving subject and there was no problem in shifting focus. Something I really loved is how you can change the focus manually by the ring even when the lens is on autofocus mode.
The image quality is highly improved as compared to the lower variant 18-55mm. It has the IS that takes care of the jerks and bounces. The F 2.8 aperture steals the show with its excellent bokeh and background blur. Aperture stays the same even at the highest 55mm focal length which is a pure boon. I was spellbound by the image quality and the lens would be excellent for commercial usage too.
Versatility and some superb images is what you should expect from this sibling of the kit lens. It gives you the freedom to take images at different focal lengths and angles. So, this 17-55mm lens becomes an ideal choice for people looking at a versatile professional level canon t3i lenses for clicking portraits and real estate/landscape pictures.
You go level up from the standard 18-55mm kit lens that comes with the camera. I would recommend this if you are looking for adding to the depth and the image quality of that lens. A better aperture range and the sharper quality is quite useful if you are a professional who is looking for a replacement of the 18-55mm lens. Otherwise, you are good to go.
- Sturdy, durable construction
- Wider aperture for better focus and sharper images
- Dust-free framework for easier maintenance
- The autofocus also works well
- The image stabilization feature works well for hand-held shots and videos
- The length and diameter of the lens might be a bit too large for some users
- The lens is not optimized for all Canon camera models
- Doesn’t come with a lens hood
4. Best for Product Photography: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, the much-awaited upgrade of the 24-year-old Canon lens EF 50mm f1.8 II, has all the features to take photos with standard coverage as well as portraits. It feels great in hand with the rubber-like grip band on both sides.
The Canon 50mm lens is very light and a pancake style lens. It is easily accessible with all the fingers because of its minimal body. Rubber grip assures a firm hold on the lens without fingers slipping out.
The autofocus is silent, fast, and effective. I tried clicking photos of a moving object in various light conditions and it fared well in every situation. I had used aperture priority mode and I loved the results. Canon 50mm lens did stutter a bit in low light conditions but it was quick to get it on track by changing the settings.
An aperture of F1.8 steals the show with excellent image quality and exceptional bokeh. It is the highest I have seen at this price range and it gives excellent results. There is no Chromatic aberration and the lens just ticks in all aspects of superb image quality. However, there was a slight blurring at the corners but that is doable for this range of canon rebel t3i lenses.
Simply said, the Canon 50mm 1.8mm is probably the best, the most affordable, and the most delightful lens that gives the best in class sharpness and bokeh effect. It is a must have product for any photographer who is looking to take portraits or wants to shoot videos with the camera. You just can not not have this lens!
- Good Image quality
- Affordable price
- Accurate auto-focus
- Sturdy build
- Quieter zooming
- Sharpness at the edge is not satisfactory
- Light drop at the corners while shooting
5. Best for Portraits: Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
The Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM is an extremely lightweight pancake lens, at 125 gm. It provides a handy 38 mm focal length. It also has a perfect pairing with Canon’s APS-C DSLRs.
A slim and sleek design becomes a delight for holding the fixed lens. It is the lightest lens that Canon offers. You can easily reach the parts of the lens without any difficulties. The rubberized ring of the lens is an effective addition to the design and adds a lot of comfort to the lens.
I discovered that the wider angle lens will focus more on the subject which is closer to the camera, than on the background. E.g. I clicked a human at a close range – akin to a headshot – and I found that his nose was looking noticeably bigger compared to the rest of his face! Hence, you can skip this one if you are looking for the best canon rebel t3i lenses for portraits to capture headshots.
A narrow focusing ring makes this Canon lens very frustrating to use. I found it tough to set the focus at infinity, as hard stops aren’t available at both ends of the range. Autofocus can be manually overridden. And Canon Rebel t3i wide-angle lens is quick to autofocus. I shot in both good & bad lights – and found the focus to be uniformly accurate. There was no issue of ghosting or chromatic aberration in any case.
Overall, a Canon 24mm F/2.8 STM lens does offer some great advantages to step up your game of portrait photography. This lens is aimed at portrait photographers who want a different perspective to play with t3i lenses. However, there are a few negatives that could be avoided. In any case, the product from Canon is a great value for money that would be a great addition to the kit.
- Very sharp
- Quite compact
- STM (Stepping Motor) focus is noiseless
- A nice package at a low price
- Lack of Image Stabilization (IS) facility
- Resolution may be a cause of worry, especially at the corner of the image
- If shooting in bright sunlight, expect some ghosting
6. Best Macro Lens: Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM
This offering from Sigma is a macro lens that proves to be a great alternative to the Canon lens range and provides some exceptional image quality at a much lower price.
Plastic material makes the Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM feel a bit cheap and delicate. However, it has a clean and nice design. You can rub away any smudges or prints that your hands would make when you touch it. There are switches for stabilization, distance, and focus. Switches are handy and make it much easier to operate the lens.
Image stabilization works perfectly and it is super effective. However, IS does cause this t3i lens to make some noise. This can be a distracting factor if you are clicking photos of insects or something that may be prone to disturbance.
Autofocus works like a charm and there were no issues when we tried it. The focus ring is something that is a bit far away to support and use the lens at the same time.
The overall sharpness and image quality is just brilliant. I only faced some issues when I maxed out the aperture at f/22 and then a tad bit of quality was washed away. Not a deal-breaker in any sense for sure.
Overall, this is one of the best lenses for canon rebel t3i for venturing into macro photography. It is recommended to anyone who is looking for an affordable lens option. You can expect some fantastic image quality, sharpness, and fast focusing on this Sigma lens.
- Excellent focusing
- Sharp and clear images
- Optical stabilization works fine
- Affordable and worthy
- Focus ring is far
- Stabilization comes at the cost of some noise.
7. Best for Sports Photography: Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III
A small and light pocket-friendly lens is what you get in the form of Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III with Telephoto Zoom. Though the build is mediocre, its lightweight makes it mobile all the time. The silver lining on the focus ring gives it an elite touch.
The autofocus is not as impressive as it struggles with slow and jerky movements in AF mode. It also compromises the autofocus feature as it goes on the higher end of the lens at 300mm.
I observed significant Chromatic Aberration in high contrast, especially from 200mm to 300mm. Stopping down helps improve this condition but will not remove the same permanently. Low light performance is also something that can be a lot better in this lens compatible with t3i.
It will do a great job for the budget-savvy DSLR fans. I would call it an average performer but provides an excellent experience for teenagers or amateurs and thus made it to our canon eos rebel t3 lenses list.
If you are an aspirant professional, this lens is good to start with. The lens would be ideal for sports and action photography. However, the focusing is not as good as it should be but at this price range, you would not get anything better than this anyway.
- Affordable price
- lightweight and small
- easy to carry
- comfortable to hold
- moderate quality pictures
- Low sharpness
- Performance is not at par with USM models
- CA is a constant problem
- Smooth focusing is unexpectedly absent
8. Best for Wedding Photography: Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
The Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM is a high-performance lens for professional use. It falls in the bracket of easy-to-carry lenses. It is ideal for EOS DSLR cameras from Canon.
The Canon 28-135mm lens is a sturdy and well-built lens. It was first launched in 2009 and the design is retro. You would see the indices on the lens for focusing and that would help you to shoot better. A firm grip and nice design add to the performance it offers.
Autofocus works perfectly on this Canon Rebel T3i Zoom Lens and there were no issues with the focusing front either in manual or in auto mode. The advanced ultrasonic motor adds high-speed to your work. It is capable of capturing accurate images of fast-moving objects. Higher ends of the lens 100 to 135 mm do have distortion issues and you would need to correct them in post-production.
Image stabilizer is a great addition to this lens. This clears up any camera shake in hand-held photographs. You can capture images at low light without any blur. The Image quality of Canon EF 28-135mm is reasonably sharp. There is effective vignette control at mid-level.
A wonderful bokeh effect was visible in the images I took. On the downside, there is slight chromatic aberration at the ends of the focal length.
Canon 28-135mm lens has its own flaws but it is a great choice for the versatility and the zooming option it provides. It is one of the best lenses for canon rebel t3i in this list for professionals who are looking for a lens that proves to be a one-stop solution for photography genres like portraits, weddings, sports, and events. You can go for this one for the price and the versatility it offers.
- Fast and silent photography
- Excellent focal length
- Reasonably sharp images
- Attractively priced
- Mild CA and distortions visible at some points
- Gravity-zooming possible
9. Best for Wildlife Photography: Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM is a small and lightweight zoom lens that comes with the image stabilization option for getting crisp and clear images. It is excellent for capturing fast-paced motion images even in dim lighting.
Its design sturdy, with flexible autofocus and durable weatherproof design. The zoom lens is well protected against dust and moisture, plus the surface is scratch-resistant and almost unbreakable. Being a long lens, the usage of two hands would be ideal.
Ultra fast focus that guarantees focus in 0.2 seconds makes it a joy to use.. It fared well in any light situation and there was no delay in the focusing due to the lighting. The Ultrasonic Motor (USM) performs well and it gives out a quiet performance. There is a distance meter that shall help you in getting the perfect focus that ranges from 3m to infinity.
Chromatic aberrations are well controlled and you would rarely find it in one or two cases out of the hundred pictures that you click.
The sharpness is perfect and I was highly impressed with the excellent depth of field that this best lens for canon t3i offered. Distortions on either end of the lens are present and you would also see light fall-off (darker corners) in apertures lower than f8.
A beast like the Canon 70-200mm is aimed at seasoned professionals who can spot the slightest difference in the image quality and would appreciate the changes it would bring to their art.
The professional lens is great for clicking wildlife and sports images. You can also use this one for events and nature photography. This marvelous offering from Canon is one of the sharpest lenses in the market and definitely worth the price if you are at that level.
- Beautiful, clear images with vibrant color gradations
- Advanced autofocus feature for creating special effects like superzoom and blurring
- Dust-free and waterproof framework
- Suitable for clicking pictures in low lighting
- Image stabilizer allows you to click fast-moving images as well
- Slightly more expensive than its peers in the market.
Factors to Consider when Buying
So here are certain factors to consider before selecting the Canon Rebel T3i compatible lenses:
- Format: Lenses are both full-frame and APS-C. Full frame lenses would have a different resolution and result that would differ from an APS-C camera. Canon Rebel T3i is a crop APS-C camera so you would want to keep that in mind before selecting the lens or the final image would differ.
- Type: Wide-angle, standard, telephoto, super-telephoto, macro, fisheye. These are the types of lenses that are available in the market. You would need to know what genre and category you are going to capture. In case you want an all in one lens, you might want to go for a zoom lens such as the 28-135mm.
- Focal length: Different focal lengths from 17 to 300 mm or more are needed depending on the distance from the object. The focal length of the lens is the ability to go that farther and it shows the zooming power. Higher the range, the heavier the lens would be and the more versatile would be its usage.
- Image Stabilization: Reduces or eliminates the blur due to hand tremor. Canon Rebel T3i does not come with internal stabilization or any blur reduction technology. You are better off with an IS lens for the best results unless you want to carry a tripod always with you.
- Usage: A fixed lens better suits portrait and video recording while a zoom lens is suited for sports or wildlife photography. Your genre of shooting photos is integral here. A prime lens is better suited for a fixed subject and would be beneficial for portraits, macro, and events while zoom lenses are better off for wildlife and sports. Canon T3i is a powerful camera that can do all of this provided you choose the right companion for it.
Frequently Asked Questions
As of now, Sigma, Tamron, Yongnuo, and Canon themselves make lenses for the Canon T3i and other cameras from the company.
Lenses that have Canon’s EF or EF-S mount, are compatible with the Canon T3i. Other lenses can be made compatible by using an external mount/adapter.
If you’re going on a safari or a dedicated wildlife photo shoot, take a good Telephoto lens with a higher range, for things like Animals & Birds and a Macro lens to capture smaller objects like bugs & chameleons.
Full-frame (FX) sensors work perfectly fine with APS-C cameras such as the Canon T3i so, if you want to use a full-frame lens on your T3i, you surely can. However, the smaller sensor cannot capture the entire image projected by the bigger-format lens, and that causes the final image to be cropped by about 1.5 times. For example, if you’re using a 50mm Full-frame lens on an APS-C camera, the final output is going to be at 75mm.
A 24mm or 50mm Prime Lens with an aperture ranging from as low as f-2.8 to as high as f-1.2, can give you excellent Bokeh on your T3i at night with a nice shallow depth of field (amount increases with higher apertures) and low noise levels.
Having a good variety of lenses can add a wide range of versatility factors to your Canon Rebel T3i. You can compose and capture different types of subjects with different approaches to framing, lighting, mood, field-of-view, and much more.
As you’ve made it this far, you should now have an idea about which lens or lenses are perfect for your photography needs. However, in case you still can’t make up your mind, I can make this even simpler for you:
- If you’re looking for a good Prime Lens, you have to choose from the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM or the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM.
- In case you’re looking for a Wide-angle lens instead, you can get the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM.
- For getting close-up Zoom shots, get the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM Telephoto lens for your Canon Rebel T3i .
I hope that clears up all your confusion and now you won’t have an issue choosing the best lens for your T3i. In case you want to explore other camera options, there is a boatload of articles on the website, exploring a huge variety of those. So, maybe consider checking them as well.