Best lenses for your Canon EOS 6D

By Kevin Carter - Tuesday July 09 2013

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Best primes and zoom for the Canon EOS 6D | Canon EOS 6D vs 5D Mark III, Canon EOS 6D vs Nikon D600 | Moderate telephoto and standard models | Wide-angle telephoto and super-zoom models

1 Best performing wide-angle lenses for the Canon EOS 6D


1.1 Wide angle primes from 24mm to 35mm

As with the Canon EOS 5D Mk III, the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM sits at the pinnacle of high-performance wide-angle primes, and at $899 it’s priced aggressively enough to tempt the most ardent and loyal Canon supporters. It is a very large and weighty lens even for a fast aperture 35mm, and it that’s a concern perhaps the slower but lighter and more portable stabilized Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM ranked in second place with a DxOMark score of 31 points may be more suitable.

Like others in the range from Korea based company, the Samyang 35mm f/1.4 AS UMC performs very well optically for the price, just $599, but the lack of AF may be a concern.

Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM A Canon 899 33
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM 850 31
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM 1550 30
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/2 ZE Canon 1030 29
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4 ZE Canon 1843 29
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM 1420 29
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM 699 28
Samyang 35mm F1.4 AS UMC Canon 599 27
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM 800 27
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 28mm f/2 ZE Canon 1280 26
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2 ZE Canon 1700 25
Sigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG ASP Macro Canon 449 24
Canon EF 35mm f/2 400 23
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 356 23
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM 470 20

1.2 Wide and ultra-wide angle zoom lenses for the CanonEOS 6D:

For versatility when shooting landscapes or interiors, the ultra-wide zoom is a popular choice. The best performing model we have in our database is the Tokina AT-X 16-28 f/2.8 PRO FX and while not having the same range or versatility as the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, at $849 it’s more accessible to those who might be on budget. With a wildly convex front element and a fixed hood the Tokina isn’t really suited for use with filters, which is a must for landscape photographers.

While we’ve not yet analyzed the $740 Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM or the new Tokina equivalent, the choice is somewhat limited. Sigma once offered several models but that’s now limited to just one, the 12-24mm f/4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM II. Although it achieves a somewhat lowly looking DxOMark score of 15 points bear in mind this is the widest rectilinear lens currently available (and is priced accordingly).

Tokina AT-X 16-28 F2.8 PRO FX Canon 849 22
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM 1399 20
Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX DG Aspherical HSM Canon 350 19
Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX Aspherical HSM Canon 700 19
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM 1674 19
Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM 299 18
Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM II Canon 1400 15
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Canon 840 14

1.3 Ultra wide angle prime lenses:

The best performing ultra wide prime is perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC. At just $379 it achieves a higher DxOMark Score than the $2,950 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/15 (15mm f/2.8) ZE. While both models are manual focus only (and not really an issue in a ultra-wide, in fact it’s probably preferable) the Samyang is also considerably lighter and more compact than the Zeiss.

In third place is the Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/21 a highly regarded lens known for its high imaging performance and distinctive rendering though it has some slight complex distortion that is difficult to correct in software.

Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Aspherical Canon 379 24
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZE Canon 2950 23
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 21mm f/2.8 ZE Canon 1730 21
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM 2249 20
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 18mm f/3.5 ZE Canon 1395 18
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM 514 18

2 Best performing telephoto primes and super-zooms for the Canon EOS 6D


2.1 Telephoto prime lenses:

Canon’s white telephoto lenses have become synonymous with sports and wildlife photographers around the globe, but with their high price and specialist application, these ultra-high speed super telephotos are by and large inaccessible to the majority of users.

The best performing model in the range is the recently revised Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM at $6599. It sits two points above the Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM, an arguably more versatile model well suited to use with the firm’s 1.4x and 2x extenders, where it becomes the equivalent of a 560mm f/4 and a 800mm f/5.6, respectively. At $10,499, plus $450 or so for each converter, it’s not for the faint hearted.

For those with more modest budgets or those simply wanting a more compact, more portable model, then the stabilized Canon 300mm f/4L IS USM is a solid performer. Macro enthusiasts should consider the stabilized Sigma 150mm f/2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro. It’s a slightly better performer than Canon’s aging EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM and will save in the region of $400. 

Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM 6599 30
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM 10499 28
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM 6000 26
Canon EF 600mm F/4L IS II USM 11999 25
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM 800 25
Canon EF 500mm F/4L IS II USM 9499 24
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro Canon 1099 23
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM 1500 21
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM 1269 19
Tamron SP AF180mm F/3.5 Di LD (IF) MACRO 1:1 Canon 690 18

2.2 Telephoto zoom lenses:

Telephoto zooms are rightly popular and have for the most part replaced their fixed focal length primes equivalents such as the 135mm f/2.8 and 180/200mm f/2.8 lenses. Although Canon makes several highly regarded 70-200mm models, including the recently revised $2,499 EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, the best performing lens in our database is the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD. At $1,699, it’s still not cheap but with a DxOMark Score of 27 points it’s a slightly better performer than Canon, while also offering optical image stabilization and an ultrasonic-type AF motor. If those last two features aren’t high on your wish list, the older Tamron SP AF 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD (IF) Macro would be our budget choice, achieving a not unreasonable 21 points in our DxOMark score. 

Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Canon 1699 27
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM 2499 25
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM 1695 22
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM 1300 22
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM 1210 22
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM Canon 1699 22
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO HSM Canon 880 21
Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Canon 770 21
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II Canon 949 20

2.3 Super zoom lenses:

As know how and image-quality improves, super-zooms are becoming increasingly popular. With a little longer focal length and higher magnification than the 70-200mm, the 70-300mm models offer a tempting combination of versatility and, usually, attractiveprices.

From our findings we can see the highest performing model, currently the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM, isn’t too far behind the majority of the 70-200mm f/2.8 offerings. And while it has a slower maximum aperture of 1-2 stops over the zoom range, the Canon L-series model has image stabilization and fast autofocus thanks to the ultrasonic AF motor.

If price is a concern then the $195 Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM may be an option. Photographers looking for advice on more specialist models may want to consider the Sigma 120-400mm f/4.5-5.6 DG APO OS, or even the Canon EF 28-300mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM but these models are designed with flexibility in mind rather than outright image quality.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM 1599 20
Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Canon 449 18
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO-M DG Macro Canon 209 17
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM 195 17
Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG APO OS HSM Canon 999 17
Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM 230 16
Tamron AF 70-300 F/4-5.6 LD Macro Canon 125 16
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS Canon 359 16
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM 2570 16
Tamron AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical [IF] Macro Canon 600 14
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM 420 14
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM 1330 14

If you have a Canon EOS 6D and a favorite lens, we would very much like to hear from you. Please leave a comment below stating what model it is and why you like it.