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 Canon89933
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM85031
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM155030
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/2 ZE Canon103029
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 35mm f/1.4 ZE Canon184329
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM142029
Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM69928
Samyang 35mm F1.4 AS UMC Canon59927
Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM80027
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 28mm f/2 ZE Canon128026
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 25mm f/2 ZE Canon170025
Sigma 28mm F1.8 EX DG ASP Macro Canon44924
Canon EF 35mm f/240023
Canon EF 24mm f/2.835623
Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM47020

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 Canon84922
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM139920
Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX DG Aspherical HSM Canon35019
Sigma 17-35mm F2.8-4 EX Aspherical HSM Canon70019
Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM167419
Canon EF 20-35mm f/3.5-4.5 USM29918
Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG HSM II Canon140015
Sigma 12-24mm f4.5-5.6 EX DG Canon84014

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 Canon37924
Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8/15 ZE Canon295023
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 21mm f/2.8 ZE Canon173021
Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM224920
Carl Zeiss Distagon T 18mm f/3.5 ZE Canon139518
Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM51418

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 USM659930
Canon EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM1049928
Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS USM600026
Canon EF 600mm F/4L IS II USM1199925
Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM80025
Canon EF 500mm F/4L IS II USM949924
Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM APO Macro Canon109923
Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM150021
Canon EF 300mm f/4L IS USM126919
Tamron SP AF180mm F/3.5 Di LD (IF) MACRO 1:1 Canon69018

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 Canon169927
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM249925
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM169522
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM130022
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM121022
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO OS HSM Canon169922
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO HSM Canon88021
Tamron SP AF 70-200mm F/2.8 Di LD (IF) MACRO Canon77021
Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG APO Macro HSM II Canon94920

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 USM159920
Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di VC USD Canon44918
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 APO-M DG Macro Canon20917
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III USM19517
Sigma 120-400mm F4.5-5.6 DG APO OS HSM Canon99917
Canon EF 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II USM23016
Tamron AF 70-300 F/4-5.6 LD Macro Canon12516
Sigma 70-300mm F4-5.6 DG OS Canon35916
Canon EF 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6L IS USM257016
Tamron AF 28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC LD Aspherical [IF] Macro Canon 60014
Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM42014
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS USM133014

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.