best cheap canon camera for photography

A good wide angle lens could be all you need if you’re starting out with landscape photography. They’re the perfect match; the depth of field they have across apertures is second to none, making it possible to frame a point of interest whilst still having a sharp background. They also draw the focus into the picture and make the horizon seem further away. You can fit so much in the frame with a wide angle lens, but be aware of creating a fisheye effect at wider zooms. Here are some of our best best canon camera options and best cheap canon camera for photography models.

Best Entry-Level DSLRs of 2020, Ranked

best cheap canon camera for photography

1.  Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM Lens (Full Frame)

Why it’s great:

  • Canon’s best ultra-wide zoom lens.
  • Image stabilization makes hand-held shooting possible.
  • Weather-sealed for adverse conditions.
  • Compact and lightweight design.

As far as must-have Canon lenses for landscapes go, this is our top pick. The ultra-wide angle captures a whole lot, without compromising on quality. Even at the edges of the frame, the image will be sharp and clear. The image stabilization of the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM makes it possible to shoot accurately without a tripod. When taking this lens out and about, you’ll not need to worry about the conditions you’ll be photographing in; the weather sealing protects it from the elements. It’s a well-constructed but lightweight model that justifies its price tag and its position as the best wide angle canon lens for landscape photography.

Buying considerations:

  • The cost may be a little too much for those just getting into landscape photography.

2.  Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens (Full Frame)

Why it’s great:

  • Wide f/2.8 max aperture is ideal for low-light photography.
  • Fast and accurate focusing.
  • Weather-sealed, high quality design.

The Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM Lens is a similar lens to the cheaper f/4 version detailed above. It’s far costlier and doesn’t have the image stabilization of the f/4, but it does have a wider aperture and sharper image quality. It’s as fast to autofocus and is also weather sealed, but it has a greater advantage when shooting in low-light situations. This makes it perfect not only for evening landscapes, but a host of other settings.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s far more expensive than the f/4 model.
  • There’s no image stabilization, making hand-held shooting difficult.

3. Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens (Full Frame)

Why it’s great:

  • Widest rectilinear lens available, excellent ultra-wide capture without barrel distortion.
  • Ultrasonic Motor (USM) for quick and quiet autofocusing.
  • Constant f/4 aperture throughout zoom range.

This is an impressive lens to say the least. The ultra-wide angle can take some incredible photos, fitting so much in the frame without distorting straight lines. The quality of the images is consistent throughout the focal length range. The USM technology makes autofocusing quick, accurate and almost silent. This is an excellent lens for landscape and architectural photography.

Buying considerations:

  • The Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM Lens comes at a steep price.
  • It’s one of the heavier wide angle lenses available.

4. Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM Fisheye Lens

Why it’s great:

  • 180° angle of view possible.
  • Excellent image sharpness.
  • Interesting fisheye effect.

A 180° angle of view is pretty incredible, and the Canon EF 8-15mm f/4L USM accurately captures just this. If you can get used to the slightly odd fisheye effect, you can take some really stunning images with this lens.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s not an inexpensive lens, probably in the realms of only the serious photographer.
  • The fisheye effect can become tiresome after a while.

5. Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Ideal for crop-frame cameras.
  • USM autofocus is fast and near-silent.
  • Construction is light and sturdy.

For crop frame cameras, the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM is probably the best landscape lens out there. Image quality is consistently good throughout the zoom range, even at the 10mm ultra-wide end. It’s an affordable lens that is convenient to carry around.

Buying considerations:

  • The f/3.5 aperture drops off towards the 22mm end.

6.  Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Affordable wide angle lens for crop frame cameras.
  • Super spectra coating reduces lens flare and chromatic aberration.
  • STM autofocusing technology is fast and quiet.

Although the EF-S 10-88 doesn’t have quite the range of the 10-22mm above, it’s definitely more affordable. For the beginner or amateur looking to get into landscape photography, this is a solid choice. Image stabilization will help with hand-held photography, as will the STM autofocusing.

Buying considerations:

  • The design is features a lot of plastic, meaning it’s not the sturdiest of lenses.

Best Standard Canon Lenses for Landscapes

The benefit of using a standard lens for landscape photography is that you can also photograph other subjects. A standard lens allows you to have a bit more focus when shooting landscapes. You can crop out unnecessary objects and pull out more specific details. Once you’re done with the landscape, you can then go on to photograph something else without having to switch lenses. Some good standard lenses for landscapes are highlighted here:

1. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II Lens

Why it’s great:

  • One of Canon’s flagship lenses, excellent image quality and sharpness.
  • Superb build quality and performance throughout.
  • Performs well in nearly all situations.

Canon’s EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II is a highly crafted piece of optical perfection. It performs flawlessly in most situations and produces the highest-quality images. It totally justifies the high cost with its many features and level of construction. When taking landscape photographs, the EF 24-70mm performs excellently, delivering sharpness and high amounts of detail.

Buying considerations:

  • This top-of-the-range lens has a price tag to match.

2. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens

Why it’s great:

  • Compact and well-made lens with wide f/1.8 aperture.
  • Superior clarity, sharpness and contrast.
  • Versatile and desirable.

This lens appears on many lists which is a testament to how versatile it is. Many beginner photographers swear by it, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s such a convenient lens to carry around, and performs well in so many settings. For the amateur photography the EF 50mm is perfect as a general photography lens, and that includes landscapes. It’s an affordable way of trying out different ways of shooting.

Buying considerations:

  • As a prime lens, there’s no zoom functionality. This can make framing the desired area a bit difficult.

Best Telephoto Zoom Canon Lenses for Landscapes

A telephoto zoom lens is a good way of creating a sense of distance between the viewer and the subject of the photograph. They’re also very useful for getting up close to a particular element or detail of a landscape that may not be reachable otherwise. As having a wide aperture isn’t so important, you don’t necessarily have to throw down big bucks on a telephoto lens. Some good choices are:

1.  Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens

Why it’s great:

  • Versatile, producing excellent image quality.
  • Huge focal range.
  • Relatively lightweight and sturdy.

The long range on this lens will mean it’s possible to pick out even the finest details of a landscape. The image stabilization of the Canon EF 1-400mm f/4.5-.6L IS II USM makes it possible to shoot straight from your hands, assisted by the USM autofocus.

Buying considerations:

  • It’s an expensive lens that, although justified, is only in the realms of the serious photographer.

2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 IS USM lens

Why it’s great:

  • Optical quality is very good.
  • Weather sealed, light and portable. Ideal for travelling.
  • Effective focus and image stabilization.

Although this lens doesn’t have the range of the 100-400mm above, the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 IS USM still boats its quality as a landscape lens. It captures sharp and clear photos even when shooting without a tripod. The sturdiness of the lens makes it a great addition when travelling, ideal for chasing landscapes.

Buying considerations:

  • Occasional mis-focusing noticed.

How to Buy a Digital Camera

1. Determine what you need

A mistake I see some digital camera buyers making is that they get sucked into buying cameras that are beyond what they really need. Some questions to ask yourself before you go shopping:

  • What do you need the camera for?
  • What type of photography will you be doing? (portraits, landscapes, macro, sports)
  • What conditions will you be largely photographing in? (indoors, outdoors, low light, bright light)
  • Will you largely stay in auto mode or do you want to learn the art of photography?
  • What experience level do you have with cameras?
  • What type of features are you looking for? (long zoom, image stabilization, large LCD display etc)
  • How important is size and portability to you?
  • What is your budget?

Ask yourself these questions before you go to buy a camera and you’ll be in a much better position to make a decision when you see what’s on offer. You’ll probably find the sales person asks you this question anyway – so to have thought about it before hand will help them help you get the right digital camera.

2. Megapixels are NOT everything

One of the features that you’ll see used to sell digital cameras is how many megapixels a digital camera has.

When I first got into digital photography, a few years back, the megapixel rating of cameras was actually quite important as most cameras were at the lower end of today’s modern day range and even a 1 megapixel increase was significant.

These days, with most new cameras coming out with at least 5 megapixels, it isn’t so crucial. In fact at the upper end of the range it can actually be a disadvantage to have images that are so large that they take up enormous amounts of space on memory cards and computers.

One of the main questions to ask when it comes to megapixels is ‘Will you be printing shots’? If so – how large will you be going with them? If you’re only printing images at a normal size then anything over 4 or so megapixels will be fine. If you’re going to start blowing your images up you might want to pay the extra money for something at the upper end of what’s on offer today.

3. Keep in mind the ‘extras’


Keep in mind as you look at cameras that the price quoted may not be the final outlay that you need to make as there are a variety of other extras that you might want (or need) to fork out for including:

  • Camera Case
  • Memory Cards
  • Spare Batteries/Recharger
  • Lenses (if you are getting a DSLR)
  • Filters (and other lens attachments)
  • Tripods/Monopods
  • External Flashes
  • Reflectors

Some retailers will bundle such extras with cameras or will at least give a discount when buying more than one item at once. Keep in mind though that what they offer in bundles might not meet you needs. For example it’s common to get a 16 or 32 megabyte memory card with cameras – however these days you’ll probably want something at least of 500 megabytes (if not a gigabyte or two).

4. Do you already own any potentially compatible gear?

Talking of extra gear – one way to save yourself some cash is if you have accessories from previous digital cameras that are compatible with your new one.

For example memory cards, batteries, lenses (remember that many film camera lenses are actually compatible with digital SLRs from the same manufacturers), flashes, filters etc.

5. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

Dslr-Point-And-ShootWhile digital SLRs are getting more affordable they are not for everyone. Keep in mind that they are usually bigger, heavier, harder to keep clean (if you’re changing lenses) and can be more complicated to operate than point and shoot. Of course there are some upsides also.

If you’re trying to make a decision between a point and shoot and DSLR you might want to read my previous posts titled Should you buy a DSLR or a Point and Shoot Digital Camera? and it’s companion piece How to Choose a DSLR.

6. Optical Zooms are King

Not all ‘zooms’ are created equal.

When you’re looking at different models of digital cameras you’ll often hear their zooms talked about in two ways. Firstly there’s the ‘optical zoom’ and then there’s the ‘digital zoom’.

I would highly recommend that you only take into consideration the ‘optical zoom’ when making a decision about which camera to buy. Digital zooms simply enlarge the pixels in your shot which does make your subject look bigger, but it also makes it look more pixelated and your picture ‘noisier’ (like when you go up close to your TV).

If you’re looking for a zoom lens make sure it’s an optical zoom (most modern cameras have them of at least 3x in length – ie they’ll make your subject three times as big – with an increasing array of ‘super zooms’ coming onto the market at up to 12x Optical Zoom).

7. Read reviews

Before buying a digital camera take the time to do a little research. Don’t JUST rely upon the advice of the helpful sales person (who may or may not know anything about cameras and who may or may not have sales incentives for the camera they are recommending).

Read some reviews in digital camera magazines or online to help you narrow down the field. There are some great websites around that give expert and user reviews on virtually every camera on the market – use this wonderful and free resource.

A little self promotion here – one such site is my Digital Photography Blog which is a site that collates the reviews of many sites from around the web. To use it best enter the camera’s model name that you’re looking for a review on in the search feature in the top right side bar. It’ll give you a link to a central page that has information on the camera as well as links to any reviews published online on that camera from around the web.

8. Hands On Experience

Photo by erinmariepage

Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of cameras head into your local digital camera shop and ask to see and play with them. There’s nothing like having the camera in your hands to work out whether it suits your needs.

When I shop for a camera I generally use the web to find reviews, then I head into a street in my city with 4 camera shops side by side and I go from shop to shop asking for recommendations and seeing the cameras live in the flash. In doing this I generally find the same camera or two are recommended in most shops and I get to see them demonstrated by different people (this gives a more well rounded demo). I also get to play with it and get a feel for which one I could see myself using.

9. Negotiate

After you’ve selected the right digital camera for you it’s time to find the best price.

Once again, I generally start online (on a site like our store) and do some searches to find the most competitive prices on the models I’m interested in. With these in hand I’m in a good position to be able to negotiate in person with local stores and/or with online stores. I generally find that retail stores will negotiate on price and will often throw in freebies. Online stores are more difficult – most bigger ones don’t give you the ability to negotiate but smaller ones often will if you email them.

Don’t forget to ask for free or discounted bonuses including camera cases, memory cards, extra batteries, filters, free prints, cases etc. I even know of a couple of stores that offer camera lessons that you can ask to be included. Some stores will also consider giving you a trade in on older gear.

I generally do negotiating from home on the phone and only go into a store to pick up the camera after a price is agreed upon.

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