The difference between Canon EF L-series and EF-S series lenses

I wasn’t really aware of the differences behind the S and the L in the Canon lens nomenclature, but thanks to Rasmus for pointing it out, and thanks to Wikipedia for all the gory details. Here’s where you can read up on it all:

  • The EF mount is what all modern Canon cameras use
  • The L-series lenses are described in the same article, but further down
  • The EF-S series has its own page, because it’s a separate mount: You can use EF lenses on the EF-S-compatible cameras (the small chip bodies like the 350D and 400D), but you can’t use the EF-S lenses on the full-frame bodies like the 5D and 1D.

There’s also descriptions of the individual lenses in question:

  • 24-70mm L, which is a great L-series lens
  • 16-35mm L, which is a really expensive L-series lens
  • 17-40mm L, which is a more affordable L-series lens
  • 17-55mm EF-S, which is a decent all-round lens

Fredmiranda.com also have some good reviews:

I can’t find one for the 17-55mm one.

For the record, I ended up getting the 17-55mm to take along when I travel and only want to carry one lens. Usually what I want to do is capture special moments and glimpses, and I’m okay with trading some quality for convenience. But I’m going to take Rasmus’ advice and keep the 24-70mm lens. It’s too good to let go of.

Some of my latest photos are taken with the 17-55mm.



Why don't you use the 24-70mm for travel over the 17-55mm? Is it the size/weight or is it because you want 17mm at the wide end? The Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 is very sharp and very cheap. I would recommend anyone with a compatible camera to get it.
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Lars Pind

Yes, both size/weight and its versatility: It goes from wide angle to tele, which is very handy for capturing random situations that come up. The 24-70mm is much heavier, and not nearly as wide. The 24-70 is better quality, and it has macro, but neither are important enough to compensate for the lack of wide angle and the weight when I'm touristng it around the streets of London, say, with my family, and want to be able to capture some nice situational shots.
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I'm glad you came to your senses. ;)
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