Last updated on January 31st, 2022
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No matter how great the scene in front of you might be or how expensive the camera is, the final image captured depends on how you control the light.
Therefore, lenses are often a more significant investment than the camera body itself. Without the right lens that captures the light and sends the input necessary to the image sensor, you will not be able to use the scene to your advantage and get the best out of your camera.
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i (also known as the EOS 850D) is an excellent DSLR with an affordable price tag and decent autofocus, but to ensure that you are using the full capability of its 24 MP sensor, you will have to pair it with a lens that’s just as good.
This list of the best lenses for the Canon Rebel T8i will help you decide which one suits your needs. From Canon lenses to 3rd party offerings, let’s look at the various options in the market.
Best Lenses for Canon Rebel T8i
1. Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens
The Canon EF-S line of lenses is designed to work with Canon APS-C sensors like the Rebel T8i. This means you can expect this affordable wide-angle lens to work correctly with your camera.
Although Canon had already introduced a 10-22mm EF-S lens many years before, it came with a higher price tag and was not as compact as this one. The 10-18mm, f/4.5 – 5.6, is much more suited for a beginner camera like the T8i since it’s small and is the first Canon wide-angle lens to come with image stabilization, rated for 4-stops at the 18mm end.
The STM in its name refers to ‘Stepper Motor Technology,’ which delivers quick and silent focusing, especially during video. As the Rebel T8i has Dual Pixel AF, chances are that you would be using the Live View a lot for both photography and videography. The STM will be a useful addition in these situations.
This lens will be wider than your standard kit lens with a zoom range of 16-29mm (35mm equivalent) and give you visible distortion in the center. This ‘fish-eye’ effect can be used to create some funny and dramatic images and will also be great for landscape photography where you want to capture a lot of detail from the foreground.
Although the smaller aperture of f/4.5 may not be enough to get you great bokeh, the overall sharpness and image quality more than makeup for it. Some softness and chromatic aberration are visible in the corners, but nothing that cannot be fixed with some editing in Lightroom or Capture One (Read the Capture One Review).
You can definitely get better quality wide-angle lenses, but none of them will match this one’s price.
2. Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Lens
The elder brother of the 10-18mm STM lens, the 10-22mm USM lens was released long back in 2004. Being significantly more expensive, this lens also gives much better image quality and a larger aperture.
Giving a slightly extended 35mm range of 16-35mm, this lens too gives an ultra-wide coverage. If you are taking a close-up, you will easily get a dramatic fish-eye perspective, although this distortion drops as you zoom in. In fact, pincushion and barrel distortion are fairly well-controlled even at the 10mm end.
What you must be careful of is lens flare, which creeps in easily with wide-angle lenses. A lens hood would be useful if you’re traveling with the 10-22mm and shooting during the day. It would also help protect the lens’s front element and the body, which is made mostly from hard plastic and a metal mount.
Autofocusing with the 10-22mm USM lens is quick and smooth, thanks to the ‘USM’ part of it — Ultrasonic Motor. Combined with the Dual Pixel of T8i, the whole package will be great for vlogging and videography.
No lens can be worth its money unless it’s sharp, and that is where the 10-22mm USM lens outshines the 10-18mm version. In the middle of its zoom range, the lens is reasonably sharp even in the corners, and the slight vignetting improves at smaller apertures. If you have the budget and are looking for an all-rounder ultra-wide lens, this one won’t disappoint, as long as you carry a tripod for slow shutter speeds.
3. Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens
Kit lenses are generally in the range of 18-55mm but are slowed down by small apertures and lack of image stabilization. This is where the premium EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 steps in — the lens to choose if you can carry just one for your whole trip.
The price is higher than the previous lenses mentioned, but this lens will deliver the image quality you’d expect, with a constant and bright aperture of f/2.8. For the whole range of the equivalent 27-88mm, you get that large aperture coupled with a 3-stop image stabilization, which makes this perhaps the best Canon APS-C travel lens you can buy.
No need to worry about slow shutter speeds and shaking hands anymore.
The only downside of the 17-55mm is that it feels quite bulky, especially when attached to a compact DSLR like the Rebel T8i, and there’s no weather sealing. If you can get past this, there’s a lot to love. The USM feature makes AF very quick, and there’s almost negligible vignetting or distortion. Moreover, you get full-time manual focus to always finetune the AF without switching the lens to manual mode.
Even while shooting wide open — apart from the expected color fringing and a bit of flare — the lens captures many details in the corner. The rounded aperture blades at f/2.8 also ensure beautiful bokeh. All in all, the 17-55mm f/2.8 USM is a perfect walkaround camera, which can be effectively used for landscape, portrait, and street photography.
4. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens
The EF 24-70mm II is Canon’s flagship zoom lens for full-frame cameras and is designed for professionals, and the price proves it.
The lens gives a 35mm equivalent zoom range of 38-112mm, which is great for general travel photography and landscapes. And unlike the previous lenses in this list, the 24-70mm II comes with weather sealing and a fluorine coating, which prevents smudges and fingerprints on the front glass. There is also a lock button at the lens body’s side, which prevents the zoom ring from changing positions if not in use.
In terms of image quality, this lens is easily Canon’s best. Distortion is almost negligible irrespective of focal length and aperture, and so is the lens flare. You can even skip the lens hood unless you are shooting into direct sunlight.
The lens also maintains sharpness across its focal range, and the only time there is a hint of softness is when you are shooting an extreme close-up of its widest end. A dedicated macro lens will serve you better in this specific case.
Apart from the lack of any image stabilization, this lens is almost flawless. From quick AF and a sturdy body to excellent sharpness and a bright aperture, the 24-70mm II USM has it all. It will serve you well for landscape and travel photography, especially if you already have a tripod ready for low-light shots.
5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
The first prime lens of this list is the compact 50mm f/1.4 USM. It is small, affordable, and quite bright, with a constant aperture of f/1.4. This means that you will be able to use lower ISOs and shutter speeds almost four times faster than what a kit lens would allow.
Since it’s a USM lens, you can expect fast autofocus, especially when paired with the Dual Pixel AF. Moreover, because the lens is of the Canon EF series, it will fit large full-frame sensors too.
Like is usual with prime lenses, a lesser price does not mean lower image quality. Because prime lenses are relatively easy to make and contain more straightforward mechanics, they are sharp and produce excellent color rendition.
However, one downside is that the lens is made of hard plastic — including the mount — and not built for rough use.
This 50mm USM is a bit soft at f/1.4 but improves significantly from f/2 onwards. Distortion and chromatic aberrations are almost absent, and you won’t notice anything unless you only shoot brick walls.
This prime lens gives an equivalent focal length of 80mm, which is great for portraits and wedding photography, but not as useful for landscape shots. The f/1.4 aperture with 8 blades will ensure that you get dreamy bokeh and background blur, and image stabilization won’t be missed with fast shutter speeds.
6. Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM Lens
Another USM prime lens, the 60mm f/2.8, is a dedicated macro lens with an affordable price tag. Providing a 96mm equivalent focal length, a 1:1 magnification ratio, and a minimum focusing distance of 7.9 inches, this is an excellent choice for an enthusiast photographer looking for their first close-up lens. It will produce images where the actual life-size of the subject is captured.
The f/2.8 aperture keeps things bright, although you will have to be careful during focusing because of the shallow depth of field. The lens weighs about 330 grams and is relatively compact, which means that it will go well with the portable Rebel T8i.
The 7-bladed aperture is decent for bokeh, although you might see that it’s not a perfect circle if you go searching for it. Where this lens excels is sharpness. Even the far-off corners are sharp at large apertures, and it only improves when stopped down.
As the minimum focusing distance is minimal and the image quality is excellent, you can definitely go for the 60mm USM unless you need the extra reach of the slightly more expensive 100mm f/2.8 USM lens. It will allow you to get the same magnification without having to be only inches away from your subject, unlike this 60mm macro.
7. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II Lens
Now that we’ve covered wide angle, primes, and macros, let’s look at Canon’s telephoto offerings. Built as a beginner telephoto lens, you can expect a lower build quality and slower than usual focusing, but the 55-250mm zoom range is excellent, and the price and 4-stop stabilization make it an attractive choice.
Giving a full-frame equivalent range of 88-400mm, you can magnify your subject by more than four times. This is useful for travel and landscape photography. While it could have been a useful choice for wildlife photography, the lens focuses slowly and is not as sharp as you would require.
Sharpness is best at around 60mm, but that too, mainly in the center. Stopping down improves the detail, but only marginally. Zooming in changes the slight barrel distortion into pincushion distortion, which is not visible outright but will still need fixing if you are shooting portraits or straight lines.
If you need an affordable zoom lens and don’t need the best possible image quality, the 55-250mm will suffice.
8. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM
The ‘L’ in the name might not have any specific technical meaning, but it does make the 70-200 f/2.8 a flagship full-frame lens of Canon. The most expensive Canon lens series is built for professionals who need sharp image quality and weather resistance. Many modern, famous photographers have the L series in their arsenal.
Comparing specifications will show that there is almost no difference between this and the 2nd generation model, except for the newer protective coating on the glass. And this is good news. The entire 70-200mm series is sharp and focuses quickly, and because the mechanism is internal focusing, the lens doesn’t move at all while zooming or focusing.
There is also no significant distortion, with tests showing 1% barrel distortion at 70mm, and even lesser pincushion distortion when fully zoomed. Like most f/2.8 lenses, there is a bit of vignetting. However, this can be easily auto-corrected within the camera itself.
The best thing about this telephoto lens is the constant aperture of f/2.8 and image stabilization rated at 3.5 stops. This makes it beneficial for weddings, wildlife, travel, and landscape photography. You get almost 3 times of magnification without losing any light.
You may consider other telephoto lenses like the 70-200mm f/4 USM, but nothing will beat this one in terms of quality.
9. Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens
Rokinon also goes by the brand name Samyang, Bower, and Pro-optic, and has been making lenses supporting Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax cameras since the 1980s. Their 8mm f/3.5 is an excellent fish-eye lens – with a coverage of 167° and super-sharp f/5.6 onwards — and is relatively inexpensive.
The perspective created is highly exaggerated, and your whole image will appear curved and bulged in the center. Creating funny close-up shots is one of its uses, but you can use this for architectural photos and landscapes with the right post-processing.
One thing to remember is that this lens will show a dark circular vignette around the image on full-frame cameras because of the larger sensor.
A small disadvantage is that this 8mm lens is manual focus only.
However, the depth of field on such lenses is already so wide that almost everything will be in focus anyway. You can guess your subject’s distance and simply rotate the focus ring to that distance with the markings’ help.
There’s also a ring on the lens for setting the aperture, which feels more fun to use than the camera dials.
Ultra-wide lenses like this 8mm are not just a gimmick if you know how to use them right. Everyone may not like this lens, but it’s cheap enough to buy as a gift for yourself if you feel like shooting something different.
10. Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Lens
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Sigma has become a highly reputed name over the last few years, and for good reason. Their lenses match brands like Canon, Sony, and Nikon in terms of quality, and often at a much lower price. The same is the case with Sigma’s 17-50mm F/2.8, a direct competitor of Canon’s 17-55mm USM lens.
Specs-wise, the Sigma 17-50mm offers a constant aperture of f/2.8 and image stabilization rated up to 4 stops. In fact, it is also smaller and lighter than the Canon version, although it feels a bit more ‘plasticky’ in hand. The lens also comes with a hood and a lens pouch included in the box, which is missing with Canon.
Where the Sigma surprises is the performance, autofocus is almost as silent as Canon’s USM mechanism, although you might hear the image stabilization at work if you pay attention.
The Canon 17-55 is a tad sharper, but only if you start pixel-peeping and make a side-by-side comparison. Stopping down around f/5.6 increases the sharpness of the Sigma 17-50mm, and there is almost no distortion to speak of.
If you are looking for an all-rounder travel lens, save some money and get the Sigma 17-50mm. Apart from the lack of full-time manual focus, there is no situation where this lens will be far behind compared to the Canon.
11. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens
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Sigma’s Art series of lenses is their premium line and displays the excellent craftsmanship and technology that goes into building them. The 18-35mm f/1.8 is a perfect example of this. This wide-to-normal angle lens is optically tremendous and built like a tank.
Zoom lenses are inherently tricky to manufacture, and one with a constant aperture of f/1.8 and 9-rounded aperture blades is a pure technological marvel. The Sigma 18-35mm gives a 35mm equivalent range of 29-56mm, which is fantastic for general landscape and street photography. It uses five ‘low dispersion’ glass elements, four aspherical elements, and coatings on the glasses to reduce chromatic aberrations and flare.
The lens’s overall performance is exactly what you would expect from a lens with the ‘Art’ label. The lens is sharp and focuses silently and quickly, and you even get full-time manual focus. The only minor drawback is the lack of image stabilization and the lens’s weight — almost 810 g.
You’ll have to pay almost double for a flagship Canon lens to gain any noticeable improvement in focus, and it still won’t match this 18-35mm in build quality and the f/1.8 aperture.
12. Sigma 18-300mm f/3.5-6.3 DC Macro OS HSM
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The Sigma 18-300mm is a superzoom lens, providing magnification capabilities of more than 15x. And like most enthusiast-level lenses, the price level is low enough to keep it accessible, and so is the quality. No doubt it will work well for general photography and wildlife but won’t give you the highest sharpness level.
The 35mm equivalent is about 29-480mm, and the aperture range of 3.5-6.3 is decent, given the massive zoom range. The construction of such a lens requires many elements, so the barrel zooms out a lot — almost tripling the lens body’s length.
Although the lens stretches out a lot, it’s quite compact at the wide end and weighs only about 600 g. This makes the lens a good choice for an all-in-one lens, especially since you won’t always need a tripod given the image stabilization included.
There is noticeable barrel distortion at 18mm, although it’s an old problem that most zoom lenses suffer from. On the macro side, the 18-300mm has a minimum focusing distance of 15 inches and gives a magnification of 1:3.
Overall, the Sigma 18-300mm is good for its price — sharp in the middle of the zoom range, stabilized, and portable. It will not perform like expensive lenses, but it was never meant to.
13. Tokina ATX-i 11-16mm f/2.8 CF Lens
A rival of the Canon EF-S 10-18mm lens we saw earlier, the Tokina ATX-i 11-16mm has the upper hand in terms of the aperture — a constant f/2.8.
It is available for your Rebel T8i at an affordable price with a lens hood, making it more expensive than the Canon 10-18mm.
The first version of this lens was the ATX Pro and led to Tokina becoming a fan-favorite for ultra-wide lenses. Like its predecessor, the ATX-i is the only ultra-wide lens for APS-C cameras that gives you f/2.8 across its focal length.
The lens is well designed with a wide-zoom ring and a wide-focus ring, which can be pulled and pushed to switch from autofocus to manual focus. It also includes a focus motor inside so that the lens can be used with beginner cameras that do not have their own AF motor.
Housing 2 aspherical elements and 2 low-dispersion elements, the Tokina 11-16mm controls flares and chromatic aberrations well. As is expected, there is a significant amount of barrel distortion at 11mm, gradually decreasing by 14mm, although sharpness and contrast are well-maintained along the whole range.
Given the reasonable price, decent image quality, and the unique aperture of f/2.8, the Tokina 11-16 ATX-i is an obvious choice for enthusiasts getting into astrophotography, low-light landscapes, and architecture.
14. Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD Lens
Like the Sigma 18-300mm lens, the Tamron 18-400mm is an all-in-one wide-to-superzoom lens. The focal length in 35mm equivalent terms would be 28-640mm, which translates into more than 20x zoom. This lens’s apparent strength is its zoom range, which can be used to shoot the spots on the moon.
The lens is already on the bigger side with a weight of 710 g and a length of 124mm, becoming 216mm when fully zoomed in. Because of features like weather sealing and a 2.5 stop image stabilization — or ‘vibration compensation’ as Tamron calls it — the lens’s cost is on the higher side.
Although the lens feels sturdy, the stabilization system is disappointing and doesn’t match the usual 4-stop ratings other brands offer. The same goes for AF, powered by the ‘high/low torque-modulated drive’ HLD mechanism. It is quick in good light but becomes quite noisy and slow in moderately challenging conditions.
Sharpness is never a strength of superzoom lenses, and the Tamron 18-400mm is no exception. Distortion is low, especially at the wider end, but the overall image sharpness is below par and usable only for enthusiasts who are not going to make detailed comparisons.
Unless you absolutely need this lens’s 400mm zoom capability, you can consider alternatives like the cheaper Sigma 18-300mm or Tamron’s own 16-300mm lens.
15. Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC Lens
Available at a very low price, the Tamron 18-200mm is a good choice for a beginner photographer. It offers a useful zoom range along with optical stabilization without requiring you to break the bank.
Where Tamron has cut corners with this lens is the build quality. A plastic mount, and a not-so-smooth zoom ring, exhibit all the signs of a budget lens, although these don’t come in the way of its overall image quality.
This 18-200mm contains a complex construction of 16 elements and zooming in fully more than doubles the lens body. Thankfully, the lens focuses internally and does not extend in that case, and the focus is quick. Unlike most zoom lenses, this one does surprisingly well in terms of sharpness. At wider focal lengths below 100mm, the lens performs very well and improves when stopped down to about f/8 or f/11 if you don’t inspect the corners too hard.
There are many lenses available in the market which will take you to 200mm and give decent sharpness, but this Tamron model does it as well as others at a much lower price.
16. Tamron SP 150-600mm f/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
One of the most expensive lenses on this list, the Tamron 150-600mm is built for professionals. The G1 version received great reviews, but quite a few photographers complained about the lack of weather sealing and slow AF. The G2 fixes both these issues.
The 600mm reach is a boon for sports and wildlife photographers. The image stabilization rated at 4.5 stops gives the lens additional strength. Low light is a common problem at stadiums and concerts, and shutter speeds often change.
Given the long zoom range made up of 21 elements, it is not a surprise that the lens weighs in at 2 kg, and the total length at 150mm is about 10 inches. Although it may not be portable or fit comfortably in your hiking camera backpack, this size is average amongst superzooms. This one’s metal, the weather-sealed body is very rugged.
In a nutshell, the autofocus may not be as fast as Canon’s prime lenses, but it is not slow either. With some practice and usage of central AF points whenever possible, you will be pleased with the photos’ sharpness and the hit rate.
If you are looking for a durable superzoom lens and require a 600mm reach, the Tamron 150-600mm G2 is the one to get.
The right lens will give you more usable images even when paired with an introductory camera than a flagship camera with a slow, unreliable lens that can’t even focus quickly.
With a camera like the Canon Rebel T8i, you must get a lens that can use the 24 MP sensor’s full power. And that is a game of checks and balances — with a slow lens, you will need image stabilization, and with a prime lens, you should look for the biggest possible aperture.
There are dozens of choices available, not just from Canon but from 3rd parties like Tamron and Sigma. Just keep in mind that you need not spend a lot to get the best image, as long as you practice and use your lens correctly.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is a great camera and is designed for new photographers. It has several features to complete advanced photography tasks.
No, the Canon EOS Rebel T8i is not a full frame camera. It has an APS-C cropped image sensor (22.3 x 14.9mm) with a 1.6x crop factor.
The Canon EOS Rebel T8i is compatible with EF-S mount lenses. EF-S mount lenses are intended for Canon’s APS-C cameras.