5 Best Lenses For Canon EOS R5 (…and 3 to avoid)

The Canon EOS R5 is a pro-level full frame 45 megapixel mirrorless camera that is designed for high resolution and excellent image quality. That means that you need the best quality lenses to use the full potential of this camera.

My favorite lens for this camera would be the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8. It’s a very useful focal length and among the best Canon lenses in terms of image quality.

But depending on what you shoot most, you may want a different option. So keep reading to see my complete breakdown of the best lenses for the Canon R5 based on what might be right for you.

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Top Pick

1. Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

The 24-70mm f/2.8 is a staple in any pro photographers bag because of the wide variety of shots you can get and the excellent image quality.

The 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is one of the most popular lenses in any lens lineup and for good reason. The combination of the focal range that covers wide to slightly telephoto and the wide f/2.8 maximum aperture covers a huge variety of shot types and shooting situations.

So when it comes time to invest in a high quality lens for your full frame mirrorless R5, this should be your top choice if it’s within your budget.

This lens has the “L” designation on it that Canon uses to identify its professional quality lenses.

You’ll get an extremely sharp lens that has great contrast and good color reproduction. This is essential when it comes to the 45MP R5 because you need a lens that is sharp enough to not look soft when zoomed all the way in on such a high resolution image.

At 900g, it’s not a small lens and is actually on the bigger side of 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses from other manufacturers. But with the size comes a very strong build quality that is weather sealed. Plus, if you’re using a camera like the R5, then image quality is probably a priority over having a small kit.

As an added bonus, you’ll get about 5 stops of image stabilization so you can shoot still subjects at slower shutter speeds than you would normally be able to. That means better low light images without having to crank up the ISO.

The R5 body stabilization already gives you 8 stops, so combining it with this lens makes it an impressive combo for shooting still objects in low light.

Overall, this is simply one of the best Canon lenses you can buy, so it make sense to pair it with the impressive R5.

This lens is also my “Pro Pick” on my list of the best Canon lenses for portraits.

Most Versatile

2. Canon 24-105 f/4

This lens covers a wide focal range with a fixed f/4 max aperture which makes it a great lens to keep on your camera in a variety of situations.

The 24-105mm f/4 lens gives you a decent f/4 maximum aperture with a very wide focal range and still delivers very good image quality.

I like this lens for the R5 because it does work well with the high resolution camera despite being a bit of a “do everything” lens. Usually lenses like this with such a big focal range tend to lack in the image quality, but that isn’t the case here.

You can shoot everyday shots and even some landscapes at 24mm and still have the reach for far away objects at the 105mm end. This makes it the kind of lens that you can put on your R5 and leave it there.

This is actually sold as a “kit” lens with the R5 but it is one of the few kit lenses that I would recommend.

The f/4 aperture isn’t the fastest lens in the lineup but it is decent for getting shots in low light. Of course, for very low light situations, you may want to have the 50mm f/1.8 below, but this lens will work in most circumstances.

If you travel a lot and don’t want to bring multiple lenses or are just looking for one lens that can handle the widest variety of shooting situations then this is a great option.

So it really comes down to how much you want to invest in lenses for your R5. If you’re on a tighter budget, then check out the option below.

Budget Pick

3. Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM

The 50mm is popular, sharp, useful, and affordable.

The 50mm f/1.8 (of the “nifty fifty” as some photographers call it) is one of those lenses that every photographer should have in their bag.

It’s an extremely sharp and well made lens with a wide f/1.8 aperture and the best part is that it’s the least expensive lens in the Canon RF lineup. So you’re getting a ton of value for a low price.

You really want to be careful when going for a “budget” lens for your Canon R5. Many of the less expensive lenses simply don’t have the resolution needed to produce sharp images on a high resolution camera.

But, luckily, that’s not the case with Canon’s mirrorless version of the nifty fifty. Because 50mm is an easy focal length to produce well, you’re getting exceptional image quality at an affordable price.

While the fixed focal length may initially seem limiting, this is a great lens, especially for someone learning to improve their photography skills. The wide maximum aperture opens up a lot more possibilities than the average kit lens, such as low light photography and shallow depth of field portraits.

Best Telephoto

4. Canon 70-200 f/2.8 L IS USM

This 70-200mm lens is among the best in Canon’s lineup and one that you’ll see in the bags of many pro sports and wildlife photographers.

If you want to use your R5 and its 30 frames per second electronic shutter shooting speed for sports and action, then you’ll need a good quality telephoto lens. This 70-200 f/2.8 is the lens you want.

This lens is the top of the line mid-range telephoto in the Canon lineup and is among the industry best in sharpness, contrast, color rendition, and focusing speed.

The consistent f/2.8 makes a big difference here. When you shoot a longer focal lengths, you need a faster shutter speed to avoid blur from handholding the camera and shooting sports means even faster shutter speeds.

This lens will let you reach those higher shutter speeds even in darker venues like school gyms. So you can freeze the action and get clean sharp sports photos almost anywhere.

Less Expensive Option: If you want to save about $1000 and still get excellent telephoto performance, you may want to consider the RF 70-200mm f/4 option from Canon. You give up a little bit of low light performance with the f/4 compared to the f/2.8 but its still a sharp quality lens at a lower price point.

Best Wide Angle

5. Canon 15-35mm f/2.8

This lens is the perfect option for the landscape photographer that wants the best image quality to take advantage of the R5’s resolution.

If you’re using the R5 and want to shoot wide angle shots like landscapes or cityscapes, then you’ll want to pair it with a lens that can take advantage of the 45MP sensor and show you every detail of your scene.

This 15-35mm f2.8 lens does exactly that. You’ll get exceptional image quality and sharpness as well as a wide f/2.8 maximum aperture that is great for low light situations like shooting astrophotography.

One underappreciated aspect of this lens that is important for shooting landscapes is the ability to use filters without the need for a specialized filter system.

Many of the wide angle f/2.8 lenses of the past had large bulbous front elements that necessitated specialized (and oversized) filter systems and square filters. Those just slow you down.

You can use a standard 82mm filter on this lens, which means it’s easy to swap filters and you can use the same filters on multiple lenses.

Another aspect of this lens that puts it ahead of other options is the build quality. This lens is weather sealed and built like a tank. It’s designed to be taken out on adventures and will hold up well to the elements.

Canon says “For reliable performance even when weather conditions get difficult, the RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM lens features a dust- and weather-resistant construction in the lens mount, switch panel and all rings. Sealing is applied to lens joining sections, and switch panels to help prevent water and dust from entering into the lens.”

Unfortunately, this lens isn’t cheap, coming in at a $2,399 MSRP. But that is unfortunately pretty standard for a high end wide angle lens like this. It’s only $100 more than the EF 16-35mm F2.8L III and adds image stabilization and a wider zoom range.

But if you don’t need the zoom and just want a lens for occasional wide angle shots, then you may want to check out the 16mm f/2.8.

Lenses To Avoid For Your R5

The truth is that there really aren’t many bad lenses in the Canon RF system. Canon hasn’t opened up the specs to third-party manufacturers to create their own lenses and they’ve done a great job at making high-quality lenses.

With the adapter you can use Canon’s DSLR lenses too, so you have a massive selection.

That being said, some lenses really aren’t worth getting for this particular camera.

These aren’t necessarily bad lenses. I just don’t think they’re worth the investment given the other options above.

Canon RF 24-50mm F4.5-6.3 IS STM

This is the kit lens that Canon offers as an option with the R5. Compared with the top pick above you’re getting a smaller focal range, smaller maximum aperture, and decreased images quality with some softness around the edges of the frame.

But it’s far less expensive than the top pick above. So why isn’t this a great option for those on a budget?

Well, I think if cost is a concern, then you would be far better off with the 50mm f/1.8 above. For a similar price, you’ll get a much sharper lens and an f/1.8 max aperture.

Canon RF 24-105 f/4-7.1

The main thing that makes me not want to recommend this lens is the f/7.1 maximum aperture at the longer (105mm) end.

When you shoot at longer focal lengths, you need a faster shutter speed. Plus this is a focal length you may want to use for shooting sports or wildlife as well, which also tend to require faster shutter speeds.

So being limited to a maximum of f/7.1 means you’ll be using some very high ISO settings to get the right exposure. While the R5 is decent at higher ISOs, it has its limits.

Canon 15-30 f/4.5-6.3

This is another lens that just isn’t a great fit for a high megapixel camera like the R5. You don’t want to spend all that money on a camera like that and then put a lens on it that can’t keep up.

Similar to the 24-30 above, you can get much better image quality and a better max aperture with a prime lens in this focal range such as the 16mm f/2.8 I mentioned above.

What To Look For When Choosing A Lens For Your Canon R5

In addition to the usual things you look for in a lens like image quality, sharpness, and a large maximum aperture, there are a few things specific to the Canon R5 that you may want to think about.

Image Quality

The Canon R5 is a professional level camera. This lens is designed to produce high resolution, high quality, and highly detailed images. Some lenses, even good ones, just don’t have the resolution needed to shoot at 45 megapixels.

So I wouldn’t recommend pairing this camera with a cheap kit lens. If budget is a concern then start with prime lenses or just go for a less expensive camera so you can invest in good lenses.

That’s why the lenses on this list are higher quality “pro-level” lenses. I also included some budget options like the 50mm f/1.8 prime lens that are both affordable and produce very high quality images, but I would avoid the “affordable” zooms because you’ll only be disappointed with the results.


Choosing a lens is much more than just finding the “best” lens for the R5.

The Canon R5 is designed for high resolution images, so keep that in mind when choosing lenses. You need to find a lens that can cover the types of photography you want to shoot but also can keep up with this camera.

For example a 50mm prime lens is great for shooting portraits and everyday photos, but it might not be wide enough to get a great landscape shot on that same camera.

So you would have to decide whether you want a lens that does a decent job for both or two lenses that are excellent for each specific type of shot.

Price vs. Quality

Let’s face it, if you have a Canon R5 then you’re comfortable investing in quality camera gear. But I also understand that most budgets aren’t unlimited so I also considered the cost vs. quality aspect of the lenses on this list.

In many cases though, you will need to invest in a higher quality lens to get the full potential out of your 45 megapixel R5. If that’s not in the budget, you may want to consider downgrading your camera and using the money to invest in lenses first.

One of the main reasons I recommend photographers on a budget get a low cost prime lens as opposed to a cheaper kit lens is that you’ll get a much higher quality image for the dollars you’ll be spending.

I started a portrait photography business with just a camera body and a 50mm f/1.8. I couldn’t have done the same and gotten the same results for my clients with a kit lens.

So consider this when making your lens choice. Of course the big expensive f/2.8 zoom lenses are amazing, but they’re also thousands of dollars. So if that’s within your budget, then go for it, but if not consider those very high quality prime lens options.

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