Disclaimer : Photography Pursuits is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate this site earns from qualifying purchases.

Canon EF VS EF-S lenses. What is the Difference between the various Canon EOS lenses?

You have probably seen that there are plenty of lenses out there for Canon DSLRs and you may be wondering what you need to know about EF and EF-S lenses.

This post will talk you through what you need to know. 

What are EF lenses?

The EF stands for “electro-focus” which refers to the electronic auto-focus mechanism.  

EF lenses were originally made for the EF lens mount which is the standard lens mount for Canon’s EOS system of cameras. 

In 2003 Canon brought out their EF-S lens mount system which was designed for Canon’s APS-C crop sensor cameras.

EF lenses can be used on both APS-C crop sensor cameras (EF-S lens mount) and full frame cameras (EF lens mount). 

An example of a popular EF lens is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens.

You might like: What is the difference between crop sensor and full frame?

What are EF-S lenses?

In 2003, Canon released the EF-S lens mount which was designed to be used on their APS-C cameras.

These are the cameras with a crop sensor. These tend to be for beginner and mid range cameras in Canon’s range. 

They are built to be more economical than EF lenses so they tend to be lighter, smaller in size and more affordable.

An example of a popular EF-S lens is the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens.

What type of lens will fit my Canon camera? 

What cameras will fit an EF lens? 

EF lenses can be thought of as the “original” type of lenses for Canon EOS cameras and EF lenses will fit all Canon EOS DSLR cameras – both full frame and APS-C. 

What cameras will fit an EF-S lens?

EF-S lenses should only be used on Canon EOS DSLRs which have a crop sensor. 

Popular examples include the Canon EOS Rebel SL3 / 250D  , Canon EOS 90D and the Canon 4000D.

You should not be using an EF-S lens on a full frame Canon camera. 

Do The Lenses Affect The Crop Factor? 

No. The crop factor is to do with the sensor size and not the lens. Canon APS-C cameras are crop sensor cameras.

They have a crop factor of about 1.6. This is regardless of whether you are using an EF lens or an EF-S lens. 

For example, a 50mm EF lens on a Canon EOS Rebel SL3 /250D, which is an APS-C sensor camera, has a crop factor of 1.6 applied.

So the equivalent focal length in this case is 80mm. 

At the same time if you had an EF-S lens of 50mm the resulting equivalent focal length on the same camera would still turn out to be 80mm. 

Why should you use an EF-S lens? 

One example of an advantage of EF-S lenses is the option of true wide angle coverage that many of the lenses provide.

For example, consider the EF-S 10-18M which has an equivalent focal length of 16-28.8mm.

On the other hand, the EF 11-24mm F4 is a lot more expensive.

You can see why people might choose an EF-S lens in this scenario.

How to identify EF and EF-S lenses?

EF Lenses will have a red dot on the lens to mark it as an EF lens.

EF-S lenses will have a white square on the lens to mark it as an EF-S lens. 

How to tell if your camera will fit an EF or EF-S lens?

An APS-C crop sensor Canon camera will have a red dot and white square to show that it works with both EF and EF-S lenses .

A full frame camera will only have a red marker to show that you should only use an EF lens which has a red marker too. 

So what type of lens shall I buy for my camera? 

Match your lens to your needs. If you are not a professional and you don’t have a massive budget, just use EF-S lenses that match your shooting style. 

If you have a full frame camera and a big budget feel free to buy as many EF lenses as you wish. 

If you plan to buy a full frame camera in the near future you might want to just stick to EF lenses as your EF-S lenses won’t work on a full frame Canon camera.

If you are on a budget you may still want to go for an EF-S lens.

After all, you can just resell any EF-S lenses you have when you upgrade to a full frame camera.

For an average beginner, if you are looking for a really wide angle lens on a crop sensor camera, go for an EF-S lens due to the price. 

Related posts:

We hope you found this helpful! As always we appreciate your time for reading this.

– Photography Pursuits Team