Best Canon Lens for Night Photography (Bonus Tips)

Today we will present you with the best Canon lens for night photography, which will take your night photos to the next level.

Taking dramatic night photos is easier than you think! With a little patience, practice and a few tips that we will also give you, you can spend the whole night capturing beautiful shots.

Best Canon Lens for Night Photography (Bonus Tips)

So, if you are a beginner in the world of photography, stay with the article until the end and learn a lot of new things about night photography. If you are already an experienced photographer, it would not be bad for you to repeat a little of the material you have already learned.

1. Canon EF-M 22mm f2

Canon EF-M 22mm f2 STM Compact System Lens

It’s a perfect little lens; if you put this lens on an M series camera, you have this nice compact little camera system that is ideal for night street photography, travel, but also for everyday use. The build quality is somewhere in between. You can feel that it’s not super high quality, but it’s also not all plastic.

It is a combination of aluminum and plastic, but you can certainly use this lens for years. It’s so small and light, definitely a lens designed for that M series, and the overall build quality is pretty good. Autofocus is excellent. It’s fast and super accurate for both photos and video.

Manual focusing is the problem; first of all, there is no button on the lens to switch to manual focus. Therefore, you always have to go to the menu or use some other button, and once you turn it on, it’s not very convenient to do.

The focus distance is very short, 15 centimeters, which makes it an excellent lens for macro photography or shooting B-roll and the like. The focal length is 22 millimeters, which translates to about 35 millimeters at full frame, which is the perfect all-around focal length.

It’s best to use it wide open all the time because it blurs the background very nicely. So it’s the perfect little lens for night photography videos, but you can also use it for B-roll travel videos or if you’re going for a walk.

And finally, the photo quality looks great and is sharp down to f2. It has a nice blurred background, and since it’s f2, it works well in low light. So if you are looking for a good fast all-around prime, I think this is the best choice. Street photography, landscapes, family trips are all possible with this lens.

So in conclusion, this is a great general purpose lens for Canon EF M series cameras, super sharp, accurate autofocus, has excellent image quality, light, portable and definitely recommend it as best canon lens for night photography streets.

2. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens

The Canon 24 to 70 F 2.8 USM ii series lens is probably one of the most versatile lenses on the market. It’s good in so many situations, whether you’re indoors outdoors, landscape, portrait, real estate, product, any shoot you can think of. It can be a real lifesaver, and it can be a real money maker in many ways.

This lens is designed specifically for Canon’s expensive full-frame cameras. The lens starts at a very wide angle of 24 millimeters. It zooms to 17mm, and it’s worth considering that 17mm isn’t that far to zoom on a full-frame camera. But that’s still a very useful focal range for any camera lens, and the lens has a wide maximum aperture of f 2.8 throughout the same range.

This means it can be important in a lot of light, which is great for shooting indoors or at night.

Getting faster shutter speeds or shooting video, also shooting at F 2.8 can give you nice out-of-focus backgrounds that slower camera lenses can’t. The lens is large and very sturdy, and there is a lot of plastic in this lens construction, although the plastic is of very good quality.

It also has permanent manual fixing. So you can turn that focus whenever you want. The front elements of the lens do not extend or rotate as you change focus; The autofocus motor of the USM lens is lightning fast and very precise.

The surprising thing for most people is that there is no image stabilization on this lens. It was a very brave decision by Canon not to implement image stabilization, as stabilization is useful for photographers and those who want to do good handheld video.

The lens is made to very high standards. The image quality becomes in the middle of the image, super sharp, with more contrast. There is also no visible chromatic aberration.

Overall, the 24-70mm f 2.8 mark ii always delivers sharp images in the center of the image frame with fantastic color and contrast levels. Also, the lens gives a solid enough performance on an APS C camera, but I was hoping for a bit more sharpness in those corners. It performs quite well for vignetting and slightly better than average for distortion. A wide aperture can give you quite a bit of background out of focus, and those out of focus areas look nice and smooth and not distracting.

The lens gives you very sharp, punchy images that really jump out at you with fantastic sharpness in the middle of your images. This is certainly one of the best Canon lens for night photography.

3. Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L

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Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L is USM Lens - 9518B002, Black
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This Canon lens can be a dream for landscape photographers, among others. The latest ultra-wide-angle lens for full-frame cameras and, this time, with image stabilization. It helps you get sharper images and smoother video on a 16mm to 35mm full-frame camera with ultra-wide to standard wide-angle focal lengths.

There is a weather seal around the metal lens mount, the zoom ring works extremely smoothly, is nicely damped and is a little hard to turn, which is a real plus for video work.

Focus also turns very smoothly and precisely, as you would expect from a Canon l lens. Full-time manual focus is available, of course. The USM autofocus motor works blindingly fast, very quietly and very precisely.

Overall, the build quality of this Canon L lens is top notch in every way, making it one of the best Canon lens for night photography.

4. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8

Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens

This lens has a fantastically useful wide-angle focal length, wide enough to give you a wider picture and to see your surroundings. That’s about the best focal length for general purpose photographic work. Unsurprisingly, this baby piece doesn’t have image stabilization for a lens of its size, so it won’t be completely perfect for handheld video work. In our opinion, this is the best Canon lens for night photography ever created.

It has a maximum aperture of F 2.8, which means the lens can get in a pretty good amount of light, about twice as much as a standard kit lens at 24 millimeters. F 2.8 certainly helps you when shooting indoors or at night, allowing you faster shutter speeds and the F 2.8 aperture can also give you a little more out-of-focus background in your images.

It’s very small and light but feels nice and sturdy; especially based on the metal lens mount, and the narrow focus ring rotates extremely smoothly. The ring is electronically connected to the focus mechanism of the lens and only changes when the camera is turned on.

The lens’s STM autofocus motor is very accurate, but not too fast, making it a very quiet hum in use. Overall, the lens is very nicely made, it’s small and handy, and it works without any issues.

The lens can focus as close as 16 centimeters from your subject, which is very close, moreover, perfect for photographing small objects at F 2.8. Image quality is very sharp, with a slight further improvement at F 4.

5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Standard and Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras, Fixed

With Canon’s 50mm f/1.4 lens for Canon EF cameras, you have the perfect tool for capturing unique and quiet images with smooth focus – all without sacrificing image quality. This lens is best for night photography because of its fast, silent autofocus motor and fast f1.4 aperture, which creates a shallow depth of field that’s great for background blur!

Canon’s fast 50mm aperture provides an ultra-wide frame for low-light situations such as dusk, dawn or indoors while providing a deep depth of field for portraits where the subject stands out in sharp contrast against a blurred background.

This standard focal length compact lens features a well-crafted rotating and removable metal filter (58mm) perfect for attaching the necessary filters to suit specific shooting conditions. This Canon lens is the perfect partner for your night photography.

Ensuring sharp, beautiful images, this lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4 with Gaussian optics, which is crystal clear in low light and can achieve a maximum magnification ratio of 0.25x. The operation of the ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM) is fast, smooth and laser sharp, ensuring total silence to avoid alerting subjects around you to the depth of their shooting experience!

This basic device can be used in many shooting situations, such as portraits, landscapes, still lifes or close-ups where precision is required. The bright aperture of the lens allows you to get beautiful bokeh during night photography.

The completely manual operation makes it ideal for night photography beginners who are learning how to properly use their cameras to capture incredible views during nighttime pursuits.

It’s perfect for creating low-light detail and texture in your long-distance landscape compositions or next to busy streets. This Canon 50mm f1.4 EF lens for night photography makes it easy by giving you a great depth of field that will allow you to capture extraordinary images like never before!

Useful Tips for Night Photography

Taking pictures at night can be tricky if you don’t know the basics of night photography because your pictures won’t turn out nearly as well as you expect. So let’s go through some of the basics of night photography together so that this never happens to you (again).

Turn off the flash for night photography

If you leave the camera in auto mode, it will try to pop the pop-up flash to compensate for low light. All this will achieve an “over-lit” foreground, with the background immersed in darkness. Using any of the other camera modes will disable this problem.

Use a tripod

You’ll need to use long exposures to get great shots at night and that means you’ll need a tripod. If your tripod is a bit thin, hang a heavy bag from the center to keep it from moving in the wind. Even the slightest amount of wind can shake the tripod while it is being exposed and you may not be able to see the soft flickering on the LCD screen. Also, make sure ro read our blog about Best Tripod for Canon Camera.

Use the self-timer

Simply pressing the shutter button can cause the camera to shake, even with a tripod. Use your camera’s self-timer feature, along with mirror lock-up (if you have it on your DSLR) to prevent blurry photos.

A shutter release or remote shutter release is another option and a good investment for any photographer who regularly takes long exposures. Be sure to buy one that matches your camera model.

Use a long exposure

To create great shots at night, you need to allow enough smoke light to reach the image sensor and this will require a longer exposure.

At least 30 seconds is a good place to start, and the exposure can be extended from there if needed. In 30 seconds, all moving objects in your shot, such as cars, will be transformed into elegant trails of light.

If the exposure is very long, it may be out of range of your camera’s shutter speed. Many DSLRs can take 30 seconds, but it can be. If you need longer exposures, use the “bulb” setting (B). This will allow you to hold the shutter as long as the shutter button is pressed. The trigger release is essential for this and usually includes a lock so you don’t have to hold the button the entire time.

It should be noted that the camera will take longer to render and process these long exposures. Be patient and let it process one image before trying to download the next one. Night photography is a slow process and you also want to see the recording on the LCD screen to adjust the next exposure for the perfect shot.

Switch to manual focus

Even the best cameras and lenses have a hard time with autofocus in low light, and it’s probably best to switch your lens to manual focus.

If you don’t even have time to find something to focus on in the dark, use the distance stop on the lens. Estimate how far away the object is in feet or meters, then use a flashlight to see and place that measurement on the lens.

If the only subject is very far away, set the lens to infinity and stop down as far as the lens (minimum f / 16), and everything should be in focus. You can always check your LCD screen and adjust your next shot accordingly.

Increase the depth of field

A large depth of field is best for night shots, especially when photographing buildings and illuminated structures. A minimum of f / 11 should be used, although f / 16 and even worse.

Note that this means smaller lenses are allowed and you should adjust your shutter speed accordingly.

For every f/stop move you make, the exposure will double. If you shot at f/11 for 30 seconds, then you would need to expose for a full minute when shooting at f/16. If you wanted to go to f/22, then your exposure would be 2 minutes. Use the timer on your phone if the camera does not reach these times.

Look at your ISO

If you’ve adjusted your shutter speed and aperture and still don’t have enough light in your photo, you might want to consider increasing your ISO setting. This will allow you to shoot in low light. Remember, however, that a higher ISO will also add noise to your image. Noise makes its greatest appearance in the shadows, and night photography is filled with shadows. Use the lowest ISO you can get what you want.

You can certainly also read our text about the Canon Rebel T7 camera, its performance for night photography, its sensor for the best possible night photography, and the best settings for this type of photography.


Author at Photography Official

Hey there, I’m Dominic Corbyn​, and photography is my life’s calling. With countless shutter clicks and endless hours spent perfecting the art, I’ve earned my stripes as a professional photographer. You can catch a glimpse of my world on the Photography Official blog. Trust me, I’ve poured my heart into sharing insights that’ll help you navigate the captivating universe of photography.

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