If there is one major advantage that DSLR systems have over their newer Mirrorless counterparts, it is the availability of quality inexpensive lenses. Canon is no exception and is blessed to have some of the widest selection of cheap glass around, but where does a new photographer start?

[REWIND: Canon Lens Wars -See The Difference Between Canon’s Lens Lineup]

Today, we bring you our top three Canon EF mount lenses for under $500. Note that we are not including EF-S lenses on here due to their incompatibility with Canon’s full frame cameras; we will revisit this topic in another post specifically geared towards EF-S Lenses.

1. Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM | $125


This is Canon’s latest entry into the budget lens market, replacing the ‘long-in-the-tooth’ 50mm F/1.8 II and making several big improvements. The best part is, Canon kept the price, and for only $125 US, there is really NO reason for Canon shooters not to have one of these in their bag.

Many people recommend a 50mm as a great ‘first lens’ purchase after getting used to your new DSLR. We tend to agree with that due to the quality and affordability of these lenses, but there are definitely other options to consider (like the other two lenses on this list).

You can get your hands on one of the new Canon 50mm F/1.8 STM lenses now over on B&H for $125.

2. Canon 85mm F/1.8 USM | $349


Ah, the 85mm; a portrait classic. If you want portraits with that buttery smooth bokeh background and little to no distortion, then it’s hard to go wrong with an 85mm. There are many options in the sub $500 range, but its hard to beat the Canon 85mm F/1.8 USM.

This lens is sharp, has autofocus (unlike most of the other sub-$500 options), and has a great build quality (another area where the other options can have issues). If portraits are your game, then this is a lens you should have in your kit.

You can get your hands on the Canon 85mm F/1.8 USM over on B&H for just $349.

3. Tokina 100mm F/2.8 AT-X | $379


I don’t do it professionally, but macro photography is some of the most fun that I have as a photographer in my free time. Going on a photo walk  to a local park and focusing on all the little things you come across can be a great way to practice your photography skills without needing to bug your friends to be your model.

In the sub-$500 range, there is no better macro option in my opinion that the Tokina 100mm F/2.8 AT-X. You get a true 1:1 capable macro lens, a long enough focal length in 100mm that allows you to get close without casting shadows on your subjects, and the fast F/2.8 aperture means you will have plenty of light in most situations.

You can get your hands on the Tokina 100mm F/2.8 AT-X over on B&H for just $379.

What are your top three Canon EF lenses under $500? Do you agree with our list, or do you have your own ideas? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!