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Difference Between Canon EF and EF-S Lenses

ef_s_lensCanon EF vs EF-S Lenses

The EF and EF-S lenses are two products that can be used with Canon’s line of DSLR cameras. The EF lenses are meant to be used with Canon’s line of full frame cameras that have been around for quite some time. On the other hand, the EF-S class of lenses is a subset of the EF line and is meant to be used with the newer cameras that have APS-C sized sensors in them. The additional S in EF-S supposedly stands for ‘short back focus’ because the distance between the rear element of the EF-S lens and the sensor of the camera is greatly reduced compared to standard EF lenses. This allows manufacturers to create smaller EF-S lenses that are cheaper, lighter, and smaller. All these are achieved due to the smaller glass lenses in the assembly. Smaller glass lenses are easier to build and require a lesser amount of glass, thereby reducing size, weight and cost.

Because the EF-S lenses are considerably newer than EF lenses, the number of EF-S lenses being sold in the market is considerably smaller. This is not really that big of a problem though as cameras with the EF-S lens mount is capable of using all EF lenses. The problem with EF-S lenses is that they are not usable with cameras that have the EF lens mount.

The reduced distance between the rear element and the sensor means that the lens would obstruct the motion of the mirror in the camera. Forcibly using an EF-S lens on an EF camera would very likely result in damage to the lens, camera, or both. This is the reason why Canon made it physically impossible to fit an EF-S lens with an EF camera body. Even if you manage to fit an EF-S lens to an EF camera body, the narrower light ray that hits the bigger sensor of an EF camera results in a vignetting problem.

1. EF lenses are meant for standard size sensors while EF-S lenses are meant for APS-C sized sensors
2. The distance between the rear element and the sensor is closer for EF-S lenses than for EF lenses
3. EF-S lenses are smaller and cheaper than EF lenses
4. There are more EF lenses available than EF-S lenses
5. EF lenses can be used with EF and EF-S camera bodies while EF-S lenses can only be used with EF-S camera bodies

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1 Comment

  1. Very clear and lucid explanation. The Summary part is excellent.
    Enjoyed reading it.

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