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Canon Lenses – The Best Place to Buy the Best Cheap Lens for Your SLR

Updated on May 10, 2011

Whether you are new to the world of DSLR or are an experienced photographer you have no doubt come across the Canon range of camera lenses. Canon produce high quality lenses though you are often forced to pay more than you need to. This article will help you find some cheaper retailers to make your photographs better.

What Type of Lens Do you Need

When it comes to a question of pricing it’s easy to get caught up in the latest and greatest canon ef lenses to be released only to realise later that you probably won’t use 90% of its capabilities. What you pay for your lens will be as much about where you buy it as it will be about your own self control in getting something that you actually need and are going to use. Having said this, the first thing that you are going to have to do is to determine what types of photographs do you normally take.

You are going to save lots of money if you are very specific about this point. Should you be able to buy a prime lens (a lens that is made for one specific distance and cannot zoom) you will get a better quality photo and save money. However if you are like the rest of us then you will be looking for something a little more versatile like a zoom lens. 

Canon Lenses
Canon Lenses

Where Should you Buy Your Lens?

There are 2 main options that you have when choosing to buy your lens. You can either buy it from your local camera shop or online. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each to consider.

Your Local Camera Shop

Irrespective of whether you buy from them or not your local camera shop is a great place to start, particularly if you are new to DSLR photography or are buying a type of lens that you are less familiar with. Your local camera shop should have relatively knowledgeable staff and assistants working there that will help you with your selection and above all let you get your hands on the products and try them out for yourselves. You may find that what you had your eye on is not really all that suitable for you or conversely you may find some cheap canon lenses that will do the job that you want.

The main disadvantage with buying from your camera shop is Price. If you could break down the cost you would see that you are paying for so much more than the camera. Some of the other costs that you are helping to cover include but are not limited to the following; The camera itself, Licensing Fees from the lens manufacturer, Franchise Fees for the camera store, Importing Costs, Warehousing, Labour, Taxes, Commercial Business Insurance, Rent and Utilities for the Store and finally its own Profit.

Bearing in mind all the above costs its not uncommon for a store to mark up the lens by up to 15 times its original cost. Also depending on how effective the sales team is you will likely be offered and subsequently buy some accessories that go along with your lenses like a case, filter or mini backpacks for example. Despite the large mark up many people are still more comfortable buying here because they are less familiar with other money saving alternatives.

Buying Online

Buying your camera lens online can be from one of 2 sources, the manufacturer themselves or an independent retailer. In the case of the former this is usually less common as they prefer to deal in very large quantities and distribute worldwide. For the latter you can find anything from International to regional stores that sell over the internet. The principle advantage is pricing. Because the costs to operate a physical store are almost all gone the savings can be passed on to you directly while there is enough of a margin the keep the retailer in business. 

You will also benefit from a much wider range and selection because the products are not limited to what the majority of people in your area tend to buy so if you are looking for something obscure then you can find it right away instead of placing an order and being made to pay more for the privilege and inconvenience.

The downside of course is that you don’t get to hold the product and test it out before you buy it although some of the better companies will let you trial the lens for a period of time where you can return it if you are not satisfied. If you don’t really know what you want then buying online could just confuse you further so going to an expert or knowledgeable friend is a suitable first step. Otherwise if you know exactly what you want then you can quite easily save 50% of the store price when you buy online. So in effect you can buy more lenses for the same money.

How Can It Be That Much Cheaper?

The simple answer here is Parallel importing. If you have gone overseas and bought something because it was more expensive back home then you have done the same thing. You didn’t bring it in to the country with the manufacturer’s license and because of that you got the exact same product for much cheaper.

Parallel importing is perfectly legal though the larger companies try and cloud this fact because it messes up their monopoly of the marketplace and they want you to keep buying from them. Canon may only have a handful of official dealers in your location and the less they have the more expensive the products tend to be. The key point here is that the products are IDENTICAL but the price isn’t.

100% Suspicious

Of course not everything that is sold online is legitimate and there is certainly more than a few canon lenses for sale on online retailers sites are actually fake goods. If you are going to buy online take a good look for secure payment methods and other credibility indicators on the site including testimonials and a refund and returns guide. 

Canon DSLR Lenses
Canon DSLR Lenses

Used Lenses

If you are looking for lenses that are cheaper still then used canon lenses could be work a look. Second hand canon lenses have been proven to work well but be careful that there are no defects present with what you are buying including scratches to the glass that will blur your images. In addition it is not uncommon for people to overestimate the value of their goods so a prior knowledge of canon lenses prices is a must.

Shop Around Online

It doesn’t take long to do a quick comparison of the online retailers and a couple of mouse clicks will often be enough to find what you are looking for. So once you have figured out what you might need head down to your local camera shop and also jump online to see where the best deal is for you.


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