Regardless of the specific camera model you use, or only rely on third-party equipment, we hope that this article will provide you with the best information you need when choosing a lens.
Lenses are very important to your life as a photographer – they influence the way you portray a location or objects. The best lenses will also allow you to impart your own personal vision on images, and make the result suit your intentions. Read on for our reviews on the best lenses in the game.
Nikon AF-P DX VR – best for wide angle zooming
This has gained a positive reputation among many users in a short time, especially considering its low weight, fast focus, and very good optical performance.
Note: the AF-P lenses are only compatible with the latest DLSR models from Nikon.
- Ultra-wide view, which even surpasses Kit Lens types
- Focus distance (smallest) is 0.8 ft./0.22 m, regardless of zoom position
- It has VR (Vibration Reduction) image stabilization to keep videos and photos sharp, even when handheld
- Almost silent autofocus stepping motor
Compared to its predecessor, the range of view is less, coming in at 10 to 200mm. Even if you might be disappointed by the noticeable blurring when using it in close up shots, it will make up for this in its size and weight – as well as the shorter zoom-in focal point.
- Very sharp photos
- Compact and lightweight
- Optical stabilization for better focus
- Covers a very wide viewing angle
- Narrow aperture
- Noticeable distortion in the barrel
- Its corners tend to dim out
- Experiences chromatic aberration
There are some big things that are going well for these lenses, such an optical stabilization, sharp optics, lightweight build, and ultra-wide viewing field. However, the distortion is quite heavy, and the widest angles suffer from weaknesses in edge sharpness – but it presents a budget-friendly choice, and will work for you in many circumstances.
Sigma 17-70mm DC Macro HSM Lens – best pick
Among the Sigma lineup of lenses, this is among the first that was released by the company, coming in the ‘Contemporary’ group of products.
- HSM Lens of aperture f/2.8-4 DC
- Zoom type of lens
- Lens mounts in use are the Pentax KAF3, Nikon F, Canon EF-5, Minolta Alpha DR, and the Sigma SA Bayonet.
- The smallest focusing distance is 8.6in/22cm regardless of zooming range
- Filters of 72mm
- Constructed from thermally stable composite material
- Maximum magnification ratio of 1:2.9
- 7 diaphragm blades
The balance between the maximum aperture and zoom range uses a fine balance, and this makes it ideal for photographers who want a general purpose zoom of high quality, and also those looking for a camera that can handle everyday use.
- The focus of the lenses is very sharp, regardless of focal length
- The clarity and color are great
- Its focus ring is smooth and wide (when you apply correct amounts of drag)
- It remains retracted even while you move around with it
- Works very well even without flash photography
- Not very good at handling wide shots
This camera lens offers both fast zoom and an extended range zoom. These features allow it to be a useful upgrading option, especially if you have outgrown your kit zooms and are an SLR shooter.
Sigma 30mm (for Canon) F1.4 Art DC Lens – best single focal length lens
When using a prime lens, you will notice that it is simply a single focal length. Thanks to the removal of the zoom, it will allow the lenses to become sharper, lighter and smaller, while allowing more light through for dim lighting – and that approach is evident in these lenses.
- Rear focus system to prevent problems of focus-dependent aberration variations
- Angle of view of a 35mm camera is equivalent to 45mm
- Focus range of 0.3 m
- Filter size 62mm
- Magnification of 1:6.8
You can easily consider this is an upgrade of the former lenses on this list. The lenses cover focal lengths of about 45mm, which makes them a very good standard when it comes to shooting at different focal lengths and points.
In order to make an attractive blur in an area that is out of focus (for instance when you want to make interesting and stunning portraits). For easier focusing adjustment and firmware updates, on the other hand, the lenses are compatible with the new USB dock from the company.
- Very fast maximum aperture
- Resistant to ghosting and flare issues
- Very good center sharpness
- Easy to hold and compact design
- Minimal levels of vignette at F2 and more
- 4-year warranty for US purchases
- Tends to have purple fringing around the corners
- Sluggish autofocus
- Average sharpness on the corners
- Low contrasting wide-openness
The strong points of the lens are the affordable pricing, ergonomics, and weather sealing. However, the sluggish autofocus is disappointing, given that so many elements of its shooting ability are very good.
Nikon AF-P F4.5-6.3G DX 70-300mm VR – best zoom lens for telephoto purposes
This specific zoom lens has 14 elements (including dispersion at extra-low levels), and is equivalent to 105-450mm when you attach it to cameras that use APS-C sensors.
- DX format/F mounting lens
- One extra-low dispersion mode
- All access lens settings in the camera menu
- Aperture range of f/4.5-6.3 to f/32
- 58mm snap on-lens cap and rear lens cap
- Image stabilization
Note that the image in the viewfinder will remain blurred at all times, regardless of how much you adjust the focus ring.
The design of the lens is ultra-portable, small and lightweight, allowing it to feel great when you handle t and easier balancing with every top sensor DSLR. The low weight it carries is due to the plastic material, including its plastic mounts.
One positive aspect is the absence of the AF/MF switch, which will allow you to override autofocus quickly simply through rotation of the focus ring. The end result is a very practical and handy piece of equipment.
- Sharp focus
- Lightweight and compact
- Very close focusing ability
- Vibration reduction also helps with taking stable photos
- Silent and quick autofocus
- Plastic lens mounting
- Mid-range setting of the focal point
These lenses perform very well, especially for mid apertures – giving flare-free and sharp images. The package is also great, especially keeping the great VR performance.
Tamron 60mm AF f/2.0 SP SLR lens – best macro lens
If you would like to keep your focus to very small objects such as insects, you will need a good macro lens – and this is among the best you can find in the market.
- It has a Prime lens type
- Aperture ranges from F22 (minimum) to F2 (maximum)
- Longest working distance of 100mm
- Mostly for Nikon digital SLR cameras
- Internal focusing and full time manual control
The imaging quality of this lens is exceptional, especially when compared to other lenses. You will see plenty of sharp images, especially in the central parts of the image. You can mount it easily on a full-frame camera, although the image can be vignette in some cases due to the smaller elements of the lenses. The quality remains sharp up to f/16, while still retaining high quality.
The primary operation though is the macro lens – particularly because of the reproduction ratio of 1:1 with a working distance of 3.9in (100mm). The biggest section of the lens is the focusing ring, which comes in at a generous 1 1/8”, while the lens uses internal focusing to reduce the need for lens extensions.
- Compact design
- Very sharp image quality
- Long working distance and large aperture
- It comes with fixed rear and front elements
- Does not perform well in low light settings
- Build quality is fragile
Canon EF-S f3.5-5.6 Standard Zoom lenses – best option for Canon cameras
If you own a standard canon camera and are looking for a kit zoom, this is probably your best option. It is versatile, and allows for a fairly wide viewing angle, which is particularly helpful for portraits.
- 18 135mm lens that fits use with APS-C digital cameras
- Compatible with 67mm filter
- Dedicated stabilization of images
- Construction of lens uses 16 elements, grouped in 12
This lens has the Nano USM, which is a new kind of focusing motor. This combines lead-screw stepping motor (STM) for quiet and smooth motion, along with a ring ultrasonic motor (USM) for the purpose of high speed AF.
Overall, the lens is attractive in many aspects, which include the wide range of focal length, and very accurate autofocus. The focal lengths are quite extensive as well, making it great for travel enthusiasts. These will serve you well in both portrait and landscape photography.
- Very sharp optics and image quality
- You have access to the Power Zoom accessory
- Optical stabilizing
- Smooth Live View
- 7.5x zoom ratio
- Tends to dim corners at wider apertures
- Shows some distortion
This is a lens that is lightweight, small, and comes at a reasonable price, along with its great focal length range for general use. Since it combines focusing technology from both the STM and USM approaches, it will present a compelling choice if you want to take videos as well.
Sony 18-135mm OSS APS-C E-mount zoom lens – best pick for Sony cameras
This lens will give you both advantages when it comes to image quality and reach, compared to other similar lenses in its range. The designs also quite compact when keeping its focal length in mind, and the superior optics will result in clearer images.
- 7.5x high magnification zoom
- 7-blade circular aperture
- Sharpness due to the 2x ED glass and 1x aspherical elements
- Image stabilization due to use of Optical SteadyShot
When you set it up, you will notice that it has little resistance, and this is due to the system of focus-by-wire in its focus ring; this means that the focusing elements and ring are not mechanically linked. The only disadvantage we note is the lack of weather sealing, though it offsets this by shooting very high-quality images in pleasant weather conditions.
The AF speeds are very quick for both the AF-C and AF-S modes, although it can struggle when taking images of areas that are very bright or have lower contrast. It also has a close range, which goes up to 45cm on its wide angle setting.
- Very easy to use
- It has accurate and quick AF
- Excellent levels of IQ wide shots
- Minimal distortion levels
- Lacks weather sealing
- Dim aperture
If you want a compact, versatile zooming lens for your Sony APS-C camera, this is a great choice for you. Its compact design will also ensure you can carry it around the entire day.
Sony-E 10-18mm OSS Wide angle lens – best for wide field of view
The design and build is typical of the Sony E-Mount lenses, and offers you an impressively wide field of view. The auto focus is very fast, although it can struggle to accurately focus at times (especially in dim light conditions).
- Minimum aperture of f/22 and maximum of f/4
- Minimum focus distance of 0.25m
- Angle of view of 109O to 76O
Since the task of focusing is internal, the filter ring will not rotate, making it great for use with polarizing and graduated filters. The lens can do a great job when you want to shield the images from flare issues – in fact, it is quite resistant, even when shooting in very bright conditions.
- Great build quality
- Low levels of distortion
- Resistant to flare issues
- Lightweight and has very wide angle zoom
- Struggles in low light conditions
This is among the standout wide-angle zoom lens for Sony cameras, and is great for interior and landscape photography.
Sony FE 50mm f2.8 Macro – best for beginner users
If you would like a great Sony set of lenses but at an affordable cost, this is the best compromise for you.
- Has 1:1 magnification along with full-frame 50mm macro lens
- 7-blade aperture design
- Great for both portraits and scenery shots
- Angle of view of 47O
- ED Glass element glass
The maximum aperture is f2.8, which gives you both outstanding bokeh and image quality. This will help when you want to get close up shots. In addition to that, the controls are very comprehensive – featuring focus hold button, focus range limiter, and focus mode switching, in order to cater to a wide user base.
- Excellent sharpness and minimal distortion
- It comes with a focus limiter function
- Weather sealing
- Great magnification range
- Lacks optical stabilization
- Slow autofocus
- Short focal distance
This is a great option if you enjoy using sharp and compact macro lens, but the drawback is the slow AF motor.
Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 – best for micro four thirds
This is the first lens in the ‘Pro’ line of the company, and has an equivalent range of 24 to 80mm, complete with weather sealing (freeze, splash, and dust proof).
- Focal length of 12 to 40mm
- 14 elements of the lens construction in 9 groups
- Compatible with Panasonic and Olympus cameras
The lens uses a design of focus clutching, which means that pulling the focus ring towards the camera will reveal a distance scale through engaging the manual focus mode. You can also assign the L.Fn function from the camera.
- Sharp across all its edges
- The aperture remains constantly high throughout zoom range
- Weather-proof protection
- Uses a focus clutch system
- Lacks image stabilization features
What to look for in camera lenses
If you want to narrow down your choices of the best lenses, it is best to check the focal length (the number before ‘mm’). If it is higher, the lens will have higher zooming.
There are different types of focal lengths, and they are:
- Ultra-wide angles (14 to 24mm) – these are more of specialty ones, and are prone to distortion (due to their wide angles of view). They are not great for portraits, as they can make facial features appear strange.
- Wide angles (24 to 35mm) – these are widely in use by photojournalists, as they can stretch out to include plenty of context while still keeping a realistic look.
- Standard lens (35 to 70mm) – these are the most realistic in results, though they cannot zoom.
- Short telephoto (70 to 105mm) – are great for portraits
- Telephoto (105 to 300mm) – these will vary in length according to the camera in use.
This can be a confusing aspect to look at, but a general rule to remember is that the wider apertures have lower focal numbers (for instance, f/2 is wider than f/4). The lower the number is, the better for you because it helps in getting a shallow depth of field without sacrificing on quality.
When choosing the best camera lenses, the task can sound very challenging – but there are plenty of good options out there. As long as you know what to look for, though, it is not impossible to find something that works for you; and we hope that this guide will help you along the way.