One of the first creative choices made during the photographic process is choosing a camera lens. There are a seemingly limitless number of alternatives available, and your decision will have a significant impact on your photos. The introduction of mirrorless prompted the demand for lenses that matched the new formats.
Initially, while manufacturers like Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony expanded their line of native lenses for those formats, photographers were dependent on adapters to fit legacy lenses from brands like Canon and Nikon to the APS-C, full-frame, and micro four-thirds mirrorless cameras. Additionally, independent lens producers like Sigma and Tamron continue to be crucial in supplying the demands of photographers looking for the greatest camera lens. Let's start off!
In this article
1. What should you look for when buying a lens?
There are a number of factors to think about while looking for the best camera lens. Knowing how you'll use the lens is just as crucial as ensuring sure it's available and compatible with your camera's mount (or that an adapter is available). Are you trying to find the best portrait lens? Or perhaps you're looking for the best lens for landscape photography. Or maybe you prefer taking pictures of little objects, in which case you'll need a macro lens. There are (nearly) universal, all-encompassing circumstances, of course. Just keep in mind that neither the greatest lens for landscape photography nor the finest lens for astrophotography will inevitably be the ideal choice for macro photography.
Regardless of the lens you select, the effective focal length's relationship to the sensor size is a crucial consideration. Because the sensor on full-frame cameras is the same size as a 35mm film strip, this is not a problem. However, you must consider the crop factor if you're using an APS-C or micro four thirds camera. A 100mm lens will provide a field of view of 150mm when used with an APS-C camera, which will crop the frame by 1.5x or 1.6x (depending on the model) (35mm equivalent). It simply captures a smaller portion of the image produced by the lens, giving the impression that the image is zoomed in. The effective focal length will double with a micro four thirds sensor, giving a 100mm lens a 200mm (35mm equivalent) field of view. This is typically not an issue with telephoto lenses because you want a larger focal length, but it's crucial to keep in mind with wide-angle lenses so make sure to conduct some calculations before choosing one.
The cost of a camera lens is affected by some aspects. A lens with a quicker (lower f-number) maximum aperture will cost more than one with f/stops that start with a slower maximum aperture, such f/3.5. For longer, heavier lenses, optical image stabilization—also known as SteadyShot, vibration reduction, or simply OIS or OS—is crucial. Invisible elements like the caliber of the glass, the kinds of coatings used on the surfaces, and the weather sealing are also important.
In the absence of other factors, some minor extras like the presence of a lens hood, a manual aperture ring, a carrying case, and other bonuses may influence your decision. but shouldn't determine the outcome of your decision.
2. What are some good and robust lenses?
Focal length is one of the most important factors for picking the best camera lens and producing a nice photo while taking portraits of individuals or even very small groups. Generally speaking, a short telephoto lens is good, especially for tight compositions (headshots, waist level/head and shoulders, etc.)—an 85mm or 105mm, for instance. If you can't back up and shoot wide, you might want to go as wide as 70mm or 50mm for full-body and larger group images in order to minimize distortion.
Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
The premium Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens, made for full-frame Nikon Z-series cameras, offers superb edge-to-edge sharpness for landscape photography. The aspherical lenses on the small lens are perfect for maintaining the sharpness of stars and city lights. Additionally, there are two ways to install filters: a slot for filter sheets and gels at the back and 112mm filters that may be screwed into the front.
Other choices for ultra-wide-angle lenses for full-frame cameras include the Sony FE 12-24mm f/2.8 G Master. This camera lens is intriguing, albeit expensive, because it offers a little extra coverage starting at 12mm and maintains a consistent aperture throughout the zoom.
The 14–24mm f/2.8 art series lens from Sigma is available in two variations. One is for DSLRs from Canon or Nikon, while the other is for mirrorless cameras from Sony and L-mount.
Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8
The Zeiss Milvus 21mm f/2.8 is the first lens up, a costly manual focus prime lens with a small but devoted fan base. The only true bells and whistles this lens has are the "Zeiss" moniker, and I'm sure many photographers wonder if it lives up to the $1843 price tag in any other manner.
I must admit that I would never purchase this lens for myself, but to me, it does. Nevertheless, it is one of the sharpest wide angles I've ever tested, and unlike many of the other lenses on this list, it accepts filters (82mm size).
Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3
This 60-600mm super telephoto zoom is perfect for wildlife since it is wide enough to capture visitors to the bird feeder outside your back door or a pod of dolphins surfing the bow waves of a boat while still being long enough to capture the most elusive lioness and her pups on a picture safari. This image-stabilized lens, which is offered for Nikon, Canon, and Sigma, includes a tripod collar and is dust- and splash-proof.
The Sony FE 200-600mm f/5.6 has Sony's outstanding SteadyShot image stabilization, making it a great lens for Sony photographers. Although we typically advise zooms for wildlife photography, don't discount some of the primes available. For instance, Canon's EOS R mirrorless system is compatible with the Canon RF600mm f/11 IS STM lens. Even though it only has an f/11 maximum aperture, it should still function properly in well-lit environments.
Although you might need to increase the ISO to obtain a quick shutter speed, this lens is less expensive than other extreme telephoto lenses.
Rokinon 14mm f/2.4
For a couple reasons, I chose the lesser-known Rokinon 14mm f/2.4 lens over the Sigma 14mm f/1.8. First, it costs half as much ($800) and is substantially lighter (719 vs. 1170 grams). These two elements alone make this lens more appealing to many photographers.
Second, the Rokinon 14mm f/2.4 has outstanding image quality. When I used it, I didn't get a chance to directly compare it to the Sigma 14mm f/1.8, but I did evaluate how it performed when I photographed the Milky Way, which is likely the most demanding scenario. I accomplished this by comparing it to four other top 14mm lenses. With virtually no coma and perfect sharpness even when wide open, it defeated all of them.
This is a fantastic option for shooting landscapes in addition to stars. Although it lacks autofocus, the 14mm focal length makes it either the best or second-best lens on our list in terms of image quality. And once more, the Sigma 14mm f/1.8, which is the closest rival in that sense, is twice as expensive.
Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8
The Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 is one of my favorite wide-angle lenses that I've ever used. Although it is weighty, the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 matches or even outperforms it in terms of overall image quality. It also comes with some contemporary features, such as vibration reduction and a front element that repels water. The telephoto range is where it loses some strength, like the Nikon (see our review), but even there it performs better than others.
The pricing is the actual incentive to get this lens instead. Additionally, there is a previous model with nearly comparable image quality that is available for even better used pricing. It costs $1200 new and even less used.
Tamron lenses don't extend all the way to 14mm (closer to 15.5mm instead). Although the increase in focal length to 30mm is good, we believe that most of this lens' potential customers would be more interested in the wide end of things. Additionally, similar to the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, it doesn't come with built-in filter support, so if that's crucial to your photography, you'll need a hefty attachment.
Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4
This lens is a recent addition to our list, and several people have asked why I didn't include it in the comments. I've only lately had a chance to really test the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4, and I think it's a great lens. First of all, it offers an excellent price of $600 and excellent image quality.
It is lightweight and has an f/2.8 maximum aperture, making it ideal for astrophotography. This all comes together to provide a pretty remarkable package. In spite of the fact that corner sharpness isn't nearly as good as it could be compared to certain other lenses on this list, the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 doesn't really have many drawbacks to speak about. But that's hardly a criticism of this lens. It's one of the first I'd look at if I needed a wide-angle zoom for a Nikon.
Nikon 20mm f/1.8
It is sharper than all of the zooms on this list at 20mm, with the possible exception of the 14-30mm f/4. And assuming you don't require the 14mm focal length for your Milky Way work, it's better than practically every lens above for astrophotography thanks to its f/1.8 aperture.
3. What lenses are good for nighttime?
Most photographers find nighttime photography challenging because this particular shooting circumstance frequently depends on your lens' capacity to pick up light. abundant light As a result, investing in the ideal equipment that makes the most of any available ambient light and illuminates your entire frame is essential for success.
Here is our list on the top nighttime camera lenses to help you capture the darkest of scenes.
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
For general photography, one of the greatest lenses is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. This has an excellent build quality and a quick f/2.8 aperture, which are its biggest advantages.
This focus range, also known as the "walk-around lens," may be used to shoot whatever you could possibly want, including tight portraits and landscapes. The f/1.8 lenses that we described at the beginning of this post are one stop slower than f/2.8. However, the Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II has a number of qualities that make it a fantastic lens for shooting in low light.
Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens
Amazing glass is the Sigma 35mm f/1.2 DG DN Art Lens. With a maximum aperture of f/1.2, the widest an autofocusing lens can go, it offers excellent results. Since the lens includes a floating mechanism, focusing up close as well as throughout the remainder of the focusing range will be simple.
One "F" Low Dispersion Element, also known as a FLD element, and four Super-Low Dispersion glass elements make up the lens. This substance functions very similarly to a fluorite coating. There are also two spherical components. Together, these components make sure that chromatic aberration and distortion are minimized in the lens.
The lens also features a Super-Multi-Layer coating on top of it. This reduces flares and ghosting while enhancing the image's sharpness and saturation. The Sigma 35mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art lens is available for DSLR cameras, although it is only available for mirrorless systems.
Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Lens
The Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Lens is the last item on our list, but surely not the least! The G-Master is your best pal if you own a Sony mirrorless camera. The most expensive lenses you can purchase directly from Sony are in their GM range, which includes the well-liked Sony FE 14mm f/1.8 GM Lens.
This lens's wide focal length and fantastic f/1.8 aperture make it a handy tool for astrophotography. Edge-to- edge sharpness means that the stars you photograph in the corners of the frame will be just as sharp as those that appear in the center of the picture.
Sharpness is second nature to this GM lens. Neon fringing can be prevented from occurring in the areas of your image that are contrasted by having good chromatic aberration management. This one feels quite cozy in your palm because to the ergonomic lens design.
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D
Among Nikonians, the Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 F-mount lens is a perennial favorite. This 50mm prime lens has an f/1.8 maximum wide aperture. The lens has an aperture ring, a focus distance indication, and a manual focus ring.Flares and ghosting are handled by the lens' Super Integrated Coating. The 50mm is versatile since it has a physical ring that regulates the aperture and a manual focusing ring.
4. What are good micro lenses?
Using the best macro lenses, photographers can make a little world full of hidden beauty visible. Macro lenses provide close-ups and magnification that would not be feasible without their specialized optical design, opening up a wide range of photographic opportunities for teeny-tiny plants and animals
Additionally, macro lenses aren't just useful for this; they also make great prime lenses in general and work especially well for portrait photography. You are purchasing more than just the capacity to photograph close-ups when you take into account the price tags of these lenses.
Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
Canon's 100mm macro lens has hybrid optical stabilization in addition to the strong L-series build quality. Ring- type ultrasonic autofocus and a three-position autofocus limiter switch, which can shut off the short or long end of the range, are typical high-end attractions.
The lens also contains an Ultra-low Dispersion element and weather sealing. Even at f/22, image quality is superb throughout the whole aperture range, allowing you to squeeze out a bit extra depth of field. For the majority of macro photography, the manual focus ring is more crucial than the autofocus since it is smooth and precise.
Tokina atx-i 100mm F2.8 FF Macro
The AT-X PRO 100mm macro lens from Tokina was introduced back in 2006. In 2019, the replacement atx-i (interactive) model hit the market with a new design that gives the lens a more modern appearance. However, appearances can be deceiving, because the newcomer uses the same optical path with two aspherical and two Super-Low Dispersion glass elements as the original.
The fact that only the Canon mount version includes an autofocus motor and that it has an expanding inner barrel that extends longer at closer focusing distances are other similarities. The image quality is excellent, with outstanding sharpness levels, little distortion, and barely detectable lateral chromatic aberration.
Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S
One of two new Z-mount macro lenses is the MC 105mm from Nikon. There is also the more affordable Z MC 50mm f/2.8, which is a good lens, but the MC 105mm has a better macro photography focal length and is a pro-grade lens, so it's well worth the extra money.
A super-fast and very accurate autofocus mechanism, together with highly effective optical VR (Vibration Reduction) that can function in conjunction with the in - body stabilizers of Nikon's full-frame Z-series cameras, provide sublime image quality for both general shooting and extreme close-ups. A multi-function OLED display, a lens-function button and control ring that can be customized, an autofocus range limiter, as well as an electronically connected focus ring that permits ultra-fine adjustments, are all features of the handling exotica camera.
Nikon AF-S 105mm f/2.8 G IF ED VR Micro
This is Nikon's top-tier FX format macro lens, yet it also works well with DX cameras when photographing up close. It has a ring-type ultrasonic autofocus mechanism with entirely internal focusing, 3-stop VR II stabilization, and Nano Crystal coating, just like the 85mm DX lens in the group. The optical pathways of both lenses have 14 elements total, including one ED element.
The 105mm has a greater diameter because FX format lenses must produce a larger image circle to cover the larger picture sensor. At the minimum focus setting, the working distance between the front of the lens and the subject is fairly similar to the DX lens at 14.5cm. Similar to the Sigma lens, the VR system is effective for usual shooting, although it performs less well for close-up shots than the hybrid stabilizers from Tamron and Canon.
5. What are the price ranges?
The price of a camera lens varies depending on the lens's quality. Beginner camera lenses range in price from $100 to $400. The typical price of a camera lens ranges from $500 to $11,000 for professional photographers, while lenses cost between $200 and $700 for intermediate and advanced enthusiasts.
Lenses for cameras might be pricey, but they don't have to be. When you first begin taking photographs, there's no need to invest in more lenses than you actually require. We'll start by examining the most reasonably priced lenses.
They won't score the highest on those technical tests, but they'll nonetheless produce fantastic pictures for a beginning photographer. Here are some examples of entry-level lens prices, which range from an average of $100 to $400.
Intermediate photographers have higher expectations for image quality and features than starting photographers, who are more like casual shooters. You'll pay a little more than the entry-level lenses, but not significantly more than for the better lenses. Here are some samples of typical lens pricing for advanced hobbyist photographers between $200 and $700.
Even if you're not a professional photographer and don't shoot for hire, you might still desire the highest possible image quality. You ought to purchase professional lenses if your money permits. Pro lenses are the most expensive, offer the highest level of image quality, and frequently have the largest maximum lens apertures. You can see examples of camera lens prices for the lenses used by professional photographers in the table below.
The Bottom Line
The price of a camera lens varies greatly and depends on your needs as a photographer. Due to the continuous popularity of utilizing a "real" camera with interchangeable lenses, you undoubtedly have many options nowadays.
Another query arises after taking a look at these new camera lens prices. Is it a smart idea to think about used camera lenses instead of brand-new ones. I've learned that it's a smart idea to take used lenses into account as well. That's it!