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We love cameras, but even the coolest body would be almost useless without a good lens. Its quality will reflect in that of the photographs. Things like sharpness, color, contrast, noise and vignetting are all majorly influenced by the lens. A good glass will make even an old sensor shine, let alone a top camera.
Here are the 21 best lenses available on the market today.
This is a $100 piece of plastic, but it is awesome. It is the perfect lens for beginners and anyone who wants a decent, bright prime lens but who doesn’t have the necessary resources. Awesome for learning portrait photography!
It is an amazing prime lens. Highly recommended for portraits and studio work. It has Ultra-Dispersion Glass with fluorite elements giving it top quality optical performance.
This is one of Canon’s most loved lenses and it has every reason to be. It is incredibly fast, tack sharp, it has beautiful colors and contrast and it looks bad ass.
The Canon professional’s choice when it comes to wide angle lenses. It performs well for a lens of its type and that makes it popular among all kinds of photographers, from wedding shooters to photojournalists and landscape photographers.
If you want a truly bright lens and a bokeh to stare at for minutes, look no further. This 50mm lens has it all, plus a lot more like great colors, contrast and low dispersion. It is a fantastic choice for both photography and video.
Tilt shift lenses are awesome and this is Canon’s widest model. It is ideal for landscape and architecture photography. The mechanism rotates +/- 90 degrees in any direction, making it a very powerful creative tool.
It is the successor of a legend and the workhorse of countless professionals. Its optical performance, reliability and speed have recommended it for years, and now we have the second, improved version to enjoy working with.
The 100mm is one of Canon’s solutions for photographers who are interested in macro photography. The lens is capable of capturing details that are undetectable with the human eye. It has a three-group floating system for amazing close-ups.
This is regarded by many as the best ultra-wide angle lens ever produced. The front element is ridiculously looking and the metal lens hood is fixed and part of the construction. The optical performance is unmatched, with incredible sharpness and amazing color.
It is one of the favorites among portrait and wedding photographers. It has a Nano crystal coating, it is very fast and mounted on a pro body, it can effortlessly handle situations with very low light. The bokeh is beautiful.
If you are looking for a travel lens that doesn’t make unacceptable compromises to image quality, this is it. The zoom range is very long and it is optimized for edge to edge sharpness for both DX and FX formats.
This is Nikon’s version of a very popular zoom lens. Flawless performance, image quality and legendary Nikon durability have made it one of the most loved lenses among professionals worldwide.
It costs a small fortune, but it’s hard to believe that a wildlife or sports photographer could want anything more from a lens. It is absolutely amazing and a great experience to work with.
The classic 50mm lens will always be well represented in Nikon’s lineup. The f1.4G is a pro level prime lens at an affordable price. It is a great walk around lens. The colors are very nice and the bokeh is creamy. Highly recommended for any Nikon shooter.
Nikon’s workhorse standard zoom has been decorated a lot, but it’s really no surprise. Fast aperture, fast focusing, Nano crystal coating and amazing sharpness are just some of its many qualities.
If you are a professional who loves a wider angle, who is often confronted with very low light conditions and who has a love for fixed lenses, this is what you’re looking for. It is an optical gem. The light gathering capabilities are astonishing, the detail is all there and the colors are everything you would hope for. It is a dream come true for many Nikon photographers.
Third party lenses
This lens is a beauty. For a moderate cost, you get a 35mm bright lens that is built to professional standards and can rub shoulders with anything Canon and Nikon have to throw at it. Its single flaw, although not everyone thinks it is a flaw, is that it is manual lens, but make no mistake: the focusing is very smooth and easy.
This is the only zoom lens in this range to have optical stabilization. It costs almost half than what you would pay for a Nikon or a Canon and the optical quality is very satisfactory.
This is the brightest zoom lens currently available in the world. It is designed specifically for being used with APS-C cameras, so full frame users can move on. It is very well built, the price is very attractive and the optically it performs excellent. It is ideal for event photographers.
It might not be fair to include this lens on this list, as it is in a league of its own, at least price wise, but we’ll do it anyway. The reason it is expensive and awesome is because it is very difficult to build a lens with these specifications. Not only is it a f2.8 zoom, but it goes up to 500mm. Of course, it needs separate power, so it comes with a dedicated battery for zooming and focusing.
Rokinon and Samyang are the same, they just sell lenses under different names. This is a great option if you want a fish eye lens and you’re on a budget. The optical performance is there, the build quality as well, but the price makes it a lot friendlier.
We only featured one Zeiss lens on this list because we could have very well made the entire list with their lenses. They are all amazing in every aspect. It’s in the glass, the mechanics, in everything. This particular 135mm lens has almost inexistent chromatic aberrations and the sharpness is the same in every corner of the image you look. Simply amazing, but for the right price.