Our List of the Most Lust-Worthy Lenses Out There

October 22, 2015

By Theano Nikitas

EDITOR’S CHOICE: Sigma 24-35mm f/2 DG HSm Art 

The latest in Sigma’s popular Art line, the new 24-35mm zoom promises to be equally as enticing. Designed for full-frame cameras, the new lens is the first f/2 zoom in its class. Access to f/2 throughout the zoom range is only one of its many benefits for still and video images, including silent high-speed AF and an inner focusing system that eliminates front-lens rotation (perfect for using a circular polarizing filter). High-end construction includes 18 elements in 13 groups designed to minimize aberrations. The lens measures 3.4 x 4.8 inches and weighs 33.2 ounces. 

Price: $999

Fujinon XF90mmF2 R LM WR

With its 137mm equivalent focal length, Fuji’s X-series 90mm lens is great for portraits. A maximum f/2 aperture helps you get the shot in low light and, along with its 7-bladed circular aperture design, creates beautiful bokeh. Thanks to its 11 elements in 8 groups, which includes 3 ED glass elements, you won’t have to worry about vignetting. Shooting in bright, midday sun? Need more depth-of-field? No problem. The XF90mm can be stopped down to f/16. Sealed against the elements, this 1.2 pound lens is the perfect match for the weather-resistant Fuji X-T1.

PRICE: $949

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm 

Look in any photographer’s gear bag and you’re likely to find a 24-70mm lens, and now Nikon shooters have a new option with the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens. This workhorse of a lens now features vibration reduction of up to four stops and tripod detection. Nikon also enhanced the optics, pairing a new aspherical extra-low dispersion (ASP/ED) with traditional AS, ED and HRI elements—a first for Nikkor lenses—to deliver sharper images and more beautiful bokeh. Like other newer Nikkor lenses, the 24-70mm has an electromagnetic aperture and fluorine coating on the front and back elements for easier cleaning.

PRICE: $1,887

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO 

The 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO lens delivers a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 14-28mm, providing an excellent wide-angle zoom addition to Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds lens lineup. The lens body, which measures 3.1 x 4.17-inches and weighs just under 19 ounces, is sealed to protect against dust and the elements. For quick and easy access, users can assign one of 27 functions to a special L-Fn button on the lens barrel. Switching between AF and manual focus is convenient as well, thanks to the lens’ manual focus clutch mechanism. Lots of other features, including the ability to focus as close as 7.9 inches, makes this a no-brainer purchase for Micro Four Thirds shooters.

PRICE: $1,300

Tokina AT-X 24-70mm 

The Tokina AT-X 24-70mm f/2.8 PRO FX lens offers full-frame Canon and Nikon shooters an affordable option for one of the most popular zoom ranges, particularly among wedding photographers. Specialized lens elements are incorporated to deliver full quality from high-resolution DSLRs. Videographers will appreciate the SDM (Silent Drive-Module) motor for fast and quiet autofocus. The lens weighs 36.63 ounces, measures 3.52 (D) x 4.23-inches (L) and features a one-touch focus clutch mechanism to quickly switch between AF and MF.

PRICE: $999

HD Pentax D FA* 70-200mm f/2.8ED DC AW

Another popular focal range among wedding photographers—as well as sports and wildlife photographers—the new Pentax 70-200mm f/2.8 lens’ designation as a “star” lens is an indication of its high quality. This K-mount lens was designed for full-frame use but is compatible with APS-C cameras as well, to deliver a 105-300mm zoom range. It features a Quick Shift Focus System to move quickly between AF and manual focus, a removable, rotating tripod collar and an optical construction that minimizes chromatic and other aberrations. Pentax is known for its weatherproof cameras, and this lens is a perfect match with its 13 seals to protect from moisture and dust. The lens is currently slated to ship later this fall.

PRICE: $2,300 

Sony Zeiss Distagon T* FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA 

This wide-angle lens—one of four new lenses for Sony’s a7-series cameras—is super fast at f/1.4 and will appeal to low-light shooters (as well as bokeh-loving photographers who will want to take advantage of its 9-bladed circular aperture). A minimum focusing distance of about 12 inches brings you close enough for detail shots while its Direct Drive SSM provides quiet focusing. It’s dust- and moisture-resistant, measures 3 1/8 x 4 1/2 inches and weighs 22.2 ounces.  

PRICE: $1,600 

Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8   

Designed for Sony’s full-frame a7 mirrorless cameras, the Zeiss Batis 85mm f/1.8-f/22 lens’ solid metal construction is also dust and splashproof for even the most adventurous photographer. Still, at 85mm, it’s the ideal focal length for portraits whether you’re in studio or shooting a wedding. AF and manual focus are available and the lens body features an OLED display for reading distance and depth-of-field. The Batis 85mm measures 4.1 x 3.1 inches, weighs about one pound and promises extremely sharp images. 

PRICE: $1,200

Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 XR Di II VC

With its 18-200mm zoom range, this lens truly fits its all-in-one designation and, at 14.1 ounces, it’s the lightest zoom in its class. In addition to VC (vibration compensation), a newly designed AF drive module delivers faster, quieter and more accurate autofocus. Constructed of 16 elements in 14 groups, it measures 3.8 inches (for Canon) and 3.7 inches (for Nikon). Sony A-mount to be introduced at a later date. 


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 

Canon’s latest lens is not only fast with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 but, at 2.7 x 1.6 inches, it’s the company’s most compact 50mm glass to date. Weighing a mere 5.7 ounces, even with its metal mount, you can easily pop it onto an APS-C camera for an effective 80mm focal length when you need a little more reach for portraits. A 7-bladed circular aperture helps create lovely bokeh, and the lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1.15 feet. 

PRICE: $110

Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7  

Affordable and fast, the Lumix G 42.5mm f/1.7 Micro Four Thirds lens is a great companion for Panasonic G-series cameras. An effective 35mm focal length of 85mm will make this lens a favorite among portrait photographers on a budget. Equipped with Panasonic’s excellent Power OIS, this 4.59 ounce lens is constructed of 10 elements in 8 groups and capable of a minimum aperture of f/22. 

PRICE: $298

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