Despite the popularity of mirrorless cameras, DSLRs are still competitive in the photography world. The lengthy history of the DSLR means there is a healthy market for high-quality glass if you are not yet ready to make the leap to mirrorless, don’t want to, or it is simply too pricey at this time. Consequently, how do you pick the ideal DLSR lens for you?
What you shoot and your budget are two key considerations to start with when selecting a lens. You can still invest in a high-quality multipurpose lens that can handle a variety of situations even if your budget isn’t too large. For instance, a decent 50mm lens can be utilized for portraiture, street photography, and event photography.
Consider the shooting environment from there. Purchase lenses with a wider maximum aperture, such as 1.8, 1.4, or even 1.2, if you frequently shoot indoors in low light or if you want a good blurred background for portraits.
By letting more light into the lens, you can avoid raising your ISO to an uncomfortable level. The same logic applies to wide-aperture lenses, which enable faster shutter speeds to be used in low-light situations.
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Don’t forget to consider build quality. Try to find lenses that are weather-sealed and that are well constructed. Outdoor and wildlife photographers, in particular, need glass that can withstand dampness and grime without having costly repairs. Ultra-cheap lenses may initially appear to be a fantastic value, but they are typically cheap because they are composed of fragile plastic and may break easily.
This is not to claim that affordable lenses are subpar. Lenses that have been used and refurbished or that don’t have nearly as wide of an aperture can be inexpensive and yet function incredibly well. For example, a lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 will nearly always be less expensive than one with a maximum aperture of f/1.4 while still producing superb background blur.
Any seasoned photographer will advise you that the component of your equipment that is worth spending money on is your lenses. Although camera bodies are replaced frequently, a good lens, when properly cared for, can last you for ten years.
Given their significance and durability, the majority of the lenses on this list are more expensive, but they are also among the best products currently on the market; some haven’t required a design modification since 2010.
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Having said that, we are aware that not everyone can afford them. We’ll provide less-priced variations of some of the below products that perform almost as well. We advise purchasing the greatest item you can now afford.
Table of Contents
1. Nikon’s AF-S FX NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED is the best wide-angle DSLR lens.
Nikon’s NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4 lens, which is frequently referred to as “the best wide-angle lens in the world,” produces clear images all the way to the corners, even when it is fully open at f/1.4. Low barrel distortion also reduces the need for post-processing correction.
Although made for Nikon’s full-frame FX mount, this lens may also be used with crop-sensor Nikon cameras to produce a similar focal length to that of a 35mm camera. This will be a wise buy if you now photograph with a crop sensor Nikon and intend to switch to a full-frame DSLR.
Real estate and architectural photographers who frequently require a wide angle of view will love this lens. But wedding and portrait photographers who want to capture more of the scene or find more inventive viewpoints will also find a lot to adore here.
The NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4 is large and expensive, but the image quality is worth it. Since this lens has been around for so long, you may probably find a great deal on a used copy that is in good condition.
2. Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM is the best DSLR portrait lens.
While there are many different focal lengths that can be used to capture portraits, many portrait photographers like the compression and bokeh (blurred backdrop) that an 85mm lens provides.
While the 85mm f/1.4L isn’t the newest 85mm from Canon, it has a better build and produces crisper images at the maximum aperture of 1.4 than the more recent 85mm f/1.2. The f/1.4 is weather sealed, however, the f/1.2 is not, which is most notable.
With its f/1.4 aperture and other features like a shock-absorbing barrel and image stabilization, Canon’s 85mm f/1.4 lens is one of the best lenses available for handheld portrait photography on a DSLR.
Any Canon photographer would be happy to add this prime lens to their collection because of its buttery smooth bokeh and superb ergonomics. Too costly for your current spending plan? In its Art range, Sigma produces an excellent 85mm f/1.4 lens.
3. Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM is the best DSLR ultra-wide angle lens.
The Sigma Art series is a good option for anyone looking for high-quality glass when that brand’s lenses are out of their price range, regardless of the brand you shoot with. With a reasonably wide maximum aperture and a respectable zoom range, the company’s 14–24mm F2.8 lens is a suitable choice for real estate and architectural photographers who need to capture a whole room or structure in the frame.
The Sigma Art line is not one of the third-party lenses that get a poor rap for appearing or feeling cheap. This lens has a sturdy construction, is weather-sealed, and has a premium fluorite coating on the glass elements to help shield them and stop flaring or ghosting.
Although the maximum angle is wide, there is hardly any distortion, and the images are clear and sharp. Its maximum aperture is also wider at f/2.8 than Canon’s counterpart, which only extends to f/4.
Make sure you have space in your camera bag for this lens because it is heavier and larger than other brands’ equivalents.
4. Irix 150mm f/2.8 Macro 1:1 Dragonfly is the best macro lens for DSLRs.
Irix, a third-party manufacturer, offers a reasonably priced and high-quality macro lens called the 150mm f/2.8 Macro. It is weather sealed, which is unusual for lenses in this price range, and is compatible with several major camera brands. Additionally, it produces extremely sharp shots and has a nice wide 2.8 aperture for removing background distractions.
The Dragonfly can be used as a portrait lens for close-up studio shots because of the compression that comes with such a long focal length, which also helps to distinguish your subject from the background.
The Dragonfly, while made for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, can also be used with Canon’s mirrorless R system when using an EF to RF adaptor. In conclusion, the 150mm f/2.8 Macro is a great lens for photographers who wish to experiment with macro.
There is one restriction, though: this lens only has manual focus. It is still accurate, but it will take longer to fine-tune the shot.
5. Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS II USM is the best DSLR telephoto lens.
The EF 70-300mm standard zoom lens from Canon is reasonably priced for what it offers. With its outstanding image stabilization, this telephoto lens produces clear photos at all magnification levels. This lens, which is made for crop sensors, may also be used as a full-frame zoom at a lower cost if necessary. It even has an on-barrel screen to cycle through the various modes.
Although not as wide as an f/2.8 lens, the normal aperture range for this kind of zoom is f/4-5.6, so you’re still getting a lot of zoom for your money. Fast autofocus and up to four stops of picture stabilization are both claimed.
Despite not being an ultra-professional, high-end telephoto, this Canon lens is still a terrific value for shooting wildlife and sports.
6. Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.4G is the best DSLR lens for street photography.
One of the most popular focal lengths for street photographers is 35mm, and one of the greatest 35mm lenses available is Nikon’s 35mm f/1.4G. This DSLR lens is an extremely adaptable and somewhat portable lens to carry on the street because of its quick autofocus on full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies, crisp photos, and wide maximum aperture.
The f/1.4 aperture enables handheld shooting in low light, which is crucial for capturing dynamic street scenes. Additionally, when used creatively, the 35mm field of view can capture more of the surroundings, producing some dramatic street scenes or portraits.
Despite being a little older, the Nikon lens is still very pricey. The Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 is a wonderful substitute if you can’t afford this specific 35mm lens because it costs around half as much.