What to Look for in a DSLR Lens in 2022
Mirrorless cameras may be all the rage, but DSLRs still hold their own on the photography front. If you’re not ready to go mirrorless, don’t want to, or it’s just too expensive right now, the long history of the DSLR means there’s a robust market for mirrorless glass. quality. So how do you choose the best DLSR lens for you?
Two important factors to consider when choosing a lens are what you are shooting and your budget. If your budget is not very high, you can always invest in a quality all-round lens that can cover different areas. A good 50mm lens, for example, can do portraits, street photography and be used at events.
From there, consider the conditions in which you are shooting. People shooting indoors where there isn’t a lot of ambient light, or portrait photographers looking for a nice blurred background, will want to invest in lenses with a wider maximum aperture like 1. 8, 1.4, or even 1.2.
This allows more light into the lens, which saves you from raising your ISO too high. For this same reason, you can shoot at higher shutter speeds in low light with a wide aperture lens.
Don’t overlook the build quality either. Look for lenses that are solidly constructed and, if possible, weatherproof. Wildlife and outdoor photographers, in particular, will want a lens that can withstand dirt and moisture without requiring expensive repairs. Ultra cheap lenses may seem like a bargain on the surface, but they’re usually inexpensive because they’re plastic and break easily.
That’s not to say cheap contact lenses are bad. Used and refurbished lenses, or lenses that don’t have such a wide aperture, can be a bargain and work remarkably well. A lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8, for example, is almost always cheaper than a lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.4, but will still provide beautiful background blur.
Any experienced photographer will tell you that the part of your kit worth investing in is your lenses. Camera bodies are upgraded quite often, but a good, well-maintained lens can last a decade.
Given their importance and lifespan, many of the lenses on this list are more expensive, but they’re some of the best available – some haven’t needed a design update since 2010. said, we know they won’t be at hand. everyone’s budget. We’ll give you cheaper alternatives to some of the options below that work almost as well. We recommend buying the best you can afford at the moment.
- ✓ Wide angle captures cityscapes, interiors or wide environmental portraits
- ✓ Very sharp images
- ✓ Compatible with full frame and crop sensor camera bodies
- ✓ Fast f/1.4 maximum aperture
- ✗ Still quite expensive if you buy new
- ✗ Not as much of a versatile lens as a 35mm or 50mm
Presented as “the best wide angle lens in the world” for a reason, Nikon NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4 The lens creates a sharp image in the corners, even wide open at f/1.4. Low barrel distortion also means less post correction time.
Although designed for Nikon’s full-frame FX mount, this lens also works with Nikon’s crop sensor cameras to provide a focal length equivalent of approximately 35mm. If you’re currently shooting a Nikon crop sensor and considering upgrading to a full-frame DSLR, this will be a wise investment.
This lens is ideal for real estate and architectural photographers who typically need a wide angle of view. But wedding and portrait photographers looking for more creative angles or to get more of the scene will also find a lot to like here.
The NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4 is big and has a steep price tag, but the image quality is worth it and this lens has been around long enough that you can probably find a bargain on a used copy in good condition. .
Best DSLR Wide Angle Lens
- ✓ Maximum aperture of f/2.8
- ✓ Wide variable viewing angles
- ✓ Solidly constructed and weatherproof
- ✗ Larger and heavier than some brand lenses
No matter what brand you’re shooting, the Sigma Art series is a solid choice for anyone looking for high-quality glass when that brand’s lenses are within reach. From the company 14-24mm F2.8 The lens has a fairly wide maximum aperture, and the zoom range makes it a good lens for real estate and architectural photographers who need to fit an entire room or building into the shot.
While some third-party lenses have a bad shot at looking or feeling cheap, the Sigma Art series is not one of them. This lens is built tough, weather sealed, and the glass elements have a premium fluorite coating to protect them and prevent ghosting or flare.
Despite the maximum wide angle, there is almost no distortion and the images are high quality and sharp. And at f/2.8 it has a wider maximum aperture than Canon’s equivalent, which only goes to f/4.
Just make sure you have room in your camera bag for this lens, as the 14-24mm F2.8 is both bigger and heavier than its equivalent from other brands.
Best Ultra Wide Angle DSLR Lens
Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM
This ultra-wide-angle Sigma Art lens is solid and produces great images on par with brand name offerings.
- ✓ Wide zoom range captures a variety of focal lengths
- ✓ Comes with four-stop image stabilization
- ✓ Decent aperture range for a standard telephoto lens
- ✓ Super affordable
by Cannon EF 70-300mm standard zoom lens is reasonably priced for what you get. This telephoto lens has impressive image stabilization and delivers sharp images across the entire zoom spectrum. Designed for crop sensors, this lens can be used as a cost-effective full-frame zoom at a glance and even includes a screen on the barrel to cycle through different modes.
The f/4-5.6 aperture range is standard for this type of zoom, and although it’s not as wide as an f/2.8 lens, you still get a lot for your money . Autofocus is fast and image stabilization claims to cover up to four stops.
Although this Canon lens is not an ultra-professional high-end telephoto lens, it is still a good budget option for wildlife and sports photography.
Best Telephoto DSLR
- ✓ Relatively compact Large max aperture
- ✓ Large maximum aperture
- ✓ High quality construction
- ✓ Wider field of vision without distortion
The 35mm is widely recognized as one of the best focal lengths for street photographers, and Nikon 35mm f/1.4G is considered one of the best 35mm lenses on the market. Fast autofocus on full-frame Nikon DSLR bodies, sharp images and a wide maximum aperture make this DSLR lens a very versatile and relatively compact lens to take on the street.
The f/1.4 aperture allows for handheld shooting in lower light, which is especially important for changing situations on the street. Additionally, the 35mm field of view can capture more of the environment, resulting in street scenes or cinematic portraits when used creatively.
Although the Nikon lens is a little older, it is still expensive. If you don’t have the money for that particular 35mm, the Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4 is a great alternative at about half the price.
Best DSLR Lens for Street Photography
- ✓ Very high quality glass
- ✓ Wide maximum opening
- ✓ Image stabilization
- ✓ Superior build quality
Although portraits can be shot at a variety of focal lengths, the combination of compression and bokeh (background blur) you get from a wide-aperture 85mm means many portrait photographers prefer it. This lens is not Canon’s latest 85mm, but the 85mm f/1.4L has better build quality and sharper images at maximum aperture of 1.4 than the newer 85mm f/1.2. Most notably, the f/1.4 is weather sealed while the f/1.2 is not.
Canon’s 85mm f/1.4 lens also features a shock-absorbing barrel and image stabilization, making it one of the best pieces of glass for handheld portrait shooting. lifted on a DSLR when combined with its f/1.4 aperture.
Smooth bokeh and good ergonomics make this a prime lens that any Canon photographer would be proud to add to their kit. Too expensive for your current budget? Sigma has a 85mm f/1.4 lens in its Art line which is also very strong.
Best DSLR Portrait Lens
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4L IS USM
Canon’s 85mm f/1.4L lens offers just the right amount of compression and bokeh for superb, sharp portraits.
- ✓ Great value for the price
- ✓ Sharp images
- ✓ Wide maximum opening
- ✓ Weather sealing
- ✓ Compatible with major manufacturers
The Macro 150mm f/2.8 is an affordable, quality macro lens from third-party manufacturer Irix. Compatible with several major camera manufacturers, it’s also weather sealed, something you don’t typically see with lenses in this price range. It also gets very sharp images and has a nice wide 2.8 aperture to blur the background.
Compressing such a long focal length can also separate your subject from the background, meaning the Dragonfly can be used as a portrait lens for close-up studio images.
Although designed for cannon and Nikon DSLR, the Dragonfly will also work on Canon’s mirrorless R system with a EF to RF adapter. Overall, the 150mm f/2.8 Macro is a great lens for photographers looking to explore macro.
But there is a caveat: this lens is manual focus only. That doesn’t mean it’s not accurate, but it will be slower to compose the shot.
Best Macro DSLR Lens