The best lenses under $500 for your mirrorless camera

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The best lenses under $500 are probably the ones you already own. In fact, if you’ve been using your camera for a while now, we’d be shocked if you didn’t pick it up. There are few things that make us happier than adding an affordable gem of a lens to your camera bag. And because we know not everyone has more than $1,000 to spend on their hobby or profession, we’re rounding up these little gems for you. Take a look and dive with us!

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Why are these lenses the best under $500?

Here are some tips on how to use this guide to the best lenses under $500:

  • All of the lenses in this roundup have been reviewed by The Phoblographer team. Our ethics policies do not allow us to discuss products that we have not touched or reviewed in these product recommendation messages. That said, we can say for sure that these are the best lenses under $500 for your camera system. Also, all photos in this post were taken by our staff.
  • We chose these lenses based on a few parameters: image quality, size, price, performance and their overall impression.
  • The best lenses under $500 for your camera system could also be the ones you already own. But we recommend them for a myriad of general uses.
  • Many of the best glasses under $500 have weather resistance. But some don’t. It’s a feature that has finally started to spread and be made available to the masses.

Fujifilm 23mm f2 R WR: Fujifilm X mount

Advantages

  • Good image quality
  • Serious focus and surprisingly fast. This lens is officially Fujifilm’s fastest.
  • Quickly focus on the X Pro 2, the X-T2, and even the X Pro 1. This last one completely freaked me out.
  • Beautiful colors
  • Compact size
  • Weather sealing
  • Turning the aperture ring is nice and smooth until the clicks kick in. It’s a simply lovely tactile experience.
  • Sharp images
  • Pretty nice bokeh
  • Affordable price

The inconvenients

  • Something about this lens just doesn’t have the magic of the 23mm f1.4 R.

In our review we state:

“The best thing about this lens has to be the color rendering. As always, Fujifilm’s color rendition is second to none, thanks in part to Fujifilm’s in-camera film profiles. But then consider it a high quality lens and you have a winning combination.

Buy now

Canon RF 35mm f1.8 IS: Canon RF mount

street photography

Advantages

  • Little
  • Lightweight
  • Relatively fast focusing
  • It’s a lens designed to always be on your camera
  • Image stabilization (much needed in system)
  • Stunning bokeh
  • Sharp enough for most uses but not as sharp as most L glasses I’ve seen and used. Still, it’s a shock.
  • Fairly affordable at $449 regularly.

The inconvenients

  • We would have gladly paid more money for weather sealing.

In our review we state:

“Photographers will be delighted to know that the Canon 35mm f1.8 USM IS RF is very easy to use and is also very digital in its design. When I say this, I mean that there is no focus distance scale on the lens. Therefore, I can’t really recommend it for street photography as it’s an essential part of usage. However, for those who want to use it in full autofocus mode, go for it. Most of the time I used it as a fun lens on a camera that I always wanted to have around me. The small size of the Canon 35mm f1.8 USM IS RF lends itself very well to this scenario. So if anything, most photographers will be happy to just use it as a macro to shoot random outings with friends while others will enjoy using it for more serious stuff.

Buy now

Nikon 40mm f2 Z: Nikon Z mount

Advantages

  • Incredibly durable!
  • Nice picture quality
  • I love colors.
  • Autofocus is excellent, but the smartness of the cameras isn’t so much about detecting the subject. However, it’s solid in the studio
  • nice bokeh
  • It’s a 40mm!
  • Brother, it’s $299.99. Like, this is Nikon’s IMPULSE BUY lens.

The inconvenients

  • Autofocus on the Nikon z6 II is much improved, but lags behind other brands for things like street photography.

In our review we state:

“The Nikon 40mm f2 z doesn’t do anything really innovative on its own. However, they offer the smallest 40mm f2 autofocus lens on the market. They added incredible weather sealing despite being slightly conservative with their own statements about it. Even better, they did it at an incredibly low price. 40mm lenses have finally seen a surge in popularity. But the Nikon 40mm f2 z is a study in how to do it right.

Buy now

Tamron 35mm f2.8: Sony E-mount

Advantages

  • Compact (although the Sony 35mm f2.8 Zeiss is even smaller)
  • Lightweight
  • First-class weather sealing
  • Excellent image quality overall
  • Very affordable (only $349)

The inconvenients

  • Plasticky build quality
  • Autofocus in low light can be a little slow

In our review we state:

“Shooting with the Tamron 35mm f2.8 Di III OSD is very simple. Mount it to your Sony camera, turn on your camera, dial in your settings, and you’re ready to go racing. Thanks to the weight of 7.4oz/210g, it won’t feel front-heavy when attached to the Sony a7/a9 series camera. The only form of manual control offered by the lens is the focusing ring. As mentioned earlier, the focus ring could use more tension. It comes in handy when shooting long exposures and manually focusing at infinity or other distances. On the other hand, Team Autofocus will have nothing to fear.

Buy now

Panasonic 50mm f1.8 Lumix S: Leica L mount

Advantages

  • Nice picture quality
  • Quick focus to get the first target
  • Weather sealing
  • Small size
  • Lightweight
  • Incredibly affordable for what it is

The inconvenients

  • I wish it was metal
  • Not so fantastic and reliable autofocus tracking, but good for a single shot. When it hits, it nails.

In our review we state:

“Of course, it’s a nice 50, so it’s easy to use. Put the Panasonic 50mm f1.8 S on any L-mount camera, and it should work just fine. There is a focus switch on one side. So, make sure you don’t touch it accidentally. But the whole time I used the lens, that didn’t happen.

Buy now

Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II: Micro Four Thirds

Advantages

  • Sharp enough when stationary, but not so open
  • Quick to focus on the GH4, not so much on the OMD E-M5
  • Color rendering very close to a film
  • Distortion is quite low
  • Beautiful construction coupled with a low profile design

The inconvenients

  • Wish it was sharper and wide open

In our review we state:

“If you’re a movie fan, realize that this lens somehow renders images with less contrast and not as saturated as we’re used to seeing. If you’re a fan of Sigma lenses, consider this one the opposite of that. However, it works for the whole lens, and Panasonic’s RAW files are versatile enough to save.

Buy now




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