10 Dream Lens for Every Photographer.
When it comes to lenses there are hundreds of them in market from dozens of manufacturers. The range of lenses today can do just all kind of photography when paired with the right kind of camera. From ultra-wide to super telephotos and dedicated macro to fixed primes, there are a lot of lens options to suit all kind of budget. What lens you need depends upon the type of photography you do. For a wildlife photographer a 35mm prime may be useless and similarly for a wedding photographer, a 600mm would not be of much use. There are a few lens which are must have for particular genre of photography. However professionals tend to act creatively with any available lens.
Here are the Top 10 Dream Lens for every photographer. But remember to upgrade your skills before you upgrade your gear.
- Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 is a game changer lens. It is the world’s first constant f/1.8 zoom lens for DSLR cameras that was announced in April 2013 and combines advanced flexibility with uncompromising performance. The build quality is nice and well constructed. Even shooting with it opened all the way up, it gives nice sharp, vivid pictures with good bokeh. The zoom on this lens is all internal. This lens is a MUST for any DX camera. Infact if you are considering to upgrade to full frame, then you should give this lens a try at first. While other manufacturers are looking towards the FX format, sigma took a bold step to introduce this professional lens for the DX bodies. It gives you fantastic value for money when you compare it with the likes of Canon & Nikon 17-55mm f/2.8 which will cost you almost twice of this lens. It also works well on FX format camera.
Check price & reviews: Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 Art
2. 85mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.4
The 85mm lens serves as a great portrait lens. The focal length is best suited for portrait photography. Considering the price difference and result between f/1.8 and f/1.4 version it is better to go for the pocket friendly 85mm f/1.8 lens. The 85mm prime offers a highly attractive combination of small size, low weight, good optical quality and relatively low cost. This makes it an ideal ‘carry everywhere’ lens for portraiture and available light photography. If portraits are your genre then this one is a must have.
Check price & reviews: Nikon 85mm / Canon 85mm
3. 24-70mm f/2.8
All the professionals who do varied kind of shooting from portraits to weddings and everything in between always have this one on their camera body. It is a highly versatile lens and is also used by landscape photographers. The 24-70mm is made for FX bodies but can also be used on the smaller crop sensor bodies. The color reproduction, sharpness and quality of bokeh is on par with the dedicated primes. It works extremely well in low light situation. It is made for enthusiasts and professionals, who work in various lighting and weather conditions and need exceptional sharpness, color and contrast in their images.
Check price and reviews: Nikon 24-70 / Canon 24-70 / Tamron 24-70 / Sigma 24-70
4. 70-200mm f/2.8
One of the most used lens by professionals around the world. From covering outdoor sports events to weddings, from fashion shoots to journalism, you can just take it anywhere and it will become useful. It is the big brother of 24-70mm and gives you some extra reach in case you are shooting outdoors. 70-200mm f/2.8 is the lens of choice for any fashion photographer. Due to its higher focal length the quality of bokeh is butter smooth and pleasant. It provides excellent image quality, fast auto-focus, and an incredibly useful focal range, the 70-200 is a classic – the go-to lens for almost any type of shooting. Canon’s and Nikon’s 70-200s are expensive and a lot of photographers opt for 3rd-party versions of this popular lens. Sigma and Tamron have come very close to the quality of Canon and Nikon.
Check price & reviews: Nikon 70-200 / Canon 70-200 / Tamron 70-200 / Sigma 70-200
5. Dedicated Macro Lens : Nikon 105mm, Canon 100mm, Tamron 90mm.
If you do a lot of product photography then this should be your lens of choice. Nature photographers who love to shoot the small things, be it an insect, leaf or a rain drop, prefer this lens over anything else. It gives you nice 1:1 life size ratio and the photograph really stands out. You can get creative with it and present a whole new perspective on just anything. It can also be used as a portrait lens. Macro lens should be present in any wildlife photographer’s arsenal of lenses.
Check price & reviews: Nikon 105mm / Canon 100mm / Tamron 90mm
Read in detail about Macro Photography Tips here.
6. Tamron 150-600mm
An affordable option for all wildlife enthusiasts who can not go for the expensive f/2.8 versions 0f fixed 300mm, 400mm and above from Nikon & Canon. The versatile range of 150mm to 600mm makes it extremely useful under different situations. This super-telephoto zooms to 600mm focal length, while still being reasonably portable. This type of lens is the tool of choice for small or distant subjects when large heavy primes are impractical or unaffordable, ranging from birds, wildlife and sports. Launched in 2013 it’s the most modern lens in its class, and therefore, in principle, has the most up-to-date optics. It offers excellent optical image stabilization (which Tamron calls Vibration Compensation or VC) and an UltraSonic Drive motor for fast & silent autofocus. Even with F5-6.3 maximum aperture, the high-ISO capability of modern sensors makes it very useful under difficult lighting conditions. It can also be used on APS-C SLRs, on which if offers a huge 225-900mm equivalent range. When you compare it with Nikon, Canon and Sony counterparts, it is a complete bargain for its price.
Check price & reviews: Tamron 150-600mm
7. Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG HSM
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens announcement created huge anticipation among the professional photographer community when it was announced. 50mm is a very natural focal length as it approximates how we perceive a scene with our own eyes (at least in field of view and perspective terms). It is one of the most popular focal length and is used in fashion, portraiture, weddings, documentary, lifestyle, sports, architecture, landscape and general studio photography applications. When mounted on a crop sensor DSLR it offers an equivalent focal length of around 80mm which is just great for portraits. The 50 f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens receives Sigma’s premium Hypersonic Motor-driven AF system. This AF system is very quiet with only a few light clicks being heard during focus acquisition.
Check price & review: Sigma 50mm f/1.4
8. Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
If landscapes are your genre then an ultra-wide angle lens is a must. You may spend a fortune on the Nikon and Canon counterparts but the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8 will save you if your budget is less. Ultra wide angle lenses present an unique perspective where the background goes further back and the foreground looks relatively larger when compared to the original view. This opens up a creative corridor. Be it astrophotography or landscapes, the f/2.8 couples with 11mm wide angle will help you there. The lens is one of the favorite for all professionals who don’t want to splurge on the branded ones from Nikon or Canon.
Check price & review: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8
9. 135mm f/2
When it comes to portrait there is no substitute for the ultra-sharp 135mm from the house of Nikon & Canon. While Nikon’s 135mm has not been updated in last 25 years, the Canon’s is relatively newer. They are among the list of dream lens of any fashion and portrait photographer. It offers incredibly sharp image quality and pleasant bokeh. Canon professionals call it “the lord of the red rings”. It is sharper than the most used 70-200mm f/2.8 and the f/2.0 makes it a winner under low light. There is a cheaper alternative from Rokinon.
Check price & review: Canon 135mm / Nikon 135mm / Rokinon 135mm
10. Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 ASPH
Yes, an aperture of 0.95 . Now that is what you call bokehlicious lens. It doesn’t come cheap and will cost you a mini fortune. It literally sucks in all available light and is a stellar in terms of performance. The Noctilux is tack sharp in the field of view even at f/0.95 and has a special dreamy isolation look that simply can’t be obtained with a Summilux or any other lens. At f/0.95 one can get the eyes in focus and have the nose and ears *out* of focus which means that you need surgical precision when using this lens wide open, to get the perfect focus. The build quality on the lens is absolutely bespoke. This thing will be around and working for your grandchildren. You can carry the ‘M’ camera with lens in a small bag that doesn’t make you look like a photographer, meaning you can get into more places and capture more images (and more interesting images) than you would carrying the typical camera bag and/or tripod. Couple it with a Leica M9 and you will have a match made in heaven. If you want to own it then get ready to spend whopping US $11,000. And yes, the shipping is free.
Check price just in case 😉 : Leica 50mm f/0.95 and don’t forget to get a Leica M series camera with this.
Which one is your dream lens? Let us know in comments below.