Top camera lenses of 2022

Korgan Lee By Korgan Lee - June 22nd, 2022
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Have you ever wondered what camera lens you should pick up next? Wondered if you should choose a new telephoto or possibly a wide-angle? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with this article. We'll check out your options and what to look for when choosing a new camera lens.

It’s always exciting getting a brand-new shiny lens, as they are more often what makes the shot. This is why it's important to invest in a good piece of glass rather than a camera body.

What to look for when getting a new lens

Before buying the first lens you see in-store, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. Such as ensuring the lens is suitable for your camera mount or if there is an adapter required to use the lens. You may have to factor this into your budget.

It’s also important to know the purpose of your new lens; are you looking into doing mainly portraits, landscapes or an all-rounder so you can lighten the load in your bag? Keep in mind while any lens can take a photo it doesn’t mean it could be the best option for the given shot.

What to look for when choosing a portrait lens

When taking portraits of individuals or small groups, the focal length plays an important role in choosing the best lens for the shot. Ideally, when choosing a portrait lens for headshots and half body we tend to go with 85mm-105mm, as when using a lens below or over these focal lengths, distortion comes into play. A prime example is shooting with a 135mm lens can make the face a bit narrower and shooting under 70mm can make them wider.

When using a portrait lens, an advantage they normally have is a faster aperture than most other lenses, making them ideal for low-light photography and giving you a shallower depth of field. The most common examples of these are f1.2, f1.4 and f1.8, these are normally found with a prime lens rather than a tele lens. Shooting on a lens with one of these apertures will help you achieve a photo with a shallow depth of field and a crisp centre.

Best Portrait Lens – Canon RF 85mm f1.2L USM

The Canon RF 85mm f1.2L USM is an amazing piece of glass with the ability to change shutter speed, aperture, ISO and exposure on the control ring near the front of the lens.

The lens body has a beautiful matte finish with a weather seal and a fluorine coating on the front and rear elements to prevent the surface from gathering water droplets, dust and grease.

A picture of the Canon RF 85mm f1.2L USM.

Specifications

  • Mount: RF-mount
  • Focal length: 85mm
  • Aperture range: f1.2-16
  • Filter thread: 82mm
  • Minimum focusing distance focus: 0.85m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.12x
  • Aperture blades: 9 (rounded)
  • Optical construction: 13 elements in 9 groups
  • Length / Diameter: approx. 103.2 x 117.3mm
  • Weight: approx. 1,195g
Pros Cons
- Nearly perfect optically - Weight and size make it awkward to hold due to weight distribution and handling
- Extreme sharpness at f1.2 throughout the frame - No image stabilisation
- Beautiful defocused area - Focus noise from AF motor could be an issue for videos
- Essentially no colour fringing or chromatic aberrations - Rough edges on bokeh in some situations
- Almost no distortion  
- Excellent build quality  
- Customisable control ring  
- Weather sealed  
- Beautiful defocused area  
Example of shallow depth of field.
Example of shallow depth of field.
Example of fast aperture with low light.
Example of fast aperture with low light.

This lens is only available on the Canon mirrorless camera bodies and fits all the ideal specs for a great portrait lens including a focal length of 85mm and a fast aperture of f1.2.

What to look for when choosing a landscape lens

Whether taking photos of cityscapes, mountain ranges, beaches or even the night sky, you will need a wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle lens to capture these breath-taking sights. The most common choice of focal length for landscape shots is between 10mm and 35mm, as shooting on these focal lengths gives you a 65-degree angle point of view.

A faster aperture isn’t as important as it is with a portrait lens but it does help with astro photography and night cityscapes. The more common wide aperture lenses range between f1.4-f4.0 with f2.8 being the most common on the 16-35mm lenses.

Best wide-angle lens – Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8 GM

The Sony FE 16-35mm GM has an ultra-wide zoom that offers a constant f2.8 focal ratio and a “normal” focal length of 35mm for 2.2x range.

It also has an 82mm filter thread making it easy to find compatible Polarisers, ND and UV filters.

A picture of the Sony FE 16-35mm f2.8 GM.

Specifications

  • Mount: E-mount
  • Focal length: 16-35mm
  • Aperture range: f2.8-22
  • Filter thread: 82mm
  • Minimum focusing distance focus: 0.28m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.19x
  • Diaphragm blades: 11 (rounded)
  • Optical construction: 16 elements in 13 groups
  • Length / Diameter: approx. 88.5 x 121.6mm
  • Weight: approx. 680g
Pros Cons
- Beautiful image quality at medium distances. - Softer at the long end at infinity outside the centre
- Good black levels in contra-light situations. - Not the smoothest background bokeh
- Weather sealing. - Slight focus issue when focusing really closely.
- Good close-ups.  
An example of the kind of landscape shot you can achieve with a wide-angle lens.
An example of the kind of landscape shot you can achieve with a wide-angle lens.

The FE 16-35mm GM is an ideal lens for landscapes, cityscapes, astrophotography and much more with a wide focal length and a fast aperture of f2.8.

What to look for when choosing a telephoto lens

A 70-200mm lets you capture photos of weddings, concerts, wildlife and sports with ease. A telephoto lens allows you to put more distance between you and the subject of the photograph. This is helpful when you want some space between you and what you're taking photos of.

Some photographers require huge space between themselves and their subjects, that's when super-telephoto lenses come in handy. With lenses ranging from 300-800mm and more! These are normally more suited to people who love wildlife photography.

When choosing the right telephoto lens for yourself, it's handy to know that the longer a telephoto lens is, the more expensive it gets due to all the glass elements inside.

You’d want to look at a lens with built-in stabilisation, as any camera shake becomes a lot more noticeable when you are shooting with a long telephoto lens.

Best telephoto lens – Sony FE 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II

The Sony FE 70-200mm GM OSS II is a great multi-purpose lens. This lens weighs in at just barely over 1kg, and given it's size, that’s not much weight to carry around!

There’s a slight amount of colour fringing when the aperture is set to f2.8 at 70mm when shooting at 40cm which is the minimum focusing distance. Otherwise, there is no fringing or chromatic aberration visible when shooting on other settings.

A picture of the Sony FE 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS II.

Specifications

  • Mount: E-mount
  • Focal length: 70-200mm
  • Aperture range: f2.8-22
  • Filter thread: 77mm
  • Minimum focusing distance focus: 0.4m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.3x
  • Diaphragm blades: 11 (rounded)
  • Optical construction: 17 elements in 14 groups
  • Length / Diameter: approx. 88 x 200mm
  • Weight: approx. 1,045g
Pros Cons
- Extremely light build - Tripod foot doesn’t fit Arca mounts
- Excellent sharpness - Vignetting at f2.8
- Fast linear focus motors - Colour fringing at minimum focusing distance at f2.8
- Works with teleconverters  
An image taken with a telephoto lens.
An image taken with a telephoto lens.

The FE 70-200mm GM OSS II is an extremely popular lightweight medium telephoto lens. It's ideal for any situation where you need that extra space between yourself and the subject.

What to look for when choosing a lens for street photography

When deciding on a lens for street photography, you’d want to grab something that’s light and compact while also being wide enough to capture enough detail for your framing.

The lens should be in a narrow focal range, ideally 24-35mm, but some prefer up to 50mm. It's all up to personal preference. The reasoning for 24 is that when using an APS-C camera it will equate to roughly 35mm in use. This allows you that wide framing without distortion.

You may also want to consider a fast aperture lens if you're into low light or want to capture some shots in darker areas.

Best street photography camera lens – Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM Art

The Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM Art is a beautiful prime lens with a magnesium alloy-body that gives it a premium feel.

It has a fast aperture of f1.4, allowing you to take shallow depth of field portraits or low light photos with ease. It's wide enough to not distort faces while also capturing a good amount of detail in your shot for better framing.

A picture of the Sigma 35mm f1.4 DG HSM Art.

Specifications

  • Mount: Sony E-mount
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Aperture range: f1.4-16
  • Filter thread: 67mm
  • Minimum focusing distance focus: 0.3m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.19x
  • Diaphragm blades: 11 (rounded)
  • Optical construction: 15 elements in 11 groups
  • Length / Diameter: approx. 75.5 x 111.5mm
  • Weight: approx. 640g
Pros Cons
- Dust, splash, and fluorine protection - Focus breathing detracts from video
- Quiet and quick autofocus - Slight loss of contrast wide open
- Full-frame coverage for multiple camera mounts - Some longitudinal chromatic aberration visible as magenta / green fringing
- Sharp even wide-open in the corners  
- Clean, nicely rounded bokeh  
- Good flare resistance  
- Multiple camera mounts available  
- Weather sealed  
An example of street photography.
An example of street photography.

The Sigma 35mm is truly an amazing lens. It is light, with buttery smooth focus rings. It packs sharp photos and is comfortable to use.

Best budget camera lens – Canon 50mm f1.8 STM

The Canon 50mm f1.8 STM is a compact lens with a fast aperture of 1.8 which shoots exquisitely sharp images. The nifty fifty is great, especially for the price!

It has a quieter STM (stepping motor) in the lens and is extremely smooth. It’s got a better build quality over its previous models and has a metal mount.

A picture of the Canon 50mm f1.8 STM.

Specifications

  • Mount: EF-mount
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Aperture range: f1.8-22
  • Filter thread: 49mm
  • Minimum focusing distance focus: 0.35m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.21x
  • Diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded)
  • Optical construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
  • Length / Diameter: approx. 69.2 x 39.2mm
  • Weight: approx. 159g
Pros Cons
- Sharp at f1.8 - Slight barrel distortion
- Lightweight - Can flare
- Smooth and silent video focus - Omits stabilisation
- Affordable - Narrower field of view on APS-C cameras
  - Lens hood not included
A picture taken with a budget camera lens.
Another picture taken with a budget camera lens.

Don’t be put off by the cons in the nifty fifty. When you consider the full package, it’s a great compact lens that shines in portraits with its shallow depth of field and crisp sharp lines.

Best all-rounder camera lens – Canon 28-70mm f2.0L USM

The Canon 28-70mm f2.0L USM is a solid choice for an all-rounder, as it’s got a variety of focal length and a fast aperture of f2.0! This makes it ideal for portraiture, architecture, landscapes, night cityscapes and astrophotography.

Once you’ve had a try with this lens, it’s a game changer. Instead of packing the 3 common lenses (24-70, 70-200, 85mm) you can cut it down to just the 28-70 and perhaps a 70-200 if you need some distance between yourself and your subject.

A picture of the Canon 28-70mm f2.0L USM.

Specifications

  • Mount: RF-mount
  • Focal length: 28-70mm
  • Aperture range: f2.0-22
  • Filter thread: 95mm
  • Minimum focusing distance focus: 0.39m
  • Maximum magnification: 0.18x
  • Diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
  • Optical construction: 19 elements in 13 groups
  • Length / Diameter: approx. 103.8 x 139.8mm
  • Weight: approx. 1,430g
Pros Cons
- Superb image quality - Big and heavy
- Fast maximum aperture - No image stabilisation
- Robust build and weather sealing - No tripod collar
An example of the type of image you can take with an all-rounder camera lens.
Another example of the type of image you can take with an all-rounder camera lens.

The Canon RF 28-70mm is an absolute beast of a lens, it rivals multiple separate prime lenses, making you reconsider what you truly need to carry around. I found my bags became a lot lighter while using this lens, despite it being on the heavier side. I'd highly recommend trying this lens out with a battery grip if you’d like the extra weight to help with counterbalance.

These lenses were our top picks for this year. Head to PB Tech and check out the full range of cameras, lenses and accessories. If you want to find a group of passionate photographers to share your progress with, make sure to join Photo Booth – Powered By PB Tech Group on Facebook!


Written By

Korgan Lee

Tech is great, but so is salt

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1 comment

NeptunerenR

This article is very useful , it lists all kinds of lenses!

Read more
25 days ago Reply Report