Once you make your way into the field of photography, you’ll realize that pure skill can only take you so far. Sometimes you need to invest in the right tools to allow your photographic vision to come to fruition.
If you want to take a step into long-range photography, one of the best things you can invest in is a zoom lens. Zoom lenses typically have a long focal range that allow you to shoot at a distance. Among the most standard zoom lenses is the 70-200mm.
These lenses are incredibly versatile and open up several avenues that were previously unattainable. However, zoom lenses can be incredibly expensive. You need to know what to look for when buying such expensive products.
If you don’t know where to start, there’s no need to worry. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know.
What Do You Need to Look for When Buying a Zoom Lens?
First of all, there are hundreds of options available. Each lens offers different features and advantages. There are also various price points that you can decide between. Here are some of the key features you need to take into consideration.
Image stabilization is incredibly useful for handheld photography. When you’re using a zoom lens, you’re working at a slower shutter speed, typically. The camera is more prone to shaking, and your result will be blurry images.
Image stabilization, however, makes your life easier. There’s a motor present in the camera that works against any form of shaking that might occur.
You’ll encounter this under many different names for each significant lens maker. Make sure you read through the features of a lens extensively before buying.
Typically in the past, zoom lenses did not have an autofocus feature. However, more modern lenses are coming with autofocus. It’s an incredibly beneficial tool and allows you to take photos at a faster rate. Once again, autofocus is super helpful for handheld photography.
When you’re taking photos using a tripod, you have an ample amount of time to get the focus right. However, when you need to take a picture quickly, autofocus comes in very handy.
Keeping these things in mind, here are some of the best zoom lenses you can find on the market today:
1. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS (Overall Winner)
The Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS operates smoothly and takes pictures of incredible quality. That’s not to say that there aren’t one or two flaws, like how stringent they are about their lens support. However, the lens is such a joy to use; you won’t mind the minor flaws.
If you’re a Sony user, then there’s no question about it, this is the perfect zoom lens for you.
The most common kind of zoom lens you’ll find on the market are 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses. These offer the most flexible range and give you a wide variety of photography options. The Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Sports lens is quite brilliant, in particular.
This lens offers fantastic performance in all kinds of lighting because of the low aperture. Even if you’re on the fly, you can keep the Sigma. It’s one of those lenses that’ll become a staple of your kit the second you buy it.
The only slight drawback is that it’s a slightly heavy lens. If you want something lighter, you’re going to have to sacrifice and buy a camera that has a higher aperture setting.
The next lens on the list is an incredibly clever one. You may think the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO has a 40-150 mm range; however when using it with MFT system cameras, the focal length changes. It offers you the same view as an 80-300mm lens used on a 35mm format camera.
The camera supports a constant f/2.8 aperture at every level. Photographers will be able to get the best shots regardless of the amount of zoom.
The lens is incredibly durable. You will notice the premium build quality the second you hold the product. Furthermore, the lens is weather-resistant, so that makes it great for any sort of outdoor adventure. In spite of the very robust build, the product is still lightweight and compact. You won’t feel any hassle while carrying this brilliant lens.
Its unique focal length plus the solid aperture, make the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO incredibly appealing.
The Fujifilm FUJINON XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is one that has been around for quite a while now. Its field of view is equal to a 75-210mm lens on a 35mm camera.
Additionally, the lens supports a constant aperture of f/2.8. In spite of how old the machine is, it still offers optical stabilization and fast autofocus. Fujifilm also made sure that the product was incredibly reliable. It has a robust build and is weather-resistant as well.
It’s hard to make a list of the best zoom lenses and not include multiple Nikon products. The first and highest-ranked is the Nikon AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED. This lens, in particular, is relatively new and features all of the bells and whistles you’d expect. It offers vibration reduction and a very decent autofocus system.
The more extended focal range means that you’ll get to take your distance photography to the next level. If you want to take shots of the moon or nightscapes, then this lens should be a part of your kit, it’s an outstanding product.
There are those out there that’ll question how good a Tamron lens can be. If you ask us, the Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD, in particular, is brilliant.
Tamron has made the SP 70-200mm f/2.8 moisture resistant and dust resistant as well. Moreover, it features a new and improved VC system. The 70-200mm is the most common focal length for zoom lenses, and the Tamron is among the best.
While it may not offer the same smooth experience other companies do, it’s a quality powerhouse. You won’t ever find a significant quality difference while using this lens.
Even though it may not be as smooth and feel as good as other lenses on the list, Tamron is offering a brilliant product. The amazing stabilization system and the impeccable image quality make this zoom lens a desirable prospect.
Arguably one of the most standard zoom lenses you’ll see in kit bags, the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR is just that good. It’s super portable in comparison to lenses that offer an aperture of f/2.8. Furthermore, you get very sharp images that showcase brilliant colors. Its optical performance is on another level, even though it provides a maximum aperture of f/4. Combine the image quality with its modern offerings, and you have a very worthy option.
Pentax is essentially the hipsters of the photography world. If you’re the owner of a K series camera and are looking for a zoom lens, then there’s no doubt about which is the best one for you.
The Pentax HD PENTAX-D FA 70-200mm f/2.8 ED DC AW is a brilliant lens. It looks unique and offers very high image quality. However, there is one major drawback, and that is the weight. The Pentax has significant mass and can become a pain to use in long periods.
9. Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM (Budget Winner)
In terms of looks alone, Canon offers the most aesthetic looking line of zoom lenses on the market. There’s something wonderfully retro-looking about their products. However, it’s not all just for show. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM works flawlessly. It may not offer the same quality of background blur as the 2.8 series, but you gain portability. The image quality is exceptional, as well.
If you want a starter zoom lens and own Canon, this lens is an attractive option.
Choosing the Right Zoom Lenses for You
These were some of the very best zoom lenses on the market today. Each lens offers its unique advantages and disadvantages. Go through the list and pick out which one suits your needs best. It’s about time you get engrossed in zoom photography!