Picking the best lenses for vlogging is a tricky task. It's arguably even more difficult and important than picking the best camera for vlogging. The kit lens that came with your camera may basically get the job done, but to give your vlogs that professional look, it really pays to take a step up from the basics and pick up a lens that’s especially suited to shooting video.
Once you pair this with a great camera and one of the best microphones for vlogging, you'll have a setup that reliably produces great results.
For this guide we've stuck to lighter APS-C and Micro Four Thirds systems, since full frame cameras are pitched more towards serious tripod-based filmmaking. We haven't yet got any lens recommendations for the Nikon Z 50 since that its still in its infancy and doesn't really have a lens range yet – the 16-50mm kit lens is a great way to start vlogging, though.
A good vlogging lens should confer advantages over a kit lens in a number of key ways. While a lens you buy might not necessarily fulfil all of these criteria, this is a good rundown of the kinds of considerations you should be making when shopping for your vlogging lens.
What kinds of lenses are best for vlogging?
• A longer focal range: Vlogging can mean encountering the unexpected, and can also mean needing to shoot all sorts of different subjects: the near and the distant, the large and the small, the moving and the stationary. Having a broad focal range in a single lens means you’re prepared for all of these situations.
• A wide maximum aperture: This provides two advantages: allowing more light into the sensor and thereby improving the footage you can get in low light, as well as allowing for the creation of shallow depth of field, having a main subject pop against an artfully blurred background. This is especially good for doing pieces to camera or interviews.
Fast, silent autofocus: When vlogging, you aren’t going to want to be manually focusing all of the time, and that means having a lens with a capable autofocus system to keep up. However, you also don’t want a noisy whirring autofocus system ruining the sound of your vlogs, so this means picking up a lens with an STM (stepping motor) autofocus system or similar.
Size and weight: You don’t want to be lugging around something that’s too heavy if you're shooting handheld or on a gimbal.
Optical stabilisation: This can give you an edge in keeping your footage smooth even in tough, low-light conditions.
Power Zoom: Another nice feature if you can get it, making your zoom actions smooth and polished without some of the jerkiness that can come from doing it manually.
So as you can see, there’s a lot to think about! We’ve factored all these things in and come up with our list of the best lenses for vlogging right now. We’ve shopped around for lenses suitable for a range of budgets and different mounts, so whatever your vlogging setup, there should be the right lens for you.
The best lenses for vlogging
Sony’s E-mount APS-C cameras are a great choice for vlogging – they’re fast, portable, shoot great video and come at a range of price points, meaning there should be one to suit every budget. The Sony E 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 has been specifically designed to work with these cameras (it will fit full-frame E-mount cameras like the Alpha 7s, but will cause them to automatically introduce a 1.5x crop).
It’s an impressive do-it-all lens, with a focal range that covers pretty much everything a regular vlogger will need from wide to mid-telephoto, as well as fast autofocus and Optical SteadyShot image stabilisation. This ticks a lot of boxes, and thanks to the relatively light weight of 325g, it also suits a lightweight mirrorless setup, making it well-suited for run-and-gun shooting.
If you’re looking for an alternative for the same mount, we’d also recommend taking a look at the Sony E 18-105mm F/4 PZ, which offers a slightly reduced zoom range with the trade-off of a constant f/4 aperture and Power Zoom. A good choice if you think you might want to introduce a lot of zooming action into your vlogs.
Olympus makes excellent lenses – this is just a statement of fact. Micro Four Thirds users are spoiled in having access to the range of high-quality, tack-sharp optics that Olympus produces, and the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 12-100mm f/4.0 ED IS Pro Lens is no exception. While some zooms lose a little sharpness as you progress through the range, this optic is absolutely tack-sharp from its 12mm wide end to the 100mm telephoto, and that really improves your shooting versatility. After all, a zoom lens isn’t much good if the upper parts of its range are basically unusable!
Though it works best with Olympus cameras, as this gives you access to the Dual IS system for superior stabilisation, any Micro Four Thirds user looking for a vlogging lens will find much to love about the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 12-100mm – assuming your budget stretches far enough.
Another lens for Micro Four Thirds users, one thing that really impresses about the Panasonic 14-140 mm F3.5-5.6 LUMIX G VARIO POWER OIS ASPH Lens is just how much you get in such a small package – the lens weighs just 265g, and yet manages to cover a focal range from wide to telephoto, as well as including extra functionality like Power OIS (optical image stabilisation). Sharpness is impressive throughout the range, and the lens uses an internal focusing system that means it doesn’t move while focusing, which is especially good for video. It costs a little more than some comparable lenses, but in all honesty, we reckon it justifies its price. What’s more, unlike many lenses on this list, it’s splash- and dust-resistant, making it a great choice for unpredictable outdoor shooting. Sharp from end to end, too – this is a seriously impressive lens.
Canon gets it – you really, really don’t want to have to change lenses. The EF-M 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 IS STM Lens is designed for those who want to glue a single optic to their EOS M camera until the day they die, covering a generous focal range of 18-150mm and providing many useful extra features as well. It’s impressively light at 300g, as befitting the EOS M range, and the four-stop image stabiliser is no slouch.
Negatives? Well, the EOS M system is, in our opinion, not the most exciting set of cameras to invest in, and if you’re looking for mirrorless APS-C, there are more exciting systems from Sony and Fujifilm. There’s also the fact that the maximum aperture drops down to a slightly stingy f/6.3 once you get to the telephoto end.
Not content with its regular lens-naming conventions, Fujifilm terms its Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 a “prime zoom”, meaning it’s a zoom lens with enough sharpness to be compared to a prime. This is... debatable, but there's no doubt that it’s really a rather sharp lens, all across its zoom range, and it pairs beautifully with the powerful X-Trans sensors in Fujifilm's mirrorless cameras. While you don’t get as much zoom range as with others on this list, you get a seriously powerful lens that helps you get the most out of a Fujifilm camera – while it doesn’t have optical stabilisation built in, it is able to work in tandem with sophisticated Fujifilm cameras like the X-H1 or new X-T4 to deliver a stabilisation effect. You also get the largest maximum aperture of the lenses on this list, which is constant throughout the zoom range. It’s a little heavy for handheld use and many smaller gimbals, but is definitely the best choice for serious vlogging with a Fujifilm camera.