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The best lenses for wedding photography and for shooting events in 2021

Included in this guide:

Best lenses for wedding photography and best lenses for event photography
(Image credit: PhotoPlus Magazine)

Weddings are perhaps the most important day in the lives of the participants, but they're pretty important for the photographer to get right too! Our guide to the best lenses for wedding photography, and the best lenses for event photography, suggests the best and most versatile lenses to take with you, and the best examples of each for Canon, Nikon and Sony users.

We asked a lot of wedding and event photographers which lenses they found most useful, and while there was a lot of individual variation, we think we've found the five most popular lens types.

We've split this guide up into sections, one per lens type, but here's our list:

Which are the best lenses for wedding and event photography?

  1. 70-200mm f/2.8 telephotos: Perfect for portraits and creative background blur
  2. 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zooms: The ideal ready-for-anything lens to keep on the camera
  3. 16-35mm f/2.8 wide-angles (or similar): Perfect for the church, reception and group shots
  4. 90-100mm macro lens: For close-ups of the ring and table decorations and a great focal length for for head and shoulders portraits too
  5. 35mm f/1.4 or 1.8: The classic focal length for candid shots, with wide aperture to handle low light and deliver nice background blur

Full frame or APS-C?

We've stuck to full frame cameras for this roundup, since these are the most popular amongst wedding and events photographers who are most likely doing these jobs on a commercial basis. There's no reason why you shouldn't use an APS-C or MFT camera, but while the quality is fine, you might not get such a wide choice of constant aperture zoom lenses and wide-aperture primes.

• See also Best camera for wedding photography

Many of the lenses in this guide are available in more than one lens mount. Make sure you order the right one for your camera.

70-200mm

We've chosen 70-200mm lenses in preference to portrait lenses, and for two reasons. First, the zoom lets you can quickly adapt to different circumstances, subject distances and backgrounds. Second, at longer focal lengths the background blur can be just as effective, and you have more control over selecting and framing the background.

(Image credit: Sigma)

1. Sigma 70-200mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM | S

It's a little large and heavy, but this is the best 70-200mm for DSLRs

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma SA
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: 4-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 1.2m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.21x
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 94x203mm
Weight: 1,805g
Reasons to buy
+Great performance and image quality+Excellent value at the price
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively large and heavy-Tripod mount ring not removable

Launched at the end of 2018, the ‘Sports’ edition of Sigma’s 70-200mm lens delivers fully pro-grade build quality, handling, performance and image quality at a bargain price. The weather-sealed construction feels rock-solid and the controls include switchable autofocus modes that give priority to AF or manual override, an autofocus range limiter switch, three customizable AF on/hold buttons and dual static/panning optical stabilization modes. There are also two switchable custom modes that you can set up with Sigma’s optional USB Dock. The optical path features no less than nine top-grade FLD (‘Fluorite’ Low Dispersion) elements plus one SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements, while the 11-blade aperture diaphragm is particularly well rounded. It’s easily as good as the latest top-flight Canon and Nikon own-brand lenses for DSLRs, if not better, and much less expensive to buy. The only downsides are that it’s a little bigger and heavier, and the tripod mount ring isn’t removable.

• See also Best wedding photography tips

(Image credit: Tamron)

2. Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

Also for Canon and Nikon DSLRs, this Tamron is a little lighter

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: 5-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.95m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.16x
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 88x194mm
Weight: 1,500g
Reasons to buy
+Sturdy build quality+5-stop optical stabilizer
Reasons to avoid
-No AF on/hold buttons-Not quite as sharp as the Sigma

Building on the success of the original 70-200mm Di VC USD, the G2 model has an enhanced optical system to increase sharpness and reduce colour fringing, ghosting and flare. The autofocus system is revamped for greater speed, and the optical stabilizer is uprated to give 5-stop effectiveness, with three switchable modes. These include conventional static and panning modes, plus a mode that only applies stabilization during actual exposures. This makes it easier to track erratically moving objects in the viewfinder. Build quality is excellent, with a sturdy metal barrel and comprehensive weather-seals, plus a fluorine coating on the front element. Sharpness is good, and on a par with Canon’s latest EF 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, for example, but is marginally beaten by the Sigma lens above.

(Image credit: Canon)

The Canon EOS R is small and light, and so is this RF 70-200mm

Specifications
Mount: Canon RF
Autofocus: Dual Nano Ultrasonic
Optical stabilizer: 5-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.7m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.23x
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 90x146mm
Weight: 1,070g
Reasons to buy
+Rapid and virtually silent autofocus+5-stop image stabilizer
Reasons to avoid
-Inner barrel extends when zooming-Expensive to buy

At little more than half the weight of the Sigma 70-200mm DSLR lens above, this RF-mount zoom for EOS R-series cameras is a relative lightweight that suits the more compact Canon EOS R camera bodies. It’s also much smaller than most 70-200mm lenses, due to having a telescoping rather than fixed physical length. As such, the inner barrel extends at longer zoom settings, which adds the risk of dust being sucked into the lens. The autofocus system is driven by dual Nano USM motors, for blazingly fast yet virtually silent operation. The image stabilizer is similarly impressive with three operating modes and up to 5-stop effectiveness. All in all, it’s the ideal telephoto zoom for R-series cameras, but it comes with a weighty price tag.

(Image credit: Nikon)

4. Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikon Z cameras are great for weddings, and this Nikkor lens is too

Specifications
Mount: Nikon Z
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Optical stabilizer: 5-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.5-1.0m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.2x
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 89x220mm
Weight: 1,360g
Reasons to buy
+Refined handling, great build quality+5-stop optical VR
Reasons to avoid
-Feels weighty on a mirrorless body-Typically expensive for an own-brand lens

This Nikon Z mirrorless lens is the perfect choice (well, the only choice) for Nikon Z owners in this category right now. It’s pretty big and heavy, but certainly packs a lot in. Fully weather-sealed and with a fluorine coating, it’s built for top-end professional use. Handling is superb, with smooth and precise zoom and focus rings and dual customisable Lens-function buttons. There’s also a customisable control ring for the likes of aperture and ISO, and an OLED screen for displaying parameters like focus distance, focal length, depth of field, aperture and ISO. Autofocus is fast for stills and smooth and silent for video capture, while the optical stabilizer has 5-stop effectiveness. As with Canon's own mirrorless 70-200mm f/2.8, you are paying for the privilege of an own-brand lens.

(Image credit: Sony)

5. Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 G Master

Sony's G Master lenses have well deserved reputation for quality

Specifications
Mount: Sony FE
Autofocus: Dual linear stepping motor
Optical stabilizer: 2-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.96m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.25x
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 88x200mm
Weight: 1,480g
Reasons to buy
+Impressive build quality and handling+Very good optical performance
Reasons to avoid
-Pricey to buy-Relatively ineffective optical stabilizer

Like most recent 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses, the Sony has strong build quality with weather-seals and a fluorine coating on its front element to repel moisture and grease. High-end features include a complex autofocus system that combines ring-type ultrasonic drive for a forward group of elements, and double linear stepping motors for the rear group. The aperture diaphragm is similarly well-rounded as in the Sigma 70-200mm Sports lens above, based on 11 blades. Dual-mode Optical SteadyShot is featured but has a relatively disappointing effectiveness, equating to about two f/stops. Even so, it works well in conjunction with the sensor-shift stabilization of Sony’s more recent mirrorless bodies.

24-70mm

The 24-70mm f/2.8 is the perfect standby lens for wedding and event photographers. It's wide enough for most interiors, yet 'long' enough for impromptu portraits and couple shots. Many will focus close enough for quite small details too, and the constant aperture and pro-grade optics mean you can shoot wide open to combine sharp subjects with defocused backgrounds.

(Image credit: Sigma)

This high-performance DSLR lens beats the makers' own lenses

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, Sigma
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: 4-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.37m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.21x
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 88x108mm
Weight: 1,020g
Reasons to buy
+Excellent image quality+Pro-grade build quality
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly weighty-Not comprehensively weather-sealed

Sigma’s 24-70mm Art lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs is solidly built with a metal barrel and a weather-seal gasket on its brass mounting plate. The zoom and focus rings operate with smooth precision, and the ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system is very quick and quiet, as well as featuring switchable modes to give priority to AF or manual override. The lens also features a 4-stop optical stabilizer. Image quality is gorgeous, with superb sharpness and very attractive bokeh, while color fringing, distortions and vignetting are all quite minimal. In-camera corrections are available in the Canon-mount edition of the lens. 

A more recent Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 AF DG DN Art version of the lens is also available for Sony E-mount cameras, but with a rather different optical design and no optical stabilization.

(Image credit: Tamron)

Another high-quality, high-value lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: 5-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.38m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.2x
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 88x111mm
Weight: 900-905g
Reasons to buy
+High-tech, weather-sealed construction+5-stop optical stabilizer
Reasons to avoid
-Sharpness at longer zoom settings

The Generation 2 edition of this lens represents a major upgrade. The redesigned optical path includes two XR (Extra Refractive Index) elements, three LD (Low Dispersion) elements, three GM (Glass-Molded aspherical) elements and one hybrid aspherical element. A combination of conventional and nano-structure coatings are applied to minimize ghosting and flare. There’s a comprehensive set of weather-seals and a fluorine coating on the front element. Other improvements include a faster, more accurate autofocus system and a more effective 5-stop optical stabilizer. Image quality is highly impressive in all respects, although the Tamron isn’t quite as sharp as the Sigma lens above in the 50-70mm sector of the zoom range. The rotational direction of the zoom ring is the same as in own-brand Nikon lenses, whereas the Sigma follows suit with Canon zooms.

(Image credit: Canon)

It’s the top pick for Canon’s EOS R series cameras but pricey

Specifications
Mount: Canon RF
Autofocus: Nano USM
Optical stabilizer: 5-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.21-0.38m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.3x
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 89x126mm
Weight: 900g
Reasons to buy
+Amazingly sharp image quality+5-stop optical stabilizer
Reasons to avoid
-Feels weighty on a mirrorless body-Expensive to buy

Canon’s heavyweight RF 28-70mm f/2L USM tips the scales at 1,430g and lacks image stabilization, so we think this 24-70mm zoom is a better fit for wedding and event photography. It has a wider maximum viewing angle, adds highly effective 5-stop stabilization, and is less than two-thirds the weight. Even so, it still feels pretty hefty on a slim-line EOS mirrorless body. Build quality is up to Canon’s usual L-series standards, complete with comprehensive weather-seals. The optical line-up includes three moulded aspherical elements and three UD elements, plus Air Sphere Coating. Autofocus is courtesy of a super-fast and practically silent Nano USM system. Image quality is fabulous in all respects, with particularly impressive sharpness throughout the entire zoom range.

(Image credit: Nikon)

A good step up from the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 lens if you can afford it

Specifications
Mount: Nikon Z
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Optical stabilizer: None
Minimum focusing distance: 0.38m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.22x
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 89x126mm
Weight: 805g
Reasons to buy
+Enhanced handling characteristics+Sumptuous image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Fairly large-Expensive to buy

Nikon’s retractable Z 24-70mm f/4 S shoehorns great image quality and all-round performance into a compact and lightweight build. This more up-market f/2.8 lens goes all-out for refinement, with an additional customisable control ring and a customisable Lens-function button. An OLED display screen is also featured, which can display the aperture setting, zoom position or focus distance, complete with depth of field indication. The optical path includes four aspherical elements, two ED elements, plus dual Nano Crystal and ARNEO coatings, as well as fluorine coatings front and back. Multiple autofocus actuators boost speed and accuracy. Image quality is spectacular, more akin to a selection of best-in-class prime lenses.

16-35mm

Wedding and event photography typically combines a variety of styles, from portraits to group shots and from detail shots to big interiors. You don't always know how big (or small) the venue is going to be, where you're going to be able to stand and how far back you can get. An ultra-wide zoom can really get you out of trouble, especially if you need to get a big group shot in a confined space.

(Image credit: Canon)

10. Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM III

This ultra-wide zoom for Canon DSLRs is not cheap, but it is very good

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: None
Minimum focusing distance: 0.28m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.25x
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 89x128mm
Weight: 790g
Reasons to buy
+Top-grade optical design+Weather-seals and fluorine coatings
Reasons to avoid
-No image stabilization-Pricey to buy

More than just a minor upgrade over the previous version of this lens, the Mark III edition of Canon’s 16-35mm f/2.8L is extensively redesigned. The new optical path gains a large double-surface GMo (Glass Moulded) aspherical element at the front, adding to two UD (Ultra-low Dispersion) elements and a ground aspherical element at the rear. High-tech coatings include both SWC (SubWavelength Coating) and ASC (Air Sphere Coating) for greater resistance to ghosting and flare, and fluorine coatings are added to the front and rear elements. Image quality is excellent with a noticeable improvement in sharpness from previous editions of the lens, particularly towards the edges and corners of the frame – especially useful when capturing venues and interiors.

(Image credit: Sony)

11. Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master

It's not the only Sony ultra-wide zoom, but it is the best

Specifications
Mount: Sony FE
Autofocus: Dual DDSM
Optical stabilizer: None
Minimum focusing distance: 0.28m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.19x
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 89x122mm
Weight: 680g
Reasons to buy
+Great sharpness and beautiful bokeh+Advanced autofocus system
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive for a 16-35mm lens

Extensive weather-seals and robust build quality make this a pro-grade lens, and it’s packed with sophisticated features. Two XA (eXtreme Aspherical) elements in the optical path combine to deliver excellent sharpness with super-smooth bokeh, the latter being retained when stopping down a little, helped by a particularly well-rounded 11-blade diaphragm. Nano AR Coating is applied to minimize ghosting and flare. The high-tech autofocus system is based on two DDSSM (Direct Drive SuperSonic Motor) actuators which work independently to drive separate groups of elements. Autofocus is very rapid for stills while enabling smooth, near-silent focus transitions during movie capture. Handling is enhanced by the inclusion of a customisable focus-hold button. All in all, it’s yet another inspiring but pricey G Master lens from Sony. There is a cheaper and wider 12-24mm f/4 if this isn't wide enough!

(Image credit: Nikon)

12. Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR

Nikon's ultra-wide DSLR lens is 'only' an f/4, but it is stabilized

Specifications
Mount: Nikon F
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: 4-stop
Minimum focusing distance: 0.29m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.25x
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 83x125mm
Weight: 680g
Reasons to buy
+Detachable lens hood enables filter thread+Optical stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively ‘slow’ f/4 aperture rating-VR is only worth 2.5 stops

Nikon’s AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is a highly popular fast wide-angle zoom but the 16-35mm can work better for weddings and events. It doesn’t go quite as wide but stretches to a longer and highly useful 35mm focal length. Another major bonus is the addition of optical stabilization, albeit with a modest 2.5-stop effectiveness. Also unlike the 14-24mm lens, this one has a detachable lens hood which enables the inclusion of a 77mm attachment thread for the straightforward fitment of filters. Two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements boost sharpness and contrast while reducing colour fringing, and Nano Crystal coat is on hand to minimize ghosting and flare. Build quality feels very solid and the mounting plate features Nikon’s usual rubber weather-seal gasket. All in all, it’s a very good and practical buy at an attractive price.

90mm macro

Depending on how close your standard zoom can focus, you may or may not need a macro lens – but ultra-close-up shots of tiny details can add real variety to a package of shots. The typical 90-100mm focal length for macro lenses is also close to the ideal 'portrait' lens, so although an f/2.8 macro lens won't offer as much background blur as an f/1.4 portrait lens, you may still get more than you expect and you will still get that flattering portrait 'perspective'.

(Image credit: Tamron)

13. Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD

The best macro lens for Canon and Nikon DSLRs all round

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: 4-stop hybrid
Minimum focusing distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification ratio: 1.0x
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions: 79x117mm
Weight: 610g
Reasons to buy
+Impressive weather-sealed build quality+Hybrid image stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Not yet compatible with Canon and Nikon mirrorless full-frame cameras

Tamron has a long history of excellent 90mm macro lenses but the latest edition is by far the best. It has a robust construction that includes weather-seals and a fluorine coating on the front element. Similar to a number of Canon macro lenses, it features a ‘hybrid’ image stabilizer that compensates for XY-shift as well as the more usual angular vibration. This enables less of a drop-off in the effectiveness of stabilization when shooting close-ups. Ring-type ultrasonic autofocus is quick and quiet, and comes complete with a limiter switch for locking out either the short or long sector of the focus distance range. One LD (Low Dispersion) and two XLD (eXtra Low Dispersion) elements are featured in the optical path along with both conventional and nano-structure coatings to reduce ghosting and flare. Tamron is  working on a firmware update to make the lens compatible with Canon EOS R and Nikon Z series cameras, via the respective mount adapters.

(Image credit: Canon)

14. Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

If you have a Canon DSLR, this could be a good macro choice too

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: 4-stop hybrid
Minimum focusing distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification ratio: 1.0x
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 78x123mm
Weight: 625g
Reasons to buy
+Impressive build and image quality+Hybrid image stabilization
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive to buy

This Canon macro lens was the first to feature hybrid image stabilization, ideal for close-up shooting. As such, it compensates for movements in the horizontal and vertical planes, as well as for the more usual angular vibrations or wobble. Hybrid stabilization has since been adopted in other Canon lenses but, even so, 4-stop effectiveness in general shooting shrinks to 3 stops at 0.5x magnification and 2 stops at full 1.0x macro shooting. Overall construction is typically robust for an L-series lens and features weather-seals. Ring-type ultrasonic autofocus is rapid and whisper-quiet, while manual focusing is smooth and precise. Optional accessories include a Macrolite Adapter for use with Canon’s external Macro Twin or Ring Lite flash systems and a tripod mount ring. Perfect for macro shooting, sharpness remains excellent at narrow apertures.

(Image credit: Sony)

15. Sony FE 90mm f/2.8 Macro G OSS

The obvious macro choice for Sony cameras, and a very good lens

Specifications
Mount: Sony FE
Autofocus: DDSM
Optical stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focusing distance: 0.28m
Maximum magnification ratio: 1.0x
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions: 79x131mm
Weight: 602g
Reasons to buy
+Advanced feature set+Refined handling characteristics
Reasons to avoid
-Quite pricey for a 90mm macro-Relatively ineffective optical stabilization

This full-frame compatible Sony E-mount lens is pricey to buy but certainly isn’t short on high-tech features. It has a Dual DDSSM (Direct Drive Super Sonic wave Motor) autofocus system that delivers rapid, accurate and near-silent performance. It’s also Sony’s first macro lens to incorporate image stabilization, or ‘Optical SteadyShot’, which is worth having for general shooting but of limited benefit for extreme close-ups. High-grade optics include aspherical, ED and Super ED elements, built into a tough and weather-sealed metal barrel. Handling benefits from a super-smooth focus ring, which is electronically coupled to the autofocus system and enables very fine and precise adjustments for macro shooting. There’s also a three-position autofocus range limiter switch and a focus hold button. Image quality is excellent, combining superb sharpness with beautifully smooth bokeh.

35mm prime

For some wedding and event photographers, a fast 35mm prime lens might be a low priority, but for those who are tasked with grabbing informal shots and not just the formal proceedings, it could be the most useful lens in their bag. Many photographers work in pairs, with one acting as a 'second shooter', and this could be the perfect lens for that role.

(Image credit: Tamron)

This 40-year anniversary DSLR lens is something special

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: None
Minimum focusing distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.2x
Filter size: 72mm
Dimensions: 81x104mm
Weight: 805-815g
Reasons to buy
+Superb build and image quality+Rapid, highly accurate autofocus
Reasons to avoid
-A bit hefty for a 35mm f/1.4 lens-No optical stabilization

Tamron decided to make something rather special to mark the 40th anniversary of its SP (Super Performance) line-up of lenses. It came in the shape of this 35mm f/1.4, which Tamron claims to be its finest ever lens. There’s certainly no compromise in the quality of its components or finish, which include three moulded glass aspherical elements and four LC (Low Dispersion) elements. High-end coatings comprise nano-structure BBAR-G2 (Broad-Band Anti-Reflection Generation 2) and a newly developed fluorine-based coating. There’s also a new ‘dynamic rolling cam’ variant of the ring-type ultrasonic autofocus system, developed exclusively for this lens. Handling is excellent and image quality is simply sublime, with amazingly beautiful bokeh for a 35mm wide-angle lens.

(Image credit: Sigma)

This Sigma 35mm is an affordable classic in a range of lens mounts

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF, Nikon F, L mount, Pentax K, Sony A, Sony E, Sigma SA
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: None
Minimum focusing distance: 0.3m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.19x
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 77x94mm
Weight: 665g
Reasons to buy
+Strong all-round performance+Reasonably compact and lightweight
Reasons to avoid
-No weather-seals-Lacks image stabilization

Some of Sigma’s Art lenses are notoriously big and heavy, including the 50mm and 85mm f/1.4 primes. By contrast, this 35mm lens is more compact and lightweight than most direct competitors, but still feels very solid and well-built. The optical layout includes two aspherical elements with a large-diameter one at the front, plus a top-grade FLD (‘Fluorite’ Low Dispersion) element and four SLD (Special Low Dispersion) elements. Ring-type ultrasonic autofocus is typically quick and quiet, with the usual full-time manual override. Unlike many subsequent Sigma Art lenses, the 35mm is available in a wide variety of mount options that include Canon EF, Nikon F, Leica L, Pentax K, Sony A, Sony E, as well as Sigma’s proprietary mount. Image quality is excellent in all respects, with superb sharpness and contrast, and very good resistance to ghosting and flare.

(Image credit: Canon)

This Canon DSLR lens is spectacular... but so is the price

Specifications
Mount: Canon EF
Autofocus: Ultrasonic (ring-type)
Optical stabilizer: None
Minimum focusing distance: 0.28m
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.21x
Filter size: 72mm
Dimensions: 80x106mm
Weight: 760g
Reasons to buy
+High-tech design+Excellent image quality
Reasons to avoid
-Relatively expensive to buy-Corner-sharpness could be better

When launched four years ago, the Mark II edition of this lens was the first to feature Canon’s BR (Blue Spectrum Refractive) optics. Engineered at a molecular level, it’s based on an organic material that’s integrated into a compound element within the lens. The aim is to refract blue light and significantly reduce chromatic aberration, enabling greater sharpness and contrast in images. The Mark II is also noticeably bigger and heavier than the original lens, with a tougher construction that adds weather-seals and fluorine coatings on the front and rear elements. Centre-sharpness is excellent, even when shooting wide-open at f/1.4, although corner-sharpness drops off a little more than in the competing Sigma and Tamron lenses.

Other lens guides
Here are some more of our lens guides for favourite photography genres:

The best lenses for travel photography
The best lenses for street photography
The best lenses for landscapes
The best lenses for bird photography
The best lenses for portraits
The best lenses for astrophotography

Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.