77mm to 82mm step-up ring, allows the use of an 82mm filter on a 77mm lens
Versatile, well constructed and reliable with a good optical performance is exactly what one should look for when choosing a high-quality, go-anywhere standard zoom. This is a fine example of such and lives on despite being substituted by a Mark II version. Not only is it lighter, it focuses just as fast as its successor and returns near-identical centre sharpness despite being slightly softer towards the edge. Chromatic aberrations and distortion aren’t as well controlled though and the clicking of diaphragm blades as the aperture is adjusted makes it better suited to stills than video. Nevertheless, it’s a lens with excellent optics and a solid L-series build quality that has a proven capability to withstand professional use.
The Nikon 17-55mm f2.8G ED-IF AF-S DX is a professional DX Zoom Nikkor lens that combines a high ratio 3.2 focal length with SWM (Silent Wave Motor) and an f/2.8 aperture.
Nikon’s professional standard zoom has a lot going for it, not least its constant f/2.8 aperture and reliable focusing under tough low-light conditions. With no optical stabilisation it weighs less than a kilogram. It upholds good levels of sharpness from the centre to edge at f/8, however it does suffer from field curvature, resulting in fairly soft corners at wide apertures. Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat is effective at mitigating ghosting and flare when shooting towards the sun and the colour and contrast of the lens is excellent. It serves Nikon full-frame users well and is only outdone optically by its heavier and more expensive 24-70mm f2.8E ED VR cousin.
Although no longer the flagship 70-200mm lens in Canon’s EF-mount lineup, the EF 70-200mm f2.8L IS II USM is similar to its Mark III successor and features the same optical design with different lens coatings. It’s a workhorse that merges top-of-the-line L-series build quality with a fine optical performance that sees it resolve impressive sharpness throughout its zoom range at f/2.8. Autofocus goes about its business fast and silently, with the supplied tripod collar and stubby foot offering a solid platform when it’s supported on a tripod or monopod. It performs well with Canon’s EF 1.4x extender, which turns it into a 98-280mm zoom with a maximum aperture of f/4.
The ultimate in fast aperture wide-angle lenses, the Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM contains UD and aspherical elements to eliminate distortion and aberrations – producing stunning results.
Sigma’s award-winning 50mm F1.4 DG HSM Art lens isn’t small or light, yet it excels in terms of its optical performance and features a specially developed algorithm that ensures accurate, quiet and smooth focusing. The quality of out-of-focus areas at wide apertures is exquisite. It’s a lens that lends itself to isolating subjects and emphasizing them in the frame, with quite astonishing sharpness from corner to corner between f/2.8 and f/11. It lacks weather sealing and optical image stabilisation, but these are omissions you’ll be prepared to live without for the outstanding results it produces.
Canon users looking for a robustly made, weather sealed wide-angle zoom in EF-mount that’s smaller and lighter than the EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM will find their ideal partner in this lens. It’s not as well suited to shooting in challenging low-light situations with its slower maximum aperture, but presents significant advantages of its own, including 4-stop optical image stabilisation to compensate for handshake and Super Spectra coatings that enhance contrast and light transmission under harsh lighting conditions. Sharpness is outstanding and it handles chromatic aberrations admirably. It’s right up there as one of best performing wide-angle zooms Canon has ever made in EF-mount.
Canon offers a vast range of telephoto lenses in its EF-mount lineup, but when it comes to zooms covering the 100-400mm focal length there’s only one lens to choose and it’s this one. Its maximum aperture of f/4 switches over to f/5 at 125mm and it doesn’t reach f/5.6 until it’s used beyond 300mm. It’s at home shooting cars on the track in the pouring rain as it is photographing animals on safari in midday sun and delivers exceptional sharpness across the frame with only a slight reduction in sharpness at the long end. Bokeh is beautifully portrayed in out of focus regions too. It’s an L-series lens that strikes the perfect balance between advanced features and sublime performance.
This is the crème-de-la-crème of portrait lenses for Sony users who shoot stills and video. Its sharpness across the frame, stunning bokeh at wide apertures and pro-grade build quality place it above Sony’s cheaper FE 85mm F1.8 lens. Sony has thought of everything. It has a de-clickable manual aperture ring that allows silent aperture control from the lens when shooting video and a focus lock button on the barrel that can be customised to different functions. It’s relatively compact for an f/1.4 prime and being a G-Master lens it has extensive weather seals throughout. Fast portrait lenses are loved by many and they don’t come much better than the FE 85mm F1.4 GM.
Very large field angle and fast autofocus – combined with protection against dust and spray water for reliable photography in all weather: the ZEISS Batis 2.8/18 is the ideal full-frame lens for landscape, astro and architectural photography.
Boost the power of zoom with the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 300mm 1:4.0 IS PRO & M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 1.4x teleconverter kit.