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Which mirrorless camera lens is best?

Photography comprises two parts: the camera body and the attached lens. Depending on what you want to photograph, you will need a specific lens for the job. Taking a great wildlife photo, for example, requires a zoomable lens with image stabilization.

For close-up moving objects, a lens that can keep up with a fast shutter speed is ideal to ensure the image is crisp while reducing the motion blur. But you can’t just attach any lens to your camera; if you have a mirrorless device, you must attach a compatible lens. You can’t go wrong with the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens.

What to know before you buy a mirrorless camera lens

Focal length

The focal length is the zoom level of a digital camera. You can’t zoom in to bring objects closer if it has a fixed focal length (for example, 35 millimeters). However, if the lens has a variable focal length, for instance, 24-70 millimeters, you can adjust the zoom aspect to suit the photo’s framing. 

The ideal focal length is something that you must decide on, and it depends on what you enjoy photographing. It gets a bit tricky, though, as the indicated focal length always refers to full-frame cameras with precise sensor sizes. Mirrorless cameras come in three sensor sizes, so you must get the correct lens for the corresponding sensor.

The aperture of the lens

When choosing a lens, the aperture is one of the most important aspects. Indicated through an f-stop number, it essentially relates to how wide the shutter opens to let in light. The wider it opens, the better suited it is for low-light environments, indicated with a smaller number. 

As with the focal length, the aperture can be fixed or variable. It is also important to note that the f-stop on a mirrorless lens is not the same opening as a full-frame lens. For example, a 35mm mirrorless lens with f/1.4 using an APS-C sensor has the same aperture as a 50mm full-frame lens with f/2.

Price

Photography equipment isn’t cheap, and lenses are no exception. Apart from the camera body, the lens is one of the most expensive components. There are a few options for entry-level photographers, but you’ll have to make some sacrifices. Generally, the prices increases as the f-stop get wider, so you might not be able to afford your chosen brand or focal length. However, some fantastic third-party lenses can help in the meantime.

What to look for in a quality mirrorless camera lens

Anti-glare coating

A sunrise or sunset can make for some stunning images, but if your lens doesn’t have an anti-glare coating, you can end up with photos having a lens flair effect or ghosting. The anti-glare coating combats this by reducing errand light rays on backlit images, creating a photo that is more even in composure.

Aspherical lens elements

It is critical that it has an aspherical lens, as it will produce the sharpest visual quality. A traditional spherical lens is like a dome with a uniform curve. However, an aspherical lens has less of a curve on the edges. This corrects spherical aberrations so that all light enters and bends onto the precise spot of the camera’s sensor.  

Optical image stabilizer

No matter how good you are at taking photos, keeping a camera from moving is nearly impossible, especially if you have a long focal length. So, unless you have a stable tripod, the best way to combat movement is through an optical image stabilizer. Depending on the manufacturer, the OIS compensates for small, fast, and large, slow movements.

How much you can expect to spend on a mirrorless camera lens

A lens is one of the most expensive components in photography. An entry-level mirrorless lens made by a reputable third-party cost $200-$400. However, a lens from the most well-known camera equipment makers costs $1,000-$3,000.

Mirrorless camera lens FAQ

In what weather conditions can you use a mirrorless lens?

A. Electronic equipment should always be kept dry, but it’s also important for lenses. Moisture can get trapped on the inside and cause artifacting, another word for camera malfunctions. Lenses aren’t waterproof unless specifically stated by the maker.

Do you need to use a lens cap?

A. Yes, you absolutely need a lens cap – no matter what lens or camera you use. The cap clips onto the glass part of the lens and prevents scratches and dust from causing damage.

What’s the best mirrorless camera lens to buy?

Top mirrorless camera lens

Best Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f-2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Standard Zoom Lens

What you need to know: This compact mid-range zoom lens is perfect for various photographic situations.

What you’ll love: The lens has an f/2.8 constant maximum aperture, ensuring that the exposure is consistent across the entire zoom range. It incorporates Nikon’s Multi-Focusing System of two auto-focus drive units.

What you should consider: Some users found it difficult for Nikon to honor the warranty. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top mirrorless camera lens for the money

Best Sigma 16 mm f-1.4 (C) AF DC DN Lens for Canon EF-M Mirrorless

Sigma 16 mm f/1.4 (C) AF DC DN Lens for Canon EF-M Mirrorless

What you need to know: This affordable mirrorless lens has a stepper motor that ensures progressive and quiet autofocus.

What you’ll love: The lens is waterproof and dust-resistant, has an anti-glare coating and has a maximum focal length of 16 millimeters.

What you should consider: The lens doesn’t have built-in image stabilization.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Panasonic Lumix G Leica Nocticron Lens For Mirrorless Two-Thirds Cameras

Panasonic Lumix G Leica Nocticron Lens for Mirrorless Two-Thirds Cameras

What you need to know: No images will appear blurry or shaky through Panasonic’s Power O.I.S.

What you’ll love: The lens has the Lumix Advanced nano surface coating that prevents glare and ghosting, an external aperture ring and a metal lens hood. It is compatible with a Micro Two-Thirds mount.

What you should consider: The lens isn’t zoomable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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