The Best Lenses Under $500

AbramGoglanian_ThePhoblographer_Canon40mm

The Phoblographer staff spends loads and loads of time testing and evaluating lots of lenses out in the field. Over the years, we’ve reviewed countless numbers of lenses. While going through our pool of reviews, we found a bunch for pretty much every camera system that you’d want to get your hands on if you’re on a budget of under $500. So without further ado, here are the Best Lenses Under $500.

Nikon 50mm f1.8 G

Nikon 50mm f1.8 G A couple of years ago, Nikon revamped their nifty fifty lens–and man did they nail it! Sure, it’s more expensive than a tad over $100 but it’s surely worth it. Wide open performance is overall quite good and it only gets better when stopped down. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Sigma 50mm f1.4 (First Version)

SIGMA_50mm_F1.4__4d92dcef52caa Of course, you don’t always need the latest and greatest version of a lens. If you want a solid 50mm f1.4, Sigma’s older iteration of this piece of glass is still very viable and better than many companies’ own offerings. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 (APS-C)

Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 (APS-C) Need a wide angle zoom lens of some sort? One of the biggest problems with working with APS-C sensors is that you don’t have very many affordable wide angle options. However, Tokina has an answer for you. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Canon 40mm f2.8

Canon 40mm f2.8 Canon’s first pancake lens is truly one of our favorite lenses for the system–and we actually believe that it should be a kit lens for many of their cameras. Considering the fact that it is only a couple of years old now, you’ll know for sure that it is also on the higher end of the sharpness scale. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Rokinon 14mm f2.8

Rokinon 14mm f2.8 Rokinon’s 14mm f2.8 lens will find its home in the camera bag of real estate and architectural photographers. We love the way that it renders colors as well the pure sharpness that it offers. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Tokina 12-28mm f4 (APS-C)

Tokina AT-X 12-28mm f4 for APS-C We had very little to complain about with the Tokina 12-28mm f4 lens when we tried it on the Nikon D7100. It’s sharp, contrasty, and can deliver images that are more than adequate for publishing in a magazine. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Rokinon 85mm f1.4

Rokinon 85mm f1.4 Wide open, this isn’t the most incredible considering how far technology has come, but when it is stopped down just a tad it can rock. You’ll be pleased with the way that it renders skin tones. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Sigma 30mm f1.4 (Second version)

Sigma 30mm f1.4 Art APS-C DSLR users looking for an option to give them around a 50mm field of view won’t have much of a problem with the 30mm f1.4 from Sigma. And when you move on up to a full frame camera, you’ll be glad to know that it works well with that too. Mind the corner sharpness on full frame cams though… Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS

Sony 50mm f1.8 OSS Perhaps the best portrait lens for the Sony E Mount system–we loved just how contrasty, vivid and sharp the images that we got with this lens were. Now all you’ll need is the golden hour. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Olympus 25mm f1.8

Olympus 25mm f1.8 Looking for a nifty fifty for the Micro Four Thirds world? Here it is. With fairly low distortion, lots of sharpness, and a small size you’ll have very little to complain about with this lens. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 20mm f1.7 Version II lens (2 of 9) The follow up to the cult classic has a refresh with an all metal body. It isn’t as sharp as its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t create beautiful images with it. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama

Samsung 16mm f2.4

Samsung 16mm f2.4 Our favorite wide angle lens for the Samsung NX system will help you when shooting and sharing images of beautiful scenic views on your next vacation. Check out our review. Buy Now: Amazon | B&H Photo | Adorama