The Best Mirrorless Camera Lenses for Photojournalists

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 50-150mm f2.8 OIS review product images (2 of 10)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 5.0

On the heels of our roundup of best mirrorless cameras for photojournalists, we thought we’d complement that piece with a roundup of the best lenses to go with those cameras. The go-to focal ranges for many years have been 24-70mm and 70-200mm with Canon L glass being the crème-de-la-crème with a price to match. Thankfully with time, the equivalent focal range zooms have arrived for various systems, though not all photojournalists work with zooms. Here, you’ll find a mix of primes and zooms.

Fujifilm

18-55mm f2.8-4

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm Xt10 review final product images (3 of 4)ISO 2001-180 sec at f - 2.0

 

This is the kit lens option for the X-E2 and the X-T1, and it’s arguably one of the best kit options there is, given the generous aperture range. If the kinds of stories you do are often in daylight with relatively little action, this’ll be a fine lens to have in yoru bag.

In our review, we say:

“Fujifilm’s XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS is the most refreshing take we’ve seen on an otherwise forgettable form. Kit lenses are often cast aside in favor of faster options with better build quality, but with this lens, we found that we kept it on for longer than we thought we would. Fujifilm gives each new owner complete optical control, and this lens performs exceptionally well at every point on the spectrum.”

Buy now: Amazon

16-55mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 WR first impressions photos (2 of 25)ISO 4001-100 sec at f - 4.0

With the crop factor, you’re looking at a 24-82.5mm lens, which is fairly close to the 24-70mm staple. It’s one of the sharpest zooms in Fujifilm’s line up, and it’ll serve you well in dynamic environments. Don’t worry about rain, particularly is you’re using the X-T1 because this lens is weather resistant.

In our review, we say:

“We took this lens out into the snow and the rain during our review period. It shrugged off all of what Mother Nature tossed at it with ease. For the photojournalist using this lens in rough conditions, you don’t need to worry at all. In fact, there seems to be a lot of you who would also want to take this out into the street for capturing candids. You can rest assured that if someone spills coffee onto the lens, all you need to do is wipe it down.”

Buy now: Amazon

50-140mm f2.8

julius motal the phoblographer fujifilm 50-140mm f2.8 product image-6

Covering the longer end of the spectrum, this lens (a 75-210mm equivalent) is particularly good for tight shots and portraits, and Fujifilm’s colors are an added boon.

In our review, we say:

“It’s a major boon for folks looking to do sports photography who might’ve felt left out by the lack of telephoto zoom options where a constant aperture is a must. It’s also a major plus for portraitists who want a little variety in their focal lengths. And hey, it’s weather-sealed, too, which means that there should be no excuses for your not shooting in rain, sleet or snow.”

Buy now: Amazon

23mm f1.4
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 23mm f1.4 product images for review (5 of 8)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 3.5

This lens is a fantastic choice for those both prefer primes and prefer to shoot wide. With the crop, the field of view is just under 35mm, which is a great focal length to have in most newsy situations.

In our review, we say:

“For what it’s worth, the lens will help you to create beautiful images that you’ll be incredibly proud of. We also believe that it may becomes your everyday lens that you can use to document all of life’s happenings. Indeed, you can use this focal length for food, portraits, candids, etc.”

Buy now: Amazon

Olympus

M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8

Chris-Gampat-The-Phoblographer-Sigma-30mm-f1.4-Review-images-18-of-33ISO-2001-200-sec-at-f-2.8

Olympus has some of the fastest autofocus around, and with a lens the covers the wide to medium range, you’re nearly guaranteed to get the shots you need.

In our review, we say:

“What makes the lens so special is not only its excellent image quality which we can’t harp on enough, but the size, build quality, and speed in focusing. The Micro Four Thirds system has lenses that you really never want to stop down and that perform at their peak essentially wide open.”

Buy now: Amazon

40-150mm f2.8 PRO

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 PRO product photos (10 of 10)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

This lens can withstand nearly anything as it’s built like a tank, and again, with Olympus’s AF, this lens will do wonders for you on a serious gig.

In our review, we say:

“It’s lightweight, fairly small for what it is, fast to focus, offers crisp image quality, is weather sealed, and won’t fail you when working. For the wedding, sports, portrait, or journalism photographer that needs to work with zooms, you should know that Olympus now has the best zoom lens lineup of any manufacturer in the mirrorless camera world.”

Buy now: Amazon

Panasonic

35-100mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 35-100mm f2.8 product photos (2 of 5)ISO 1001-50 sec at f - 5.0

Panasonic’s take on the classic 70-200mm is older than Olympus’s and also features weather sealing. But it has a more limited range.

In our review, we say:

“This lens exhibits mesmerizing sharpness, wonderful bokeh, excellent colors, great stabilization, and a build quality that will be able to keep up with your rough and tumble life despite the plastic exterior.”

Buy now: Amazon

12-35mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 product photos (3 of 5)ISO 4001-200 sec at f - 5.0

Again, you’ll get great image quality and fast focusing abilities in addition to weather sealing.

In our review, we say:

“Though you won’t get the bokeh you may want, you can’t deny the sharpness that this lens offers and is characterized by. This is its best feature. It reaches its peak at around f5.6, but with a flash added to deliver specular highlights, even f8 can look amazing. Professionals looking for the sharpest zoom that they can get that offers a wide to semi normal field of view will get it with the 12-35mm f2.8 OIS.”

Buy now: Amazon

Sony

24mm f1.8 (E-mount)

julius motal the phoblographer sony 24mm 1.8-3

Sony has yet to really make high quality zoom lenses for its mirrorless line, both its E-mount and FE-mount cameras. The real standouts are the primes, and the 24mm f1.8 is one of the best.

In our review, we say:

“I’ve fallen in love with the 35mm field of view a while back and this lens renders that view perfectly. It is an absolutely amazing lens with fast focusing capabilities, an all metal build quality, excellent sharpness, terrific color rendition, and the list can go on and on. Pack all of that into a super small and portable package and you’ve got a winner.”

Buy now: Amazon

28mm f2 (FE-mount)

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28mm f2 lens review product photos (1 of 7)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.5

Primes are where it’s at for the time being with Sony’s FE line, and the 28mm f2 is well worth your consideration.

In our review, we say:

“The Sony 28mm f2 has incredible image quality, and it goes to show that folks that tend to snub their noses at Sony lenses should give them another look. The Sony 28mm f2 is not only sharp, but offers very good color, beautiful bokeh for a lens this wide, and very little in the way of image quality issues.”

Buy now: Amazon

Samsung

16-50mm f2-2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 16-50mm lens review (2 of 6)ISO 4001-50 sec at f - 4.0

Starting out at f2 and ending at f2.8, this is one of our favorite contemporary zoom lenses. And it’s weather sealed!

In our review, we say:

“We were always aware that Samsung produced good lenses, but we were even more blown away by what the 16-50mm f2-2.8 lens was capable of doing when it came to sharpness. When coupled with the fast focusing from Samsung’s cameras, you’ll achieve some tack sharp and crystal clear moments.”

Buy now: Amazon

50-150mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Samsung 50-150mm f2.8 OIS review product images (5 of 10)ISO 4001-40 sec at f - 4.0

In our review, we say:

“Samsung has delivered to us an exemplary lens that offers some of the highest image quality that we’ve seen from a mirrorless camera offering. Hands down, it has the best color of any telephoto zoom lens designed for a MILC that we’ve seen.”

Buy now: Amazon