High Quality Walkaround Lenses For the Hobbyist Photographer

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 35mm f1.4 L II review without vignetting (1 of 1)ISO 1001-800 sec at f - 1.6

Photography isn’t necessarily just about making money–it’s also a big hobby of many people. Just look at Photowalks; they’re fun events where folks get together and shoot just for fun. And if you’re looking for a single lens to stay glued to your camera during that time, then you’ll see just how many there are for not too shabby prices.

The Phoblographer has done loads of reviews on lenses, and this in post you’ll see a compilation of some of the best and most memorable that the site has tested.

Canon 50mm f1.8 STM

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon 50mm f1.8 STM lens review product images (1 of 2)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“Canon’s 50mm f1.8 STM is a great lens for the beginner, hobbyist, enthusiast or even the professional who likes to rough and tumble their equipment. But overall, it’s scoring mediocre to good results when you attach. The image quality is much better than before and Canon has proven once again that they can keep ahead of the curve.”

Buy Now $125: Amazon

Sigma 35mm f1.4 Art

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 35mm f1.4 product shots (7 of 7)ISO 2001-125 sec at f - 16

In our review, we state:

“The bokeh quality from the lens is also really quite creamy. Again, something about it almost reminds me of Mamiya or Bronica lenses that have some beautiful bokeh to them. Because of the fact that there is no micro-contrast in this lens, you won’t see your subject popping out from the bokeh as much as you would on a Zeiss or Leica lens.

Wedding photographers, photojournalists, and event photographers are the ones that would do best with this lens besides the obvious street photographer legion out there. 35mm is such a classic focal length and I personally believe it to mimic my field of view much more than 50mm.”

Buy Now $899: Amazon

Canon 24-105mm f4 L IS

In our review, we state:

“This lens is one of the most affordable L lenses in Canon’s lineup and can often be found used for an even better price. The fast autofocusing speed, silent motors, image stabilization, sharpness, color rendering, and zoom range make this lens a no brainer for most photographers. Rightfully so, it has earned a special place on our list of recommended lenses for Canon owners and for DSLR videographers.”

Buy Now $999: Amazon

Nikon 20mm f1.8 G

Kevin-Lee The Phoblographer Nikon 20mm f1.8G ED Product Images (6 of 12)

In our review, we state:

“Another thing I didn’t expect this lens to handedly excel at is smooth bokeh. You don’t even have to get up close to create these pleasing out of focus areas either. You can stand anywhere between a half foot to a solid five-feet and still produce some very nice bokeh with this wide angle lens. This all makes it a unique lens for capturing upper body and even headshots with much of the background still in the frame.”

Buy Now $799.95: Amazon

Sony 28mm f2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony 28mm f2 lens review product photos (4 of 7)ISO 4001-125 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“We were quite pleased with how sharp the Sony 28mm f2 lens fairs. This has to be one of Sony’s sharper lenses and the company’s primes are what impress us the most. It’s about on par with the 35mm f2.8 if not a tad better, but both the 55mm f1.8 and 35mm f1.4 are sharper. This lens also seems sharper than the Zeiss 35mm f2, though not at all sharper than the Zeiss 50mm f2 Loxia lens.

The best sharpness comes at f5.6 with the best balance of both bokeh and sharpness coming in at f3.5 on a full frame sensor.”

Buy Now $448: Amazon

Fujifilm 35mm f1.4 R

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 1 35mm f1.4 X Series lens review (7 of 7)ISO 1600

In our review, we state:

“The 35mm f1.4 is truthfully best experienced if not wide open, nowhere past f5.6. Otherwise, you’re doing an extreme injustice to yourself by not taking advantage of the beautiful bokeh and extreme sharpness that the lens has to offer wide open. In my personal opinion and comparisons, this lens is just a tad softer than my trust 35mm f1.4 for my Canon 5D Mk II in the center. Granted (and I totally understand), they are two totally different lenses for different formats. But that statement is literally just to compare how far the technology has come along.”

Buy Now $599: Amazon

Olympus 14-150mm f4-5.6 II


In our review, we state:

“Olympus has never really given us a reason to complain about the sharpness of their lenses, though we found this lens to not be as super sharp as some of their other offerings. But for what this lens is (a superzoom with weather sealing) it isn’t too shabby. Olympus’s Pro lenses and premium primes beat this though.”

Buy Now $599: Amazon

Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 20mm f1.7 II review lead image (1 of 1)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“The overall image quality from the 20mm f1.7 II lens from Panasonic is truthfully pretty damned good. There is a healthy amount of sharpness, contrast, and overall solid color rendition built into this lens. When you couple this with its great build quality and focusing abilities you’ve got yourself quite the winner.”

Buy Now $429.99: Amazon

Sony Zeiss 24mm f1.8

In our review, we state:

“This lens never ceased to amaze me. It was super fast to focus on Sony’s NEX 7 and nearly always nailed the subject perfectly in focus. That is a big concern for street photographers or those capturing candid moments: such as photojournalist shooters. If by any fluke of a chance you are a Sony photographer that also shoots weddings, it is nice to know that you can rely on these to act almost like a Leica the way the old masters used to.”

Buy Now $1,099.99: Amazon

Zeiss Milvus 21mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Zeiss 21mm f2.8 Milvus lens product images (3 of 5)ISO 4001-180 sec at f - 2.8

In our review, we state:

“Zeiss lenses for DSLRs have never really been for the newbie photographer. These lenses require you to manually focus and find careful precision with each photo that you take by using the focusing confirmation with Canon or Nikon’s rangefinder focusing system. For what it’s worth, Nikon’s system works better.”

Buy Now: Amazon

Sigma 18-35mm f1.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 product photos (1 of 7)ISO 2001-60 sec at f - 5.0

In our review, we state:

“One of the first things that I did when I got this lens in was take a photo and then chimped the LCD screen to ensure that my copy was sharp. Indeed, it was and still is. We’ve got no complaints about the sharpness of this lens at all–and we only want to start great things. Wide open it is pretty damned sharp and only gets sharper down to f3.5-4 where it stabilizes and we didn’t see much of a difference in the performance. Beyond this, you start to see some diffraction.”

Buy Now $799: Amazon

Rokinon 14mm f2.8

In our review, we state:

“The lens also seems to control flair very well. I was essentially shooting right up into the sun for the photo above. You see a bit of the rainbow effect and some very tiny flair, but overall it isn’t terrible. It isn’t the level of control that Zeiss has though. That’s probably the best I’ve seen.

Additionally, I want to remind all fanboys in the forums to chill out: flair issues are easily taken care of in most post-production software. I’m also sure that SnapHeal could take care of it. Alright, you can breathe now. It’s not the end of the world and Cartier-Bresson is not going to rise from his grave with the zombie Apocalypse and eat the brains of engineers whom couldn’t get it perfect.”

Buy Now: Amazon

Sony 16-70mm f4 OSS

In our review, we state:

“The lens feels amazingly solid in the hand and exactly what one would think Zeiss would make for the system. Absolutely nothing about it feels cheap and it only seems to ooze with quality. With that said though, we would appreciate the addition of weather sealing.

The only other thing that we would like is the addition of a distance scale so that we can see how far out the lens is focusing at a glance.”

Buy Now $999.99: Amazon

Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC product images (2 of 5)ISO 1001-320 sec at f - 2.0

In our review, we state:

“One of the strongest points of this lens is the bokeh. The Tamron 35mm f1.8 Di VC is designed with 9 aperture blades and has a very close focusing distance. It can seriously render better bokeh than almost everything we’ve seen except for the Sigma 35mm f1.4 and Sony’s 35mm f1.4.”

Buy Now $599: Amazon

Tokina 24-70mm f2.8

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tokina 24-70mm f2.8 review product images (5 of 6)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 1.4

In our review, we state:

“Man, oh man.

Even when you use this lens without a flash you’ll still be able to render some absolutely crazy sharpness that I’ve only ever seen from Sigma, Zeiss, and Sony if we’re talking about optics designed for full frame 35mm sensors. It’s astonishing and incredibly deceiving.

Why deceiving? Well, the Canon 6D doesn’t render images to be the sharpest on the LCD screen. Bring it into a computer though and you’ll be rubbing your eyes in disbelief.”

Buy Now $999: Amazon

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.