For those that like to travel light, or who just like to use one lens that can do it all, 24-105mm wide to telephoto lenses are hard to beat.
Like many other photographers out there, I have multiple lenses in my camera bag that are all suitable for various jobs and genres of photography. While it’s nice to be able to pick and choose from a long list of prime lenses, sometime it’s just really nice to use wide to telephoto lenses that can do-it-all, and 24-105mm lenses are just about the perfect do it all lens. One second you can be shooting a wide angle environmental portrait or a landscape, and the next you can be shooting a tight close up shot of an object or person. The versatility of these wide to telephoto lenses is unmatched, and this is what makes them the best jack of all trades lenses available.
For many, being able to leave the house with one lens that can cover the most used focal lengths is perfect. These wide to telephoto lenses are ideal for those that want to travel light, but also want to be able to cover most situations. They’re ideal for event photographers who need to be able to react quickly enough to capture candid photos both near and far away. They can work as portrait lenses, landscape lenses, and are even great for street photography and documentarians.
Normally with an item like this, one would think that quality would be compromised in some way, but that’s really not the case here. The lenses we have chosen below offer excellent build quality, and exceptional image quality. Here’s a quick look at four of our favorite 24-105mm wide to telephoto lenses.
Sigma 24-105mm F4 DG OS HSM Art
Sigma make exceptional lenses, and their version of the fabled 24-105mm is an absolute peach. The Sigma 24-105 f4 DG OS HSM offers amazing build quality, hard to beat image quality, and is available for a fraction of the cost when compared to wide to telephoto lenses offered by both Canon and Nikon.
In our review we said:
“If I could only have one lens with me, this would be it. This lens.The Sigma 24-105mm f4. I emerged from testing this lens thinking this just may be the most well-rounded, practical lens I have ever used. It’s not about glitz or glamour. The Sigma 24-105mm f4 is about getting the shot.”
As you would expect, the Sigma 24-105mm is not a small lens. Weighing in at 1.95lbs, you’re going to know you’re carrying this around, but that’s okay. When we use lenses like this that’s a given. The lens feels really nice in the hands, the focus and zoom rings are large and easy to use, and the distance scale is easy to read. Inside the premium feeling body you will find 19 elements in 14 groups, along with nice aperture blades. The lens is not weather sealed so just keep this in mind when you head out with it.
The image stabilization on this lens is fantastic, and it will really help you nail those shots in low light. With this lens being an f4, you may find yourself relying on that often if you shoot in poor light situations. The autofocus motor is fast and quiet, and the lens never gave us any problems at all when it came to finding focus in both good and low light scenarios.
Image quality is simply outstanding with this lens. All images from f4 and on are razor sharp from edge to edge, with no distortion at any focal length. We didn’t see any color fringing or chromatic aberration either. Colors rendered are typical Sigma, which means that are gorgeous; even skin tones were spot on. The lens is capable of producing nice bokeh as well which is great if you want to use the lens to capture some portraits too.
Overall the Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS HSM Art is a work horse of a lens that is capable of shooting in just about any situation. No matter what type of photography you shoot, this lens can cover it. It’s the perfect walk about lens for Canon and Nikon cameras.
Buy now Canon ($799): Amazon
Buy now Nikon ($799): Amazon
Sigma 24-105 F4 DG OS HSM Art Image Samples
Pro Tip: Just remember that not all lenses have the luxury of being weather sealed. Be sure to carry some cheap, yet effective weather proof camera and lens covers in your pocket or camera bag when you go out. You just never know when mother nature might become upset.
Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS E Mount
Sony shooters have their own gem of a do-it-all lens in the shape of the 24-105mm f4 G OSS. Like the Sigma, this wide to telephoto lens is as solid as a rock, and produces images sharp enough to cut. If you want a lens that can do it all on your Sony, this may be the one for you.
In our review we said:
“The Sony 24-105mm f4 G OSS is mostly designed for enthusiasts, but I can totally see how and why photographers would want to use it for more professional reasons. It can deliver gorgeous image quality and with the right lighting I doubt that anyone would really be able to fault the lens or the photographer. Combine this with the little bit of weather sealing, and I can totally see how this lens can be one that stays glued to your camera in most instances.”
Sony’s take on the versatile 24-105mm lens is a solid performer in every category. This G lens is solidly built and feels great when in the hand thanks to its textured finish. The lens has some weather sealing so you can use it out in a light rain shower, and it weighs in at 1.46lbs which makes it one of the lightest in this class of wide to telephoto lenses. It balances well on Sony’s smaller, lightweight Mirrorless camera bodies and is just a joy to use.
The lens is a great performer when it comes to autofocusing as well. It rarely failed us, and when it did we were really pushing this lens, but for everyday photography, travel work, portraiture, and event work this lens won’t fail you. The Image stabilization is in a league of its own too. When paired with the 5 axis image stabilization system found in Sony cameras we were able to hand hold down to 1/3 of a second, and still managed to get sharp shots. It’s that good.
Image quality is another area this lens packs a punch. This lens holds its own against the Sigma, and beats out the Canon in this area too. Images are sharp from corner to corner, and color rendition is great with nice natural colors being produced. The Sony 24-105mm f4 is capable of producing nice creamy bokeh when being used at the telephoto end of things, which is where you will be when shooting portraits with this lens. We never noticed any distortion or color fringing either thanks to the Fluorine coating on the glass. No matter what you shoot, you will be happy with the results.
This lens is one of the best wide to telephoto lenses on the Sony platform by far. It’s well built, offers some weather sealing, and produces gorgeous images. It’s really hard to go wrong with this fine piece of glass.
Buy now ($1,298): Amazon
Sony 24-105mm F4 G OSS Image Samples
Pro Tip: When you’re out and about your lenses are going to get dirty. Everything from rain drops, to dust, and grease to fingerprints will foul up your glass. Keep a basic lens cleaning kit in your camera bag so that you can wipe away grime with ease. The last thing you want to do is spend time in post removing unsightly specks and smudges.
Fujifilm 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens
Fujifilm have a knack of making lenses with the most abbreviations ever, but they also have a knack of making quality lenses, and the 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 is no exception. When it comes to do-it-all, wide to telephoto lenses for the Fujifilm platform, this glass is hard to beat.
In our review we said:
“The lens perfectly slots into a long vacant gap within Fujifilm’s X-series lens lineup as a jack-of-all-trades tool for tourists on vacation to journalists in need of a flexible lens for events.”
Fujfilm users might be shocked at how big this lens is. It’s by far one of the biggest on the platform, and is about the size of a regular Full Frame DSLR lens. This makes things look out of proportion on the small Fujfilm camera bodies, and does make them a little front heavy, but it’s not the end of the world. The Fujifilm 18-135mm weighs in at 1.08lbs which is still much lighter than other lenses in this category, and it makes using it for long periods just fine. The lens is made predominantly from plastic to help keep the weight down, but it’s nicely weather sealed. Inside you’ll find 16 elements in 12 groups, and seven rounded aperture blades.
This lens has an equivalent focal range of 27-206mm due to the 1.5x crop on Fujfilm camera bodies so this lens is slightly different than the offerings above, but this piece of glass is still incredibly versatile, and is perfect for those who just want to carry one lens. We found the autofocus speeds to be just fine in almost every situation, with just a little drop off when in low light situations, but overall it was great. The optical image stabilization does it’s job well too, and is good for five stops.
Image quality is excellent. While it isn’t as sharp as some of Fujifilm’s prime lenses, it’s still more than sharp enough for daily use. Colors rendered are beautiful and rich, especially when used in conjunction with Fujifilm’s film simulations. We did notice some color fringing and chromatic aberration, but all was easily fixed in post with Capture One and Lightroom. The lens is capable of producing some nice bokeh too in the right situations.
The do-it-all lens is a must have for Fujfilm users who like the idea of carrying just one lens with them either to an event, or while travelling. You’ll be more than pleased with the results you get, and the price makes it one of the most affordable wide to telephoto lenses on our list.
Buy now ($799): Amazon
Fujifilm 18-135mm f3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR Lens Image Samples
Pro Tip: Make sure you keep extra SD cards on your person or in your camera bag at all times. SD cards can, and do fail and the last thing you want is to be left without a spare. This Samsung card is affordable and offers fast read and write speeds. Carry a few extras with you.
Panasonic 12-60mm F2.8-4 Power OIS
Micro Four Thirds users have just recently got one of their very own do-it-all wide to telephoto lenses, and it’s a beauty. The Panasonic 12-60mm f2.8-4 is the perfect walk around lens for those who use this platform, thanks to its great build quality, and sharp images.
In our review we said:
“During my tests, I was rather surprised by what the lens is capable of. It’s super sharp and I’ve got no qualms here.”
This variable aperture lens will serve those who use it well. The lens is built solidly and certainly feels like it can stand up to heavy use. The plastic doesn’t have any kind of texture, but the zoom ring offers a nice place to grip the lens. The lens weighs just 0.70lbs, which means you can put this on your camera and walk around with it all day without breaking a sweat. The Panasonic 12-60mm is also weather sealed which is always a welcome feature. The lens according to Panasonic is also freeze proof and will function in temperatures as low as -10c (14 degrees Fahrenheit).
Inside the lens you’ll find 14 elements in 12 groups, along with nine rounded aperture blades. The lens is also covered with Panasonic’s Nano Surface coating which really helps keep distortion and color fringing under control. Images produced with this lens are tack sharp from edge to edge, while the colors produced reminded us of colors from Canon lenses, with skin tones being a particular highlight. The consistency of results on both Panasonic and Olympus cameras really pleased us too.
The Panasonic 12-60mm f2.8-4 also features optical stabilization which really helps in low light situations. Another area where the 12-60mm excels is in autofocus performance. No matter what situation we found ourselves in the lens was able to quickly find and lock on to whatever we were tracking. It never missed a beat.
If you’re a Micro Four Thirds user and want a lens that you can carry around with you all day, and that can be used to shoot a variety of genres, you should take a look at one of the best wide to telephoto lenses on the platform in the Panasonic 12-60mm f2.8-F Power OIS.
Buy now ($797.99): Amazon
Panasonic 12-60mm F2.8-4 Image Samples