The Best Lenses According to DXOMark of March 2019

Do you own one of the lenses that DXOMark rates as one of their best scoring optics?

In continuing our pursuit of capitalism and conversations that will ultimately lead to some photographers feeling inadequate about their gear because the internet is a terrible place, we’re rounding up the top lenses that DXOMark rates to be fantastic. We need to remind everyone though that their results really only grade the optics and there is so much more to a lens than just the optics. Additionally, what they don’t test for is character. Instead, they base it off of what they can put into a quantifiable, factual and clinical finding. They also judge things like weather sealing, autofocus speed, build quality, balance, etc. Only real life testing does that. But without further adieu, check out their best lenses.

Sigma 85mm f1.4 Art

In our review we state:

Pros

  • A bit of weather sealing, though not much
  • Superb sharpness
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Lots of micro contrast

Cons

  • Massive
  • After working with mirrorless cameras for so long, I don’t really want to carry something this ginormous around.

Buy Now $939: Amazon

 

Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus

In our review we state:

Pros

  • Sharpest image quality we’ve seen with any lens at any aperture. Zeiss really has made one of the best lenses ever.
  • Cinematic looking bokeh makes every single image look like a dream.
  • Great feel in the hand.
  • Handles skin tones very well
  • Pretty damned accurate depth of field scale–which is awesome for landscape and architectural photography.
  • Not the typical Zeiss color rendering. Instead, it just takes everything from real life and saturates it just a tad.

Cons

  • Heavy, and when combined with the Nikon D800 it is pretty much as heavy as a medium format outfit
  • At this price point, Zeiss should have put in weather sealing and autofocus abilities. Though we understand why they didn’t for the latter.
  • Focusing in low light is incredibly tough–even with Nikon’s excellent focusing system
  • The yellow text on the lens is something that you kind of need to get used to.

Buy Now $3,899: Amazon

 

Zeiss 85mm f1.4 Otus

In our review we state:

Pros

  • The sharpest 85mm f1.4 lens that we’ve tested in a while. In fact, it’s the sharpest 85mm that we’ve tested.
  • Great build quality
  • Excellent colors
  • Most folks will get a wet dream over that bokeh
  • The rubber focusing ring is starting to grow on us
  • Working depth of field scale
  • Beautiful overall image quality

Cons

  • The tears you’ll be crying after you purchase one
  • Manual focus operation proves tough at this focal length when it comes to trying to keep a subject’s eye in focus
  • Heavy
  • For this price, there should have been weather sealing incorporated.

Buy Now $4,990: Amazon

 

Sony 85mm f1.4 G Master

In our review we state:

Pros

  • 11 Aperture blades are the most of any autofocus portrait lens made so far
  • Big, but very balanced with the Sony a7
  • Aperture control around the lens is nice
  • Fast autofocus performance
  • Nice color rendition for portraiture
  • The best bokeh of any 85mm lens I’ve tested.
  • Weather sealing
  • Wonderful for skin tones

Cons

  • Expensive

Buy Now $1,798: Amazon

 

Sony 55mm f1.8 FE

In our review we state:

Pros

  • Sharp images
  • Creamy bokeh
  • Weather-sealed
  • Smooth and large focusing ring

Cons

  • Lens hood adds a good amount of length to the front
  • No depth of field scale

Buy Now $948: Amazon

 

Zeiss 135mm f2 Milvus

In our review we state:

Pros

  • Incredibly sharp
  • Weather sealed
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Fairly close focusing distance
  • Great feeling in the hand
  • Seems like it was designed for portraits and nothing more

Cons

  • As with all manual focus telephoto lenses, you’ll do best using a tripod with this lens attached to a camera
  • Price tag, though it’s truthfully justified

Buy Now $1,869: Amazon

 

Zeiss Milvus 85mm f1.4

In our review we state:

Pros

  • Only a hair less sharper than the 85mm f1.4 Otus
  • Weather sealing
  • Great feeling in the hand
  • Wonderful, wonderful colors though a bit too saturated for skin tones
  • Zero color fringing

Cons

  • Long focus throw makes focusing very precise, but manually focusing the lens while handheld isn’t so simple due to you actually moving and not staying still. It’s best done with a tripod
  • Quite expensive; $1,799 though that’s cheaper than the Canon 85mm f1.2 L.

Buy Now $1,619: Amazon

 

Sony 90mm f2.8 OSS FE

In our review we state:

Pros

  • Great image quality in most situations
  • Sharp performance, again in most situations
  • Optical stabilization
  • Fast focusing performance
  • Very silent stabilization
  • Internal focusing design, and one that is pretty small for what it is. In fact, it’s about on par with a DSLR lens designed for the same purpose.
  • Push/pull focusing ring
  • Lightweight
  • At last, a focusing scale that actually work!

Cons

  • The colors just aren’t there compared to many of Sony’s other lenses. Perhaps this was done specifically for portraits, but you’re mostly going to rely on the capabilities of the Sony sensors–which are very good.

Buy Now $998: Amazon

 

Tamron 85mm f1.8 Di VC USD

In our review we state:

Pros

  • Super sharp image quality
  • No focusing issues with the Canon 6D or other Canon SLR cameras
  • Fast focusing
  • Weather sealing
  • Nice feel in the hand
  • Vibration compensation built in is a godsend
  • Fantastic color
  • A unique look that makes everything seem like it’s got quite a bit of Clarity in Lightroom increased.
  • Beautiful bokeh

Cons

  • Quite honestly, not a single thing is wrong with this lens.

Buy Now $749: Amazon

 

Check out the list and much more over at DXOMark’s website.