The Absolute Best Lenses Around According to DXOMark (August 2019)

These lenses have been put through the wringer at DXOMark, and they came out with flying colors.

It’s the time of the month where we take a look at the best lenses that have passed through the top-secret labs at DXOMark. No lenses were harmed during the tests, but we do know that they were pushed to their absolute limits. We have reviewed all of the lenses in the DXOMark top ten as well. Check out the DXOMark top 10, combine that with our real-world tests, and you will have a much better idea as to why these lenses have been ranked the way they have. If you want some of the best lenses around, take a look at the top ten performing lenses according to DXOMark for August 2019.

There’s no doubt about it; these lenses are the cream of the crop for August. No movement has been recorded in the lens league table: a huge testament to just how fantastic these 10 lenses truly are. Newer lenses from the likes of Canon and Nikon haven’t been able to force their way in yet, but surely that will change sooner or later. If you have some money to burn and want to get your hands some of the 10 best-performing lenses according to DXOMark, make sure you check out this list and our real-world lens reviews before you hand over your cash.

 

Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art

 

dxomark

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, we don’t really want to carry something this ginormous around.

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($1,199): Adorama

 

Zeiss 55mm F1.4 Otus

 

Pros

  • The 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 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
  • 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

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($3,591): Adorama

 

Zeiss 85mm F1.4 Otus

 

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

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($4,041): Adorama

 

Sony 85mm F1.4 G Master

 

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

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($1,798): Adorama

 

Sony 55mm F1.8 FE

 

Pros

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

Cons

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

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($898): Adorama

 

Zeiss 135mm F2 Milvus

 

dxomark

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

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($1,979): Adorama

 

Zeiss Milvus 85mm F1.4

 

Pros

  • Only a hair less sharp 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.

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($1,427.86): Adorama

 

Sony 90mm F2.8 OSS FE

 

dxomark lens league table

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 works!

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.

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($998): Adorama

 

Tamron 85mm F1.8 Di VC USD

 

dxomark

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

Check out our full review

Buy Now ($749): Adorama

 

Zeiss 25mm F2 Batis

 

dxomark lens league table

Pros

  • The best ‘straight out of the camera’ color rendition we’ve seen with any single lens that we’ve ever tested. Tied right up there with the Zeiss 85mm f1.8 Batis lens
  • Pretty compact for what it is–a full-frame wide-angle prime lens
  • Weather sealing
  • Quite sharp with great bokeh

Cons

  • That display thingy really is superfluous

Check out our full review

Buy now ($1,064): Adorama