Upgrade Your Basic Kit Lens with These Great Standard Zooms

The difference in quality between a kit lens and these standard zooms will blow you away.

So, you purchased a new camera not too long ago, and you’re now starting to look at new lenses. You know you prefer zooms over the idea of primes, but what lenses do you start looking at? Honestly, standard zooms or those with a focal range between 24-80mm on Full-Frame cameras are a great place to start. If you shoot with APS-C, 16-55mm lenses are great, and 12-45mm on Micro Four Thirds cameras will fit the bill nicely. Compared to kit lenses, any non-kit lenses you buy will yield a huge return on your investment. You’ll immediately see the difference in image quality, build quality, and overall performance. The great thing about standard zooms is that they cover some of the most widely used focal lengths. In this roundup we’ll take a quick look at five standard zooms across different platforms that we highly recommend.

Sony 16-55mm f2.8 G (APS-C)

standard zooms

In our review, we said:

“It offers the user decent bokeh, sharp image quality, standard colors, and an overall good experience for this kind of lens. To be honest, it’s the best of its kind. And for the professional photographer using the Sony 16-55mm f2.8 G, that’s all they need.”

Chris Gampat – Editor In Chief
standard zooms

Buy now: $1,298

Olympus 12-45mm f4 PRO (Micro Four Thirds)

standard zooms

In our review, we said:

“The Olympus 12-45mm f4 PRO has autofocus that is very quick. That is thanks to the lightweight lens elements on the inside. Tack onto that the speed that the EM1 Mk III delivers and you’re pretty solid for having a walkaround lens..”

Chris Gampat – Editor In Chief
standard zooms

Buy now: $526.44

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD

standard zooms

In our review, we said:

“One of the things that make the Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 Di III RXD so appealing is just how good the image quality is. Not only is the lens capable of delivering sharp images, but the colors are very vibrant and the bokeh is smooth and beautiful.”

Chris Gampat – Editor In Chief
standard zooms

Buy now: $879

Pro Tip: Like all lenses, these standard zooms will get dirty, and you need to be prepared to deal with that. We always recommend that you clean the front element before each use and give the lens a deeper clean at least every two weeks. Doing this will ensure that your gear works as it should for many years. You don’t need a fancy lens cleaning kit that costs a ton. In fact, this one is perfect, and it’s less than $20!

Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS USM

standard zooms

In our review, we said:

“The Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS USM is a great lens through and through. It’s sharp, has beautiful bokeh, great colors, and is incredibly versatile.”

Chris Gampat – Editor In Chief
standard zooms

Buy now: $2,299

Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR (APS-C)

standard zooms

In our review, we said:

“The Fujifilm 16-55mm f2.8 LM WR is an exceptional lens in pretty much every way when it comes to the image quality. The lens is sharp–sharper than most of the company’s primes, in fact. It also gives us great bokeh, excellent colors, and everything a photographer could ask for, including weather sealing.”

Chris Gampat – Editor In Chief
standard zooms

Buy now: $1,199