Looking for a 40mm Lens? Here Are Some of the Best

There’s a trend amongst the photography community to start moving towards 40mm lenses. They’re the perfect balance between 35mm and 50mm lenses. They’re also close to being true normal for full-frame cameras. So what’s the best 40mm lens? Well, lucky for you, we’ve tested a lot of them. So we’re here to help you figure out which ones are best for you.

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The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How We Chose the Best 40mm Lenses

Here’s some info on how we chose the best 40mm lenses.

  • Our roundups include only products we’ve fully reviewed. You’ll never see a product we haven’t fully reviewed in a roundup. We’re linking to each of our reviews as well.
  • This roundup is of the best 40mm lenses for mirrorless cameras. Yes, we know Sigma has one. But it’s basically just a DSLR version adapted otherwise. Further, we think Sigma’s lenses are generally too clinical.
  • All of the best 40mm lenses featured here are weather resistant. Our torture tests are often some of the most renowned in the photo industry.
  • For the most part, these lenses are pretty affordable. The 40mm lens still isn’t as mass produced as something like a nifty 50 though.
  • 40mm lenses are a great spot for folks who want something between 35mm and 50mm lenses. Get the best of both worlds.
  • The product images and sample images in this round up of the best 40mm lenses were all shot by our staff of photographers.

Sony 40mm f2.5 G

Pros

  • Light and small
  • Aluminum build with unique hood design
  • Weather-sealed
  • Wider autofocus range than the similar 50mm
  • Sharp photos
  • Accurate color
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not the brightest G series lens
  • Bokeh isn’t quite perfect
  • Some chromatic aberration

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we said:

“As one of the most affordable options in the G series, the Sony FE 40mm f2.5 delivers the same ultra sharpness as high-end lenses. The trade-off is a little sacrifice to the bokeh and some minor aberration.”

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Zeiss 40mm f2 Batis

Pros

  • Weather sealing
  • Beautiful image quality overall, but still not as good as some other Zeiss lenses I’ve used
  • Versatile, and I’m glad Zeiss made this lens
  • Autofocus is good enough for professional work
  • Look at that bokeh!
  • Not badly priced at $1,299

Cons

  • Not as well built as some other lenses I’ve used
  • Not as sharp as I’d expect a Zeiss to be
  • Autofocus is a bit slow for fast paced street photography but not really for photojournalism

How’s The Image Quality?

In our review, we said:

“It has beautiful bokeh that the photographer can use to separate subject and background with ease. It focuses quickly in photojournalistic situational needs. And most of all, it boasts a heck of a lot of weather sealing.”

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Nikon 40mm f2 Z

Pros

  • Durable, incredibly so!
  • Beautiful image quality
  • I like the colors.
  • Autofocus is great, but the smarts on the cameras aren’t so much when it comes to subject detection. However, it’s solid in the studio
  • Nice bokeh
  • It’s a 40mm!
  • Bro, it’s $299.99. Like, this is THE IMPULSE BUY lens from Nikon.

Cons

  • Autofocus on the Nikon z6 II is much improved, but still falls behind other brands for stuff like street photography

How’s The Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“Can you tell that the Nikon 40mm f2 Z isn’t an S series lens? Well, it’s kind of tough to do that. The S series lenses seem to have this extraordinary aesthetic beauty that I can’t really put my finger on. But so too does the Nikon 40mm f2 Z. With that said, the lens is still clinically well developed.”

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Chris Gampat

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