DPReview Top Picks: Stand-out third party lenses
When you buy into a new camera system, it can be tempting to only consider lenses of the same make as your camera. But other lens manufacturers also produce interesting alternatives, some of which provide unique capabilities, or simply excellent quality at a relatively low price. So it can be well worth exploring these offerings too.
Who else makes lenses for my camera?
The main third party manufacturers are Sigma, Tamron and Tokina, and all three make fully-featured autofocus lenses for SLRs, often including such goodies as ultrasonic-type focus motors, image stabilisation and (occasionally) weathersealing. Another name to look out for is Samyang, which makes inexpensive manual focus primes with a reputation for very decent optics; the same lenses are also rebadged and sold under the Rokinon, Bower, Opteka and Pro Optic labels. At the other end of the scale, Zeiss and Voigtländer make premium manual focus primes with the emphasis on optical quality (and prices to match).
How are the lenses in this article chosen?
In this article, we're highlighting our pick of stand-out third party lenses. By this we mean lenses that offer something that the camera manufacturers own options can't match, either in terms of zoom range, maximum aperture, or value for money. This does mean that many of the lenses we've picked are quite expensive, because outstanding features can command a high price. There are plenty of inexpensive lenses worth buying too though, but while they tend to be good value, they're generally not quite as outstanding in terms of optics or features.
Here's the full list of the lenses we've picked, and why. Click on any lens name to see full specs, user reviews and sample images (opens in a new tab/window):
- Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM | Art - Outstanding image quality for all SLRs
- Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM | Art - The fastest zoom for interchangeable lens cameras
- Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM - The widest zoom lens for APS-C / DX SLRs
- Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM | Sport - Unique fast long telephoto zoom
- Tamron SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD - The only optically-stabilised 24-70mm F2.8
- Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD - High quality stabilised fast telezoom
- Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX II - The fastest wideangle zoom for APS-C / DX SLRs
- Tokina AT-X Pro 12-28mm f/4 DX - Versatile wideangle zoom for APS-C / DX
- Samyang / Rokinon Fisheyes - Inexpensive fisheye lenses
- Samyang T-S 24mm 1:3.5 ED AS UMC - The most affordable tilt-and-shift lens
- Voigtländer Nokton F0.95 family for Micro Four Thirds - Ultra-fast primes with movie-making in mind
Nov 22, 2016
Nov 28, 2016
Nov 27, 2016
Nov 21, 2016
Youthful trainspotter turned adult photographer, John Sanderson has traveled across the United States, documenting the country's railroads. But you won't find any trains in his pictures.
Sony's new CMOS sensor is backside-illuminated and offers an all-pixel global reset function which should drastically reduce rolling shutter effect when panning.
Shoulderpod has converted its offerings into a lego-like modular system by offering all individual parts of existing products separately, allowing users to build exactly the rig they need for a specific project or simply replace a damaged part.
Photographer Felix AAA has spent the past ten years touring the world with a variety of musicians, capturing behind the scenes shots and portraits. He talks about some of his favorite images on the FujiFilm Blog.
A roll of film discovered in an Argus C2 from an Oregon Goodwill turned out to contain some incredible images – and has been re-united with the original owner's family.
Nikon's 28mm F1.4E ED appears to roundly complete the company's updated lineup of fast, professional prime lenses. We've already seen some initial images from a Nikon ambassador, but we've worked through a gallery of our own, with a lens of our own over the past week. Take a look.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.