10 Extremely Useful DSLR Camera Lenses

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Are you looking for a new awesome lens for your Nikon or Canon DSLR? We invited our friends from Geefts – the gifts for geeks bible – to recommend the hottest lenses for every budget.
Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM FLD AF Ultra Wide Zoom Lens for APS-C sized Nikon Digital DSLR Camera

The Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM ($699) is the only one of its kind. This is the first ultra wide zoom lens with a minimum focal length of 8mm, designed specifically for APS-C size image sensors.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II IS USM Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Improving upon one of the most celebrated lenses in the Canon EF line is no easy feat, but Canon has done just that. The all-new EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM ($2069) increases the speed, performance and optical quality of the EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS USM while maintaining all of the characteristics that have made it a legend for professionals and advanced amateurs alike.

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens for Canon EOS SLR Cameras

The L-series is Canon’s flagship professional lens range, designed to include outstanding image performance, ultimate operability and weather resistance. The EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM ($1000) offers a lightweight alternative to the renowned EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM. offers the highest possible optical quality with no change in aperture over the full focal range of the lens.

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR

Compact 5.5x DX-format telephoto zoom lens ($399) with High Refractive Index lens element. ED glass and VR II image stabilization is Ideal for capturing distant subjects at athletic events, family pictures, dramatic sunsets, travel and more.

Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Nikkor Zoom Lens

This versatile and compact 3.6x Zoom-NIKKOR lens ($149) brings the action to the photographer. Ideal for portraiture, family, sports, nature and wildlife.

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

The AF-S Nikkor 35mm F1.8G DX ($199) is a lens which certainly caused a degree of dismay on its release, with many Nikon fans disappointed by the decision to make it compatible with the DX format only. However the main benefit of that decision is plain for all to see – even at its introductory price the lens costs rather less than the venerable AF-Nikkor 35mm F2.0D, despite the addition of an AF-S motor to allow autofocusing on Nikon’s entry-level D40 / D40X / D60 bodies. It’s also less than half the price of the few other DX format standard primes currently on the market (such as the Pentax 35mm F2.8 Macro, Tokina 35mm F2.8 Macro and Sigma 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM), so Nikon has managed with this lens to produce the first genuinely inexpensive (sub-$200) fast standard prime designed specifically for digital SLRs.

Sigma 50-200mm f/4.0-5.6 DC IF SLD Optical Stabilized (OS) Lens with Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

This compact high-performance telephoto zoom lens ($159) incorporates Sigma’s own Optical Stabilizer function. The lens incorporates SLD (Special Low Dispersion) glass in the front lens groups and is equipped with an inner focusing system to provide high image quality throughout the entire zoom range.

Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon SLR Cameras

Capture the far-off action of fast-paced sports or zoom in for an intimate portrait with the Canon EF 75-300mm ($270) telephoto zoom lens. The optical system, construction, and exterior are the same as the EF 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 III USM’s. The difference is that it uses a DC motor instead of a USM to drive the AF.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens

The Canon EF 50mm F1.8 II ($100) may be one of the cheapest lenses currently on the market, but its optics belie its lowly price. As befits a classic standard prime lens, it’s very sharp when stopped down (especially in the centre), shows minimal chromatic aberration, and has relatively low distortion; APS-C users will also benefit from extremely low vignetting. In most regards it comes very close indeed to its much more expensive bigger brother, the EF 50mm F1.4 USM, lagging marginally behind in corner sharpness at any specific aperture. The only real blight in imaging terms is the lens’s bokeh, or rendition of out-of-focus backgrounds, which is anything but smooth with a distinct tendency to render bright highlights as obvious pentagons (it’s a pity Canon didn’t choose to use a diaphragm with 7 or 8 blades instead of 5).

Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS Telephoto Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras

Incorporating Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer technology, this Canon 55-250mm ($220) telephoto zoom lens captures long distance, low-light shots far better than many comparable lenses, helping you photograph the far-off action of athletes or zoom in for an intimate portrait with a blurred background. The high-zoom-ratio lens is equivalent to a focal length of 88-400mm in the 35mm format (when used on Canon EOS cameras compatible with EF-S lenses).

Your turn now – do you have any recommendations?

Bogdan Rancea is a Social Media ninja who runs GraphicSwing and is a publisher at Geefts a place where he loves to share daily gift ideas for all sorts of geeks.

  • I am okay with most of your canon picks, but 70-300. The one you have mentioned here is a horrible lens with more horrible image quality. In my humble opinion, 55-250mm beats that lens in many ways. If you really want a lens in that focal length range, then you MUST buy 70-300mm USM version instead. Otherwise, 55-250mm/4-5.6 is a far better choice that the 70-300mm III mentioned here, from both usability and image quality point of view.

  • Michelle

    I love wide angle lenses and often rent them for traveling but have never splurged on one for my Canon DSLR and end up using my owned 50mm most other times.

    Are there any lower cost wide angle options that are recommended? My favourite lens that I’ve rented was the canon 10-22mm but it’s just too much of an investment for me right now.

    • The Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM seems to be a good choice for low price zoom lens: http://amzn.to/wuiO3n. Cheers!

      • Michelle

        Thanks for the suggestion, will check it out!

  • I’ve been looking at the Canon EF 24-105mm as my 28-135mm has lense creep which is annoying, it’s only a couple of years old which is disappointing to say the least.

  • Mathias

    Horrible lenses most of them.

    Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4.0-5.6 IS etc. WHAT?! That lens SUCKS. With an aperture of 5.6 at 250 I’d of HATE it.

    • davep

      Have you actually used the lens? It gets good reviews for a cheap lens.

  • tanya

    really depends what you are using the lenses for. If you’re into video like me, then the Canon 24-105 f4 is good (has both IS and fixed aperture which are essential), another absolute essential is the Canon 17-55 2.8, wow, just bought it and the focal length along with IS and the 2.8 is lovely. I’d also agree with the 70-200 2.8 with IS for video (esp for events). I bought the Sigma 8-16mm but because the aperture isn’t consistent it didn’t really work out too well, so I switched to the Tokina 11-16 at 2.8 (good quality esp for a Tokina).

  • Good list. I lusting after a 50mm at the moment. Then a good zoom. The a wide angle lens. All for Nikon – would love some suggestions if anyone has them?

  • lbartels

    I think I would like to get a 400+mm telephoto lens to photograph roseate spoonbills. Recommendations for the best (near best) camera and telephoto? I wish I could do Hasselblad but that is not possible. Canon or Nikon or similar, but which? Recommendations?

  • katline hunt

    Helpful tip! If you’re looking for a good camera lense this year, Amazon is the place to go. Got this %35 discount: http://amzn.to/1hGzlO1 – I’m so excited that I just had to share with someone.

  • Bhuvnesh K

    whats SIGMA lens we have similar to CANON 50-200 MM L series AND IS L series