Getting a new camera usually means getting a slew of new accessories and one of the first most people start looking for are new lenses.
There’s a big risk labeling anything the “best” when it comes to either cameras or accessories. Photography is a very competitive field from an equipment standpoint and the best of anything will frequently depend on the type of camera you have and what type of shooting interests you the most. Beyond that is figuring out the context. The best value for the money? The best quality at any price? The highest rated?
If you’ve looked at ten different site rating lenses, you’ll find ten different sets of recommendations. That’s not because they’re being bought off by manufacturers, it’s because there is so much good equipment on the market.
What I tried to pick here are lenses that have a loyal following and prove themselves useful in a wide variety of situations. I’m also going to assume you got a kit lens with the camera, most of which are fairly good lenses.
The 50mm lens has proven itself in 35mm photography for decades and the new breed are lighter and faster than ever before. A good 50mm lens is one of the few that will serve you equally as well with either a full frame or crop sensor camera.
Equally good for portraits and landscapes, the 50mm will be the most consistently useful lens in your bag.
Available for Canon and Nikon the Sigma 17-50 is a great lens for shooting fast and on the go, making it a great choice for photojournalism. It gets 4.5 stars on 65 reviews at Amazon Marketplace.
This lens is very similar to the Tamron 17-50mm, which is my favorite portrait lens but I should clarify that is in the context of photojournalism, not studio portraits. Gets a slightly lower overall rating compared to the Sigma because of the focusing noise and sometimes clumsy zoom ring. Compare the two here.
These two lenses tend to be the workhorses for many professional photographers. The zoom range gives you plenty of stand-off range for shooting weddings and events, particularly on an APS-C camera. I’ve seen them shot under almost every conceivable shooting situation, including studio work, and they always deliver consistently good results.
Certainly these lenses are not the best choice for every shooting situation, but they have proven themselves useful and reliable over the years. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these in your bag.