15 Top Mirrorless Lenses
September 26, 2017
Hasselblad is making good on its pledge to build out its family of native XCD lenses for its mirrorless X1D medium-format camera. One of the newest in the fold is the XCD 120mm Macro lens. It offers an aperture range of f/3.5-32 and a magnification of 1:2. It has a minimum object distance of 0.43m. Like the other lenses for the X1D, the XCD 120mm Macro lens has an integral central shutter offering a full-flash synchronization.
Sony’s a7S II has pushed the boundaries of low- and available-light photography with heretofore unimaginable ISO levels. But sometimes, it’s better to let the light in the old fashioned way, with a crazy wide aperture lens. Meyer Optik’s Nocturnus 50mm lens fits that bill nicely. This ultra-fast 50mm prime lens offers an incredibly shallow depth of field with an f/0.95 aperture. There are 15 aperture blades with anti-reflection coating to bring the bokeh. When you need to dial back the incoming light, the Nocturnus stops down to f/22. This is a manual lens with dedicated rings for aperture and focus control. The aperture ring has no click stops and Meyer says it operates in “near silence” making it suitable for filmmaking. It has a minimum focusing distance of 19 inches. It’s available for Sony E mount and can mount to both full-frame and APS-C bodies and accepts 67mm filters.
The new AF 35mm T/2.8 lens supports autofocusing on Sony E-mount cameras and measures in at a squat 1.2 inches. It weighs 3 ounces. The 35mm lens can focus on objects as close as 13.8-inches from the front of the lens and stops down to T/22 (Rokinon has calibrated this lens by the cinema T-stop standard). There are seven aperture blades and it accepts 49mm filters.
Delivering a 24-200mm equivalent focal length, this new lens maintains a constant f/4 aperture throughout its zoom range and stops down to f/22. It has image stabilization that works together with the in-camera stabilizer in select OM-D and PEN cameras to deliver a whopping 6.5 stops of image correction. When used on a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera without in-body stabilization (or outside of the Olympus family) the lens will deliver five stops of shake reduction. The 12-100mm is weather proof and offers a minimum working distance of 1.5cm and a magnification of .6x.
Canon EF-M/18-150mm f 3.5 -5.6 IS STM
Canon’s mirrorless camera lineup was revitalized last year with the launch of several new models and new lenses. The compact 18-150mm (equivalent to a 29-240mm on a full-frame camera) has built-in image stabilization good for up to four stops of shake reduction. When paired with the EOS M5 camera body, the lens supports Cannon’s Combination IS stabilization system for five-axis correction during video recording. It delivers a maximum magnification of .31x and can focus on objects as close as 0.82 feet (at 18-50mm). A manual focus override lets you make manual tweaks to focus when in autofocus (the camera must be set to AF + MF).
The new FE 12-24mm F4 is Sony’s widest E-mount lens to date. It uses a linear motor for focus control and a direct drive SSM for quiet AF operation. It can focus on objects as close as .92 feet and stops down to f/22. It has seven aperture blades and uses Sony’s Nano AR coating and ED glass elements to minimize optical aberrations.
Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 ASPH
Designed for Leica’s SL full-frame mirrorless camera, this 50mm prime has an internal focusing mechanism so it retains its size as you adjust focus. It can focus on objects as close as .6m from the front of the lens. It stops down to f/22. The Summilux 50mm uses multilayer coatings on all lens surfaces to reduce chromatic aberrations and other optical ailments.
For Fuji’s X-series of APS-C mirrorless, the XF50mm delivers a 35mm equivalent of a 76mm focal length. It’s weather-sealed and offers an inner focusing system. Autofocus is driven by a quiet stepping motor and there are aperture and focusing rings on the lens’ metal body. There are nine aperture blades that stop down to f/16. You can focus on objects as close as 39cm from the front of the lens with a magnification of .15x.
This is a true macro lens with a 1:1 magnification and a scene swallowing 110-degree angle of view. There are 14 aperture blades. This full-frame lens features anti-reflection coatings, a metal build and has a distortion correction switch (+/- 6mm) if you want to mount it on an APS-C body. It’s available for Sony E-mount cameras (and DSLRs too).
This E-mount lens is weather-sealed with a focus ring that offers a generous 220 degrees of rotation for slow focus pulls. It features an electronic interface, so it transfers EXIF data to Sony cameras as you shoot and also supports focus magnification. You’ll be able to focus on objects as close as .8 meters. Great for filmmakers, the lens lets you de-click the aperture for seamless exposure transitions. All lenses in Zeiss’ Loxia line feature identical filter sizes and are compatible with the Zeiss Lens Gear system for adding follow focus accessories.
20mm f/2 The new FiRIN line from Tokina gives Sony shooters a lens that’s equally at home shooting stills or recording video. The first model, a 20mm f/2 manual focus lens, has a wide focus ring and an aperture ring that can be de-clicked for quiet and smooth exposure changes during video recording. It has nine aperture blades and stops down to f/22.
While Sigma’s Art line has been a hit with full-frame DSLR photographers, this 30mm f/1.4 prime brings similar image quality to Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount cameras—at an eye-popping price. With nine aperture blades and a minimum aperture of f/1.4 (stopping down to f/16), this prime can deliver a shallow depth-of-field and rounded bokeh. And the Contemporary weighs in at a svelte 9.3 ounces.
If incredibly shallow depth of field is your thing, and you own a Micro Four Thirds camera body, the Voightlander 42.5mm is worth a look. This monster offers the 35mm equivalent of 85mm, making it a nice portrait lens. It stops down to f/16 and has 10 aperture blades. You’ll be able focus on objects as close as .23m from the front of the lens with a magnification ratio of 1:4.0. It’s a manual lens with both focus and aperture rings.
Fuji is growing its portfolio of lenses for its medium-format camera system. One of the newer primes is the GF23mm F4 R LM WR (equivalent to the 18mm in 35mm format). Like other lenses in the line, the GF23mm is built to resolve over 100-megapixels. It’s weather-sealed and uses a linear motor to drive autofocusing. The GF23mm stops down to f/32 and offers nine aperture blades. It can focus on objects as close as 38cm.
Offering a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24mm, the SUMMILUX 12mm is splash and dust proof and has two UED and one ED lens element to reduce flare. It stops down to f/16, has nine aperture blades and close focusing up to 0.66 feet. The lens employs an inner focus drive system and a stepping motor for smooth AF, and is compatible with Panasonic’s Depth to Defocus system. There’s an aperture control ring for manually setting aperture and the lens mount, barrel and lens hood are all made of metal.