18 Great Prime Lenses for Full Frame, Medium Format and APS-C Cameras
May 11, 2018
TH Swiss Irix 11mm f/4
The 11mm f/4 is the second lens from the relative newcomer. It’s available for full frame Canon, Pentax and Nikon DSLRs and is a manual focus lens that features a focus lock mechanism, a rear gel filter slot, and will click when focus reaches infinity. Like the company’s 15mm lens, the 11mm is sold in two versions. Both are weather sealed and have nine rounded aperture blades that stop down to f/22. The Firefly is built with a lightweight composite with an anti-slip rubber coating focus ring. The Blackstone is built with a durable aluminum and magnesium body with engraved fluorescent markings on the lens.
Zeiss Loxia 2.4/25
The 25mm manual focus lens further rounds out Zeiss’s Sony E-mount line. According to Zeiss, the lens is largely distortion free thanks to its optical design. It features electronic contacts to transfer lens metadata and focus movements to your camera body, so functions like focus peaking and zoom magnification work properly. The aperture can be de-clicked using a supplied tool for smooth exposure transitions during filmmaking. The Loxia stops down to f/22 and can focus on objects as close as 9.84 inches with a magnification of 1:6.4.
Leica APO-Summicron-SL 75 mm f/2 ASPH
Fashioned for the company’s SL full-frame mirrorless camera, the new 75mm is the beneficiary of “state-of-the-art, extremely precise manufacturing methods and measuring technologies that were developed specifically for the production” of new SL lenses, according to Leica. Autofocusing is driven by a new Dual Syncro Drive stepping motor system which can travel the entire focusing range in 250 milliseconds, Leica says. The lens is Apochromatic to minimize chromatic aberration and stops down to f/22. The 75mm f/2 lens can focus on objects as close as .5m with a magnification of 1:5.
Tokina FiRIN 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.
Rokinon SP 50mm f/1.2
Rokinon is making a renewed push for Canon owners with a new line of full-frame lenses with improved optics and build quality. The SP 50mm is designed to resolve 50-megapixel images or handle 8K filmmaking, according to Rokinon. It features a nine-blade aperture that stops down to f/16. It’s composed of aspherical and high refractive elements to cut down on optical aberrations. It supports Canon control modes and writes EXIF lens data to your image file. The lens can focus on objects as close as .45m with a magnification of .17x.
Canon EF 85mm f/1.4 IS USM
Canon’s first EF 85mm lens with image stabilization, the 85mm f/1.4 offers up to four stops of shake correction, per CIPA standards. The lens has nine aperture blades and full-time manual focus override. The lens is weather-sealed with fluorine coating on the front lens element to make it easier to clean. It can focus on objects as close as 33.5 inches.
Sony FE 100mm F/2.8 STF GM OSS
Featuring Optical SteadyShot image stabilization and a Smooth Trans Focus optic for creating bokeh when shooting wide open, the 100mm has been built to accommodate Sony’s high-resolution camera bodies. It uses a Direct Drive SSM for fast, quiet autofocusing and can focus on subjects as close as 1.87 feet from the front of the lens. It sports 11 aperture blades and stops down to f/20.
Lensbaby Burnside 35
This wide-angle variant on a Petzval lens creates a bright, central focus area surrounded by a swirly bokeh and vignette. The effect is controlled via an aperture slider on the exterior of the lens body. You can focus on objects as close as six inches from the front of the lens. The Burnside will be sold for a variety of mounts including Canon EF, Nikon F, Sony E and A, Pentax K, Micro Four Thirds and Fuji X.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 105mm f/1.4E ED
An instant favorite with many Nikon shooters, the 105mm is the world’s first to boast an f/1.4 aperture, according to Nikon. The full-frame (FX format) lens features an electromagnetic aperture control for consistent exposures during high speed shooting. It’s weather sealed and uses fluorine coatings on the front and rear lens elements to make dirt and moisture easier to wipe away. There’s a nine-blade diaphragm that stops down to f/16 as well as Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat technology to minimize flare and ghosting.
Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD
Like its predecessors, this 90mm Macro (model F017) offers 1:1 magnification. Unlike older versions, the SP 90mm delivers improved image stabilization (dubbed Vibration Correction or VC). The lens can now correct for XY-shifts thanks to a new, built-in accelerometer, to keep images sharp when you’re moving. The VC is good for 3.5 stops of image stabilization, per CIPA standards. Tamron also tweaked the software controlling the lens’ Ultrasonic Silent Drive actuator to improve autofocusing accuracy when shooting objects at close range. You can focus on objects as close as 11.8 inches. The lens has a full-time manual focus override function that lets you manually adjust focus even when autofocus is engaged. It’s available in Canon, Sony and Nikon mounts.
Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D
The world’s widest rectilinear f/2 native lens for Sony E-mount cameras (as of now), the Laowa 15mm f/2 FE Zero-D features an optical design that minimizes distortion and maintains a relatively lightweight frame of 1.1 pounds. Unlike many wide-angle lenses, the 15mm has a flat front surface and accepts 72mm screw-on filters. It’s a manual focus lens that can focus on objects as close as 15cm from the front of the lens and the aperture can be de-clicked.
HD PENTAX-D FA★ 50mm F1.4 SDM AW
This weather-sealed lens will be the company’s highest performing full-frame lens to date, able to coax out maximum resolution from high-resolution sensors. The 50mm lens will incorporate a new ring-shaped Supersonic Direct-drive motor for faster and quieter autofocusing. It can focus on objects as close as 0.4 meters.
FUJINON GF45mmF2.8 R WR
One of the newest lenses for Fujifilm’s medium-format camera system, the GF45mm weighs in at 17oz. and is dust- and weather-sealed. It uses Nano GI coating to reduce flare and ghosting and features nine aperture blades that stop down to f/32. It can focus on objects as close as 45cm with a magnification of 0.14x.
Hasselblad XCD 120mm Macro
A member of the growing family of optics for Hasselblad’s compact X1D camera, the 120mm Macro 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 full flash synchronization up to 1/2000 sec.
Schneider Kreuznach 45mm f/3.5 LS
The new Blue Ring lens series for Phase One XF medium-format cameras is built to please the pixel peepers with the ability to resolve 100-megapixel images. The 45mm delivers the equivalent of a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera. It’s a leaf shutter lens that supports flash sync at up to 1/1600 sec. shutter speeds and stops down to f/32.
Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO
With a 34mm equivalent focal length, this new PRO series lens delivers “feathered bokeh” when shooting with a shallow depth of field, Olympus promises. It uses Z Coating Nano technology to reduce flare and ghosting and is dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (down to 14°F/-10°C). You’ll find a programmable L-Fn button and a manual focus clutch, which lets you switch between auto and manual focusing by pulling the focusing ring toward the camera body. The 17mm lens incorporates a newly developed ED-DSA lens element, which Olympus claims has the characteristics of both an ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens element and a DSA (Dual Super Aspherical) lens element. The ED-DSA lens compensates for chromatic aberrations, distortion and color bleeding on the image periphery. The ED 17mm is capable of focusing on objects as close as 30cm with a magnification of .15x. The lens has nine aperture blades and stops down to f/16.
Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN C
A member of Sigma’s growing family of crop-sensor mirrorless lenses, the 16mm Contemporary is available for Micro Four Thirds and Sony E-mount cameras. According to Sigma, it’s the world’s first E-mount lens in an APS-C format to offer a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24mm with an f/1.4 aperture. When mounted to a Micro Four Thirds body, the 16mm offers a 32mm equivalent focal length. It features a stepping motor for smooth autofocus during video shooting and a dust and splash-proof lens mount. The nine-blade aperture stops down to f/16. You can use Sigma’s mount conversion service to change an MFT lens to an E-mount (and vice versa) for an extra fee.
Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power O.I.S
This 400mm equivalent Micro Four Thirds lens delivers the sharpest-ever corner-to-corner image quality of any Lumix lens, according to Panasonic. It’s compatible with Panasonic’s Dual Image Stabilization system and features a weather-proof build. There are nine aperture blades that stop down to f/22. You can focus on objects as close as 3.8 feet with a magnification of .2x. The lens includes a 1.4x teleconverter, giving you the equivalent of a 560mm lens.