Best Lens For Car Photography [2021 Review]

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Car photography is not for the faint-hearted for it requires a certain amount of expertise many might not have. Be it a fast car in motion, a race car shot taken from the stands or a promo shot of a brand-new release set in the shiny emporium itself.

Car photography consists of several components that have to come together harmoniously in order to deliver the right photograph. And do not forget that the car connoisseurs do not settle for anything less than extraordinary. This brings us to the topics of lenses and the journey of finding the best lens when it comes to car photography.

List of Best Lens For Car Photography

  • Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G Lens
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens
  • Sigma 24mm f/1.4 HSM Art Lens
  • Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Lens
  • Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Lens
  • Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens
  • Canon EF 35MM f/2 IS Lens
  • Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Lens
  • Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens
  • Panasonic Lumix 45-200 mm f/4.0-5.6 G 11 Lens
Brand
Best Overall
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens
Best for the Money
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 HSM Art Lens
Best Cheap Pick
Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G Lens
Product
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon...
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
Lens Type
Normal, Telephoto
Wide Angle
Standard
Maximum Focal Length
200mm
24mm
50mm
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens
Product
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon...
Lens Type
Normal, Telephoto
Maximum Focal Length
200mm
Rating
Price
Best for the Money
Brand
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 HSM Art Lens
Product
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF
Lens Type
Wide Angle
Maximum Focal Length
24mm
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G Lens
Product
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
Lens Type
Standard
Maximum Focal Length
50mm
Rating
Price

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens

Despite being around for a long time, the fact that this lens still makes the list has a lot to say about it. The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens has seen several upgrades over the years. Canon has always been a huge name in the photography industry but numerous individuals vouch for this lens as being one of the best you can find in the market.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon...

The lens is made up of a metal body, making it sturdy and tough. It also consists of a weather sealing that makes it immune to the rain and a fluorine coating to prevent dust and grease build-up. This lens is almost made particularly for the purpose of car photography, limiting its uses; but would be the perfect lens for a photographer in the car niche.

The lens comes with a lens case, lens cap, lens hood cap, and lens hood. The lens is made up of quality materials and has a robust construction making it suitable for shooting in harsh conditions without sustaining any damage to the lens.

PROS

  • Air sphere coating to prevent ghosting and flare
  • Brilliant focal length
  • Minimal chromatic aberration
  • Minimal vignetting
  • Bokeh can be executed well with the help of this lens
  • Image stabilization to shoot in low light settings
  • Three IS manually switchable modes
  • Ultrasonic ring matter
  • Quick autofocus

CONS

  • Limitations on its use
  • Manual focusing
  • This lens is considerably heavy when compared to the others on the list; weighing in at 1490 grams
  • A bit on the expensive end
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS III USM Lens for Canon...
  • Constant f 2.8 Maximum Aperture throughout Entire Zoom Range.
  • Canon’s Air Sphere Coating (ASC) Minimizes Ghosting and Flare.
  • Optical Image Stabilization at up to 3.5 Stops of Shake Correction.

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 HSM Art Lens

This Sigma lens is said to be a breath of fresh air in the realm of photography lenses, made for shooting in natural lighting, the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art prime lens is an excellent lens for car photography and is one of the best among all the 24mm lenses.

Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF

Sigma shot to fame as a contender to the big brands with its lens of insane quality at affordable prices often accompanied by irresistible discounts. In order to make the most of this lens, it would be best to pair it with Nikon F and Canon EF cameras.

Although the lens is compatible with a few set cameras, the company offers the buyer a USB and mount conversion service. This service includes the formatting of the glass so that it can become compatible with other mounts as well.

The exterior of the lens is made up of metal making it one study lens to have. It is also lightweight and compact; weighing 665 grams.

PROS

  • Strong vignetting
  • SLD and FLD glass elements
  • Reduced distortion
  • Low levels of chromatic aberration
  • Quick autofocus
  • Hypersonic motor
  • Durable shelf life
  • Multi-layer covering coat
  • Advanced optical construction

CONS

  • Inconsistencies in sharpness and dullness of the photograph
  • Field curvature
  • No protection against moisture, grease, or dust
Sale
Sigma 24mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art Lens for Canon EF
  • Minimum focus distance of 7.1
  • As part of the art Line within Sigma's Global vision series, this Lens' is designed to achieve truly...
  • A Super multi-layer coating has been applied to Lens

Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G Lens

Undoubtedly one of the best among 50mm lenses and it is no surprise that it is a product from Nikon. But what makes the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G Lens stands out is the optical formula of it, a brand-new creation featured by Nikon that consists of seven elements. These elements are in six groups which include an aspherical one as well.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens

The Nikkor lens is extremely lightweight; weighing in at 187 grams. The company recommends that the lens be paired with the Nikon D700 digital SLR camera for maximum performance. In order to protect the lens from damage caused by moisture, the lens is completely sealed.

This also makes it the optimal pens for car photography as the sealed lens also prevents the collection of dust. Apart from being quality-packed, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G lens is also highly affordable and versatile.

PROS

  • Silent wave motor which is exclusive to this Nikon lens
  • Manual autofocus override; it functions full-time
  • Weather sealed lens mount
  • Iris diaphragm with seven blades
  • Rubber ridged focusing ring
  • Excellent center sharpness
  • Creates bokeh
  • Consists of a quality plastic made filter thread
  • Focus mode switch; consists of auto and manual settings

CONS

  • Does not come with an aperture ring; it is part of the G series
  • No vibration-reducing features
  • The Focus limiter is absent
  • Slight geometric distortions
  • Causes the formation of vignette
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens
  • Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX format prime lens. The picture angle with 35 millimeter (135)...
  • Focal length 50 millimeter, minimum focus distance 1.48 feet (0.45 meter)
  • Newly developed optical system with aspherical lens element, exclusive Nikon silent wave motor (SWM)

Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Lens

Considered to be a revolutionary lens from Sony, the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom Lens is a product created by pushing the limits to make it to the top of the best. This lens has been titled as the best mid-range zoom lens in the whole wide world. This lens is perfect when you want to take it out on a sunny day to shoot a new car out in the open.

Sony - FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom Lens...

The lens is made of high-quality plastic and the lens has a glass coating that makes it resistant to harsh weather conditions. The lens is lightweight and compact, weighing 664 grams. It is efficient and makes for a smooth shooting process.

This standard zoom lens consists of four aspherical and three ED glasses. The lens has a Nano AR coating which helps reducing flaring and ghosting in photographs. Apart from being weather-resistant, it is also built to prevent dust collection.

PROS

  • Rounded diaphragm blades
  • Silent and quick autofocus; make use of a direct drive SSM focus motor
  • Focus lock button to maintain focus on a detail
  • Excellent bokeh effect
  • The sharpness of the object while also being able to blur the background
  • Minimal color aberration
  • Image stabilization to shoot cars in motion
  • Sun star control
  • MF/AF button on the side allows for instant manual control
  • Constant maximum aperture

CONS

  • Unsatisfactory shock resistance
  • Fragile exterior
  • A bit on the expensive side
Sale
Sony - FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS Standard Zoom Lens...
  • G-lens design with 4 aspherical and 3 ED glass (extra-low Dispersion) elements, for high...
  • 35 mm full-frame.Constant F4 maximum aperture maintains exposure and Depth of field throughout the...
  • 9-blade circular aperture contributes to beautifuly de-focused bakgrounds

Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Lens

Nikon lenses have always held the title for providing high definition and quality like no other, a professional photographer’s dream come true. The Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G lens is perfect when paired with Nikon DSLRs and FX in the DX(APS-C) format. It consists of a multi-layer coating which makes it weather, dust, and grease resistant.

Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto...

This fixed lens consists of a unique optical that consists of seven-bladed apertures and nine spherical elements on the whole. The lens is also lightweight and compact, making it easy to just slip into your bag while on the go.

PROS

  • HD videos even in low light
  • Silent wave motor
  • High-speed autofocus
  • Integrated multi-layer coating
  • Auto and manual focus modes
  • Customizable focus hold option
  • SWM provides accuracy
  • Double linear motor system
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Wide aperture
  • Defocusing effect

CONS

  • The exterior feels fragile
  • An expensive purchase for beginners
  • Limited uses outside car photography
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G Fixed Lens with Auto...
  • Fast aperture medium telephoto lens
  • Internal focus, focal length: 85 millimeter, minimum focus range: 0.80 meter
  • Silent wave motor (SWM). Number of diaphragm blades: 7 (rounded diaphragm opening)

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens

You know you can turn to a Canon lens for any and every occasion, this lens is nothing short of this reputation. The Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 lens is compatible with every Canon camera and delivers images and shots of astonishingly high quality. It consists of sensors of the APS-C size that have a field of view factor present at 1.6x.

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD Standard...

The Canon lens consists of this unique technology by the name of Ultra Sonic Motor (USM). This technology drives the camera into having the ability to focus quickly and silently. Among all of the lens created by Canon, this lens in particular is most compatible with car photography.

The lens is also lightweight and compact; weighing 575 grams in total. But true to its word, this Canon lens provides professional-grade reliability and quality seen in its shots and videos.

PROS

  • The focal length of 24-36mm
  • Image stabilization
  • High precision optics
  • Wide-angle performance is brilliant
  • Sharpness of images
  • Ability to shoot in low light conditions

CONS

  • No protection from harsh weather or dust
  • The edges are too sharp
  • The exterior seems fragile
Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM UD Standard...
  • 15-85mm lens with f3.5-f.5.6 aperture; for use with APS-C cameras
  • 35mm equivalent to 24-136mm focal length range
  • Dedicated image stabilization

Canon EF 35MM f/2 IS Lens

The Canon EF 35MM f/2 IS Lens is a modern lens that touts some advanced features that the company had been working on making better. It showcases a new optical design that is meant to drive faster operation and high quality. It is a modern lens that one can experiment when if you want to steer away from the traditional for a bit.

Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Wide-Angle Lens

The lens is optimized to be put to work for maximum ghosting and flare. The aperture at its maximum allows access to shallow dept. Its brilliant Canon Optical Image Stabilizer can recognize normal shooting and immediately switches to the IS mode.

PROS

  • Image stabilization
  • Ultrasonic focus
  • Glass-molded aspherical lens
  • Rear focus system
  • Ring-shaped USM
  • Quick and precise autofocus
  • micro-stepping drives
  • AF and manual mode
  • Eight blade circular aperture

CONS

  • Not the weather or dust resistant
  • Flaring when making use of maximum aperture
Canon EF 35mm f/2 IS USM Wide-Angle Lens
  • Focal length and maximum aperture: 35mm 1:2
  • Lens construction: 10 elements in 8 groups
  • Diagonal angle of view: 63 Degree

Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Lens

A beginner-friendly lens, the Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Lens is a decent choice for those just starting and who wish to learn and experiment before committing to car photography. Individuals can get the best use out of this Tamron lens by pairing it with a full-frame camera for any brand like Nikon, Canon, or Sony.

Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens...

This lens uses a unique technology by the name of Vibration Compensation or VC and its main function is to provide out-of-this-world image stabilization. The VC consists of an on and off switch that can be manually operated by the user. It consists of an ultrasonic focus motor that provides quick and silent autofocus.

The Tamron lens has wonderful features and that includes its focus distance hitting a minimum at 0.2m and a maximum reproduction ratio sitting at 1:2.5. The exterior is made up of a metal barrel which gives it a sturdy feel.

PROS

  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Quick and precise autofocus
  • Moisture protected, weather sealing
  • High durability
  • Excellent build quality
  • Affordable

CONS

  • The lens is bulky and large measuring at 8cms in length
  • Noticeable barrel distortion
  • Disappointing optical issues
Tamron AFF012N-700 SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens...
  • TAMRON DEALER With FULL Warranty
  • INCLUDES BONUS Tamron TAP-In Console Lens Accessory for Nikon Lens Mount
  • ALSO INCLUDES Front and Rear Lens Cap, Flower-Shaped Lens Hood, Warranty

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens

The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens is a lightweight, medium-sized addition to your camera for photographing cars in different settings. It is moisture and dust-resistant. The lens allows the user to photograph a car even if it is considerably far away. The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 Lens is possibly the most used lens in the market.

Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed...

This Sony lens has a magnification ratio at a maximum of 0.13 and the angle of view of this zoom lens is 29 degrees. The motor system on this lens makes focusing a quick and easy job while the image stabilization means you can shoot cars in motion without worrying about a blurry photograph.

PROS

  • Double linear motor
  • Excellent image stabilization
  • Wide aperture with nine circular blades
  • Defocusing effect
  • Customizable focus hold button
  • Responsive focus ring
  • Easy to clean and maintain
  • Eye AF feature
  • Reduces aberrations
  • Dust and moisture protective coating

CONS

  • Expensive and a bit of a commitment for beginners
  • Limited uses outside of car photography
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 Medium-Telephoto Fixed...
  • Wide F1.8 maximum aperture enables beautiful defocusing effects
  • 9-blade circular aperture creates beautiful round defocused bokeh
  • ED glass element for corner-to-corner sharpness,Minimum Focus Distance:2.63 feet (0.8 m)

Panasonic Lumix 45-200 mm f/4.0-5.6 G 11 Lens

Panasonic packs a punch with this zoom lens that is the right choice for you if you are on the lookout for a single lens that would fit all occasions. The Panasonic Lumix 45-200 mm f/4.0-5.6 G 11 Lens is optimal for shooting outdoors, the right partner to take along when sitting on the sideline of a nail-biting car race.

Panasonic Lumix G II Vario Lens, 45-200mm,...

PROS

  • High-quality photographs with sharp colors
  • Weather and dust protected
  • The exterior is constructed in a way making it splashproof
  • The built-in image stabilizing technology
  • Durable exterior
  • Affordable
  • Beginner-friendly

CONS

  • Cannot accommodate low light shooting
Panasonic Lumix G II Vario Lens, 45-200mm,...
  • Updated Panasonic LUMIX 45-200mm zoom lens replaces H-FS045200.
  • 90-400mm F4.0-5.6 (3 UED)
  • Upgraded support for harsh weather conditions (Splash proof / Dustproof).

Frequently Asked Questions

What Lens Is Optimal For Car Photography?

While the needs of each photography might differ, it is recommended to use a 35mm or an 85mm lens. Anything else would either be too wide or just not quick enough to capture a car at high speed. But this is not set in stone because some might be photographing a fast car in action out in natural sunlight while others could be photographing a new car in an artificially lit garage or showroom.

How Do I Start Up With Car Photography?

The first step is not to get all the best gear together but instead, it is to just get out and start photographing. You can do it with whatever gear you own and you do not need to stick to cars themselves, diversify by clicking photographs of other vehicles. Once you learn and experiment, you can then determine what you like and what to buy.

What To Look For When Buying A Lens For A Car Photographer?

Because you might be shooting a lot of cars in motion, the aperture and shutter speed is key. Apart from that, look for image stabilization, autofocus, and weather-resistant protection features. Also, ensure to pay attention to the exterior and its size because if it is too bulky you might not be comfortable lugging it around at times.

How Do I Determine Which Lens Would Suit The Camera I Own?

Each lens comes with a bunch of camera suggestions it is compatible with that would allow the lens to meet its highest performance. For example, the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G Lens is recommended to be paired with a Nikon D700 digital SLR camera.

The Sigma 24 mm f/1,4 DG HSM Art Prime lens works magic when paired with Nikon F and Canon EF cameras and the Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G Lens is compatible with Nikon DSLRs and FX in the DX(APS-C) format only.

What Is Chromatic Aberration?

Also referred to as purple fringing or color fringing, chromatic aberration is a commonly occurring problem in photography optics. This happens when a lens is incapable of bringing all the color wavelengths to the same focal plane. This can be avoided when the lens can focus on a circle where there is the least color confusion.

What Common Problems Arise With Camera Lenses?

The commonly occurring problems with camera lenses are ghosting, flaring, blurry shots, being too sharp at the edges, chromatic aberration, and such.

What Lens Is Best For A Beginner?

The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Lens is affordable and consists of an array of good features that could help you harbor and grow your interest in car photography into more than just a hobby.

The Canon EF 35MM f/2 IS Lens is a modern lens and an excellent option if you want to move away from tradition and experiment with your own style of photographing cars.

What Causes Damage To Camera Lenses?

Your number one enemy would be dust, although it might seem insignificant, dust could potentially make a lens unusable. If the fine dust or sand were to make its way into the interior of the camera lens, the damage would be irreversible, and fixing it would not be an option.

Another cause for damage would be attaching accessories or attachments to the camera lens that are not compatible with it or are too old or not clean. This could be another way of transferring fine dust into the interior of the camera lens.

Can Scratches On The Camera Lens Affect The Photograph?

Scratches on the camera lens could have little to no effect on the final result. But in exceptional cases, scratches can cause flaring in the particular area of the photograph and you might even notice a certain change in color contrast between the area of the scratch and elsewhere.

Do Camera Lenses Wear Out?

A camera lens has the ability to outlive the camera itself but it is all dependent on the amount of care you shower on the lens. They last for years to come and require little to no repair when regularly cleaned and managed. It is known that the camera lens you buy today could be relevant years later as well.

Conclusion

A camera lens plays a key role in car photography where the cars are in motion so what better way to make these elements shine than to make use of a camera lens that will boost the performance and quality on the whole. Hopefully, this list of camera lenses for car photography can help you take better shots of the shiny sports car.

Jared Bauman has spent more than twenty years in the professional photography profession. He founded Bauman Photographers in 2001, which is a wedding and commercial photography studio in San Diego, California. The company has been in business for 20 years, and has a stellar reputation in the community. In 2007, Jared co-founded ShootDotEdit, the premium post production company for professional wedding photographers worldwide. The company has edited millions of images for photographers around the world. Jared has spoken and presented at the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference 9 years in a row. He has also given several multi-day courses on Creative Live, in addition to two national speaking tours.