In this post, we compare the best general/all-arounder zoom lenses which work great in most common/general photography scenarios. This is a comparison across various camera/lens manufacturers (we cover lenses from Nikon, Canon, Tamron, Sigma, and Pentax).
We have divided the lenses into the four most common zoom lenses categories and highlighted the most important tech specs theses top rated DSLR zoom lenses have.
Best 24-70mm Lenses
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
- Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens
- Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM A
👉 Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
- The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM is one of the best 24-70mm standard zoom lenses and certainly one of the best zoom all-around lenses.
- The lens has been designed to fit the large image circle of full frame Canon cameras perfectly.
- Canon’s 24-70mm is powered by Canon’s Ultrasonic motor auto-focusing system.
- Manual focusing override is also available that ensure that you can adjust focus even when AF motor is engaged.
- The aperture diaphragm is made up of 9 rounded blades, which is perfect for beautiful looking bokeh.
- Internal construction includes three aspherical elements, one super UD element, and two UD elements.
- Overall there are 18 elements arranged in 13 groups.
- The lens also has super spectra coating and fluorine coating to ensure that it is able to prevent smudges and dirt and grime when handled in demanding situations.
- Plus, it has weather sealing which makes it definitely the sort of lens to take with you when heading outdoors and especially in inclement weather.
- The lens has an overall DxOMark score of 31 and a sharpness rating of 21 when paired with the 5D Mark IV.
- 24 70 millimetre focal length, 38.4 112 millimetre equivalent focal length on Canon APS C cameras
- F2.8 constant maximum aperture; F22 minimum, Ring type ultrasonic type AF motor with full time manual focusing
- Purchase this product between May 1, 2016 and July 30, 2016 and get 13 months of free damage protection from Canon. The...
- 82 millimetre filters, closest focusing distance: 0.38 meter/1.25 feet
- Image Stabilization : No. Focus Adjustment Inner focusing with USM. Diagonal Angle of View 84° 34°. Weight 1.7 pound
👉 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR
- Between this one and the cheaper G variant, we go for the stabilized version. Imagine what the f/2.8 lens could do when you flip the image stabilization mode to ‘On’.
- The four stops of stabilization immediately give you an incredible advantage when tackling low light scenes.
- The internal construction of the lens includes a total of 20 elements arranged in 16 groups. These include an aspherical extra-low dispersion element, plus three aspherical elements, two extra-low dispersion elements, and one high refractive index element. Together these elements take care of the different types of distortions.
- On top of it, the lens also has Nanocrystal Elements and Super Integrated Coating which ensure that its performance is not hampered by flares and ghosting.
- Auto-focusing is powered by Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor technology.
- Full-time manual focusing override has also been provided.
Related Post: Best Nikon Landscape Lenses
- Fast f/2.8 constant aperture with an electromagnetic diaphragm
- Sensational image quality and sharpness with virtually no distortion, Focal Length Range : 24 to 70 millimeter
- 4 stops of Vibration Reduction for handheld and low light shooting, Nonstick glass makes it easier to wipe off water, dirt...
- Evolution of Nikon's legendary 24 to 70 millimeter workhorse.Type:Fmount, Type E AF S lens with built in CPU and F mount.Lens...
- Minimum Focus Distance : 35 to 50 millimeter focal length : 1.2 feet (0.38 meter) from focal plane; 24, 28, 70 millimeter...
👉 Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2 Lens
- Tamron makes a fantastic 24-70mm standard zoom lens which is stabilized and works with all the major mounts. The vibration compensation is rated at up to five stops; better than the Nikkor we discussed above.
- The internal construction of the lens includes two XR (Extra Refractive Index) elements, three LD (Low Dispersion) elements, and four aspherical elements.
- On top of these, the lens also contains eBAND, BBR and Fluorine coatings. The first two ensures suppression of flares and ghosting and the last one ensures that the lens does not become a fingerprint magnet and is able to resist smudges and grime when used in demanding situations.
- Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by an Ultrasonic silent drive auto-focusing motor.
- Tamron marks the lens as moisture resistant. It is different from being water-proof. Please note this lens will not survive bad weather.
- The aperture diaphragm is made up of 9 rounded blades.
- Eband coating provides superior anti-reflection properties, and reduces flare and ghosting
- High performance MPU for AF dramatically improves autofocusing accuracy and speed
- Dedicated MPU delivers the highest image stabilization in class at 5 CIPA-rated Stops
- New VC auto detect mode 2 for panning
- Fluorine coating and moisture-resistant construction fluorine coating and moisture-resistant construction; Minimum Aperture:...
👉 Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM A
- For some, this is the best 24-70mm standard zoom lens in the business. A perfect balance between price and performance.
- A stands for Art and that signifies this lens is a superior technology.
- The construction of the lens includes three SLD (designed for suppressing chromatic aberrations) and four aspherical elements.
- In total there are 19 elements arranged in 14 groups. Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by Sigma’s Hypersonic motor technology.
- Full-time manual focusing override has also been provided.
- The lens also has Sigma’s Super Multi-Layer coating and ensures that the effects of flares and ghosting are not pronounced. Resultantly, color reproduction is good and the images are sharp.
- The lens also has a protective coating that is in place specifically for the purpose that it is able to work in unfriendly (dusty, dirty and moist) environments.
- Additionally, rubber sealing on the lens ensures that it is capable of resisting the elements from seeping in when working in inclement weather.
- Plus, as the lens is designed out of thermally stable components it ensures that it remains stable under extreme temperature.
- OS stands for Optical Stabilization. Therefore the lens is perfectly capable of shooting handheld giving it flexibility when working in low light situations.
- The lens’ aperture diaphragm is composed of 9 rounded blades. Resultantly, the quality of bokeh should be great.
- OS functionality and newly designed HSM for success on any shoot
- Lens barrel designed for high rigidity
- This all-new 24-70mm F2.8 lens from SIGMA delivers the performance and functionality that help pros succeed in news, nature,...
2. Best 18-55mm Lenses
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4 – 5.6 IS STM
- Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 AL WR Zoom Lens
- Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 G VR
The 18-55mm is a classic kit lens with the most commonly used focal length range. These lenses are also considered to be one of the best zoom all-around lenses in the business.
Why the 18-55mm are the Most Used Lenses?
Because they tend to cover the most essential focal length needed for everyday photography. This lens is usually bundled with most entry-level DSLR cameras, including those from Canon and Nikon.
While an amateur buying his first camera may not complain, a professional will hate to use with a lens that opens up only to f/3.5 (sometimes only f/4) when at its widest focal length. That said kit lenses can produce excellent results if you know your game.
👉 Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/4 – 5.6 IS STM
This is Canon’s most expensive 18-55mm kit lens offering. This costs more than a bunch of other standard zoom and prime lenses that Canon offers, because of its outstanding features:
- The construction of the lens includes one aspherical element.
- The total number of elements inside the lens are 12 arranged in 10 groups.
- Nikon has utilized super Spectra coating on this lens to ensure that it is able to handle flares and ghosting and make sure that the lens remains largely unaffected by these issues.
- Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by Canon’s latest STM (Stepping Motor) technology.
- This lens is compatible with Canon’s dual pixel CMOS auto-focusing technology giving very smooth focusing even when using auto-focusing during video recording.
- The technology also allows full-time annual focusing override.
- The lens features four stops of image stabilization.
- Seven rounded blades form the aperture diaphragm.
- Compact-size, standard zoom Lens with high image quality.
- Image stabilization at up to 4 Stops of shake Correction.
- Lead screw-type STM.
- 2.4 x 2.6 x 2.6 inches
👉 Pentax DA 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 AL WR Zoom Lens
- This is a lens that has been designed for use with Pentax DSLR camera systems.
- The internal construction of the lens consists of 11 elements arranged in 8 groups. This includes one aspherical element and one super-low dispersion glass element.
- The lens design has some amount of weather resistance.
- Plus, Pentax has provided a special SP coating which ensures that the lens does not get affected by dirt, grime, and fingerprint. Something most front lenses tend to get affected by.
- The aperture diaphragm of the lens consists of six blades only. That means this is not the best lens in the business for bokeh (soft background blur).
👉 Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 G VR
Nikon has upped its auto-focusing game with the new AF-P auto-focusing motor. This new stepping motor technology promises better, quieter and smoother auto-focusing experience. The only downside is lenses with the new auto-focusing technology will not work with the older cameras, like the D7000 or the D5100 or the D3100.
- The construction of the lens consists of a total of 12 elements arranged in 9 groups.
- The lens diaphragm is composed of a total of 7 rounded blades. This includes two aspherical elements.
- Additionally, the lens features Nikon’s super integrated coating for lens flare and ghosting suppression.
- The lens has image stabilization.
- It is rated up to four stops which gives it an incredible advantage when shooting in low light or using slow shutter speed while hand-holding the camera.
- AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR
- 7 diaphragm blades; Angle of view: 76° to 28° 50'. Maximum aperture-f/3.5, to 5.6. Minimum aperture-f/22, to 38
- Fully Compatible with the following Nikon Digital SLR cameras, including: D7500, D5600, D5500, D5300, D3400, D3300, D500,...
- Compatible models with limited functions: Df, D5, D810, D750, D7200, D7100
- Incompatible models: D4 Series, D3 Series, D2 Series, D1 Series, D800 Series, D700, D610, D600, D300 Series, D200, D100,...
3. Best 16-35mm Lenses
The 16-35mm is the next best thing to the 18-55mm kit lens. It gives a slightly wider focal length coverage than the traditional kit lens. But also the 16-35mm is traditionally a well-built lens. Additionally, this lens is designed for the full-frame camera, unlike the 18-55mm which is designed for the crop camera.
👉 Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L III USM
- This is the version three of the widely popular standard zoom lens.
- At a fast f/2.8 fixed aperture across its focal length, this is one lens that will serve you no matter whatever lighting condition you find yourself in.
- Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by a ring-type ultrasonic motor.
- The construction of this lens includes three aspherical elements and two UD elements.
- Additionally, the lens consists also a subwavelength coating (SWC), Air Sphere coating and finally, fluorine coating. The last of the three prevents dust and dirt and fingerprints from affecting the front element of the lens. The other two handles ghosting and flares which ensures better colors and sharpness.
- The best thing about the 16-35mm is it is a weather sealed construction.
- The lens has a 9 blade (rounded) aperture.
- High performance L-series ultra-wide-angle zoom lens with constant f/2.8 maximum aperture.
- All-new optical design for significant improvements in outer and corner sharpness.
- Sub wave length Coating (SWC) and Air Sphere Coating (ASC) help to significantly reduce flare and ghosting.
- Highly resistant to dust and water intrusion, enabling shooting even in harsh conditions.
- Circular aperture (9 blades) helps deliver beautiful, soft backgrounds. Not an Extender Compatiblity. Magnification with...
👉 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
A stop slower than Canon we read about previously, the Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR is another contender for the best 16-35mm lens.
- Though the Nikkor is a stop slower, it has the advantage of image stabilization built-in. 2.5 stops of it. That means you can use up to 2.5 stops slower shutter speed when hand holding the lens, which comes in handy when shooting in low light.
- Auto-focusing is powered by Nikon’s silent wave motor technology.
- The internal construction of the lens includes three aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements.
- Together, there are 17 elements arranged in 12 groups.
- Apart from that, the lens contains Nano crystal coating as well.
- The aperture diaphragm is composed of 9 rounded blades. Bokeh quality is good.
- Ideal for wide-angle and "normal" shots
- Maximum aperture: f/4 ; Offers two focus modes, M/A (autofocus with manual override) and M (manual)
- Lens construction: 17 elements in 12 groups
- Image stabilization, vibration reduction (VR II) up to 4 stops
- Nikon F mount for FX and DX DSLRs
4. Best 18-200mm Lenses
👉 Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5 – 5.6 IS
The Canon EF-S 18-200mm lens is designed for the smaller crop camera systems of Canon. The focal length range covers that what the 18-55mm lens offers and goes beyond. This versatile lens would have won the title of the best zoom all-around lenses, but for the maximum aperture. The most essential everyday shooting requirements.
- At 18mm it is wide enough to capture family photos, group shots and even landscape (though the effective focal length becomes 28.8mm in terms of 35mm format).
- At 200mm this becomes a proper telephoto lens allowing you to get close to the action. The only problem with such lenses is that they don’t have a wide aperture.
- At the tele end, the maximum aperture of the lens becomes only f/5.6. That’s where the four stops of image stabilization built-in to the lens helps to even things out somewhat, especially, when shooting in low light.
- Autofocusing on the lens is powered by a DC micromotor technology.
- The internal construction of the lens includes two aspherical elements and two UD elements.
- There are a total of 16 elements arranged in 12 groups.
- Additionally, the lens has Nikon’s super spectra coating which prevents flares and ghosting from hampering the quality of the lens.
Related Post: Best 70-200mm Lenses
- 18-200mm focal length, Closest Focusing Distance : 1.48 ft./0.45m (maximum close-up magnification 0.24x)
- 28.8-320mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras, 72mm filters
- F3.5-5.6 maximum aperture; F22-38 minimum
- Micromotor-type AF motor without full-time manual focusing. Image stabilization, 4 stops
- Canon EF-S mount for APS-C DSLRs
👉 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR II
Finally, the Nikkor AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR II lens. This is the Nikon equivalent of the lens that we just read about above.
- Designed for the crop sensor Nikon cameras the effective focal length becomes the equivalent of a 27 – 300mm lens (35mm format equivalent).
- The construction of the lens includes three aspherical elements and two ED elements.
- The lens also has a super integrated coating. This prevents ghosting and flares from affecting the quality of the images.
- Auto-focusing on the lens is powered by Nikon’s silent wave motor technology. The lens features Vibration Reduction II technology for steadier hand-held shots.
- Image stabilization is actually rated at 3.5 stops. That gives you up to 3.5 stops of slower shutter speed when working in low light conditions.
- One-lens solution adept in a wide variety of situations
- Focal length range: 18 -200 mm, minimum focus Distance: 1.6 ft.
- Two extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements; three aspherical lens elements
- Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM), Nikon VR II (vibration reduction) image stabilization
- Focus to 20 inches for extended versatility, filter thread: 72 mm.Maximum angle of view (dx-format)76°.minimum angle of view...
Related Post: Best DX Mid Range Zoom Lenses
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. He loves to test and review new photography gear. He has been writing about cameras and lenses for over 10 years now. You can consider him as your “master guide” here at PhotoWorkout.
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