Editors’ Picks: Best Photo Gear 2019

Our annual selection of noteworthy cameras, lenses and photo accessories

Best Photo Gear 2019: Lenses

Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S

Currently the widest option for Nikon full-frame Z cameras, the focal length range of the NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S is ideal for landscape, travel and astrophotography. Nikon designed this lens with a front lens element that’s nearly flat, allowing the use of optical filters over the front element. At 1.07 pounds and just 3.5 inches long when retracted, it’s considerably smaller and lighter than similar NIKKOR lenses designed for full-frame F mount DSLRs like the popular AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED. It offers a minimum focusing distance of 11 inches. List price: $1,299. Contact: Nikon, nikonusa.com.

Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art

Available in the new L-Mount developed in partnership with Leica and Panasonic for use with cameras such as the Sigma fp, as well as E-mount for Sony full-frame mirrorless, the Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG DN Art is an excellent option for wide-angle landscapes and also astrophotography with its fast ƒ/2.8 constant maximum aperture. It achieves a minimum focus distance of 11 inches throughout the range and includes a rear filter holder accessory. List price: $1,399. Contact: Sigma, sigmaphoto.com.

Tokina opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF

For full-frame Canon and Nikon DSLRs, the Tokina opera 16-28mm F2.8 FF offers wide-angle zoom range ideal for landscape photography. Optimized for use with full-frame cameras, it can also be used with APS-C DSLRs, providing a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of approximately 24-42mm. The lens can focus on objects as close as 11 inches and features Tokina’s One-Touch Focus Clutch Mechanism, which enables seamless switching between auto and manual focus. It’s also rectilinear, eliminating the curvature of straight lines that can occur at wide-angle focal lengths. List price: $699. Contact: Tokina, tokinausa.com.

Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM

The most versatile zoom available yet for the Canon EOS R mirrorless system is the Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 IS USM. This affordably priced, “all-in-one” 10x zoom is smaller and considerably lighter than the system’s RF 28-70mm F2 L USM, making it an ideal choice for EOS R users who want to carry a single lens that can handle most photo opportunities. It can focus as close as 1.64 feet at the wide end of its range, extending to 2.56 feet at the telephoto end. The optical image stabilization system provides up to 5 stops of correction. List price: $899. Contact: Canon, usa.canon.com.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3

A wide-to-tele zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3 offers a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24-400mm—a very versatile range for everything from wide-angle landscapes to wildlife telephoto shots and a great option for travel photography when you want to carry a single lens. At the wide end of the range, the lens can focus as close as 3.9 inches; at longer focal lengths, that distance extends to just over 2.25 feet. List price: $899. Contact: Olympus, getolympus.com.

Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD

Available in Canon and Nikon mounts, the Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD (Model F045) offers a prime focal length popular for landscape and travel photography, and a fast ƒ/1.4 maximum aperture. As a Di lens, it can be used with full-frame and APS-sensor DSLRs, providing a 35mm-equivalent focal length of approximately 52.5mm when used with the latter. The lens is capable of focusing on objects as close as 11.8 inches, making it ideal for wide compositions with a prominent foreground subject. List price: $899. Contact: Tamron, tamron-usa.com.

FUJINON GF100-200mmF5.6 R LM OIS WR

Designed for use with its GFX medium format mirrorless system, Fujifilm’s FUJINON GF100-200mmF5.6 R LM OIS WR has a 35mm-equivalent range of 79-158mm. It has 5-stop image stabilization built in and is compatible with the GF1.4X TC WR teleconverter to provide a range equivalent to 111-221mm. It can focus on subjects as close as just under 2 feet at its widest focal lengths and 5 feet 3 inches at the telephoto end of the range. It also features weather sealing for outdoor adventures. List price: $1,999. Contact: Fujifilm, fujifilmusa.com.

Sony 600mm F4 GM OSS

Sony has made giant strides in the super-telephoto lens segment in the last two years, and the 600mm F4 GM OSS prime, one of Sony’s premium G Master lenses, fills an important gap for pro wildlife and sports photographers who need the ultimate optical quality and a larger maximum aperture. This lens incorporates Sony’s most advanced AF drive system, employing two extreme dynamic (XD) linear motors. With no gears and limited moving parts, the XD drive is designed to be ultra-precise, fast and reliable. The lens also features an upgraded image stabilization system with three modes; Mode 3 offers an “advanced algorithm that ensures easier framing when following moving subjects.” A drop-in filter slot allows the use of filters, including the Sony VF-DCPL1 polarizer. It’s compatible with Sony’s E-mount 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters for even greater telephoto reach. List price: $13,000. Contact: Sony, sony.com.

Sony 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS

Introduced along with the 600mm F4 GM OSS, the Sony 200-600mm F5.6-6.3 G OSS zoom is the more versatile and affordable of the two. One key aspect of the lens design is that it’s an internal zoom, meaning that the lens doesn’t increase in length when extending to longer focal lengths, so it remains balanced when mounted on a tripod and is also less susceptible to dust and moisture, with fewer potential access points. The autofocus motor in this lens is Sony’s Direct Drive SSM (DDSSM) focusing system, which is fast, accurate and quiet. A focus range limiter with three settings can be employed to quicken AF acquisition. Like the 600mm prime, it’s compatible with Sony’s E-mount 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters. List price: $2,000. Contact: Sony, sony.com.

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