with Courtney Slazinik
The Ultimate Lens Comparisons for Finding Your Perfect Lens
The Ultimate Lens Comparisons for Finding Your Perfect Lens

Who doesn’t love new lenses? The way it changes how you shoot, the depth of field, and the beautiful aperture. I want to give you a super handy lens comparisons so you too can experience the new lens feeling.

There are so many different lenses out there that it can be overwhelming. All of the numbers and brands start to blur together. Let’s have a look at some of my favorites, and do a lens comparisons to make it easier for you when you’re ready for your next lens.

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Full Frame vs. Crop Sensor for a focal length

Before we can compare lenses, we need to determine whether you use a crop sensor or a full frame camera.

This matters because it will change the focal length on the lens so it might make you consider a different lens.

What’s the difference?

Yellow lab laying in front of a white and green wall. Pink lines to show crop sensor vs full frame photo

A full frame camera is exactly what is sounds like, it will give you the full mm listed on your lens. If you have a 50mm lens, the focal length is 50mm.

Whereas the crop sensor has a crop of 1.6x (Canon) or 1.5x (Nikon). So on a crop sensor a 50mm lens will actually have the focal length of 80mm (Canon) or 75mm (Nikon).

A further explanation! Everything You Need to Know About Crop Sensor Vs Full Frame

Keep in mind for lens comparisons

If you aren’t sure if you have a crop sensor or a full frame, you can do a quick search and find out since it will really help you determine which lens to buy.

If you aren’t ready to buy a lens here is When and Why you Should Consider a Lens Rental.

Lens Comparisons of different focal lengths

24mm focal length lens example
35mm focal length lens example
50mm focal length lens example
85mm focal length lens example

What are the types of lenses?

Prime and zoom lens

There are two main types of lenses prime and zoom. Both are great but each serve there own purposes.

What is a prime lens?

A prime lens is one that has a fixed focal length. Meaning if you want more or less in your frame, you have to move your feet. Fixed means the lens doesn’t move once it’s on your camera.

child in a blue swing with a very blurred background using a prime lens to show a lens comparison
50mm f/1.4

They are usually smaller and more lightweight and easier to travel with.

What is a zoom lens?

Zoom lenses offer you multiple focal lengths. You can move closer or further away just by adjusting the lens.

They tend to weigh more since they have more glass.

Kid running on a baseball field wearing a pink helmet. The lens used for this is a zoom lens to show an example for a lens comparison
70mm-200mm f/2.8

Prime lens comparisons

24mm lens

Photo of a black 24mm lens for lens comparison

Nikon f/1.4 | Canon f/1.4 | Sigma f/1.4

This is going to be your go-to lens for environmental shots. It is a wide angle lens that allows you to get more in the frame. Because of that it might cause a little distortion.

This is a beautiful lens for travel it has a wider aperture so it’s perfect for Group photography, landscape or street photography.

photo of Durdle Door on the Jurassic coast in England. Shot with a 24mm lens for a lens comparison.
24mm f/1.4

Read more on Lens Distortion: What Every Photographer Should Know

35mm lens

Photo of a black 35mm prime lens for lens comparison.

Nikon 35mm f/1.8 | Canon 35mm f/2

The 35mm lens is a universal lens that is easy to use indoors or for travel. It’s small and lightweight but allows you to fit a lot in the frame without too much distortion.

A pink Disney castle with a blue roof.
35mm f/1.4

One reason I love the 35mm is because you can buy this lens with a wide aperture such as f/ 1.4. This gives you that beautiful blurred background without compromising your space.

A brown and white cow in a green field in front of a foggy hill with a castle on top. Shot with a 35mm lens for lens comparison
35mm f/1.4

50mm lens

Photo of the 50mm lens for lens comparison.

Nikon 50mm | Canon 50mm

The “Nifty Fifty” is a great first lens to have! The lens boast a wide aperture, and it is small and easy to keep on your camera.

The 50mm lens is great for portraits.

A brown basket full of wraps with meat a vegtables.
50mm f/1.4

85mm lens

Tamron 85mm f/1.8 | Nikon 85mm f/1.8 | Canon 85mm f/1.8

With a focal length of 85mm you are going to get very beautiful portraits.

The 85mm has a wide aperture and will do a great job at making the subject stand out from the background.

Child smiling wearing a yellow shirt with multicolored polkadots. The portraits has a blurred background because a 85mm lens was used for lens comparison
85mm f/1.8


A Lensbaby is a lens that is for the creative photos. It’s on ball and socket mechanism and allows you to do special effects. This lens probably won’t be your every day lens, unless creative photography is your thing. It sure is fun.

Child wearing a pink swim suit running on a beach with a lot of distortion due to using the lens baby lens.

Just for you! 4 Reasons to Travel with the Lensbaby

Zoom lens comparisons

24-70mm lens comparison

Photo of 24mm-70mm lens for lens comparison

Nikon f/1.4 | Canon f/1.4 | Sigma f/1.4

The 24-70mm lens is a great lens to have on if you are unsure of what you are going to be shooting.

Maybe you’re on vacation and you want some photos of the hotel you stayed in AND you want some close ups of the family. This universal lens will do it all.

A ride at Disney with two children standing in front wearing mickey hats with their names across the back. The photo was taken with a 24-70mm lens
24mm-70mm f/2.8

Keep in mind that the aperture is as wide as a prime lens, but you will still be able to get some blurred background.

70-200mm lens comparison

Image of a 70mm-200mm lens for lens comparison

Nikon 70-200 2.8 | Canon 70-200 2.8 | Tamron 70-200 2.8

This is my go-to sports lens. If you are wanting to shoot some action shots of your favorite football player, this is the lens you want.

It’s also a great lens for outdoor photography as it has such a close zoom.

child riding a pink and white bike. The lens used is a zoom lens to show a lens comparison.
70mm-200mm f/2.8

Unfortunately with such a great zoom, you aren’t able to get a wide aperture.

Is a higher mm lens better?

The higher the mm number on the lens, the closer it will be. So it will not always be better to have less space. Ultimately, only you can answer this question because it depends greatly on your subject matter and your photography style.

Higher mm lens comparison

For example if you are in a house, you probably do not want to be using a 70mm-200mm zoom lens because you will not have much room in your frame.

a mother wearing a green sweater reaching out to pick up a child wearing a crown headband.
70mm-200mm f/2.8

Photography style for lens comparisons

What is your photography style? This will really determine what mm length will be the best for you.

An 85mm is perfect for Portrait photography but maybe not the best for street photography.

Portrait of a woman wearing a black and white striped shirt taken with a 85mm lens for lens comparison.
85mm f/1.8

70-200mm is a great lens for sport photography and a 50mm is great for travel.

Using the descriptions above, you can tell that a higher mm number doesn’t mean “better.”

What brand has the best lenses?

When doing a lens comparison, you will come across many names like Nikon, Sony, Canon, Tamron, and Sigma to name a few.

A tan and black dog laying on the ground.
85mm f/1.8

Lens comparisons for different brands

What you should know is that every brand has really great lenses and sometimes not so great lenses.

I suggest reading reviews for the different brands for each lens you are looking at. Then consider your budget.

Want a Peek Inside My Camera Bag?

Child wearing sun glasses and a pink shirt holding a pink camera.
85mm f/1.8

Should I buy a third party lens?

A third party lens is a lens that is not made by the camera brand. That means Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina are all third party lenses.

Here’s what I would say if you asked What Lens Should I Buy?

Third party lens comparisons

When doing a lens comparison you can consider buying a third party lens to usually help save some money.

While there are some differences in the name brand lens compared to the third party lens, I don’t think it’s enough to make that much of a difference.

I regularly use both a Tamron and a Sigma and I love them. I can honestly say that I can’t tell a difference in the quality.

a grandpa holding a child's hand walking through a Christmas tree farm.
24mm-70mm f/2.8

Lens Comparison FAQs

What are the most essential camera lens?

Decide what your photography style is and go from there. Some people NEED a zoom lens and others need a fast smaller prime lens. Just try to keep the aperture wide since it will give you that professional blurred background.

What lens should I buy as a beginners?

As a beginner you will probably want a lens that allows you to have a wide aperture like 1.8. I love my 35mm and my 50mm. They are both prime lenses that are a cost efficient way to practice photography. You will also be able to use them as a professional. If you choose a zoom lens make sure to get a fixed aperture.

Read more about photography gear for beginners.

Should I buy the kit lens?

I say ditch the kit lens. You can save your money and spend it on a better quality lens at the same price or maybe even cheaper. Go for a lens like the 50mm 1.8. I promise you it will be significantly better than the kit lens.

Which lens is better 35mm or 50mm?

They both are wonderful lenses you can’t go wrong. The 50mm is a cheap option for sharp portraits. The 35mm is a classic wider frame that allows you to still get crisp photos but gives you a little more room to work with. Lucky for you, I have a whole post that compares the two so you can decide for yourself which one is the perfect match for you. Check my post on 35mm vs 50mm.

Read more about the gear I love:
5 Reasons to Shoot with a Wide Angle Lens
Camera Lens Series: Everything you Need to Know
Canon Lens Comparisons


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