Science

The most popular digital camera lenses in 2022

Looking for the best used lenses to expand your camera collection? The used goods market is particularly buoyant due to pricing and supply issues affecting the camera and technology sectors. Purchasing a high quality lens is possibly one of the best ways to improve your settings, and there are significant savings to be made if you opt for a used option in the used market.

Adding variety to your photos is one of the key features new lenses can provide. Whether you’re a landscape photographer, astrophotography enthusiast, or portraitist, different lenses can change the way you perceive, capture images, and, most importantly, force you to seek new perspectives, angles, and shots. Even though these lenses are at the higher end of the market, this is one of the reasons why buying used lenses can be a smart choice.

As always, when buying something used, do your research first. When buying from a trusted used car dealer such as Adorama (will open in a new tab)BiH Photos (will open in a new tab)BCH (will open in a new tab) and Vex (will open in a new tab) (other stores available) you can be sure that each lens will be checked, inspected and cleaned. If you are buying privately, do a simple test before making a purchase. Look for scuffs or marks on the glass, check the focus rings and zoom functions, and look for any resistance when moving between focal lengths. If possible, take a few shots with the lens before buying, but when buying online, try to shop from sellers who only use photos of the actual product you’re buying and not staged generic promotional shots of new products.

Best All-Purpose Used Lens

Canon 50mm 1.4USM Product Photo

(Image credit: Amazon)

Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM

One of the biggest improvements over the standard kit lens.

Characteristics

Install: EF mount

Autofocus: USM

Maximum aperture range: f/1.4

Weight: 0.6 lb

Filter size: 58mm

Image Stabilization: Not

Reasons to buy

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Very affordable

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Big leap in image quality

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challenges your photography

Reasons to Avoid

Not much versatility

Some used items have seen better days

If there’s one piece of advice that most photographers would give to a beginner, it’s that the best bet if you want to get better is to ditch the kit lens and go for the next level. This is where the 50mm 1.4 USM lens for Canon cameras comes in. It works with both full-frame and APS-C sensor DSLRs and delivers crisp images with excellent low-light performance. This lens is a great recommendation for a good all-purpose lens that will suit a range of different circumstances and will last through years of use. There are some excellent and affordable used examples.

The best lens for night photography

Product photo of Sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4 DC C Macro OS HSM lens

(Image credit: Amazon)

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Lens with Macro OS HSM

Another good and affordable replacement for the standard zoom lens kit.

Characteristics

Install: Nikon

Autofocus: HSM

Aperture range: f/2.8

Weight: 1 pound

Filter size: 72mm

Image Stabilization: Yes

Reasons to buy

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Canon and Nikon mounts available.

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Versatile everyday lens

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Fast aperture for this size

Reasons to Avoid

A bit boring’

Experienced users may look for a more professional kit

In addition to buying a good prime lens, we also recommend that you consider replacing the kit lenses that come with most DSLRs. With a good focal length range of 17-70mm, this is a fast lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4 at both ends of the focal length range, making for excellent nighttime and astrophotography.

It is also versatile and available in all mounting options. “HSM” stands for Hyper Sonic Motor, providing quiet, smooth, and reliable autofocus, while built-in stabilization minimizes shake when shooting handheld. In our experience, this lens also offers excellent sharpness and color reproduction.

The best lens for wildlife photography

Product photo of Nikon 80-400mm AF-S Nikkor f4.5-5.6G ED VR lens

(Image credit: Amazon)

Nikon 80-400mm AF-S Nikkor f4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens

High-performance Nikon lens with significant cost savings

Characteristics

Install: Nikon F (FX)

Autofocus: SWM

Aperture range: f/4.5

Weight: 1 pound

Filter size: 72mm

Image Stabilization: Yes

Reasons to buy

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High Quality

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Great for wildlife photography

Reasons to Avoid

Heavy

Many moving parts, potential for more wear and tear

At the expensive end of the used market

If you have a good camera body and are serious about shooting wildlife or sports photography, this versatile option from Nikon is a great option if your budget is higher. It delivers excellent results on full-frame systems, and its ‘quiet motor’ ensures exemplary autofocus speed and accuracy, as well as incredibly quiet operation.

The lens has four extra-low dispersion glass elements and an extra-low dispersion dispersion element to help correct chromatic aberration, sharpness, and color defects. This is important for a long focal length lens that helps deliver precision, sharpness and impressive results when capturing a variety of intricate wildlife details.

The best lens for wedding photography

Product photo of the Sigma 35mm 1.4 lens

(Image credit: Amazon)

Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Ultra-fast lens with excellent focal length for intimate spaces.

Characteristics

Install: Canon EF (others available)

Autofocus: HSM

Maximum aperture: f/1.4

Weight: 1.4 pounds

Filter size: 67mm

Image Stabilization: Not

Reasons to buy

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Clear shots

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excellent depth of field

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Suitable for music or wedding photographers

Reasons to Avoid

Versatility may be limited

Check Hypersonic Engine Technology Before Buying Used

The 35mm focal length on this Sigma Prime is comfortable to use with many camera settings, providing a slightly wider aspect than the 50mm lens, while still offering the same portrait capability with warm image reproduction and impressive detail.

This is one of our favorite used lenses at the moment and you can save a lot on the used lens market. This is a fast lens that performs great in low light, but we recommend trying out the lens’ autofocus and hypersonic motor before buying to make sure it’s in good working order. If you’re looking to add to your arsenal and shoot in locations where you need flexibility, like weddings, we recommend this quick fix.

Best used lens for versatility

Canon EF 24-105 f/4 L IS USM Product Photo

(Image credit: Amazon)

Canon EF 24-105 f/4 L IS USM

Comfortable, flexible lens with powerful effect and professional quality.

Characteristics

Install: Canon EF

Autofocus: USM

Maximum aperture: f/4

Weight: 1.4 pounds

Filter size: 77mm

Image Stabilization: Yes

Reasons to buy

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Universal

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Easy to use

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well built

Reasons to Avoid

Still a bit pricey for a used lens

The 24-105mm focal length can be considered one of the most versatile zoom lenses on the market, and the Canon EF 24-105 f/4 L IS USM is one of the best. Delivers outstanding quality and superb, crisp images in a variety of disciplines, from wide-angle landscapes to close-up portraits or product shots.

For some photographers, this is a versatile lens, and if you only have the money for one lens and want variety when shooting, it’s worth checking out. The focal length range has a few drawbacks: there is a bit of softness around the edges on full-frame cameras, but this improves when stopping down, and there is some distortion and barreling at wide angles. That being said, it still offers great value, and we love that it also looks well-built and sturdy – a worthwhile addition to any photographer’s camera bag.

The best lens for sports photography

Product photo Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 APO EX HSM

(Image credit: Amazon)

Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 APO EX HSM

A well-known lens among outdoor and wildlife photographers with great deals.

Characteristics

Install: Nikon (Canon available)

Autofocus: HSM

Maximum aperture: zoom f/4 / f/6.3

Weight: 4 pounds

Filter size: 86mm

Image Stabilization: Not

Reasons to buy

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Ideal for shooting wildlife and sporting events.

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Large focal range

Reasons to Avoid

Heavy

Many lenses have been well used

It has an almost unparalleled focal length range that is ideal for both large-image and detail-oriented photographers and is well suited to outdoor, wildlife and bird photographers, as well as sports photographers. However, there are a couple of words of warning, as with many lenses of this size. First, it is large and heavy, earning it the nickname “Bigma” over the years. Secondly, there is no built-in stabilization, and due to the fact that there is so much glass, this is already a rather slow lens. If you’re stopping down with this lens, your subject needs to be very well lit and you need to have steely, calm hands to keep everything in focus!

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