In a world where manufacturers are continuously rolling out lenses left and right, it’s easy to lose focus and get intimidated by the multitude of options available out there. With so many different brands, focal lengths, apertures, and whatnot, one may wonder which ones are considered as a real bargain.
If you’re someone who uses mirrorless cameras for both shooting video and taking stills, you may find useful the next video produced by Christopher Frost Photography that runs down ten excellent low-budget lenses that definitely should be on every indie filmmaker’s radar.
Starting with those of low focal lengths, there are three options suggested above. The first one on the list is the Meike 6.5mm f/2 which is a fisheye lens that’s also incredibly affordable. The unit comes in variants that support the Sony E, Fuji X, Canon EOS M, and Micro 4/3 mounts. As the focal distance implies, this is a fish lens with a very wide angle and may only be used for special applications. So, if you’re looking for a lens with some creative flare yet still high in detail, this may be an excellent choice.
If you need something less extreme, however, the Samyang 8mm f/2.8 UMC II could be even a better fit. The lens is sharp and still provides a bit of a fish eye effect. Unfortunately, autofocus is not supported, which is something you need to keep in mind. The Samyang 8mm can support Sony E, Fuji X, and Canon EOS M mounts but it’s twice the price of the Meike 6.5mm f/2 selling for around $270.
Want to shoot wide? Look no further than the Samyang 12mm f/2 NCS CS lens. Despite its low focal length of 12mm, it doesn’t provide much of a fish-eye, making this rather sharp lens perfect for wide-shots, scenery, and architectural photos. The lens supports only manual focus and is priced at $300, compatible with Sony E, Fuji X, Canon EOS M, and Micro 4/3 mounts.
The Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM is a relatively new lens that only supports Canon mirrorless cameras. Despite that limitation, for $250, the lens is a steal as it provides highly-detailed images with autofocus while being better-than-average in low light due to its f/2.0 aperture.
The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC DN ‘C’ lens is an excellent purchase for those looking for a lens that sits between a wide and a portrait-style (that would be about the focal distance of the human eye). The unit only supports Sony-E and Micro 4/3 mounts and does include autofocus. As with the other lens, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 also produces striking, clear images and performs amazingly in low-light mainly due to the f/1.4 aperture.
Keep in mind, though, that the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC lens will set you back $339. If you’re in a tight spot with money and still want to get the 30mm focal length, Sigma offers a less expensive variation of the unit – the Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN/DN ‘A’ lens which is priced at $130 cheaper than the f/1.4 model.
Probably the biggest steal out of every lens on this list is the Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens. This piece of glass works on Sony E, Fuji X, Canon EOS M, and Micro 4/3 mounts and has no autofocus. As expected, the f/1.7 aperture of the lens works beautifully in low-light situations. With a price tag below $100, there’s almost no reason why you shouldn’t have this lens in your kit.
In the realm of normal-length prime lenses, the video gives you three recommendations. The Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 manual focus lens supports the Sony E, Fuji X, Canon EOS M, and Micro 4/3 mounts and has a crazy low aperture, allowing for both unparalleled low-light performance and eye-catching background blurring effects.
Meanwhile, if you are a Sony mirrorless camera user, there are two options to opt for. For APS-C Sony Mirrorless cameras, the 50mm f/1.8 OSS lens with autofocus is undoubtedly the way to go. Not only does the lens provide sharp images, but it also includes built-in OpticalSteadyShot (image stabilization) which is perfect for both photography and filmmaking applications.
If you’re using a full-frame mirrorless from Sony, the less expensive 50mm f/1.8 FE provides the same level of image quality as the OSS version, although it does not include an optical image stabilization as a built-in feature. Its sleek design, on the other hand, makes it well-suited for everyday shooting, while the fast f/1.8 maximum aperture benefits working in low-light conditions while offering increased control over depth of field effect of the captured images.
Last but not least on the list is the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 EX DN/DN ‘A’ lens with autofocus. With a 90mm focal length equivalent in the 35mm format and a maximum aperture of f/2.8, the unit can achieve stunning visuals even in low light. Plus, it comes equipped with a newly developed linear autofocus motor that provides accurate and quiet focusing which is ideal when shooting video. So, if you’re in the market for a mid-range telephoto length lens, this might be what you need, granted that your camera uses a Sony-E or Micro 4/3 mount.