Over the past 12 months we have reviewed many lenses from different manufacturers for different cameras. Here is a round-up of our favourite 12.
1. Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8
Panasonic's 35-100mm is a fine lens that is priced reasonably, especially when compared to lenses covering the same angles of view for 35mm format, with the added bonus of being much more compact, and lightweight, although the price may put this lens beyond the reach of your average amateur snapper.
Those looking for similar optical performance to Nikon's top of the range 70-200mm, but without quite as much weight, or expense will love this new f/4 variant. It delivers sharp, contrasty images, focuses fast and isn't so heavy that you'd regret packing it in your camera bag.
Sharpness is very good from maximum aperture, and can even be considered as outstanding as the lens is stopped down. The light weight and compact dimensions of the lens should make this an ideal addition to any serious NEX camera owners kit bag. The addition of OIS can only enhance the appeal of this lens.
This lens has excellent optical quality and features such as the fast f/2.8 maximum aperture, optical stabilisation and fast, silent autofocus. Those serious about macro photography, using a telephoto focal length to increase the working distance will love this lens. It's sharp, well built and very well featured.
Most people purchasing this lens will probably pick it up as part of a kit with a new Panasonic G series camera, and shouldn't need to be in any rush to replace it, as it performs well. Those with existing Panasonic optics may find the compact size and manual zoom control appealing.
Ultra-wide angle lenses don't generally get much better than this optic. Sure this lens isn't cheap, but you get a lens that is more than capable of delivering superb results with extremely low distortion, barely any sign of chromatic aberrations and outstanding sharpness.
The optical performance of the Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro VC USD lens is excellent. It delivers superb sharpness and contrast plus distortion, chromatic aberrations and falloff are kept in check also. The Vibration Compensation system is a useful addition for hand-held photography also.
The slow maximum aperture helps to keep the weight of the lens down, so may be especially well suited to those looking for a high quality tele-zoom, without weighing themselves down too much. Optical performance is remarkably consistent throughout the zoom range.
If you're looking for a sharp, moderate wide angle with a fast aperture and can live with focusing manually, you need look no further. The performance at f/1.4 is amazing for a lens that costs under £400, and this is with good build quality, low CA, distortion and falloff that is typical of lenses with a fast aperture like this.
With the advent of professionally orientated Micro Four Thirds camera, it makes sense that Panasonic would want to release a weather-sealed professional spec f/2.8 zoom. Performance wise, this lens delivers sharp, contrasty images with low CA and distortion, which should be expected of a pro-spec zoom.
The Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD offers very good optical performance for a reasonable price. The added bonus of Vibration Compensation will appeal to many, especially if your photography tends to require shooting at slower shutter speeds in low light, rather than faster shutter speeds to freeze action.
If you need a 300mm f/2.8 for your Canon camera, then this lens is a truly amazing performer. Expensive as it may be, it is sharp, rugged, fast to focus, has little distortion, is resistant to flare and doesn't suffer badly with chromatic aberrations. It works exactly as you'd expect a lens costing this much should do.