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Top 20 Best Budget Lenses 2020

Good lenses don't have to be expensive as you'll find out in our top budget lens round-up, with lenses suitable for almost all types of camera system.

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We list the Best Budget Lenses you can buy in 2019 that won't cost you the earth. We also show that there is a range of budget macro, bright portrait, and creative lenses available that you can afford, as well as superzoom and telephoto lenses that can get you closer to your subject. So if you're looking for your first lens, or second lens (after the kit lens) for your interchangeable lens camera, mirrorless or Digital SLR, then this list is for you. All the lenses featured here have 4 stars or above and are available for under, our around, £200. 


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If you don't see your favourite lens here there could be two reasons for it: one, it didn't score high enough or two, we've not reviewed it yet. If it's the latter, please do add your comments below on new lenses you'd like us to review and we'll do our best to oblige. 


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1. Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX  (APS-C, Nikon mount)

Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX

For around £150, this compact wide aperture lens weighs only 200g. It sports excellent optical quality and a good build quality. It's a superb value prime lens that delivers excellent quality images. 

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2. Pentax 35mm f/2.4  (Pentax) 


If you're a Pentax user, you can pick this lens up for around £120. It features high-quality optics and is a very compact model. It doesn't have weather sealing or a lens hood but will make a great prime addition to your kit. 

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3. Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN A -  (Micro Four Thirds, Sony E-Mount)

Sigma 60mm f/2.8 DN 5

This 60mm prime for Micro Four Thirds lenses is available for about £150 and has an unusual smooth focusing ring and produces a pleasing out of focus blur. Its bright f/2.8 aperture allows for some nice bokeh, too. It's in Sigma's Art range of lenses and is great for macro images. It offers outstanding sharpness even at maximum aperture and has a quick autofocus to boot. 

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4. Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN A -   (Micro Four Thirds, Sony E Mount)

30mm f/2.8 EX DN
The Sigma 30mm f/2.8 EX DN A has a bright f/2.8 aperture and features a newly developed linear focus motor. It's available for around £170 and provides a moderate wide angle view equivalent to 45mm on a 35mm camera. This compact and lightweight lens is ideal for MFT/Sony mount photographers and has excellent sharpness for maximum aperture.

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5. Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN A (Micro Four Thirds, Sony E Mount)

19mm f/2.8 EX DN

The Sigma 19mm is a wide-angle lens with a bright f/2.8 aperture and a newly developed linear focus motor. With a metal mount and high-quality plastic body, the lens is lightweight without compromise. This wide prime sports a quick autofocus and excellent sharpness from maximum aperture. It's also resistant to flare which is good for shooting in bright situations. It's available for around £170.

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6. Lensbaby Spark (Nikon or Canon)

Lensbaby Spark front lens

The Lensbaby Spark is a bargain at £79 for Canon and Nikon DSLR users. It's an experimental lens that features a tube enabling you to bend it around and distort the focus points of the photo, creating unique results. Great for those that love experimenting, the lens allows you to change the focus point easily. It features circular bokeh and has a threaded front to allow you to use filters, extenders and other accessories. 

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7. Meike 85mm f/1.8 (Full-Frame Canon) 

Meike 85mm f/1.8

The lens is no trouble to use, it does the job, maybe not with the smooth finesse of more expensive optics, but in a workmanlike and efficient way. At the price, who could complain. For anyone wanting an inexpensive 85mm f/1.8 lens, this must be one of the strongest contenders.

Handling being fine, the real bonus is that the optical performance is excellent. Even the edge softness wide open can be seen as an advantage for dreamy portraits, although some may see it as a drawback. Creatively, the lens has lots of potential.

In summary, a fine lens that's very easy to like, at a price where there's little to lose.

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8. Panasonic Lumix 25mm f/1.7 -  (Micro Four Thirds)

Lumix 25mm F1,7 Front Three Quarter View

The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 weighs just 125g, and has an equally light price, at around £149. It has a 47-degree angle of view and is the equivalent of a 50mm lens on a 35mm camera, meaning it will see the world similarly to how the eye sees it. The lens features low distortion, low CA, close focusing ability and is well made. 

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9. Meike 50mm f/1.7  (Sony E, FE)

Meike 50mm f/1.7

Given that the price is fantastic, both for the Meike lens and the competition, then we need to consider whether a metal lens, manual focus, traditional in design, is preferable to the various camera makers' Plastic Fantastic offerings.

The Meike image quality is a strong factor, as is the dust and moisture resistance. On the other hand, the AF lenses will be faster and easier to use and are pretty good themselves.

Overall, Meike has produced a very impressive lens at a very impressive price, but the final choice is a very individual one based on features, performance and ergonomics rather than price.

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10. Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM -   (Canon FF and APS-C)

Canon EF 50mm F1 8 STM (4)
This Canon optic is available for a meagre £101 and promises smoother, quieter autofocus than its predecessor, making it good for shooting video too. Made from high-quality plastics and featuring a metal bayonet, the lens is still lightweight at 160g. It offers excellent sharpness when stopped down and very good sharpness in the centre at maximum aperture.

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11. Kelda 6.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye -  (Canon and Nikon)

Kelda 6 3mm Fisheye Lens (1)

Kelda may not be a brand you've heard of before but if you want a good quality fisheye lens that won't break the bank, their 6.5mm is available for £133. For the price, it has good build quality and outstanding sharpness in the centre when stopped down. The lens also features stereographic projection, which means images look more natural than a standard fisheye lens. 

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12. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Pancake (for APS-C, Canon)

Canon EF S 24mm STM (3)

This Pancake lens is available for £139 and gives you an ultra-compact wide-angle view. It weighs only 125g and offers fast focusing and good value for money. It's suited for a wide range of subjects and is really versatile.

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13. Canon EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM -  (APS-C, Canon)

Canon EF S 55 250mm IS STM (9)
This telephoto zoom has Canon's new stepping motor technology - giving quieter, smoother autofocus performance. This makes the lens great for video applications as well as photography. It's available for around £150 and offers fast focusing, an effective stabiliser, as well as great sharpness in the centre throughout the zoom range. It's also lightweight.

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14. Sony DT 30mm f/2.8 SAM Macro -  - (Sony A Mount)

Sony Sam 30mm Macro Dt Lens

This 30mm Macro lens for Sony SLRs with APS-C sized sensors will be great for anyone looking to dip into macro imagery without breaking the bank. It's lightweight, compact and is capable of very good results as well as being compact and great value for money. 

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15. Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC -  (Canon and Nikon (APS-C))

Tamron 18 200mm VC Lens (9)

The Tamron 18-200mm is a classic lens offering quality Tamron features including Vibration Compensation for both Canon and Nikon users. A DC motor is used, offering fast and silent operation. The lens offers good flare resistance, very low central CA and has impressive central sharpness, all for an excellent price of around £170.

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16. SainSonic Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 Lens (Sony E-Mount, MFT, Canon EOS-M, Fujifilm X)  

SainSonic Kamlan 50mm f/1.1 Lens


KamLan has a simple, ambitiously specified lens for a very low price. It is well made, performs well and, within the limitations of manual focus and lagging edge quality, it is still a lens that delivers something very useful. The bright f/1.1 aperture is one thing and the gorgeous bokeh is another. The lens is not technically perfect, but it does have excellent photographic, creative qualities that could be used to advantage.

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17. Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8 -  (Pentax)

SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
This lens is now available for £99. It's a lightweight lens with a wide maximum aperture of f/1.8. If offers extremely low CA and distortion levels and will be ideal as a standard prime lens. It's also lightweight and has fast focusing. 

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18. Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DI LD Macro -  (Full-frame/APS-C, Nikon, Canon)


70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2

This Tamron lens is now over 7 years old, but it represents great value for a zoom lens. It's available for around £90. This lightweight lens offers a macro function and it isn't the fastest lens around but will be a great starter option for those that don't have a lot of money to spend on a zoom. 

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19. Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM -  (Sony Alpha A-Mount (DSLR/SLT))

Sony 50mm F18 Lens

SAM stands for Smooth Autofocus Motor and that's something that this lens incorporates. Made from lightweight yet rigid plastics, this lens offers value for money as well as being lightweight. It's available for around £100 and gives quality images when stopped down.

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20. Olympus 9mm f/8 Fisheye Body Cap Lens -  (Micro Four Thirds)

Olympus Fisheye 9mm Lens (5)

This fixed aperture fisheye lens for MFT cameras has a wide-angle of view - 140 degrees, and a barrel distortion effect similar to full-sized fisheye optics. The lens is manual focus and is available for around £90. If you want fuss-free operation and size is an issue for you, then this lens will be ideal.

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MKTony 3 2
10 May 2020 7:07AM
Why no “Top lenses for Fujifilm” article?
10 May 2020 6:45PM
You can't argue with a lot of these lenses. I have the Pentax "Plastic Fantastic" pair of DA35mm and DA50mm models. The 35 in particular works beautifully on full frame, the 50mm a little less so due to a bit of blurring on full frame at certain distances to subject and aperture, but still great on the K-1 overall if you take that into consideration. My 35mm F1.8 nikkor is a little gem on the D3400, fast and silent with great rendition, and the Panasonic 25mm F1.7 is wonderful on my GX-1. A great combination.

I would probably add a couple more to this list, the nikkor 50mm F1.8 and the Olympus 45mm F1.8. Both lovely lenses to use with excellent results, yet quite cheap to buy, especially second-hand.

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