If you want to start vlogging, and you don’t know much about the complicated camera industry, you are probably pretty confused about what lens to get.
Do not worry.
I know it can be overwhelming at first, but I’ve created this massive post so you can know exactly what lens you need for your vlogging aspirations.
Since so many people can’t wait to get a fast answer, I’ll list all my favorite lenses now. However, I recommend you keep reading to understand how to choose the perfect one for your own situation.
Table of Contents
- My Favorite Vlogging Lenses of Each Brand
- Tell Me, What Lens Do I Need?
- The 51 Best Lenses for Vlogging
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My Favorite Vlogging Lenses of Each Brand
Most of these lenses don’t have Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), so these are only good if your camera has In-Body Stabilization. If you need a lens with stabilization, then keep reading because I’ll give you more options with OIS later on in this post.
Tell Me, What Lens Do I Need?
First, you will need to know the sensor size of your chosen camera. It will probably be one of these 3:
- Micro Four Thirds
Most DSLRs have an APS-C sensor, while full-frame are only found in the most expensive models on the market.
This is because Full-frame is the largest size and the one with the most benefits in terms of image quality.
On the other hand, Micro Four Thirds sensors are the smallest of these three and are often found in some mirrorless camera brands like Panasonic and Olympus. APS-C is still common in Sony mirrorless cameras.
You need to know your camera’s sensor size so you can choose the right focal length for you.
Choose First the Ideal Focal Length
A lens with a 50 mm focal length will look more zoomed-in when used on a Micro Four Thirds camera than on an APS-C.
Likewise, a lens with a 50 mm focal length will look more zoomed-in when used on an APS-C camera than on a Full-frame.
You want to choose first the ideal focal length because it tells you how much zoom your camera is going to have.
I wanted to show you how different focal lengths look like by showing you some example images of 50 mm, 35 mm and 24 mm lenses, which are the three common focal length choices for vlogging.
All the images I’m going to show you in a moment were taken in an APS-C sensor camera, so if your camera uses any other size, refer to the following table to know which focal length you need to achieve the same look:
Focal Length Equivalency Table
|80 mm||50 mm||38 mm|
|56 mm||35 mm||27 mm|
|38 mm||24 mm||18 mm|
To choose the right focal length for you, you will need to know how you will be using your camera.
When to use a 50mm lens
If you’re recording from home—and you have a lot of space for your studio—the highest quality will come from a 50mm lens.
To use it effectively, you will need a tripod, since it is a lens with a decent amount of zoom.
And you will also need a lot of space and a remote controller to put the camera far away from you.
Here’s how 50mm compares on a Full-Frame versus an APS-C:
You can’t see it in the picture, but she’s pretty far away from the camera, and she still looks pretty close to it.
This is why this is not a good focal length for vlogging while holding your camera selfie-style.
If you don’t like all that zoom, a 35mm lens is a nice middle-ground that can help you stand closer to the camera. It’s better if you lack the space in your room, but it is still not recommended for handheld vlogging.
When to use a wide-angle lens (24mm or less)
If you want to use your camera in selfie mode and walk around with it while recording videos, you will need a wide-angle lens that allows you to stay close to the camera.
I like to choose something that is no higher than 24mm for APS-C.
If you use a selfie stick to carry the camera while recording yourself, it should look like something like this:
You can use even wider lenses but bear in mind that at some point things start looking a bit too distorted, similarly to a fish-eye lens.
It is recommended to use a selfie stick—one of these small tripods will do—to use together with your camera, as it will give more stabilization and help you get the camera away from your face.
Do You Need Optical Image Stabilization (OIS)?
I would never recommend a camera that doesn’t have image stabilization (IS) on this site.
Yes, it is that crucial for vloggers.
If you don’t believe me, watch the following video of a video test with and without OIS on a GoPro HERO5 Black:
Nobody wants to get dizzy after watching you while you move around your camera.
A lot of the DSLRs and mirrorless cameras I recommend on this site don’t come with image stabilization… but that’s just because you can buy a lens with optical image stabilization for them.
But it is not true that you will always need it.
You do NOT need optical image stabilization when:
- You plan to set your camera on a tripod and just let it there recording
- You need to walk around with your camera while recording but your camera already has in-body IS (digital IS doesn’t count)
You DO need optical image stabilization when all of this is true:
- You need to walk around with your camera while recording (handheld)
- Your camera’s body only comes with digital image stabilization
Basically, if you need to hold your camera, you will need Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
Lenses with OIS are more expensive, so you really need to know if you really need it.
And after that, you can start asking yourself how much are you willing to invest in your lens.
And for that, you will need to…
Know About f-Number and Aperture
You will see that the f-number is one of the important characteristics you will see in these lenses.
It will look like something like this: f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2.0…
This is just a measure used to tell the maximum aperture the lens is capable of.
- More lens aperture = more light the lens allows to enter the sensor
- More lens aperture = higher quality
- More lens aperture = lower f-number
The lower the f-number, the more light the lens can receive. This translates into better low-light performance.
Also, the lower the f-number, the lower depth of field there is. This translates into producing more of that blurry background effect everyone likes.
The lower the f-number, the better quality your lens will achieve. It will give you better Bokeh effect, more light and sharper images.
Larger focal length lenses have more aperture—i.e. lower f-number—so that’s why you should start by asking if you could use a 50 mm, and if it’s too much zoom for you, choose a wide-angle lens with less aperture, like a 24 mm.
Always aim for the lowest f-number you can afford.
Do Not Get an Incompatible Lens
The last thing you need to know is the kind of lens mount your camera has.
Even if the lens is made for your specific brand and sensor size, the last thing you need to know is the mount.
For example, not all APS-C Canon lenses are compatible with all Canon APS-C cameras. You will need to know if your camera uses EF, EF-S or EF-M mount.
If you think this is too complicated, do not worry.
I’m making sure I’m including all the mounts and all the info you need to know to see if a lens is compatible with your camera.
You can simply refer to your camera manual—or product info on any e-commerce site—to know the sensor size and mount your camera has.
Now You Know How to Choose
So, finally, you’ve learned to take these things into consideration:
- Know your camera’s sensor size
- Know the focal length you need for your vlogging style
- Know if you need optical image stabilization
- Know your camera’s lens mount so you don’t get an incompatible lens
- Buy the lens with the lowest f-number you can afford to get the most quality
Now you’re ready to go to the table I made for your brand and choose one of the vlogging lenses I’ve selected to be great for vlogging.
The 51 Best Lenses for Vlogging
Canon Vlogging Lenses
Prime Lenses (No Zoom)
50mm (to use while standing far away from the camera):
I’d recommend you use a tripod to record with these, as you’ll need to get away from the camera to be inside the frame, even on Full-frame cameras. None of these lenses have image stabilization because they aren’t meant to be used while moving around too much.
You can begin to use these lenses to record yourself in selfie mode if you’re using a Full-frame. On APS-C cameras, use these for tripod recording instead of a 50mm if you think the zoom is too much.
Wide-angle for Handheld Vlogging
These lenses are made for recording in selfie mode on both APS-C and Full-frame cameras. These lenses achieve a really wide image when using the latter.
|Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM Lens||$149.00||Check on Amazon|
|Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM Lens||$289.21||Check on Amazon|
|Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical Super Wide Angle Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras||$689.95 $576.00||Check on Amazon|
|Canon EF 20mm f/2.8 USM Wide-Angle Fixed Lens||$539.00 $279.99||Check on Amazon|
|Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Wide Angle Lens - Fixed||$599.00||Check on Amazon|
EF-M Lenses for Canon Mirrorless
These lenses are compatible with Canon’s EF-M lineup, which are their mirrorless APS-C cameras.
These lenses are really good for vlogging. They are lightweight and most have image stabilization.
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Types of Canon Lenses
If you see the following acronyms on a Canon lens name, this is what they mean:
IS (Image Stabilization)
Many DSLR cameras don’t come with image stabilization, which is the main thing you should look for if you need to record while moving. A lot of vloggers like to take their cameras and record while walking around with them. These lenses are perfect for this because the image won’t look shaky as you move and record.
These Canon lenses were made to use on their full-frame cameras. However, they are also compatible with APS-C.
You can also use them on an EF-M mirrorless with this adapter.
The lenses are only compatible with APS-C sensors. If you want to use it on a Canon mirrorless camera that uses the EF-M mount, you will need this adapter.
These lenses were made for Canon mirrorless cameras.
Lenses compatible with APS-C cameras.
STM (Smooth Transition for Motion)
These lenses have a motor designed to be silent when focusing. This makes them great when recording because you won’t hear the autofocus in the middle of a video (it helps when using the built-in microphone too).
They are especially silent for video and one of the reasons people say Canon is better for video.
USM (UltraSonic Motors)
These lenses focus faster and are silent. Now, this is only true for those that have a Ring USM motor. Lenses that are only “USM” are not that different from a regular one.
Only the most expensive models come with Ring USM. That’s why you should give priority to STM lenses since those are more silent for video recording.
This is equivalent to Canon’s USM lenses. They are made for faster and silent focus.
Sony Vlogging Lenses
Best Sony Full-frame Lenses
The following lenses are a bit expensive because you can use them on Full-frame Sony cameras like the Sony A7S II. However, you will also be able to use these lenses on Sony APS-C Mirrorless
Prime lenses to use on a tripod (Full-frame)
Remember that the result of a 80mm lens on a Full-frame look like a 50mm on an APS-C camera. That’s why a 35mm lens on a Full-frame camera is considered wide-angle, but not on an APS-C.
You can always go back to my table to check the focal length equivalency for each sensor size.
Wide-angle for handheld recording (Full-frame)
To record in selfie mode, 35mm is fine as long as you’re using a Full-frame camera. If you’re using APS-C, you will need at least a 24mm lens. I also have a section for these below the following table.
|Sony 35mm F2.8 Sonnar T FE ZA Full Frame Prime Fixed Lens||$798.21 $598.00||Check on Amazon|
|Zeiss Batis 2/25 Wide-Angle Camera Lens for Sony E-Mount Mirrorless Cameras||$1,349.00 $1,209.00||Check on Amazon|
|Sony 16-35mm Vario-Tessar T FE F4 ZA OSS E-Mount Lens||$1,348.00||Check on Amazon|
|Sony SEL35F14Z Distagon T FE 35mm f/1.4 ZA Standard-Prime Lens for Mirrorless Cameras||$998.00||Check on Amazon|
Best Sony E-Mount Lenses (APS-C)
Prime lenses to use on a tripod (APS-C)
Wide-angle for handheld recording (APS-C)
SAM (Smooth Autofocus Motor)
This abbreviation is used for the affordable, but slightly quiet and speedy lenses from Sony. They are the lower-end version of SSM lenses, which are truly fast and silent.
DT (Digital Technology)
These lenses are designed for APS-C sensor cameras, which are the most affordable DSLRs and mirrorless. They can be used on a full-frame, but they will crop the image.
OSS (Optical SteadyShot)
This is Sony’s Optical Image Stabilization (OIS).
These are Sigma silent autofocus lenses lineup.
FE (Full-frame E-mount)
These lenses are compatible with all E-mount cameras, including Full-frame and APS-C sensors.
E Mount/A MountE-mount cameras can use A-mount lenses with an adapter.
A-mount cameras can’t use E-mount lenses.
Panasonic and Olympus Vlogging Lenses (Micro 4/3)
The following lenses are made for Micro Four Thirds cameras. You can use them on either Olympus or Panasonic. They both use this smaller sensor size for their camera and have compatible lens mounts.
Remember that you will need to buy low focal length lenses for these cameras because of their crop factor. The resulting image on these sensors looks a lot closer than on APS-C.
That’s why I’ve considered lenses from 27mm be made for tripod recording, while 18mm lenses are used for handheld vlogging.
You can always go back to my focal length equivalency table and sample images to compare how these focal lengths are going to look on your video.
Prime Lenses for Tripod Recording (No zoom)
Wide-Angle for Handheld Recording
Micro Four Thirds: this is the size of Panasonic mirrorless cameras. This smaller sensor makes a 12mm lens look like a 24mm lens on an APS-C sensor camera (x2 crop factor).
This is Panasonic’s new image stabilization technology, which is the improved version of the Mega OIS.
This identifies Sigma’s higher quality lenses. They have stopped using this nomenclature on recent lenses, but if you see it, it’s because the lens is high-end.
Nikon Vlogging Lenses
Prime Nikon Lenses (No zoom)
These are recommended to use only if you can get away from the camera. They’re not recommended for handheld vlogging.
|Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D Lens for Nikon DSLR Cameras||$131.95||Check on Amazon|
|Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX||$211.49||Check on Amazon|
|Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Lens||$219.95 $154.97||Check on Amazon|
|Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras||$446.95||Check on Amazon|
|Sigma 30mm F1.4 Art DC HSM Lens for Nikon||$499.00 $368.00||Check on Amazon|
Wide-angle Lenses for Handheld Vlogging
I have found that Nikon doesn’t offer any viable wide-angle lens for vlogging. If you only have a Nikon DSLR and want to start doing some handheld vlogging, the only lens I can recommend you is the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM.
Why? It is the only lens that is still a bit affordable—still over 300 bucks—that you can use, but even still, it doesn’t offer any image stabilization.
Nikon cameras weren’t made for handheld video recording, so if you really want a camera to record vlogs wherever you are, get a dedicated compact camera, and use your Nikon DSLR to record videos using a tripod while using one of the lenses above.
Having two separated cameras for each job is the only way if you already own a Nikon.
Types of Nikon Lenses
Nikon’s lenses made for APS-C. You can use it on Full-frame (FX) lenses too, but to avoid troubles with vignetting, it’s better for you to get a DX lens for a DX camera.
These are the lenses made for Full-frame Nikon cameras. However, you can use these lenses on DX bodies without troubles.
These lenses are the cheapest. They use the camera’s body motor to autofocus. If your camera’s body lacks a motor, they can’t use autofocus. This means that your lenses’ performance will depend on the camera’s motor performance.
AF-S (Auto Focus with Silent Wave Moto)
These lenses have an internal motor for the lens to use instead of using the one that comes with the body. They normally have a better motor to use for faster and quieter autofocus than what the camera offers. This is why you’ll find them for a higher price.
These lenses are an older model from Nikon. Their main difference is that you can set the aperture manually through the lens instead of having to use the camera’s interface. This is now useless, so it’s just a type of lens that is disappearing.
These are the newest NIKKOR lenses. They lack the manual aperture setting on the lens. You can still use the camera’s interface for this. They are basically more expensive because they’re newer, but there’s no significant difference.
This D vs G comparison is not something you should worry about when choosing a Nikon lens. AF vs AF-S is what you should take into consideration.
For Sigma lenses nomenclature, go the 50mm Fixed Lenses for Sigma DSLR section below.