Best zoom lens of 2020
The year 2020 might have offered us fewer chances to get out and photograph the things we love, but that didn’t stop manufacturers from bringing a ton of excellent new lenses to market. We’ve had the chance to shoot with most of these lenses this year, which was in itself a challenge (someone has finally commented on a certain motorcycle that’s appeared in many different sample galleries), but playing with new gear is always a joy.
We had our say already, in our annual DPReview Awards, but which lens was your favorite? This your chance to let us know. And if you think we missed something, please leave a comment.
Voting in three categories (cameras, prime and zoom lenses) runs through December 20th, and once the vote has closed we’ll run a fourth and final poll drawn from the winners of the first three to determine your choice for overall product of the year.
Canon brought some highly anticipated lenses to market this year. Okay, maybe the RF 24-105mm F4-7.1L isn’t the most highly anticipated lens around, but we appreciate it as a low-cost kit lens for the likes of its entry-level RP camera.
The RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L and RF 70-200mm F4L, on the other hand, fill significant gaps in the RF lens lineup and have some big shoes to fill – Canon’s older 100-400mm and 70-200mm F4 lenses for its DSLR EF mount were optically excellent and beloved by a wide range of users. We haven’t yet had a chance to use either, but it’s fairly safe to assume that both will prove useful to a wide constituency of Canon shooters. Have you been patiently waiting for one of these lenses to drop? Cast your vote and let us know.
Fujifilm released a pair of zoom lenses in 2020; a 45-100mm F4 for its medium-format GFX system and a re-vamped version of the versatile 10-24mm F4 for its APS-C format X system. The former offers a 35mm-equivalent focal range of 35-80mm, while the latter offers a 35mm-equivalent range of 15-36mm.
The GF 45-100mm F4 is kind of a super-sized walkaround zoom lens, with a handy range if you don’t shoot wide-angle. Of course, the XF 10-24mm F4 is the exact opposite, giving users of the company’s X-mount cameras a new option for ultrawide photography, improving upon the older model with better stabilization and weather sealing. Are either of these among your favorite lenses released in 2020?
Nikon has had a busy year filling out its lens lineup for the mirrorless Z mount, but let’s not forget that the AF-S 120-300mm F2.8E was also released back before we knew the 2020 Olympics (and a whole lot of other things) were going to be postponed. It’s a beast of a lens for the company’s DSLRs, with excellent image quality to back up its price and heft.
Nikon’s Z lens releases this year have been impressively varied; from the compact and inexpensive 24-50mm F4-6.3 to the heavy and pricy 70-200mm F2.8, they’ve really offered a little bit of everything. Do any of these lenses feel like they were made just for you? Cast your vote and let us know.
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 120-300mm F2.8E FL ED SR VR
- Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm F2.8 S
- Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR
- Nikon Nikkor Z 24-50mm F4-6.3
- Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S
Olympus saw a bit of a return to form in 2020, releasing two zooms that are modestly sized and not unreasonably priced (given their specifications). The 100-400mm F5-6.3 gives users a 35mm-equivalent zoom range of 200-800mm, and given its excellent stabilization, those focal lengths are easily hand-holdable. (The relatively light weight of the lens is also a help here). Meanwhile the long-awaited Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x is a powerful pro-grade monster of a lens, aimed at wildlife and sports photographers.
On the other end of the spectrum is the tiny 12-45mm F4 pro; built to the same high standards as the company’s other Pro lenses, it makes for an ideal everyday companion to smaller cameras like the OM-D E-M5 Mark III. Is one of these two lenses exactly the lens you’ve been waiting for? Let us know by casting your vote.
- Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS
- Olympus 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x
- Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm F4 Pro
Panasonic only released one zoom lens in 2020, but it’s a neat one. Intended as a kit zoom for its new S5 mirrorless camera, the Lumix S 20-60mm F3.5-5.6 is the first kit lens we’ve seen to start at such a wide focal length. Not only is it a ton of fun, but it also lends itself very well to video shooting. Is it your number one fave of 2020?
The Pentax 70-210mm F4 is a welcome addition to the company’s lens lineup. Ricoh has offered a solid 70-200mm F2.8 for Pentax for some time now, and the F4 will allow users of the company’s full-frame or APS-C DSLRs a more compact and affordable option without necessarily compromising on image quality. Are you a Pentaxian who has been waiting for just this very lens?
Sigma’s 100-400mm F5-6.3 DG DN OS is a super telephoto zoom for L- and E-mount cameras. It’s also reasonably affordable, weather-sealed, and works in tandem with the stabilizer on certain cameras to get you even more stable shooting. It’s a popular and well-regarded lens that we wish we’d had more opportunity to shoot this year – does it earn your vote?
Sony’s 12-24mm F2.8 GM is an impressive lens, offering stellar optical performance at a reasonable size (though its price is, well, on the pricey side). It’s also the only full-frame zoom that goes to 12mm and offers a constant F2.8 aperture. For architectural, landscape and event photographers, it’s likely to be a hit.
The 28-60mm F4-5.6, on the other hand, is a compact everyday kit lens to handle general photography of all types. It’s not as ambitious as the 12-24mm F2.8, but pair it with an a7C mirrorless camera and you’ll have one of the most compact full-frame kits around.
Are either of these the sort of lens you simply can’t live without? Let us know by casting your vote.
Tamron’s been on a roll in the past couple of years with its RXD lineup of sensibly sized and priced zooms for Sony’s full-frame cameras, and these two 2020 releases are no exception. The 28-200mm is a modern take on the traditional superzoom, and though it doesn’t go to 24mm, it offers a usefully wider F2.8 starting aperture than many competing lenses. The 70-300mm on the other hand is a relatively affordable way to get 300mm of reach and very solid, optically. Lastly, we love the idea of the new 17-70mm F2.8 for Sony APS-C users, providing a solid range and a fast maximum aperture.
Is one of these lenses glued to your Sony mirrorless camera? Then cast your vote and let us know.
- Tamron 28-200mm F2.8-5.6 Di III RXD
- Tamron 70-300mm F4.5-6.3 Di RXD III
- Tamron 17-70mm F2.8 Di III-AVC RXD
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