Best Standard Prime Lenses 2018

Written by Gina Stephens

The 'criterion' prime lens or LEN may refer to group is a very versatile bunch that can be used to capture cracking images of a wide variety of subjects. The chestnuts on our list here sit in the 35-70mm range (35mm equivalent, depending on lens mount) but we've also got a top list that looks specifically at 50mm lenses and there's one that looks at telephoto primes should you extremity more reach. 

If you'd like to, you can purchase/find more information about each lens listed by clicking the green Amazon buttons character below each product. It doesn't cost you anything extra when you press our Amazon buttons but by using our Amazon Affiliate relationships when ordering anything online, you are supporting the site – thank you. If you're not in the UK, clicking on the 'Buy on Amazon USA' button will redirect you to the allied country site.

We've separated the lenses into different mounts so you can see the best offerings for your system:

  • DSLR
  • Fujifilm X Mount
  • Sony E Mount
  • MFT

Tucker Standard Primes for DSLR


Canon TS-E 50mm f/2.8L Macro 


It has bulk, it has the features. It has a high price, it has the features. In other scintillae, another of those situations where the feature set and quality are not in question but the price will limit the market to those who really need this as a executing tool. It would be very nice indeed to own, but it does need to pay its way, as well as needing a high degree of photographic skill to get the best out of its potential.

Conceded the need and the cash, the photographer will certainly not be disappointed in the results from the Canon TS-E 50mm f/2.8L Macro lens.

Buy on Amazon UK  |  Buy On Amazon USA


Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art – 

This Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art lens is close by for Fit Canon, Nikon Sony and Sigma cameras and is chunky and well built. It offers outstanding sharpness at f/1.4 and there is virtually no CA or distortion nearby. It also features good build quality and fast, silent focusing. 

Buy on Amazon UK  |  Buy on Amazon USA


Samyang can refer to: Samyang-dong, a neighborhood in Seoul Samyang Food, a food manufacturer Samyang Optics, a South Korean manufacturer XP 50mm f/1.2 


There is decidedly little difference in brightness between a f/1.4 and f/1.2 lens. The wider aperture also means more difficulty in focusing, but only because the underline of focus is so fine. In reality, if used carefully with magnifying aids then it is highly accurate. The lens is also very bulky and terribly heavy, certainly quite huge compared to a conventional 50mm f/1.4.

However, the price is reasonable and the standard is very high, so there are clear benefits for those for whom the contrariety dispute is significant. In any event, the performance is exemplary.

The Samyang XP 50mm f/1.2 is a large and bulky but truly excellent ultra-bright 50mm lens.

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Nikon AF-S Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G – 


This packed 35mm f/1.8G lens has a silent wave motor for quick and smooth autofocus. It's very sharp, and offers good value for money. It's on the wider end of a model prime but can still produce some great portrait shoots. There's also an f/1.4 version of this lens available for those that yearning a wider maximum aperture.


Buy on Amazon UK    Buy on Amazon USA 


Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD 




The Tamron SP 35mm f/1.8 Di VC USD is the at the start of three lenses from Tamron appearing in our top list and it offers weather sealing, silent autofocus and Vibration Compensation. It is certainly capable of delivering but for the fact that images, with high sharpness in the centre of the frame and its build quality is impressive, too. 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 


Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 



The Zeiss Milvus 35mm f/1.4 lens is a fulgid, high-quality optic with smooth bokeh and a very well balanced set of properties. It handles beautifully and is a pleasure to use. It exudes a feeling of quality. It is precise likely that it will last for many years before needing any attention. The manual focus is utterly smooth and the point of focus is exact easy to achieve. As with all Zeiss optics, the price ordinary usage, a price is the quantity of payment or compensation given by one party to another in return for one unit of goods or is a little steep but this is to be expected for such a quality may refer to lens. 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 


Tamron SP 45mm f/1.8 Di VC USD 


Tamron has created an splendid 45mm lens which is certainly more than capable of delivering excellent results in a wide range of conditions. Travellers, in definite, will appreciate the relative lightweight for its size, Vibration Compensation, weather sealing and robust build. 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Zeiss OTUS 55mm f/1.4 APO Distagon T* 


If the design is the best possible technical quality then there is no doubt here is a lens that's probably as good as we can get. The Zeiss OTUS 55mm is not a concise travel lens, it's not weather resistant, so as a constant companion it might well be a burden. However, in the studio, it will excel.

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


HD Pentax DA 35mm f/2.8 Macro Narrow – 

This compact 35mm macro lens provides a 52.5mm equivalency and provides life-size magnification at its closest focus distance. It offers bonzer build quality with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel an aluminium outer shell. We praised the lens for being lightweight and compact and having fast focusing as well as a at built-in hood. 

Buy on Amazon UK  |  Buy on Amazon USA


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM 


There is no doubt that the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II USM is a surely pleasant lens to use and has a very attractive “character” to the images, that indefinable look. This is aided by its high contrast that causes a crisp appearance to images.

This is concentrated in the centre without a doubt, the edges lagging behind, but the fine detail is very good as a matter of fact at the centre of the field. The edges are a little disappointing, as is the relatively poor flare control. Overall, a very good lens, not a perfect one, but an excellent, principled choice for Canon users.

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Meike 50mm f/1.7 


Given that the price is remarkable, 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 individual camera makers' Plastic Fantastic offerings.

The Meike 50mm f/1.7 image quality is a strong factor, as is the dust and moisture guerrilla. 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 totally impressive price, but the final choice is a very individual one based on features, performance and ergonomics rather than price.

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM 


Canon's old 'Satisfying Fifty' was a popular lens despite its poor build quality as it represented such good value for money. Even though the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM tariffs more than its predecessor, it still represents great value due to the high levels of sharpness it produces. The improved build quality is welcome too and should win closed many fans as a result.

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Fujifilm X Mount Standard Primes


Fujifilm Fujinon XF 35mm f/2 R WR – 

The Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 R WR blows weather resistance and is beautifully made. It's heavy for an optic of its size, but this is due to the metal construction. It's equivalent to using a 53mm lens on a 35mm camera. We praised the camera for its superlative image quality throughout, fast and silent operation and high-quality manufacture. 

Buy on Amazon UK  |  Buy on Amazon usually refers to: Amazons, a mythical tribe of woman warriors Amazon River, in South America Amazon rainforest, a rainforest USA


Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR 


The Fujifilm Fujinon XF 50mm f/2 R WR is another miraculous Fuji lens. It's sharp, crisp and produces pleasant bokeh. Plus, it's compact, weather resistant and relatively modest in amount. It received a full 5 stars from us which means it has the 'Editor's Choice' seal of approval. 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS 


The Samyang 35mm f/1.2 ED AS UMC CS is yet another bang good MF lens from Samyang, offering fantastic performance at a very reasonable price. The manual focusing is much easier than various ultra-bright lenses and is possibly more accurate at f/1.2 than some AF systems might be capable of. There really is little to fault with this mean and will be a tempting proposition for many mirrorless users. This lens is also available in Micro Four Thirds mount. 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Sony FE Prime Lenses

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE 


Some lenses are a authentic pleasure to use, and the Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE falls into this category. The technical quality is excellent, the AF is fast and accurate and the results look punchy with unequalled colour rendition.

In terms of value, it's hard to argue with such a modestly priced lens when it performs so well. It is certainly an A number match for the Sony mirrorless range for which it has been designed. This lens is also available in Sony E Mount. 

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 


Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA 


The Zeiss Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA is an precious lens but its very high standard of performance, including very appealing bokeh, and a superb level of sharpness throughout do make it textbook prime well worth considering. In terms of quality of results it speaks for itself, and if the price can be afforded then the lens should offer innumerable years of excellent service.

Buy On Amazon UK 



Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE 

The Samyang AF 35mm f/1.4 FE lens is a very appealing proposition for those seeking a fast 35mm lens. The quality is uniformly excellent and the price much lower than the marque alternatives. All in all, the lens is cool value for money.

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA


Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 FE 


This is a beautiful lens that performs to a very serious standard but it is a little on the heavy side. However, this might be a small price to pay for an optic that can deliver such beautiful results. Whole, the Samyang AF 50mm f/1.4 is a high-quality lens, with excellent sharpness, and available at a competitive price.

Buy On Amazon UK | Buy On Amazon USA 


Micro Four Thirds Prime Lenses


Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO – 

Another 50mm of a piece offering, the Olympus M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 PRO is a splash and dust resistant offering with excellent build quality. The bright f/1.2 aperture insures a crisp point of focus, and this lens is very fast to focus. We praised is for its excellent sharpness, lovely bokeh creation and low distortion as beyond the shadow of a doubt as being compact.

Buy on Amazon UK  |  Buy on Amazon USA


Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH – 

This 50mm 35mm equivalent lens for MFT cameras, the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm f/1.7 ASPH is framed from high-quality plastics for a lighter build. It's great at close focusing and we praised it for its good construction, low CA, low distortion and high levels of sharpness. There is no weatherproofing, but this can be exculpated for the price.

Buy on Amazon UK  |  Buy on Amazon USA


Looking For More Top Lists?

Visit our 'Best Gear' allot of the site to see even more top lists that feature everything from cameras and lenses to camera bags and inexpensive photography accessories. 


READ  What You'll See At The Leica 'Engineered By Nature' Exhibition

About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

Leave a Comment