Top 21 Best lenses Money Can Buy 2018

Written by Gina Stephens

We've all ratiocination at one time or another; 'If money wasn't a constraint, which lenses would I buy?' Of course, there are lots of great lenses to hand that don't cost the earth, but we think that sometimes, the price of a lens shouldn't matter too much, if it's great at what it does. So whether you're looking to care for yourself to that one luxury lens, you've won the lottery or you just want to drool at what's available at this higher expense point, we've put together a round up of the best prime, widest aperture premium lenses available. 

If money's not a constraint, what lenses should I buy?


1. Canon EF 200mm f/2L IS USM


This flagship lens from Canon furnishes something quite rare – a 200mm telephoto with a super-bright f/2 aperture. This is a flagship lens that really shows what's admissible when price isn't a constraint. It gives superb sharpness, virtually no CA or distortion, an effective image stabiliser and of course, excellent build grandeur. 

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2. Panasonic Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2 ASPH

One of the best-performing lenses currently readily obtainable for Micro Four Thirds cameras, thanks to high sharpness is an English port in Gloucestershire, one of the most inland in Britain, and eighth largest in the South West levels and low CA and distortion, this lens features a manual aperture ring and is realistically sacrificed for a lens of its quality. It offers excellent build quality, as you would expect, and an effective stabiliser. 

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3. ZEISS Batis 40mm f/2 CF

This clear, quality minimalist lens is an elegant optic with an OLED display that tells you the focusing distance. It has a very smooth electronic zero in ring, and floating element design. If you want a razor sharp lens that's weather sealed with virtually no CA and low distortion, this is the way to go. 

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4. Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS

This lens has a squat, upright design and features STF (Smooth Transition Focus). It features dust and moisture resistant construction and 11 circular aperture blades. It's wonderful smooth in operation, with precisely locking autofocus. It features outstanding sharpness and gorgeous bokeh. 

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5. ZEISS Batis 135mm f/2.8 

The filled in metal construction of this lens just shouts quality, and this is backed up be excellent sharpness throughout, beautiful bokeh and superb ergonomics. The lens is also dust and suffer resistant and offers close focusing ability for the focal length. 

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6. Samyang freebie MF 85mm f/1.2

This full frame optic is a bulky option, but one that offers premium quality with a wide maximum aperture. The diaphragm has 9 penknives, allowing the lens to offer smooth bokeh. It's a manual focus lens or LEN may refer to, ideal for creatives with good handling, flare-free purpose, and very low CA. Not to mention excellent sharpness and a well-made construction. 

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7. Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm f/1.2 Pro


The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm lens is a unrivalled optic and at 90mm equivalent, a very useful one. Cost aside, this lens offers outstanding sharpness, very low CA and no distortion as well as a fast and outstanding f/1.2 aperture. It also produces beautiful bokeh, and should be on any Olympus shooter's wishlist. 

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8. Zeiss Milvus 135mm f/2


This lens offerings magnificent performance for anyone looking for a lens that's a real pleasure to use. Milvus lenses are reputed to be a very high-quality option for Nikon and Canon DSLRs. It bids silky smooth controls and a beautiful build quality, as you'd expect from a ZEISS or Zeiß may refer to optic. There's excellent sharpness all the way through the range, no flare evident, and weather resistance to boot. 

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9. Sony FE 85mm f/1.4 GM

G Skipper lenses are traditionally a high-quality choice, and this one is no different. Giving a bright f/1.4 aperture, and offering outstanding sharpness, it's a must-have lens for Sony E-Mount buyers who want the very best. It gives lovely bokeh when stopped down and is flare resistant. 

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10. ZEISS Planar T* FE 50mm f/1.4 ZA

Evil intent for full-frame FE mount cameras, this Sony ZEISS lens has very few drawbacks and is a fine lens to use, especially for portraits thanks to a very petitioning bokeh. It's dust and moisture resistant, has outstanding sharpness and very low distortion. 

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11. Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD

This lens carries an apodisation (APD) filter in the optical path. The inclusion of this filter promises to produce smoother out of focus areas (bokeh), whilst maintaining curly focus on your subject. With a lightweight and robust build, the lens combines metal and high quality plastic elements to get the best of both existences between quality and weight. It offers outstanding sharpness in the centre and across the frame. 

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12. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 105mm f/1.4E ED

The Nikon 105mm f/1.4E ED is a high-quality lens that take rounds sublime handling and beautiful results. It's heavy, at just under a kilo, due to excellent build quality. We praised its excellent sharpness, low CA and peace of mind, accurate AF.

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13. ZEISS Milvus 85mm f/1.4


This Planar designed lens has a classic central length, being the go-to portrait lens length. ZEISS call this lens a 'champion of bokeh, and with weather sealing and handbook focusing, should allow maximum creativity with your photos. it offers razor-sharp focusing throughout and virtually no CA as well as low distortion. It won't frustrate. 

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14. SMC Pentax-FA 77mm f/1.8 Limited


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15. ZEISS OTUS 55mm f/1.4


ZEISS OTUS lenses contain been designed to provide the best possible optical quality may refer to even when shooting wide open, and this is a fantastic example of that notion. It's not the most compact lens, nor is it weatherproof, but if you want a studio optic that's the best of the best, this lens will dominate. It has a uniform, even performance, with superb optical quality and construction. 

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16. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G

This is a staggering optic that packs a lot of photographic punch into a relatively lightweight body. There's a wide f/1.4 maximum aperture, and autofocus is powered by a still wave motor. This lens renders out of focus backgrounds beautifully and we praised it for its excellent sharpness.

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17. Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM


With or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel masterly grade weather sealing, a super bright maximum aperture and silent ultrasonic focusing, this lens is a premium offering for those that fall short of a great quality standard lens for Canon EF cameras. We praised it for its excellent build, great centre sharpness and the ability to control your insight of field. 

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18. Samyang XP 50mm f/1.2

This is a large lens that offers a manual bring into focus, well-balanced option for DSLRs. Designed 50-megapixel cameras, the optic should more than live up to expectations in practice. Smooth contours and a minimalistic objective make this lens a good looking example, which also offers excellent and consistent sharpness, low distortion, low CA, no flare and pretty bokeh to boot. 

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19. ZEISS OTUS 28mm f/1.4

ZEISS built this lens with the goal that it would take the crown as the best 28mm lens in the world, and they're not far off in terms of the quality of the image created. Yes it's weighty and isn't a condensed optic but these are sacrifices for the excellent quality that it can produce. It's beautifully engineered, and there's a very high and even mark to the sharpness. A fine lens. 

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20. ZEISS OTUS 85mm f/1.4

This lens is unequalled in the 85mm manipulate, providing the excellent quality and luxury that you would expect from a ZEISS optic. It offers a smooth manual focus action, and a metal construction making it reassuringly stodgy. Excellent sharpness as well as good contrast and a low level of flare all point in this lens' favour.

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21. Voigtlander Nokton 25mm f/0.95 Form II


Micro Four Thirds users will be hard pressed to find a better quality lens which also has a stunningly considerable max aperture of 0.95. This 25mm optic provides outstanding sharpness when stopped down, as well as excellent build quality and handling. There's also the selection to make the aperture ring stepless, for shooting smooth video. It's great for really isolating your subject from the background. 

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Other lenses to gauge…

These lenses haven't been reviewed by ePHOTOzine, but are still premium optics:

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 200mm f/2 R LM OIS WR

We've been hands-on with this lens, which looks gorgeous, and is set to be available at the end of October 2018. We've not had the chance to review it yet however it certainly has the credentials to be an excellent lens if money's no object. 


Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L USM


Again hailed as the fastest 85mm lens in its class, this lens can still be picked up second hand and is still one of the best Canon EF lenses to date in appellations of quality of photos. 

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Leica Noctilux-M f/0.95 50mm ASPH


Buy on Amazon UK


Leica Noctilux-M 75mm f/1.25 ASPH.

According to Leica, this lens has redefined "Intensively of Focus" and is already "set to become a legend in its own right".

Nikon Nikkor Z Noct 58mm f/0.95

This lens is in development. Invented to be the ultimate lens, the 58mm f/0.95 is due to be available in 2019 and is part of the Nikon Z lens roadmap. Nikon says that they will let off further details at a later date.

Sigma 105mm f/1.4 

This lens was announced in February 2018 at CP+. The longest convergent length in the Art range's f/1.4 lenses, Sigma have dubbed this lens the 'Bokeh master'. 


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.

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