Best Prime LensesBy Reviewed.com Staff
Even though many shoppers want long zoom lenses, the key to super-sharp photos is a prime lens. Since primes are stuck on one focal length with no zoom, they can optimize for sharpness at that one length. They're generally the highest-quality lenses you can buy in any lens family, and an excellent way to wring the most out of your camera.
Whether you're a Fujifilm X-mount owner, a Micro Four Thirds photographer, or even a Canon or Nikon DSLR owner, we've compared across all available prime lenses in this article to find out which are the very best.
Updated February 15, 2017
Sigma's ART series lenses have quickly built a reputation for exemplary image quality, killer craftsmanship, and best-in-class value for the money. The 50mm f/1.4 is the pick of the litter, capable of astounding image quality, sharpness, and bokeh. It's a little bigger than other 50mm f/1.4 lenses, but it's available for Canon and Nikon DSLRs and goes toe-to-toe with any lens those companies have right now.
For any photographer looking to capture small objects, such as jewelry, bugs, or just fine details, you'll need a macro lens. If you're a Canon shooter, there's no better option than the 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro. It's razor sharp, offers image stabilization, and it has a superb close focal distance that also works as a dandy portrait lens in a pinch. For less than $800, it's a terrific investment for Canon fanatics.
Where To Buy$799.00 Amazon Buy $799.00 Adorama Buy $799.99 Best Buy Buy $799.00 Walmart Buy
If you've bought into the Micro Four Thirds system (or are thinking about it), the 42.5mm f/1.2 Nocticron is as good as it gets. It's a telephoto portrait lens with creamy smooth bokeh and quality co-signed by Leica. It's a little big for a mirrorless lens, it's one of the best lenses we've ever tested and a must-own for any mirrorless shooter with the cash to burn.
Where To Buy$1,397.99 Amazon Buy $1,597.99 Adorama Buy $1,337.00 Walmart Buy
If you're shooting a Nikon DSLR and you want a top-notch portrait lens, it's hard to do better than the AF-S 85mm f/1.8G. While the pricier f/1.4 has smoother bokeh and shallower depth of field, the f/1.8 arguably has better image quality, is cheaper, and is lighter. It's a perfect storm of portrait goodness that outperformed the 85mm f/1.4 in our lab tests, and at under $500 it won't break the bank, either.
Where To Buy$476.95 Amazon Buy $476.95 Adorama Buy $479.99 Best Buy Buy $476.95 Walmart Buy
Fujifilm is playing by its own rules these days, debuting pro-grade cameras and riding high from the popularity of its Instax instant film cams. But if you're invested in Fujifilm's X-series cameras, the 56mm f/1.2 lens is as good as it gets. With creamy smooth bokeh and a focal length perfect for portraits, this lens is ideal for professional photographers of all stripes. It's pricey, but man is it worth it.