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The Best Lenses for Photojournalists Using Any Camera System

Photojournalism can take various forms. It can be as simple as event photography for the party that you’re going to. Photojournalism is also a huge part of wedding photography. But most importantly, it’s about capturing the world as it happens in front of you.

There are loads of great cameras you can use for this. However, which lenses do you choose? That’s where we’re coming in to help you pick the Best Lenses for Photojournalists just like you. We dove into our Reviews Index to find them for you.

 

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How We Chose the Best Lenses for Photojournalists

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM Review edited samples 1.41 680s6400

Here’s some insight into how we chose the best lenses for photojournalists for this roundup:

  • Our round-ups include only products that we’ve done full reviews on. You’ll never see a product that we haven’t fully reviewed in a roundup. We’re linking to each of our reviews as well.
  • This round-up of the best lenses for photojournalists has only lenses that take full advantage of a camera’s autofocus system. They’ll focus quickly, accurately, and use things like face detection, animal AF, vehicle detection, etc.
  • All of the best lenses for photojournalists are weather resistant. Our torture tests are often some of the most renowned in the photo industry.
  • For the most part, we’re recommending zoom lenses. For certain camera systems, we think that there are better options. Fujifilm, for example, is much better with its prime lenses. The Leica L mount also includes one prime lens that we absolutely swear by.
  • Photojournalism requires you to not edit your photos, while basic adjustments are allowed. These lenses will surely help you get everything you need.
  • The product images and sample images in this round-up of the best lenses for photojournalists were all shot by our staff of photographers.

Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS USM

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon RF 24 70mm f2.8 review product images ILCE 7RM335mm F1.2 DG DN Art 01921 50s1600

Pros

  • Fast-focusing abilities
  • Sharp image quality
  • Very lightweight
  • Built incredibly well
  • Well balanced and smaller than the Sony G Master
  • Image stabilization
  • Fairly priced

Cons

In our review, we concluded:

“The Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS USM is an excellent lens for the Canon photographer. It makes the system more usable and sensible. It’s a lens targeted to professional photographers. Those photographers will be able to justify the investment not only because of the image stabilization but also because of the lightweight and small size. The lens is portable when working on location. Beyond that, the image quality is outstanding. While it’s such, it’s still not going to outdo Nikon’s 24-70mm lens. Canon’s zoom lenses have typically been their best, and to me, this isn’t comparing to the 28-70mm f2 that much. If I were to compare the Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS USM and their RF 28-70mm f2 L USM, I’d say the f2 lens is designed for the photographer who really demands the highest-end image quality and the most innovation. The Canon RF 24-70mm f2.8 L IS USM is more of a lens that helps it catch up to the rest while also providing image stabilization. To that end, it’s a lens I’m considering purchasing because of how satisfied I am with the results (while also balancing the fact that I need a zoom lens these days).”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon RF 24 70mm f2.8 L IS USM review 41 1250s160

Canon RF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon RF 70 200mm f2.8 L IS weather sealing 2

Pros

  • It’s small
  • See above
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Pretty close focusing
  • Nice, sharp images
  • Fast-focusing and tracking
  • Weather sealing

Cons

  • The tripod collar is too large for its own good. Rotating it will only guarantee that it gets in the way of using the lens
  • The control ring should probably be closer to the front of the lens, but we’re not sure how many folks are using it

In our review, we concluded:

“We’re going to be honest here; the Canon RF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM isn’t exactly an impulse buy for all of us. But for those who earn taxable income from their photography, it makes sense. Not only is there image stabilization and exceptional build quality, but it’s got beautiful image quality. The bokeh is nice and creamy even though there are better portrait lenses on the market. The colors you’ll get are going to be much better than most of what you see on the market. And finally, with Canon’s great autofocusing abilities, you’re going to nail a shot in the dark. The Canon RF 70-200mm f2.8 L IS USM deserves high marks all around.”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Canon RF 70 200mm f2.8 L IS USM review images 2.81 160s3200

Sony 70-200mm f2.8 G Master OSS II

Hillary Grigonis The Phoblographer Sony 70 200mm f2.8 GM OSS II 2090

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Excellent autofocus
  • Dedicated aperture ring
  • Excellent sharpness and colors
  • Solid stabilization

Cons

In our review, we concluded:

“Photographers that picked the Sony system for sharp, technically beautiful images are going to love this lens. The images are sharp except for the last little bit at the edge. The colors are close to accurate. The autofocus can keep up with even the a9 in good lighting. The weather sealing and lighter weight also make the lens a joy to use. Plus, I really love that Sony added a dedicated aperture ring. The design, autofocus performance, and sharpness have noticeably improved over the original. Compatibility with Sony’s teleconverters will also add more versatility.”

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Hillary Grigonis The Phoblographer Sony 70 200mm f2.8 GM OSS II Review 19

Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 28 75mm f2.8 G2 review product images 3.51 85s1600

Pros

  • Beautiful image quality
  • Works with Sony’s autofocus algorithms
  • Weather sealing
  • Integrated USB port
  • Lightweight
  • Feels great in the hands
  • Works very well on older Sony cameras if you’re on the appropriate autofocusing type
  • Can do pretty well in continuous autofocus
  • It was only $879

Cons

  • Slower to focus on moving subjects with the a7r III, but not by much
  • Needs a lot of extra help on the older camera bodies. Make sure you’re on the appropriate autofocusing subject type.

In our review, we concluded:

“The Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 G2 is a great lens. It builds on the previous version with a built-in USB port, faster autofocus, and a new finish. Personally, I was a tad shocked to see it refreshed this early. But there isn’t a single thing bad or wrong with this lens. It boasts great image quality that you’ll really like. It innovates with the new USB port. And it retains the light weight design with a weather-sealed body. There isn’t a single thing to complain about really.”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Tamron 28 75mm f2.8 G2 review images sony a7r iii 2.81 20s1600

Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Z S

Pauleth Ip The Phoblographer Nikon NIKKOR Z 24 70mm f4 S Product Image 02 of 08

Pros

  • Robust weather sealing
  • Solid build quality
  • Fast maximum aperture of f2.8
  • Outstanding image quality

Cons

In our review, we concluded:

“As a photographer who tends to gravitate toward prime lenses, I was genuinely surprised by the performance of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70 f2.8 S. Nikon’s Z mount mirrorless cameras are still playing catch-up with more established mirrorless systems on the market, particularly in terms of autofocus performance, but the new 2.0 firmware certainly helped improve the overall experience. As a result, the Z mount 24-70 f2.8 was a much more reliable and enjoyable lens to use when stacked up against its f4 cousin. Despite costing more than twice the price of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70 f4 S, the stellar optical performance of the newer and faster f2.8 variant will undoubtedly be its most significant selling point. The Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70 f2.8 S’s hefty price is further justified by the lens’ ability to produce vibrant yet color-accurate images, the consistent sharpness throughout its focal range, and its ability to minimize chromatic aberrations and distortions. For many photographers who have made the switch to Nikon’s mirrorless Z mount, their wait for a fast and reliable workhorse zoom lens is finally over. As far as innovation goes, the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 S adds a top OLED screen. This makes it stand out from a lot of the rest when it comes to usability. Whether or not this justifies the price tag is up to you. It’s still more expensive than Sony’s option.”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon z7 and 24 70mm f2.8 update 2.81 20s400

Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 Z VR S

Hillary Grigonis The Phoblographer Nikon Z 70 200mm f2.8 review 733

Pros

  • Spectacular bokeh and color
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Weather-sealed
  • Plenty of controls
  • Much closer focusing than other 70-200mm lenses
  • Stabilized

Cons

  • Autofocus missed about 20 percent of the time for sports
  • The Hood lock is annoying but does loosen up with use

In our review, we concluded:

“The Nikon Z 70-200mm f2.8 VR S was exactly what I had come to expect after testing several other Z mount lenses: Stellar photo quality, less than stellar autofocus. With the 200mm range, the f2.8 aperture, and the full-frame mount, bokeh from this lens is spectacular. The background melts away, while the subject remains quite sharp for a zoom lens. Color is equally stunning. And, even though most Z bodies have stabilization, the lens still packs in VR as well.”

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Hillary Grigonis The Phoblographer Nikon Z 70 200mm f2.8 VR S Review 7712

Leica 28mm f2 APO SL

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica 28mm f2 Summicron SL review product images 41 100s1600 2

Pros

  • The fastest autofocusing Leica lens we’ve used to date.
  • Great colors
  • Keeps distortion down
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Does a nice job with portraiture

Cons

  • I’m still not totally sure that I’d use it for street photography.
  • For a 28mm f2 lens, this is pretty large, but we can sort of understand that, considering the elements inside the lens.
  • It’s about time that Leica starts working with a third-party flash company to take full advantage of what this lens can offer buyers.

In our review, we concluded:

“Let me be frank here. The Leica 28mm f2 APO Summicron SL is an overall excellent lens. The image quality is stellar for what’s on the market, but I am yearning for more. It’s built very well. And most importantly, it’s the fastest focusing Leica lens to date. There isn’t a lot to hate on here. But the price tag is pretty steep. Is it worth over $5,000? Well, for a lens with this many aspherical elements, pretty close focusing, and weather-sealing? I’d sure say it should be a pricey lens. But at the $5,000 point, I’m still not even sure. However, I’m sure this is an overall very good lens.”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Leica 28mm f2 SL review images unedited portrait21 50s100

Panasonic 24-70mm f2.8 LUMIX Pro

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic 24 70mm f2.8 PRO review product images 2.81 60s400 7

Pros

  • Very sharp
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Close focusing
  • Weather sealed
  • Very fast and usable autofocus

Cons

  • More distortion than we’d like at the wider end
  • Yuuuuugggeeeee

In our review, we concluded:

“This lens is now the fastest 24-70mm f2.8 lens for the L mount that we’ve tested. It’s very reliable for journalistic work. We’re changing our star rating too.”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Panasonic s5 firmware update with 24 70mm f2.81 800 sec at f 2.8ISO 400

Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM Review product images 21 50s6400 12

Pros

  • Weather sealed
  • Lightweight
  • Decent size, not too large or small.
  • Insanely fast on the X Pro 3 and XT4
  • Beautiful image quality
  • I’m glad this isn’t directly replacing the 35mm f1.4 because that lens has a beautiful render.
  • Can be a fantastic wedding lens one moment and then a great fun lens the other moment.
  • Around $800 is pretty fair for what this lens can do.

Cons

  • Not going to lie, I miss the pull-back focusing ring. But the autofocus can keep up at this point. I’m really shocked.

In our review, we concluded:

“There’s a lot to love about the Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM. For many photographers, it will most likely be their most used lens as the 50mm equivalent view is paramount. They can shoot everything with this lens: weddings, portraits, food, travel, fun stuff that passionate photographers do, etc. Photographers will adore the image quality along with the solid overall build quality. What’s more, they’ll be able to use it in incredibly tough weather conditions with ease. When they’re ready to put the camera away, it will keep your entire package still pretty compact in your camera bag. All this for around $800 and you truly can’t go wrong.”

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 33mm f1.4 R WR LM Review samples 1.41 170s12800

Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 R WR

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm 16mm f1.4 first impressions product photos 1 of 7ISO 4001 125 sec at f 4.0

Pros

  • Very sharp wide open
  • Very sharp overall
  • The excellent metal build quality
  • The focusing ring allows for zone focusing
  • Pretty decent bokeh for a lens of this type, despite having 9 aperture blades
  • Fast-focusing performance
  • Weather sealed construction
  • Keeps distortion down pretty well

Cons

  • Depth of Field scale could have given us more focusing markers
  • More purple fringing than a modern lens should have despite it easily being removed in post-production
  • There are so many other things that you can do for just under $1,000.
  • Autofocus is just a hair too slow for street photography.

In our review, we concluded:

“Fujifilm’s 16mm f1.4 is a great lens, but we’re not quite sure that it’s worth $1,000. This lens has weather sealing, sharp image quality, the best bokeh they could possibly give it, and a metal exterior that makes it tough. But it also will give users more fringing issues than we’d like, fairly slow focusing performance, and will most of all set you back $1,000. There is very little around that can even come close to what it offers, so in many ways that can help you justify the price.”

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concert photography

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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