Photography / Buying Guide

Best Mirrorless Lenses of 2017

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While it’s true you can adapt just about any lens onto a mirrorless camera, the truth of the matter is that lenses designed specifically for mirrorless cameras tend to be smaller, lighter, and in many cases, quicker to autofocus than larger-format DSLR lenses that have been adapted for smaller mirrorless cameras. The following is an alphabetical by manufacturer compilation of lenses designed specifically for use with mirrorless cameras that were introduced in the year 2017.

Fujifilm

From Fujifilm we have two sets of lenses dedicated for use with the Fujifilm APS-C format X-mount cameras and Fujifilm GFX 50S medium-format cameras. For Fujifilm X-mount cameras, the company offers the Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, a 120mm-equivalent macro lens that focuses down to life-size (1:1) and features a weather-sealed design, Fluorine coatings, optical image stabilization, a Super ED element, three ED elements, and a linear AF motor with a floating focusing system. Also available for X-mount cameras is the Fujifilm XF 50mm f/2 R WR, a 76mm equivalent weather-sealed lens that features Super EBC lens coatings and a physical aperture ring.

 
Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR Lens (left) and Fujifilm XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro Lens (right)

For the medium-format GFX 50S, Fujifilm has a half-dozen new lenses, each of which features weather-proof construction, a Command position on the aperture ring, and 9-bladed diaphragms. The widest of the batch is the Fujifilm GF 23mm f/4 R LM WR, an 18mm equivalent ultra-wide that contains a Super ED element, three ED elements, dual Aspheric elements, Nano GI coatings, internal focusing, and a linear AF motor.

The Fujifilm GF 45mm f/2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent semi-wide-angle lens containing a single aspherical element, dual ED Elements, Nano GI Coating, and internal focusing.

If you prefer a normal lens to go along with your GFX 50S you’ll want the Fujifilm GF 63mm f/2.8 R WR. This medium format normal lens features a single Extra-Low Dispersion element and a Fluorine-coated front element.

Slightly longer than normal is the Fujifilm GF 110mm f/2 R LM WR, which is an 87mm equivalent portrait-friendly lens that packs four Extra-Low Dispersion elements and, like the abovementioned lenses, contains a linear AF motor and offers internal focusing.

Fujifilm has also introduced a macro to complement its medium-format lens system. The Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 R LM OIS WR Macro focuses down to half life-size (1:2) and contains a trio of Extra Low Dispersion elements, optical image stabilization, a linear AF system, floating elements, a Fluorine-coated front element, and a minimum focusing distance of 1.5'.

 
Fujifilm GF 120mm f/4 Macro R LM OIS WR Lens (left) and Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR Lens (right)

The last in the lineup is the Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 R LM WR, a 25-51mm equivalent, wide-angle to normal zoom lens that features a trio of aspheric elements complemented by a Super ED element, a single ED element, a Fluorine element and, you guessed it—a linear AF motor and internal focusing.

Hasselblad

Hasselblad introduced a new macro lens to go along with its cutting-edge X1D-50c cameras. The Hasselblad XCD 120mm f/3.5 Macro is a 95mm equivalent macro lens that focuses down to half life-size ( 1.4' minimum focus). The lens features a floating-element design with internal focusing and manual focus override. A central lens shutter enables shutter speeds up to 1/2000-second for ambient and flash exposures.

Hasselblad XCD 120mm f/3.5 Macro

Leica

The origins of Leica’s newest M-mount lens – the Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2 reach way back to the 1930s. Except for single-coated lens surfaces, the optical design of Leica’s new portrait lens is faithful to the original and produces the same soft-focus signature that separates it from other M-mount portrait lenses in this focal range.

Leica Thambar-M 90mm f/2.2

The new Thambar-M is manual focus only, focuses down to 3.3', and features a 20-blade diaphragm and step-less aperture ring for quiet video capture. Included with every lens is a removable spot filter that further enhances the lens’s inherent “dreamy” look.

Olympus

If you shoot with a Micro Four Thirds camera, Olympus has introduced not one, but two, speed demons to its MFT lens lineup. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro is a 34mm equivalent, weather-resistant lens containing four ED elements along with one each of an ED-DSA, Super HR, EDA, and aspheric elements. All lens surfaces are coated with Z Coating Nano lens coating on all lens surfaces. The lens also features internal focusing, clutch-release manual focusing, an MSC High-Speed Imager AF system, and a rounded, 9-blade diaphragm.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO

The second weather-resistant speed demon is the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro, a 90mm equivalent lens that features an ED element, an aspheric element, and four high-refractive index elements (all Z Coating Nano-coated), an MSC High-Speed Imager AF system, and a 9-bladed diaphragm.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO

Panasonic

Panasonic went to town this year by introducing five zooms and a fast telephoto for MFT camera systems. The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH is a relatively fast, variable-aperture 16-35mm equivalent lens that features a gaggle of Nano-Surface-coated, ED, UHR, and aspheric-surfaced lens elements. Panasonic’s newest wide zoom is splash, dust, and freeze proof and has a 7-bladed diaphragm.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH

Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH Power OIS packs dual Extra Low Dispersion elements, four aspherical elements, a linear AF motor, and a POWER Optical Image Stabilizer system. This MFT-format 24-120mm equivalent zoom lens features a 9-bladed diaphragm and splash-, dust-, and freeze-proof construction.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4 ASPH Power OIS

Regardless of manufacturer, one of the most popular lenses among serious shooters is a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom. If you shoot with an MFT camera system and you like this combination of focal range and speed, the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II Power OIS is your lens.

Panasonic’s 70-200mm emulator is a splash-, dust-, and freeze-proof zoom that contains dual Extra-Low dispersion elements, a single Ultra Extra-Low Dispersion element, a linear AF motor, and POWER Optical Image stabilization.

Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 35-100mm f/2.8 II Power OIS

Longer yet is the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4-5.6 II Power OIS, a moderately fast, variable-aperture 90 to 400mm equivalent zoom that should prove popular among bird, wildlife, and sports photographers. Splash and dust proof, this image-stabilized zoom features three Extra-Low Dispersion, manual focus override, and a 7-bladed diaphragm.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm f/4-5.6 II POWER O.I.S.

Equally fast (f/4-5.6) but longer in length (200-600mm equivalent) is the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 II Power OIS.

Image stabilized with a single Extra Low Dispersion element, Panasonic’s second-longest MFT zoom (the longest is the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmar 100-400mm f/4-6.3 ASPH POWER O.I.S.) is splash and dust proof and features a linear AF motor and a 7-bladed diaphragm.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 II Power O.I.S.

MFT shooters seeking a long and fast prime lens for their MFT system should check out the Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS , a 400mm equivalent fixed prime that comes with a Panasonic DMW-TC14 1.4x teleconverter that transforms the lens into a 280mm f/4 telephoto.

Other features of this splash-, dust-, and freeze-proof lens include twin Nano coated Ultra Extra Low Dispersion elements, a focus control limiter, focus memory, POWER O.I.S image stabilization, and a triple linear AF motor.

Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 POWER O.I.S.

Samyang

Samyang has built a reputation for producing affordable manual and autofocus lenses that, despite their modest costs, are as sharp as many of their pricier counterparts. Samyang’s AF 35mm f/2.8 FE, designed for full-frame Sony E-mount cameras, features twin aspheric elements, a single HR element, Ultra Multi-coatings, a 7-blade diaphragm, and AF with manual focus override.

Samyang AF 35mm f/2.8 FE

Sigma

The Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN is available for Micro Four Thirds (35mm equivalent) and Sony E-mount (24mm equivalent) cameras. Part of Sigma’s Contemporary Lens system, this fast, weather-sealed, wide-angle lens features a stepping AF motor, a rounded 9-bladed diaphragm, and a trio of FLD elements along with twin SLD and aspheric lens elements—all Super Multi-Coated.

Sigma 16mm f/1.4 DC DN

Sony

Sony introduced a half-dozen new E-mount zoom lenses this past year, starting with the Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G, a dust- and moisture-resistant ultra-wide, full-frame zoom containing four aspheric surfaces, a Super ED element, and a trio of ED elements with Nano AR coatings. Other features include a Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF motor, a Focus Hold button, a quick AF/MF switch, and a rounded 7-bladed diaphragm.

Sony FE 12-24mm f/4 G

A tad less wide but a stop faster is Sony’s FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM, which features a list of goodies including dual Extra Low Dispersion elements, three aspheric elements, and twin XA elements (all Nano AR and Fluorine coated), Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF motors, and Focus Hold and AF/MF switch buttons in a dust- and moisture-resistant wrapper.

Sony FE 16-35mm f/2.8 GM

If you own an E-mount lens and prefer a wide-to-short telephoto zoom Sony offers the FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS, an internal focus, dust- and moisture-proof zoom containing four aspheric elements and three ED elements with Nano AR and Fluorine coatings, a Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave motor, a Focus Hold button, an AF/MF switch, a rounded 9-bladed diaphragm, and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization.

Sony FE 24-105mm f/4 G OSS

Sony’s longest new zoom is the full-frame Sony FE 100-400 f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS, which in addition to Nano AR and Fluorine-coated Super ED element and dual ED elements, features a Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF motor, Optical SteadyShot image stabilization, a rounded 9-blade diaphragm, internal focusing, a focus range limiter, and a zoom torque adjustment ring.

Sony FE 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 GM OSS

In addition to the above zooms, Sony also introduced a pair of fixed primes. The Sony FE 85mm f/1.8 is a short telephoto / portrait lens that covers full-frame E-mount cameras. Features include an Extra-Low Dispersion element, a double linear AF motor, a focus hold button, an AF/MF switch, and a rounded 9-blade diaphragm.

Sony FE 85mm f/1.8

Designed with selectively focused portraiture in mind, Sony’s FE 100mm f/2.8 STF OSS features an Apodization element, which is specifically designed to create extra-smooth bokeh within the image’s out-of-focus specular highlights. Other features of this unique lens include single aspheric and ED elements, Nano AR coatings, a Direct Drive Super Sonic Wave AF motor, a macro switch, an aperture de-click switch, and Optical SteadyShot image stabilization.

Sony FE 100mm f/2.8 STF GM OSS

Voigtländer

Voigtländer has built itself a reputation for building high-performance lenses that are not only built like lenses were built “back in the day,” but they’re also incredibly affordable compared to comparable lenses from other manufacturers. The Voigtländer MACRO Apo-Lanthar 65mm f/2 ASPH is the newest Voigtländer to make the scene.

This densely built, manual focus lens (there’s a lot of brass in this close-focusing puppy!) features an apochromatic optical design that enables focusing down to half life-size (1:2). Designed to cover full-frame E-mount cameras, Voigtländer’s 65mm f/2 Apo-Lanthar features an aspherical design and a rounded 10-bladed diaphragm.

Voigtländer MACRO Apo-Lanthar 65mm f/2 ASPH

Have you tried any of the lenses mentioned above? Tell us what you think in the Comments section, below!

1 Comments

I can personally endorse the Leica-Panasonic Vario Elmarit, 12 to 60mm zoom lens since I use it currently on my Lumix GH-5. It's sharpness and all-round performance make it a pleasure to use and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Incidentally, it is used for movie shooting of wildlife almost exclusively, and settings are usually made manually, so I have tested few of it's automatic features as yet except stabilisation. On the basis of that experience, hoswever, I would highly recommend it.

Ian Smith - Dunedin, New Zealand.

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