11 Best Lenses For Low Light In 2023

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If you have brought home a DSLR camera, soon you might realize that the kit lenses that accompany them are not suitable enough for low light photography. The best lens for low light photography is made with a higher aperture, the size the lens can open to capture light.

It’s important to know that you can choose from two types of lenses: prime lens and telephoto lens. Prime lenses are available at lower costs and have a fixed focal length. Telephoto lenses, on the other hand, have a long reach, thus letting your creativity come to life. In this post, we have listed some of the best lenses for low light photography. The options listed here are lightweight, compact, and easy to clean, thus making them perfect for use just about anywhere.

11 Best Lenses For Low Light

1. Best Lightweight:Sony – FE 50mm F1.8 Standard Lens

4.5

This standard lens boasts a brilliant F1.8 maximum aperture, so you never have to worry about poor picture quality in low light situations. It has a 7-blade circular aperture that helps you master the bokeh effect. With a 75 mm focal length with APS-C sensor, it is ideal for portraiture. Its aspherical element helps to control spherical aberration and coma perfectly. With its double-glass configuration, it suppresses field curvature and distortion. It is also equipped with a 49 mm filter diameter and an E-mount. You can also check this video out for a brief review of the product.

Pros

  • Impressive auto focus
  • Image stabilization
  • Suitable for beginners
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • It may take some time to focus.

2. Best Compact:Canon EF-M 22 MM Compact System Lens

Canon EF-M 22 MM Compact System Lens

Price at the time of publication: $249.0

This lens from Canon offers a moderate wide-angle lens that can be equalled to a 35 mm on a full-frame camera. Its in-built stepping motor ensures a smooth and quiet autofocus whenever you record a video. With a 7-blade circular aperture, it ensures a beautiful background, every single time. Its aspheric element and shining f/2.0 lens also ensure that it gives you the best quality while working in low light conditions. You can get as close as your want to the subject with the minimum focusing distance of 5.9 inches. Featuring a diagonal angle of view, a filter size of 43 mm, and an inner focusing system, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to the performance of this lens. If you need more convincing, feel free to take a look at this YouTuber’s video on the merits and demerits of the product.

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Image stabilization
  • Impressive depth of field
  • High contrast

Cons

  • The lens is not zoomable.
Pro tip
To protect the lens from dust during shoots, always place the lens facing downward instead of upwards to minimize its exposure to dust particles.

3. Best With Multi-Layer Coating:Sigma Contemporary Lens

4.7
Sigma Contemporary Lens Image: Image: Sigma
Price at the time of publication: $374

This 16 mm f/1.4 DC DN lens from Sigma stands a class apart.  It has a large aperture of F1.4, made specifically for mirrorless cameras and for low light photography as it creates a depth of field. The design of this lens makes use of aspherical glass elements and low dispersion to control color fringing and for sharpness and clarity. With a multi-layer coating, it helps to suppress flare and promote greater contrast and color fidelity. If you want a detailed review of the product, make sure to take a look at this video.

Pros

  • Compatible with many Canon models
  • Wide angle lens
  • Impressive contrast
  • Autofocus
  • Splash-proof

Cons

  • The lens is not zoomable.

4. Best Easy-To-Clean:Nikon Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens

Nikon Vibration Reduction Zoom Lens

Price at the time of publication: $2096.95

This zoom lens made for the Nikon DSLR cameras is a fantastic choice for low light photography and comes with an f/2.8 electromagnetic diaphragm aperture. Its spectacular image quality leaves room for zero distortion and that is made possible with its 24 to 70 mm focal length. This lens also has 4 stops of Vibration Reduction when handheld, and when taking pictures in low light. With an in-built CPU and F mount, it also offers a minimum focus distance of 35 to 50 feet. For optical precision like never before, you can count on the aspherical extra-low dispersion element. A versatile lens that provides shots at great speed, this lens is one of the best. This AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8ED VR brings photography under low light to life.

Pros

  • Non-stick glass
  • Easy to clean
  • Image stabilization technology
  • Electromagnetic diaphragm
  • Wide open lens

Cons

  • Slightly heavy
Quick tip
Since dust particles are abrasive, never wipe clean a lens. Always use a soft-bristled lens brush to remove the dirt without damaging the lens with scratches.

5. Best Multi-Coated Lens:Yongnuo YN50mm F/1.8 Lens

Yongnuo YN50mm F1.8 Lens

Price at the time of publication: $82.0

This lens supports autofocus and manual focus functions. A brilliant addition to the EOS 18-55 mm lens kit, it offers a swift aperture for low light conditions and captures sharp and clear images. It is compatible with a host of cameras, is 2 inches in length, provides 0.15 magnification, 46° angle of view and accepts 52 mm filters. With a maximum focal length of 55 mm, this low light lens also supports full-frame and APS-C format cameras.

Pros

  • Supports many shooting modes
  • Multi-coated lens
  • Quick aperture
  • 45 m focussing distance

Cons

  • Some may find it noisy

6. Best Internal Focus:Tokina Lens For Canon EF

Tokina Lens For Canon EF 

Price at the time of publication: $459.0

This lens from Tokina features a f/2.8 to f/22. P-MO aperture range and glass moulded aspherical elements that provide sharpness and brightness, and is equipped with 3 SD ultra-low dispersion. It comes with a one-touch focus clutch, and a 9-blade diaphragm and is compatible with the Canon EF. At 17.5 -32mm, the focal length of this lens is all you need for low light photography. Its minimum and maximum focal length is set at 11 and 20 mm, respectively.

Pros

  • Image stabilization technology
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Multi-layer lens coating
  • Internal focus

Cons

  • It may not be compatible with Sony and Nikon mounts.
Quick fact
To protect your camera from wet weather, use a camera rain cover and fit a camera lens filter or protector to further safeguard the lens from damage.

7. Best Dust-Proof:Oshiro Ultra-Macro Lens For Nikon

Oshiro Ultra-Macro Lens For Nikon

Price at the time of publication: $137.17

This lens allows for an adjustable magnification range that can go from 0.1x to 2x. You can switch the magnification ratio in seconds without the need of a converter, and can quickie change to macro scenarios. Said to be the world’s first 2:1 prime manual focus manual lens, it is compatible with full-frame sensors and APS-C sensors. This lens also has 9 lens elements in 7 groups. And with its ultra-nano multi-coating anti-reflection glass, it offers exquisite sharpness and clear colors. With 14 aperture blades, it helps create an incredible depth of view.

Pros

  • 60 mm focal length
  • Moisture-proof seal
  • Dust-proof seal
  • Reduced glare and ghosting
  • F/2.8 maximum aperture

Cons

  • Full manual lens

8. Best For Rough Terrains:Olympus Macro ED Lens

Olympus Macro ED Lens

Price at the time of publication: $650.09

Ideal for professionals, this lens is specifically made to withstand the rigidity of constant use and rough terrains. This 50mm f/2.0 macro lens offers a maximum magnification ratio of 0.52x along with a 9.45-inch minimum focusing distance. With its extra low dispersion glass element, you can rest assured of spectacular image quality and top-notch resolution with great contrast facilitated by reduced chromatic aberrations. Its 50 mm range is equivalent to 100 mm in traditional 35 mm photography. The lens construction stands at 11 elements in 10 groups and offers a 24° angle of view. With 7 blades and 52 mm filter size, this lens won’t let you down.

Pros

  • f/22 minimum aperture
  • 45 inches closest focussing distance
  • Sheds water droplets
  • Compatible with Micro Four Thirds

Cons

  • Some may find it slightly heavy

9. Best Impressive Wide Angle:Samyang Wide Angle Lens For Fujifilm

Samyang Wide Angle Lens For Fujifilm

Price at the time of publication: $259

This lens has a maximum and minimum focal length of 12 millimeters. It accepts 67 filters, and focuses to 0.2 mm. With this lens, you can be assured a wide-angle view that spans 98.9°. You can also be guaranteed fast f/2.0 maximum aperture benefits that promote working in conditions with low light conditions. This lens has an increased light transmission and lesser internal reflections all made possible by the Nano Coating System. It also uses 12 high-precision glass lens elements. Designed purposely for mirrorless cameras, it has an f/2.0 maximum aperture that ensures that you capture shallow depth fields.

Pros

  • Accepts 67 filters
  • Reduced internal reflections
  • Lightweight
  • Impressive wide angle

Cons

  • Manual focus only

10. Best For Bokeh Effect:Meike Manual Focus Lens

Meike Manual Focus Lens

Price at the time of publication: $89.99

This lens is compatible with all Sony E mount cameras. A wide-angle lens, it is well-suited for portrait, landscape, and product photography. It has a fixed focal length of 35 mm, and maximum aperture of 1.4 to 16 that ensure that your photograph comes out well with its high-intensity lighting. A manual lens, you need to enable the ‘M mode’ in the camera setting. It has a great APS-C angle and 5 groups in 8 elements that ensure that you get sharp and distinct pictures.

Pros

  • Multi-layered lens
  • Wide angle lens
  • Works with all Sony E-mount cameras
  • Good for bokeh effect

Cons

  • May not autofocus

11. Rokinon Wide Angle Fixed Lens

Rokinon Wide Angle Fixed Lens

Price at the time of publication: $249.0

This lens has a great wide angle view that gives the best results. It is also compact and lightweight, so you need not worry about moving it around. The Nano Coating system ensures that you get the best contrast and highest light transmission. With this lens, you don’t need to worry about taking pictures in the night, or at dark places, its f/2.0 max aperture ensures this. Providing low chromatic aberration for heightened sharpness and internal focus that ensures zero lengthening or rotation of the front lens, this lens is one of the best.

Pros

  • Accepts front filters
  • 3 extra low dispersion elements
  • Minimum focus distance of 7.9’’
  • Compatible with a wide range of cameras
  • Suitable for videography

Cons

  • The lens may not be zoomable.

Now that we’ve looked at the 11 best lenses for low light, here’s a quick buying guide to help you choose one for yourself.

How To Choose The Right Lens For Low Light?

Purpose

Lenses vary in their strengths and weaknesses. So, you’d need to consider what you intend to primarily use your purchased lens for. Some are best for traveling, others for taking normal pictures. The moment you understand what you want to use your lens for, you become closer to getting your desired lens.

Compatibility

These lenses vary in compatibility. Before getting one, you need to consider your camera and if it is compatible with this lens. Getting a lens that is not compatible with your camera will simply render your lens useless. Ensure that it is compatible with the mount type too.

Aperture

Every lens has a small hole inside. However, the holes vary in size. The larger the hole, the better it is for more light to come in and to make your pictures brighter and sharper in dark places. So, before getting your lens, you have to consider this.

Prime or zoom lens

If you decide to get a prime lens, that means you intend to put in more brightness into your shots, and correct mistakes in the shots easily. If you decide that you want to always get close to your subject of photography, you will need a zoom lens.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Wedetso Chirhah aims to use his knowledge of various products to help his audience through product reviews. He follows a thorough research and review process to help readers pick out products best suited for their needs. In this article on the best lenses for low light pictures, he listed the top ones after reviewing multiple products, their features, and pros and cons. The article also includes a buying guide section that will make your task of picking the perfect product effortless.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a 50mm lens good for low-light photography?

Yes, a 50mm lens has a wide aperture that allows more light to enter the camera, enabling you to shoot great pictures even in environments with low lighting.

2. Should I start with a prime lens or a zoom lens?

A prime lens may be a more manageable and affordable option for beginners. They are lightweight and have a fixed focal length that doesn’t need adjusting. Zoom lenses, on the other hand, may be expensive and complicated for beginners.

3. How do I take sharp photos in low light?

You can take the following steps to shoot sharp photos in low light.

  • Lower the shutter speed to allow more light into the camera.
  • Use the camera’s flash.
  • Alter the ISO setting to increase the sensor’s sensitivity to light.

If you are a photography enthusiast and are looking for ways to experiment with low-light photography using a DSLR, you will need the right lenses. Low-light lenses are specially designed to open wide enough to capture enough light. To avoid limitations while clicking such pictures, it is important to pick a lens that stabilizes your image well, is lightweight, easy to maintain, and compatible with different cameras. You can also look for lenses that support filters to enhance your photographs. However, you might want to avoid lenses that do not have a dust-proof seal, are not easily zoomable, and are heavy. We hope our list of the best lenses for low light can help you understand the available options and features.

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