📸 5 MUST-OWN Lenses for Car Photography In 2024 [Guide]

Jan 12, 2024 | Buying Guides

Have you ever considered purchasing the best lens for car photography?

If you are a commercial or freelance photographer or someone genuinely interested in the automotive industry, the chance is that you have.

One of the most popular niches for professional and hobby photography is automotive.

image for car photography lenses guide

Since it takes high-end gear to capture amazing photos of any vehicle, photographers need to invest a lot of money in cameras and lenses. Unfortunately, the internet doesn’t offer many helpful buying guides.

Since I occasionally like to capture images of sports cars, I have decided to compile a comprehensive buying guide to help fellow photographers obtain the best possible optics.

Best Wide-Angle
Best All-in-one
Best Prime

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Lens

Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G Lens

Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens

4.0
3.5
4.5
Best Wide-Angle

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Lens

4.0
Best All-in-one

Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G Lens

3.5
Best Prime

Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens

4.5
Fujifilm 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 Lens

This Fujifilm lens has optical image stabilization and it has beautiful bokeh effect that produces rock-solid results in the long end.

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Fujifilm 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 has an optical design of 14 elements in 10 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 29° to 8.1°, with a minimum focus distance of 3.61 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,18x.

The lens also sports optical image stabilization. One of the reasons why I included it in the best car photography lens is the beautiful bokeh effect it produces.

Although it is the slower lens in terms of aperture with less blur potential, it still offers rock-solid results in the long end. Another great point is the complete lack of hot spots, which means it is a great candidate for mounting filters.

I also like optical image stabilization, which has consistently yielded good results. It is worth noting that I got great results at 200 mm with 1/20th second from my hands. The overall image quality is superior, and the lens produces sharp results across the frame without any issues with chromatic aberrations and vignetting (which occur at the extreme ends).

Focus is another excellent point. It is pretty responsive and accurate, and the noise level is acceptable.

The combination of OIS and fast focus make a reasonable compromise over a relatively narrow aperture when shooting under darker conditions (which is often a situation when photographing car interiors). The overall design of the lens is good, with excellent finishing touch and solid construction.

Pros

  • Versatility
  • OIS
  • Fast focus
  • Price

Cons

  • Narrow aperture

Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 Lens

This wide-angle lens from Sigma packs quite a punch with exceptional optics, it works great in low-light and excels in the field of landscape photography.

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Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 optically consists of 13 elements in 10 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. It has an angle of view of 109.7° to 70.7°, a minimum focus distance of 9.45 inches, and a maximum magnification of 0,15x.

It lacks optical image stabilization, but its solid aperture of an f/3.5, with the Hypersonic motor, ensures outstanding photographic performance under dim lighting. The focal length is one of the critical factors that influenced me to put these optics on the car photography lens list.

Although it is versatile to cover a wide range that can fit into the frame, it doesn’t fall under the “fish-eye” lens category, so the lines remain straight without too much of a corner vignetting. Since it is the lens for car photographers, I suggest capturing the main subjects (dashboard, steering wheel, speedometer, transmission box) within the picture center because there could be side vignetting.

The aperture of an f/3.5 is solid. Although it is not the widest on the market, I didn’t have problems taking pictures during darker hours or from the inside of a car cabin. The focus is stable and accurate, and it responds pretty well.

The lens is relatively heavy, but the general design is excellent and feels solid in the hands. An additional plus is a petal hood that helps reduce sun flare and a padded lens case, which is nice.

Pros

  • Versatility
  • Fast focus
  • Solid aperture
  • Design

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G Lens

This is a versatile lens from nikon that offers powerfull zoom without any distortion and it also has many features such as Silent Wave Motor.

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The third candidate is the best Nikon lens for car photography and offers an optical design of 17 elements in 12 groups, with seven rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 76° to 11° 30′, with a minimum focus distance of 1.48 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,23x.

It has optical image stabilization that is beneficial for both handheld and telephoto distances and comes in handy when considering the maximum telephoto distance.

The design of this Nikon’s optics is one of the reasons why I included it on the best camera lens for the car photography list. I specifically like the zoom control ring, which offers a resistance that gives an extra level of control.

Furthermore, the focus ring action is quite good, it operates smoothly, and the overall design of the lens is excellent, with a nice finishing touch and strong materials. The versatility of the focal length in combination with OIS and solid aperture is sufficient to make photos pop, even under low light situations.

The general image quality is excellent. Nikon 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G can produce quick results at all focal lengths, with minimum distortion and lens vignetting in corners.

Moreover:

The aperture makes it easy to capture sharp images, and even at the maximum opening, it creates solid results. The only drawback is chromatic aberrations and flares visible under specific lighting.

Pros

  • Versatile focal length
  • OIS
  • Strong design
  • Fast focus

Cons

  • The aperture could be wider

Canon 50mm f/1.4 Lens

Canon 50mm f/1.4 has a presence of a hypersonic motor and a fast aperture ensures a rock-solid perfomance in terms of image sharpness.

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The best Canon lens for car photography has an optical design of seven elements in six groups, with eight rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 46 degrees, with a minimum focus distance of 1,48 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,15x.

Although Canon 50mm f/1.4 doesn’t have optical image stabilization, a hypersonic motor and a fast aperture ensure a rock-solid performance in image sharpness, even under challenging light conditions.

These optics also lack official weather sealing, but the general build quality is exquisite and can easily withstand dust and rain. I included this Canon as the best lens for car photography due to its focal length and aperture. Both work in symbiosis to deliver a magnificently shallow depth of field. It comes in handy when you want to focus on the car’s rims or spoilers while blurring the background.

On the other hand:  

I recommend staying a few notches lower for the sharpest results since it allows one to frame more with increased sharpness. I also used a circular polarizing filter that produces rock-solid images without a harsh contrast.

The color transmission is phenomenal, with vibrant colors. The lens also doesn’t distort images; I have not noticed any corner vignetting. It also manages flare and ghosting. The only “drawback” is the lack of zoom, but since most commercial car photography (that doesn’t include racing) is done from proximity, it shouldn’t be a deal-breaker.

Pros

  • Wide aperture
  • Fast focusing
  • Color transmission
  • Design

Cons

  • No zoom
  • Lack of OIS

Sony 85mm f/1.8-22 Lens

The double linear motor system ensures responsive, silent and accurate focusing and overall image sharpness and color transmission are excellent.

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The last optics on the list has an optical design of nine elements in eight groups, with nine rounded diaphragm blades. The angle of view is 29,8 degrees, with a minimum focus distance of 2,62 feet and a maximum magnification of 0,13x. Although it lacks optical image stabilization, its fast aperture ensures that results are impeccable even under challenging light conditions.

One of the reasons why I put Sony 85mm f/1.8-22 on the car photography lens list is the double linear motor system since it ensures responsive, silent, and accurate focusing. Another vital point touches the design and ergonomics, and it is a direct control with the programmable focus hold button and the auto & manual focus switch.

The overall image sharpness I could get with this lens is next to perfect, with solid contrast and excellent color transmission.

At all apertures, images were sharp, and the bokeh was creamy and symmetrical. If you intend to shoot moving cars, I recommend continuous autofocus since it will produce much more sensitive and clean results.

The aperture is wide enough to ensure high-quality work under dim lighting, and I kept the shutter speed relatively fast while retaining the low ISO values. Design-wise, the lens offers solid finish touch with rather sturdy materials.

Pros

  • Fast aperture
  • Excellent focus
  • Lightweight
  • Overall sharpness

Cons

  • Lack of OIS

Verdict

To make sure you can capture mesmerizing automotive pictures, you should ensure that you are getting the best lens for car photography. As outlined in the article above, there are many variables one should account for when picking the best one for the job.

Regardless of that, no matter what style you prefer or if you are a professional or enthusiast, picking any of the lenses for car photography from the list will ensure that your car images are noticed.

Check out this option if you are unsure which lens to choose.

Also, you can find more helpful information about the best lenses for architectural photography and the best lenses for street photography on our website.

Disclaimer: "As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases."

Stacy WItten

Stacy WItten

Owner, Writer & Photographer

Stacy Witten, owner and creative force behind LensesPro, delivers expertly crafted content with precision and professional insight. Her extensive background in writing and photography guarantees quality and trust in every review and tutorial.

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