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These superb, fast standard zooms will always have your back


Standard zooms are workhorse lenses for everyone from hobbyists to professionals. If you need a lens that can cover everything from landscapes to portraits, check out this roundup of standard zooms.

Standard zooms have been go-to lenses for event photographers, portrait photographers, wedding photographers and more for decades. You can go from wide angles to telephoto lengths in seconds, which means you can be capturing landscapes, cityscapes, and environmental portraits one second to tighter detail shots with just a flick of your wrist.

Below, we have rounded up five superb standard zooms that are all-weather sealed and that offer the very best optics. No matter what you’re shooting, these standard zooms will have your back.

Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 G2 — Top quality for a low price

standard zooms

We all know Tamron has upped the ante regarding lenses for Sony E mount cameras. The Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 G2 is no exception to this rule; in fact, it’s one of the best standard zooms you can get for Sony cameras. This lens is well made, weather sealed, has top-quality optics, and is fast to focus. At $899, this lens is a steal. In our review, we said:

“For me, the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 G2 lens is the perfect complement to my shooting setup. It’s compact and lightweight, meaning that it doesn’t bog me down, and that it gives me more room to pack an extra lens or accessory with me. The sharpness and picture quality here reign supreme. For what some would call a budget-friendly lens, it sure delivers the quality of a premium lens. It’s found a permanent spot in my camera bag, and I can’t wait to continue using it.”

Managing Editor — Bryan Esler

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S — A must-have standard zoom for Z mount photographers

standard zooms

The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 is a stunner. The image quality from this standard zoom is simply stunning. The lens is weather sealed to the nines. The lens is nice and light, a rapid focuser, and the customizable control ring allows you to make the lens work for you and your shooting style. At under $1,000, this f/4 lens offers incredible value for money, especially when the f/2.8 version costs more than double! In our review, we said:

“The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S may come packaged as a kit lens with various Nikon cameras but it performs like a lens that’s anything but. To start with the lens is well made, it has weather sealing galore, and it feels nice when in use. You also can’t forget that this lens has solid optics that produce images with nice colors, decent bokeh, and great overall sharpness. The autofocus performance isn’t too shabby either.”

Gear Editor — Brett Day

Pentax DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED PLM AW — A big lens with huge performance to match

The Pentax DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 is a huge standard zoom lens that will give your biceps a workout; however, the images you can create with this lens will make this one-stop workout lens well worth it. You’ll be treated to gorgeous colors, incredibly sharp images, a premium build quality, which includes weather sealing, lovely bokeh and speedy autofocus motors. In our review, we said:

“The sharpness of the optics in this DA* lens is off the charts. Wide-open at f/2.8 the center is bitingly sharp with only the corners being a little soft. Stop down to f/4 and you have edge-to-edge and corner-to-corner sharpness down to about f/11. You’ve got nothing to worry about here. This lens is beyond sharp.”

Gear Editor — Brett Day

Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II — A new level for standard zooms

standard zooms

If you want the very best Sony offers when it comes to standard zooms, look no further than the new 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II. This lens made our jaws drop when we have it in for review. The colors. The bokeh. The sharpness. The build quality. The autofocus performance. My goodness, this lens hits the tippy top of the test charts in every area. Now, you’ll pay through the nose for performance like this, but if you have the money, snap it up. In our review, we said:

“I’d feel confident using this lens for any of my events I photograph. There was no hunting, and the lens just snapped right at the subject you were photographing. Combined with Sony’s Eye AF in cameras like the a1 and a7 IV, this is a stellar lens if you need to capture some movement.”

Managing Editor — Bryan Esler

Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM — One of Canon’s finest

Canon has always made incredible 24-70mm standard zooms, and they kept this tradition alive with the new RF mount version. The 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM is a true workhorse that will not disappoint photographers and clients alike, thanks to its top-notch image quality and stunning all-around performance.

Like most Canon RF mount lenses, the 24-70mm f/2.8 L IS USM has a customizable control ring. This lens also has optical image stabilization, nine rounded bokeh blades which create gorgeous bokeh, and three aspherical elements which eliminate distortion and ghosting. This standard zoom is a no-brainer for those that use Canon RF mount cameras.



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Rafael Jones

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