"Spend it on glass" has always been one of the best pieces of advice for photographers. Get the best-possible glass for your camera with these recommendations from our expert testing team.

Prime Lens of the Year Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM

Sony FE 24mm f1.4 GM

Why we like it

  • Absolutely superb optical quality
  • Smaller and lighter than DSLR equivalents
  • Built-in aperture ring
  • Silent, decisive autofocus
  • Dust and moisture-resistant construction

This fast wideangle prime for Sony’s full-frame mirrorless system sets new standards in its class. As a member of the firm’s premium G Master range, it offers stunning optical quality, combining spectacular resolution across the entire image with attractive rendition of defocused backgrounds. As a bonus, it’s also substantially smaller and lighter than its equivalents for
full-frame DSLRs.

The newly developed optical formula employs 13 elements in 10 groups, including two extreme aspheric (XA) elements along with three crafted from extra-low dispersion (ED. This delivers stunning sharpness even at f/1.4, coupled with minimal distortion and chromatic aberration. In addition, the lens suffers from barely any coma flare of point light sources at the corner of the frame, making it highly suitable for astrophotography. Nano-AR coating suppresses flare and ghosting, while fluorine coating shrugs off water and grease from the front element.

Sony’s latest high-power direct-drive supersonic motor (DDSSM) system offers fast and silent autofocus that’s also unerringly accurate, even with off-centre subjects at large aperture settings. Manual focus is similarly well behaved thanks to the Linear Response MF system, which offers a very intuitive feel similar to using a traditional manual-focus lens. Overall, this is without doubt the best fast wideangle prime we’ve tested.

AP Awards winner Prime lens 2019


Nominees

  • Panasonic Leica DG Elmarit 200mm f/2.8 Power OIS
  • Samyang AF 24mm F2.8 FE
  • Sigma 105mm F1.4 DG HSM Art
  • Sony FE 24mm F1.4 GM I Zeiss Loxia 2.4/25

Zoom Lens of the Year Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8 DG OS HSM Art

Why we like it

  • Offers attractive saving over close rivals
  • Highly effective image stabilisation provides four stops benefit
  • Fast, silent and accurate autofocus
  • Strong and robust build quality
  • Creates attractive images when used wide open

For users of full-frame DSLR and mirrorless cameras requiring a versatile zoom that performs as well in low light as it does creating a shallow depth of field wide-open, a pro-spec 24-70mm f/2.8 is definitely the way to go. Sigma’s 24-70mm f/2.8 presents a very attractive saving over its Canon, Nikon and Sony rivals and puts up a strong fight against them in terms of optical performance. To maximise its appeal, it’s optimised for use with sensors boasting a resolution of up to 50 million pixels.

Effective optical stabilisation helps to keep subjects sharp and images free of handshake, with the option of opening the lens to f/2.8 being particularly useful in low-light scenarios and when you’d like to emphasise a subject from a busy background and create pleasing bokeh in out-of-focus areas. With a robust build quality as well as fast and quiet autofocus, it’s a lens that’ll provide first-class service over many years.

All things considered, this is a superb optic. While it might not be a particularly lightweight option, full-frame users after one of the finest and most affordable f/2.8 standard zooms available won’t have any regrets adding this optic to their collection.

AP Awards winner Zoom lens 2019


Nominees

  • Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR
  • Sigma 14-24mm F2.8 DG HSM Art
  • Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Art
  • Sigma 60-600mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports
  • Tamron 100-400mm F/4.5-6.3 Di VC USD