Best lenses 2012 : Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Sigma, Tamron etc

by Enche Tjin on December 23, 2012

Every year, dozens of lenses are announced and available to us. Basically, there is no single best lens, but there is lens that is best suited to your needs and also your pocket. In this post, I’ll talk about the new lenses in 2012 and categorized it based on brand. Happy reading!

Nikon

Nikon in 2012 upgrades some of its fixed lenses. There are 85mm f/1.8G (typically for portrait / candid), 28mm f/1.8G (popular for street photography) and 70-200mm f /4 VR, a practical lens for everyday use. This particular telephoto zoom lens has been long-awaited. Canon already have 70-200mm lens variants for a long time. In addition, Nikon also releases 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR lens which is a kit lens (bundled) with a Nikon D600, and popular superzoom lens 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR. For the Nikon 1 system, Nikon released two lenses, the compact zoom kit lens and the 50mm f/1.8 lens equivalent fixed lens.

Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR - Walk around telephoto zoom

Nikon 70-200mm f/4G VR - Walk around telephoto zoom

  • Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.8G
  • Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.8G
  • Nikon AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR
  • Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4 VR
  • Nikon AF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR
  • Nikon 1 11-27.5 f/3.5-5.6
  • Nikon 1 18.5mm f/1.8

Canon

This year, Canon updates some of its wide angle fix lens by adding image stabilization. There are: 24mm f/2.8 IS, 28mm f/2.8 IS, and 35mm f /2 IS. Popular professional lens, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 also get updated to mark II, with a smaller size, slightly bigger filter, and higher price tag. The change in pricing is quite significant, from about $1250 to $2299

Then, Canon also designs one lens that could potentially become a popular lens: Canon 24-70mm f /4 IS Macro. This lens is extremely flexible for a variety of circumstances, effective for every day use and traveling. This lens is planned to be bundled with Canon’s latest full frame camera, Canon 6D. Also Do not miss the two new lenses to accompany the launch of Canon first mirrorless camera, Canon M. Standard zoom lens kit and fix 22mm (equivalent to 35mm f /2).

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 IS L Macro - New walkround lens for Canon EOS DSLR

Canon EF 24-70mm f/4 IS L Macro - New walkround lens for Canon EOS DSLR

  • Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II
  • Canon 24-70mm f/4 IS Macro
  • Canon 28mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Canon 24mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Canon 35mm f/2 IS USM
  • Canon EF-M 22mm f/2 STM
  • Canon EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM

Sigma

In 2012, Sigma releases several high quality lenses. In recent years, Sigma is focusing on cutting-edge lens design. These quality lenses include Sigma 35mm f/1.4 HSM, Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS HSM and the Sigma 180mm f/2.8 Macro OS HSM.

Not wanting to miss the growing mirrorless camera system market, Sigma offers two primes/fixed lens micro four thirds system and Sony NEX: 30mm f/2.8 and 19mm f/2.8. Superzoom and standard zoom lens are also updated for better quality: Sigma 18-250mm and 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Macro OS HSM.

For a 35mm lens, 120-300mm and 17-70mm, Sigma provides the tools to configure the autofocus system such as speed, accuracy, so we can calibrate it ourself without having to take it to a service center.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 - very high quality fixed lens  which supassed its competitors

Sigma 35mm f/1.4 - very high quality fixed lens which supassed its competitors

  • Sigma 18-250mm f/3.5-6.3 Macro OS HSM
  • Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM
  • Sigma 180mm f/2.8 OS HSM macro
  • Sigma 35mm f/1.4 HSM
  • Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 OS HSM
  • Sigma 30mm f/2.8 DN
  • Sigma 19mm f/2.8 DN

Tamron

Tamron only releases two lenses, but both are very high quality. Tamron has often been criticized for their slow and noisy autofocus. This year Tamron improves these shortcomings by producing an unique lens: Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC USD. The lens is designed for full-frame DSLR camera (can also be used on APS-C sensor camera). These new Tamron lenses are unique because it has built-in vibration compensation. The good news is the price of these lenses are a lot less expensive than competitors’ lenses (made in Canon, Nikon and Sony). One more lens is 70-200mm, which is also been enhanced with the presence of VC and USD, autofocus is now a breeze and silent.

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC USD - first 24-70mm with image stabilization

Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC USD - first 24-70mm with image stabilization

  • Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 VC USD
  • Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 VC USD

Sony

Sony is focusing its NEX mirrorless system. This is reflected by the release of three NEX lenses which I think is quite unique high quality: Sony E 10-18mm f /4 OSS, Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS and 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS PZ. For the 16-50mm, it has decent quality, but it is practical for the streets and travel because it is relatively small, which make it easy for storage.

The small and retractable Sony 16-50mm

The small and retractable Sony 16-50mm for Sony NEX

  • Sony E 10-18mm f/4 OSS
  • Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ OSS
  • Sony E 35mm f/1.8 OSS
  • Sony 300mm f/2.8G SSM II
  • Sony 55-300mm f/4,5-5.6 SAM

Olympus

Olympus and Panasonic are both affiliated with the micro four thirds system. This year, there are three quality lenses at the Olympus 75mm f/1.8, 60mm f/2.9 macro and the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8, 35-100mm f/2.8 power OIS.  These lenses are aimed to profesionals and serious amateurs.

Olympus 75mm f/1.8, great for close-up portraiture and street candids

Olympus 75mm f/1.8, great for close-up portraiture and street candids

  • Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro
  • Olympus 75mm f/1.8
  • Panasonic 45-150mm f/4-5.6 MEGA OIS
  • Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 Power OIS
  • Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 Power OIS

Pentax

Pentax does not release many lenses this year. Most are standard lens for Pentax three different camera systems.

Pentax 15-45mm (equiv 70-200mm) maybe this is the smallest telephoto zoom

Pentax 15-45mm f/2.8 (equiv 70-200mm) maybe this is the smallest telephoto zoom

  • Pentax 50mm f/1.8 – for DSLR
  • Pentax DA 18-270mm f/3.5-6.3 SDM – for DSLR
  • Pentax 06 15-45mm f/2.8 – for Pentax Q
  • Pentax 40mm f/2.8 XS – for Pentax K01
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