After testing more than 14 different lenses under every setting possible, i concluded that the best overall option for anyone that wants to record a professional music video would be the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM. It’s a high end model and costs more than average lenses, but it’s the best you can get. I listed 6 different lenses that are excellent in this field, and i will talk about each of them in detail.
The lens of the camera can be considered as the most important part, in fact, this component is essential and determines the quality of the image/video. If you choose a quality lens then you shouldn’t expect anything less than stunning visuals, and vice-versa, if you don’t have a quality lens, then chances that you won’t be satisfied with the result are going to be very low.
In addition, regardless if you’ve recently started to shoot music videos, or maybe you’re a videographer who has skills, or a videographer that has been working for years, all of you know that choosing the best lenses for your camera isn’t the easiest job in the world. As a matter of fact, sometimes we spend more time searching than on working.
Well, you shouldn’t worry at all, and you’re not obliged to spend hours on research, since in this article, I’ve prepared the best lenses for music videos, and I hope that one of you will get your attention!
Are you ready? Let’s get started right away!
The 6 Best Lenses For Music Videos
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
Best For Portraits
Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm
Best For Stills & HD Videos
Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS (SEL1018)
Best For Ultra-Wide Shots
Sigma’s 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM
Best For Landscapes
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Best For Professional Use
Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
Best For Difficult Light Conditions
6. Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G is a compact and versatile lens that has been on the market for a fairly long period, however, since its release date, this unit has quickly established itself as a top option for enthusiast who is looking for quality lens without spending a chunk of money!
In terms of design, this lens weighs around 6.6 ounces, measures 2.1 x 2.8 (H x D), and employs an internal focus motor that makes this lens highly suitable to be used with most of the DSLR cameras, and even with those who do not have a screw-drive focus system!
Moreover, even though this lens doesn’t employ a weather sealing, still, it has a solid build thanks to its solid, plastic exterior and metal mount, but honestly, I don’t think that there are lenses in this price range that are protected by a weather sealing, anyway!
When it comes to the sharpness, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G when used with Nikon D300, and as a matter of fact, this lens is optimized for edge to edge sharpness on FX and DX-format DSLRs as well, so you will have plenty of options to choose from and one of them may surely be the camera with which you will record music videos.
Also, those who have had an opportunity to shoot with this model claim that the lens is doing a fantastic job in dealing with distortion, while on the other side, I’ve been reported that on an FX-DSLR camera, the diagonal angle of view is 47-degrees, whereas, on a DX-body the angle of view may be as low as 31-degrees. Either way, considering its price tag, I think that this lens is indeed fantastic.
Last but not least, this model packs a Silent Wave Motor as well, and what does this means is that you will be allowed to taste the benefits of having a near-silent auto-focusing on all Nikon DSLR cameras.
Additionally, the lens is exceptionally quiet and fast at the same time, and when we combine all these things into one, I think that you will be more than satisfied to shoot with this lens!
To conclude, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly lens that won’t rip off your wallet, but instead, it would guarantee you quality performance, then the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G would be a really good option for you!
5. Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm
If you’ve set your budget on under $500, and if you’ve had a hard time finding a quality lens, then the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm can undoubtedly be the right choice for you, because of numerous reasons, and all of them will be described right away!
This lens is pretty compact and lightweight, weighing just 12.4 ounces, measures 2.9 x 3.1″ (H x D), and even though it doesn’t have an optical stabilization system which may not be the ideal lens for handheld video recording, still, Nikon has compensated this by adding some very useful features. However, you can always rely on a tripod and fix this “issue”.
For instance, the Nikkor 85mm’s aperture has a 7-blade design that consists of rounded blades, which basically means that out-of-focus highlights are going to be indeed circular if you opt to stop down this lens. In addition, this unit offers a maximum magnification ratio of 1:8:3, and interestingly, if you intend to use an FX camera, then the angle of view is going to be 28.5-degrees diagonally, or 18.8-degrees on small-format DX. Honestly, considering its price tag, I think that this lens offers a great value!
Now, let’s briefly explain its compatibility. This lens is compatible with both, FX and DX cameras, including D4, D800, D800E, and even with Nikon’s budget-friendly cameras such as D40(x), D60, D3000, D5100, D3100, and D5000!
Another great thing about this lens is its sharpness which will allow you to achieve superb tonal and color variances, and of course, its ability to ensure a precise focus down to a distance of 2.6ft.
But hey, we won’t end here since I have yet another thing to mention, and that’s regarding its focus ring. Well, this model’s focus ring is strategically positioned on the front of the barrel which is super useful due to the fact that you can easily, manually focus whether your thumb or index finger, and this is particularly useful when you shoot videos and images!
To conclude, I would definitely suggest you consider the Nikon AF S NIKKOR 85mm as your next purchase, especially if you’re an enthusiast that would not like to spend more than $500 on a lens, but would be delighted to shoot high-quality videos!
4. Sony E 10-18mm F4 OSS (SEL1018)
The Sony SEL1018 would be a great option for you, if you plan to shoot videos or photos with a mirrorless camera, since this ultra-wide-angle lens has an optical stabilization that will get the maximum of every situation and can drastically boost your creativity, with the intention to let you achieve excellent results!
To begin with, the SEL1018 is basically an APS-C cropped-sensor lens that is compatible with all Sony E-mount cameras, including NEX models, A9-, A5 and 6/xxx as well as A7-, so, from the very beginning, you already have a clue that this lens is very compatible so you won’t have to purchase a camera specifically for this purpose.
Speaking of the design, this unit boasts a classy, solid metal construction that is accompanied by high-quality black plastics, and what’s also interesting is that this lens is unbelievably lightweight, since it weighs just 225-grams. Therefore, you will have ease of use and won’t feel tired even if you’ve been shooting for a considerably long period!
Moreover, the focus ring is set behind the front element, and what got my attention regarding this part is that the ring can turn infinitely in any direction, giving you plenty of choices so you will never face restricted in shooting.
in order to keep things highly functional, Sony has managed to incorporate optical stabilization, which is awesome mainly because of the fact that you will be able to have a convenient video shooting without the need for a tripod. Also, if your Sony camera does not have in-body stabilization, then you shouldn’t worry as well because the lens will prevent jitter in case you shoot handheld, and honestly, I really like this lens!
There are multiple videos on YouTube as well, where you can see the final outcome of the videos which is shot by the users, so, you will have even better insight regarding the qualities of the SEL1018.
I would also like to mention that this lens has two control rings of which, the zoom ring sits really close to the camera body and has embedded markings such as 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18mm, or if you prefer the terms of full-frame, this mean that the zoom covers the same angle of views like 15-27mm lens.
What about the autofocus and sharpness? Well, the autofocus is very fast and it allows you to focus quickly and accurately. For example, given the fact that its minimum focus is 25cm from the sensor plane, you can be close to your subject and shoot quality videos/images, whereas, at 10mm, you can notice that the sharpness in the center of the frame is truly breath-taking at f/4. However, be prepared that sometimes the clarity toward the edges of the frame may not always be ideal, but still, the f/5.6 results in terms of sharpness are really good.
3. Sigma’s 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM
The Sigma’s 7-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM standard zoom lens isn’t a new thing in the market, in fact, this lens is one of the most recognizable and is surely among the most purchased lens that you can find on the market, thanks to its numerous features that will dramatically improve your user experience!
First of all, I’d like to inform you that this lens is exclusively designed for APS-C format DSLR cameras, and depending on your camera, you can choose the edition for Canon ( which I’m currently reviewing), Nikon, Pentax or Sigma.
Moving on, this model covers a focal length from 17 mm, has a large aperture of f.28 and utilizes optical stabilizer whose purpose is to eliminate the effects of camera shake, which, therefore, means that you can achieve excellent photo and video results since once you lock onto a target, this lens will ensure nothing less than quality!
Additionally, the manufacturer has implemented a so-called super multi-layer coating whose purpose is to reduce ghosting and flare, so, for now, I don’t have any remarks regarding this lens.
If you’ve been curious regarding the autofocus operation, I have good news for you, due to the fact that given the lens` short focus throw, you will instantly focus and during this process, you will barely notice the noise at all!
I’d also like to inform you that the Sigma 17-50mm outputs sharp central performance throughout its zoom range, but of course, the corner softness may vary. For instance, if the lens is stopped down, the sharpness will be truly fantastic, but if you use it open wide at wide-angle – at 17mm, f.28 then be prepared to see corner softness, although the central area will likely remain sharp.
However, macro isn’t the strongest point of this lens, because of its minimum focusing distance of 11 throughout its zoom range, which basically means that this lens will offer you just semi-macro close up capability, but since you won’t be shooting images, I don’t think that you will face problems during your video sessions.
Last but not least, users of Canon T3i recommended this lens, since it helped them throughout the process of making music videos, and I think that you will feel the same if you ever shoot videos with this lens.
In conclusion, the Sigma’s 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM offers a great value for its cost, and therefore, it is more than a suitable candidate to be paired with your Canon camera, with which you will make music videos that will look outstanding indeed!
2. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
The Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is a top-notch lens that will let you get close-ups and produce cinematic-looking videos, and this by default means that your music videos will satisfy even the most demanding audience out there!
This unit is an absolute powerhouse of a lens, and the reason is very simple since this model combines a plethora of useful features of which the most notable is its 4-stop image stabilization and weather-sealed body which will let you have huge freedom in terms of shooting videos. Whether you opt to shoot videos in winter, summer, under the rain, forests, or deserts, your creativity can only expand and leave the rest to this lens!
In addition, those who have already purchased this lens claim that this unit is exceptionally sharp when it is wide open from the center of the image circle, directly into full-frame corners at virtually all focal lengths. But, aside from this, they also liked its rounded 8-blade aperture and its f/2.8 maximum aperture of which you will benefit a lot if you ever opt to achieve blurred background if of course, this is one of the things you are looking for in videos/photos.
But, let’s not forget Canon’s 4-stop lens stabilization system which does a fairly good job in reducing vibrations, and as you already know, this comes handy any time you want to take handheld shots. Also, there’s a ring-type Ultrasonic Motor that works in conjunction with the internal focusing system, so that you can expect a quiet autofocus performance and full-time manual focus override without having difficulties at all!
If I can explain its effectiveness with one sentence, I would say that the lens` image stabilization system is majestic and it is versatile enough to offer you a higher level of flexibility so that you can always achieve what you’ve wanted, regardless if it is regarding music video shooting or simply taking pictures!
In the end, I would also like to note that the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM utilizes a super-spectra coating whose purpose is to minimize ghosting and flare, so that you will be given a chance to shoot in strong lighting conditions while having higher level of contrast and color neutrality for your ultimate user experience!
To summarize everything, even though the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens isn’t the cheapest option on the market, I think that it is worthy of your attention, especially if you use it in conjunction with a Canon camera, since the results are truly overwhelming!
1. Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM
I’m sure that you’ve likely seen this name appearing multiple times on the Internet as you were searching for the best lenses for music videos, well, there is a reason behind the popularity of this lens, and today, you will have a chance to find out what makes this lens different from the plethora of others which are available on the market.
From a design perspective, the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM isn’t the most lightweight lens that you can find on the market, in fact, the design is sturdy and heavy regardless of the aspect you see, since it consists of a weather sealing, and employs a fluorite coating that is set on the front element.
Furthermore, Canon has incorporated a top-notch glass which can be seen as one of the biggest highlights regarding this lens.
But now, let’s take a look at the performance.
The Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM has an exceptionally quiet autofocus system that allows you to focus manually, and as you’re doing that, you will never have difficulties but entirely the opposite – the process is smooth and for instance, if you prefer to capture some photos, you will be able to get even those “split-second” moment without any problems.
I’d also like to mention that the sharpness is a very strong aspect of this camera, and what’s even better is that your videos will look delightful even if you’re shooting in low-light conditions, so you can experiment and get the most of this lens.
Moreover, the best video results can be achieved by using a gimbal for your camera, by taking advantage of a tripod, since this unit does not have image stabilization and those who’ve been shooting videos with this lens claim that they were very satisfied by the end results.
Either way, I think that if Canon has included an image stabilization, this would not only make this lens virtually non-flawless but at the same time, I think that this lens would become an example of how should a lens look and perform like!
Overall, the Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L II USM is a must-have lens, and will surely elevate your shooting experience to a whole new level, hence, if you ever decide to purchase it, you will never regret that decision, so give it a try and assure yourself of its enormous potential!
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Music Video Camera Lens Buying Guide
Prior to making an actual purchase, you should pay attention to many things, and this requires detailed research, knowledge regarding the lens field, and of course, this isn’t easy at all. That’s why, in this section, I will try to make your life easier, by providing you information about specific aspects, so that you will be able to choose the right lenses for recording music videos.
Even if you buy the best lens available, you won’t be able to get the desired videos unless you have a camera that can handle the lens. Unless you have a versatile high-end camera, i recommend you get a cheap video camera.
Basically, a focal length describes the angle of view of the lenses and depending on the type of the lens itself, the focal length may be different. For instance, the wide-angle lens usually has a focal length of 18 or 24mm, whereas, telephoto is larger and they can stretch from 100mm, 200mm, 400mm and more!
One of the most important aspects when choosing lenses is the physical size and weight of the lenses themselves. This is mostly connected in terms of practical use, and since you will be searching for lenses for music videos, you should always prioritize those lenses whose size and weight aren’t that big and heavy, respectively.
The build quality and construction may not be essential for the quality of the output you will have, but, having a well-made lens will not only guarantee you years of use, but at the same time, you won’t have to invest frequently and spend more money.
This part is close with the construction of the lenses, since the better the construction the higher the price of the lenses is going to be. Additionally, as always, price is an indicator of the quality of a specific product, and lenses aren’t different at all.
What is a focus throw? Well, the most simple definition you may get is that this is a physical rotation of the focus ring that stretches from minimum focus distance to infinity. Since you will be working with videos, the throw is very important and at the same time, it is also important for cinema and television due to the fact that you would have to make pinpoint adjustments when you opt to pull focus from one subject to another.
There are multiple types of lenses, and each of them is suitable for a specific purpose.
For example, Prime lenses are highly suitable for creative and narrative filmmaking because they tend to be more quality and are known for providing the fancy, cinematic shallow focus effects in comparison to zoom lenses. At the same time, Prime lenses are widely used for music videos as well.
If you intend to record documentaries, news or events, then Zoom lenses would help you achieve excellent results, but, unfortunately, you will have to invest more, since they aren’t affordable at all, and you will probably need a suitable camera for documentary recording.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: What’s the best lens for music video?
A: Well, I’m unable to provide you the best answer to this question because there are numerous factors that make a certain lens be excellent or not. Namely, it depends on the brand, whether you look for Nikkon, Canon, Sony, etc, the price you’re ready to pay and more. However, the included lenses in this article are suitable for cameras manufactured by the aforementioned brands, and each of them has a different price tag, so, you can choose the one that suits your camera and budget the most.
Q: What lens can be considered as the best for filming?
A: Once again, it depends on the factors I’ve mentioned earlier. But, I’ve also included a specific lens for filming in this article, so, check out whether it is suitable for your camera.
Q: Are 50mm lens good for video?
A: Why not. Most of them are affordable and can be considered as “ideal” for beginners who are still finding their way as videographers in the music industry. However, do not expect miracles, since even though the 50mm lens is quality, still, they can’t compete with those who cost more, right?
Q: Prime or Zoom lenses?
A: Both of them have their pros and cons. For instance, zoom lenses to offer the shooter a fairly easy use, however, prime lenses are in general, faster and output better performance in low light and are better for shallow depth of field. Also, some people use prime lenses for shooting music videos, whereas, others prefer zoom lenses. Personally, I think that prime lenses are better in most situations.
Q: What does the “F” stand for in camera lenses?
A: The “F” is also known as the f-number which in practice, indicates the lens speed. To be more precise, the f-stop describes how light-sensitive the lens is, the lower the number the lighter can hit the sensor.
So, what’s your favorite? After all, I think that you are satisfied with the number of lenses included in this article, and probably, you may already have made a decision! Keep in mind one thing though, I’ve tried to get the best lenses for the cameras made by the most popular brands on the market, and each of them is strong enough to offer you truly quality end results!
If you have additional questions or if you question regarding a specific topic, I will be available for you any time you want, so, do not hesitate to contact me!
Photographer & Writer
I specialize in landscape, street and portrait photography and I have been featured in various galleries and publications. I believe that photography is a way to tell stories!
Photographer & Writer
I specialize in landscape, street and portrait photography and I have been featured in various galleries and publications. I believe that photography is a way to tell stories!