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The 5 Best Lenses for Car Photography (Reviewed & Compared)

If you are a car enthusiast, what can I say else but ask you: Have you ever taken pictures of your car or any other car? Believe me, it is the best thing to do!

Car photography has always been, and as well is, one of the types of photography in which you have fun. It is as well a type of photography that always has interventions because that’s what cars do, cars keep evolving, and how to show them to the world, photography!

In case you have already chosen the best camera for car photography, the time to choose the best lenses has come. Even though for some people a camera may be enough; there is still something else needed, and what else than lenses? 

In this article, I will introduce you, to the best lenses for car photography! The ones that I chose all come from different brands too.

A Quick Look at My Favorite Lenses for Car Photography

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Best For Portraits
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED
10
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Best Image Stabilization
Fujifilm XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
Fujifilm XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
9
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Best Mid-Telephoto
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22
Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22
8.6
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Best For The Money
Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8
Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8
8.5
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Best For Low Light
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
8.6
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Key Takeaways

  • It’s fun to take pictures of your automobiles, especially if you’re a car nut.
  • It would be best if you had a fantastic camera and an excellent lens in addition to your automobile to shoot the gorgeous pictures possible.
  • If you’re curious about my choice in this situation—and I know many of you are—I’ll go with the Fujifilm XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS.
  • The Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 is another excellent choice; in addition to being a superb lens, it is also reasonably priced.
  • Never be reluctant to use a high-quality lens since doing so will enable you to capture the most lifelike images. Lenses have a significant impact on the quality of your photos.

Let’s get to the lenses that I chose!

The Top Five Best Lenses for Car Photography

5. Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED – Best For Portraits

What I Like

  • Affordable
  • Great Aperture
  • Accurate Autofocus

What I Don’t Like

  • Manual Focus doesn’t work properly
  • Better only with DSLR cameras

This lens comes from Nikon, and it is the brand’s most famous wide-angle zoom lens. It is a great lens that is compatible with many different Nikon cameras, especially DSLR ones, again from Nikon.

The wide angle lens has a quite compact body. Its measurements are 3.82 x 3.07 x 3.07 inches and its weight is 1.08 pounds.

On its construction, it is important to mention that the lens owns 17 elements, divided into 12 groups. On those elements are included one aspherical element and one ED element. The filter size of the lens is 67mm and it includes a super integrated coating.

The aperture of this lens is a 7-blade one and it works at a range from f/38 to f/3.5. The focal length again works at a range and it is from 18mm going up to 140mm. The combination of the aperture and the focal length helps you bring great pictures and videos as well.
The focus that this lens owns, is driven by the Silent Wave Motor AF System. It is silent, fast, and very accurate.

This Nikon lens is a VR lens, meaning that it owns the vibration reduction image stabilizer that fully reduces the shake so that your pictures won’t be brought blurry.

Overall, i would say that it’s a great wide-angle zoom lens which fully makes up for its price. If you are looking for a zoom lens, then this one will serve you well.

Why should you buy it?

This lens has a combination of the aperture and the focal length which helps you bring great pictures and videos as well.

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4. Fujifilm XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS – Best Image Stabilization

What I Like

  • Well Build
  • Super EBC Coating
  • Aperture Range is Great
  • Super Silent Focus
  • Optical Image Stabilization

What I Don’t Like

  • Expensive for Some

As you can notice, this lens for car photography comes from Fujifilm, a brand that has amazing cameras and lenses as well. This lens is a telephoto lens that works super great with Fujifilm cameras, and that is in general.

On just a first look this lens gives the feeling and tells that it is quite well built. It has a sturdy body and once mounted it doesn’t move in any way. This lens measures 4.65 x 2.95 x 2.95 inches and weighs 1.28lbs.

The elements that are within the lens are 14 in number and they are divided into 10 groups. The special elements that it owns are one aspherical element and two ED elements. The coating that it owns is a Super EBC coating; meaning electron beam coating. The filter that it works with is 62mm.

The aperture is a 7-blade diaphragm and the aperture in general works at f/3.5 and f/4.8. When it comes to the focal length, it works from 55m and moves on to 200mm. The focus differs from the other one mentioned above and it works via the Linear Motor AF System, what is good about this type of focusing system is that it works most quietly.

Image stabilization can not miss on this lens. As seen in its name, the lens owns OIS which means Optical Image Stabilization. To make it work, you should use the switch that is found on the side of the lens.

Why should you buy it?

It has a focusing system that works most quietly, which makes it stand out from the other lenses.

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3. Sony SEL85F18 85mm F/1.8-22 – Best Mid-Telephoto

What I Like

  • Dust and Moisture Resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Great Bokeh Effect
  • Precise Focusing AF+MF

What I Don’t Like

  • No Image Stabilization (try to work with the stabilization added on your Sony camera)
  • No Coating Included

Moving on, I have chosen a Sony lens for car photography! Sony lenses are the most famous lenses because they have amazing compatibility with different types of Sony cameras. It is not a fact that they can not work with other cameras, but still, it is not guaranteed.

Now, this lens differs from the ones that I already mentioned firstly, on its build quality. It is a dust and moisture resistant lens that you could use wherever and whenever you want! The measurements are 4.49 x 3.82 x 4.69 inches and its weight is only 0.81lbs.

On its construction, this lens is packed with 9 elements that are divided into 8 groups and it differs again from the other ones because it owns only one Extra-Low Dispersion element. The filter that this lens works with is a 67mm one.

Moving on to its aperture diaphragm, on this one it is a 9-blade circular which allows you to capture your car pictures with an amazing bokeh effect. Therefore, the aperture range is 1.8 which is a wide aperture. The focal length is fully fixed and it works on only 85mm. As long as the focus is concerned, on Sony SEL85F18 it works via a Double Linear AF Motor. The focus is fast and very precise, plus it allows you to choose between AF and MF.

Why should you buy it?

This lens will allow you to capture your car pictures with an amazing bokeh effect.

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2. Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 – Best For The Money

What I Like

  • Amazing Build Quality
  • Fluorine Coating
  • 17 Elements into 15 Groups
  • Bokeh Effect
  • F/2.8 Aperture
  • Amazing Focus

What I Don’t Like

  • Pricey
  • Only works with Sony Mirrorless Cameras
  • No Image Stabilization

The Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 is a standard lens for car photography. As some of you may already know, standard lenses are used for whatever you need. What is important to mention on this lens is that it is limited to working with Sony mirrorless cameras, so you may want to be sure when choosing this one.

The full body of this lens measures 4.64 x 2.87 x 2.87 inches and it weighs about 1.21lbs. It has not a well-built quality but one of the best build qualities that you can ever find. It is a lens that is resistant to dust and moisture, and it is able to be used whenever you want.
Also, it owns a Fluorine coating. It is linked with the dust resistance part since it allows you to remove easily the dust or soil in general.

On the optical construction of this lens, it owns 17 elements in the division at 15 groups. As noticed, it is a lens that owns more elements and more groups when compared to the ones that are mentioned above. The filter that can be used on the lens measures 67mm.

The aperture blades are full 9 in number and bring to you a circular diaphragm, that again, brings a great bokeh effect for whatever you need it for, in this case for car photography. The aperture is f/2.8 which makes this lens fast. The focal length works in a range from 28mm and moves on to 75mm. It is the VXD Linear Motor Focus Mechanism; fully operating the focus on this lens and it helps the focus torque (rotate).

Why should you buy it?

This lens is resistant to dust and moisture, and it is able to be used whenever you want.

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1. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM – Best For Low Light

What I Like

  • Resistant to Dus, Moisture, and Smudge
  • Amazing Optical Construction
  • Super Spectra Coating
  • Amazing Bokeh Effect
  • High-Speed AF
  • Optical Image Stabilization

What I Don’t Like

  • Super Expensive
  • A bit Big and Heavy

Last but not least, this amazing ideal lens for car photography comes from the Canon brand and it is known as the most famous lens worldwide! It is a telephoto lens that is specially made to work in the most perfect way with Canon SLR cameras.

With a whole different design from the other ones mentioned above, this lens comes in with a combination of white and black colours. It is a bit bigger than the other lenses measuring 7.83 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches and weighing 2.9 pounds. It is also a lens that is water and dust resistant, plus what is special, it is even smudge-resistant.

This Canon lens for car photography owns 23 elements into 19 groups. Since the Tamron lens owned more elements when compared to the other ones, this lens owns more overall! Besides that huge number of elements, this lens also owns one fluorite element and five UD elements. It also owns a super spectra coating that eliminates ghosting and flare. The filter that it works with is 77mm big.

The diaphragm aperture of this lens is a 9-blade circular one, and the bokeh that you will have will look incredible and magical. The aperture range is f/2.8 and even though 2.8 is considered a portrait aperture, it will help you capture the best car photography! “A portrait of your car”. The focal length is enormous and it works from 70mm up to 200mm.

In the name of this lens are added the letters USM! It means that the focus works via the Ultrasonic Motor AF System, which is the best focus system that you can ever find. With this amazing focus you will need an image stabilizer, right? Well, the lens works perfectly with an Optical Image Stabilizer that can be used for pictures and videos.

Why should you buy it?

It is a telephoto lens that is specially made to work in the most perfect way, so you won’t ever regret purchasing it.

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FAQ about the Best Lenses for Car Photography

Are there divided lenses that should be used for car photography?

The needs of each type of photography differ from one another, however, there is and I don’t think there will ever be a special type of lenses that should be used only or car photography! As you can see, the lenses that I chose come all different and they would bring the best of them when used for car photography.

Why are lenses important during car photography?

The lens of a camera has a really important role in any type of photography! Even though cameras nowadays come with almost everything that is needed in order to take a picture, you would still need a lens. Since car photography may become tricky when cars are in movement, a lens would help you capture whatever you need to. It will help you deliver better pictures.

What should I look for before buying a lens for car photography?

When buying a lens for car photography, you should look for is what you look for on any type of lens. The most important things are the focal length, aperture, compatibility, durability, and even size and weight. Once you took care of these things, you should know that lenses can last for a long time and they work properly even after years of usage.

If you plan to go to car meets and shoot car photos from far away, then you need a zoom lens.

What might cause damage to a lens?

The most important and also the worst enemy of a lens is moisture and dust! Even though dust may seem unimportant, it has the ability to fully make a lens unusable, while with moisture I mean splashes of water and even rain. Consider choosing resistant lenses!

Top Tips for a Car Photography

Clean the Car

You don’t want to take pictures of a dirty car, right? At least I wouldn’t! It is important to clean the car in the best way possible, so while taking a picture of it, the car can look prettier than ever.

Choose the Right Time to Take the Pictures

This is an issue that you should always keep in mind! Professionals of car photography take pictures of the cars at some particular times of the day! A few minutes after sunset and a few minutes before sunrise would be the best! At these times of the day, there is not any direct sun destroying your photography and you won’t even feel the need to add any effect to the picture.

Be Aware of Reflections/ Choose the Place

Some reflections may look cool, yet again, some other ones may fully destroy your pictures. Since some of the new cars have a mirror view, you might take care of that in an easy way. What you should do, or what I recommend you to do, is to take pictures of the car in wider places. That way you will not have things stuck in your picture.

What is important to mention here is that you should also be attentive to your own reflection, as well. If you can’t help it, it is better if you fully change the perspective until finding the best way to take the picture without your reflection.

Background

What could be better than taking a picture of your car in the best background ever? Take a look or search for the best places around you that would make the car look better. What I would suggest is to find places that would make the car like it is the most important thing in there!

An interaction between the background and the subject that is taken a picture of, in his case cars, would be perfect! Also, you can choose a background or a scene that in a way is combined with the colour of the car.

Use the Bokeh Effect

Even though the famous bokeh effect is mostly used during portrait photography, I would definitely break that rule! If the lens that you chose owns and brings a great bokeh effect, feel more than free to use it because it can only bring a better quality of the picture.

Final Thoughts

As mentioned at the beginning, car photography is a great type of photography, it allows you to do whatever you want, in order to bring the best of it!

I hope this article will help you choose the best lenses for car photography, so the picture that you take will be shown to the “audience” in the best way possible!

Further Reading

I mentioned that taking pictures of your cars is a very fun experience, but what if you are not into it and you care more about nature photography? No worries in any way, because if you are into that particular type of photography that I mentioned, you can find the best lenses for nature photography as well!

Alex Hampsink