12 Best Lenses for Car Photography in 2023

This is a guide covering the best lenses for car photography.

When it comes to car photography, it’s all about the details when up close and when in motion.

You’ll need a lens that allows you to capture the best of both worlds.

Serious car photographers need to have the right gear to get the job done. Apart from having the right camera for car photography, you also need the right car photography lens.

We’ll feature some of the best lenses for car photography coming from different brands. Our list will cover lenses from some of the best brands including Sony, Nikon, Canon, and Fuji.

Our goal is to give you the options to get the best results in your work either as a serious or a hobbyist car photographer.

In a hurry? Here’s the quick rundown:

How to Choose the Best Lens for Car Photography?

Focal Length: The focal length of a lens determines its magnification and field of view. A wide-angle lens, such as a 24mm, will allow you to capture more of the car and its surroundings, while a telephoto lens, such as a 200mm, will allow you to zoom in and capture specific details of the car.

Aperture: A lens with a wide aperture, such as f/1.8 or f/2.8, will allow for a shallow depth of field and beautiful bokeh, which can be useful for creative portraits of car interiors or close-up shots of specific car parts.

Image stabilization: If you plan to take action shots of cars on the track or on the road, a lens with image stabilization can help to reduce blur caused by camera shake.

Durability: Car photography can be challenging, especially when you’re shooting from the track or on the road. So, you want a lens that can withstand the elements and rough handling.

Brand and model: Some brands and models are known for their durability and reliability in extreme conditions.

12 Best Lenses for Car Photography

1. NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.8G

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Prime lens
  • Maximum aperture: F1.8
  • Minimum aperture: F16
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: Nikon F (FX)
  • Weight: 185g (0.41 lb)
  • Diameter: 72mm (2.83β€³)
  • Length: 53mm (2.07β€³)
  • Sealing: No

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Sharp and vibrant colors
  • Wide aperture
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Versatile

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Soft when the aperture is wide open

If you are going to look into some of the best lenses for car photography, it is still hard to match the value of 50mm prime lenses. These are highly versatile lenses that can bring amazing results to the table.

With a wide aperture at F1.8, the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f1.8G lens can give you high-quality shots whether you need to focus on a small area of the car or when you need the entire car on the frame.

Plus, it can create beautiful bokeh which can be practical when shooting parts of the car.

Nikon’s optics are known for vibrant colors and sharpness. This lens can do justice to whatever car you are trying to shoot. However, the only downside is that the results are a bit softer when the aperture is wide open.

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2. NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED

Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f3.5-5.6G ED​
Sale

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F3.5 – 5.6
  • Minimum aperture: F22 – 38
  • Max Format size: APS-C/DX
  • Focal length: 18–140mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (VR)
  • Lens mount: Nikon F (DX)
  • Weight: 490g (1.08 lb)
  • Diameter: 78mm (3.07β€³)
  • Length: 97mm (3.82β€³)
  • Zoom method: Rotary (extending)

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Superb sharpness
  • Great range of focal length
  • With vibration reduction

My Cons With This Lens:

  • You will need flash to get decent shots indoors

Not everyone is willing to invest a lot in the best lenses for car photography.

If this is the case, you might consider having the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED zoom lens.

It comes with a wide range of focal lengths to choose from whether you need a wide-angle lens to capture the entire car, or you want to zoom in close to some of the smaller details.

It means that it can also minimize the lenses that you are going to bring in your bag. If asked to just bring one lens, this could be your go-to lens.

It features vibration reduction that minimizes wasted shots when you don’t have a tripod. Plus, it produces sharp results with vibrant colors.

What’s not to like? Shooting without flash indoors can be tough with this lens.

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3. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II

Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F4.5 – 5.6
  • Minimum aperture: F32 – 40
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 100–400mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (4 stops)
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Weight: 1570g (3.46 lb)
  • Diameter: 94mm (3.7β€³)
  • Length: 193mm (7.6β€³)
  • Materials: Magnesium
  • Sealing: Yes

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Durable construction
  • Superior zoom precision
  • Perfect for shooting from afar
  • Takes sharp photos

My Cons With This Lens:

  • n/a

The best Canon lens for car photography is the Canon EF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens.

This lens is the best pick for photographers who need to shoot cars on race tracks.

It allows the photographer to shoot from afar and get superb results. This L-series telephoto lens is a compact lens designed for different types of scenarios including both wildlife and sports photography.

It comes in with an improved torque adjustment ring that gives you the right amount of tension when zooming in and out. Plus, the rotation-type zoom ring lets users experience precision when capturing moving subjects such as cars in high-speed races.

This lens is also equipped with New Air Sphere Coating that can reduce the flaring and ghosting.

Plus, it is also highly resistant to both dust and water perfect in different scenarios.

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4. Sony FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G

Sony FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G
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Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 24–70mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: Sony FE
  • Weight: 886g (1.95 lb)
  • Diameter: 88mm (3.45β€³)
  • Length: 136mm (5.35β€³)
  • Sealing: Yes

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Sharp lifelike results
  • Great range
  • Wide aperture

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Heavy construction

I believe the best Sony lens for car photography is the Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8G Master Full Frame Zoom Lens. This lens is a favorite among professional photographers.

If you’ll compare the shots of the other lenses we’ve featured side by side with the Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8G Master Full Frame Zoom Lens, you’ll notice that this lens stands out.

It comes in with superb and sharp lifelike results. The reason for this is the super E glass elements used in this lens. The Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8G Master Full Frame Zoom Lens is also popular for its Nano AR Coating which improved its clarity and contrast.

This lens comes in handy whether you want to take a photo of the entire car or you simply want to focus on its parts.

Also, it feels a bit heavy perhaps because of its sturdy construction.

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5. NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E

NIKKOR 70-200mm f2.8E

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 70–200mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (4 stops)
  • Lens mount: Nikon F (FX)
  • Weight: 1430g (3.15 lb)
  • Diameter: 89mm (3.48β€³)
  • Length: 203mm (7.97β€³)
  • Materials: Magnesium alloy
  • Sealing: Yes

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Sharp and vibrant photos
  • With AF lock
  • Great performance even in low-light situations
  • A great range for shooting subjects from afar

My Cons With This Lens:

  • n/a

The best Nikon lens for car photography is the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR Lens.

It is a great choice if you are going to take photos or even videos from afar. At f2.8, it gives users the versatility that they need even when shooting in low-light conditions.

This is a favorite among many professional photographers for a reason. Its optics provides sharp and vibrant images as expected from Nikon.

The six ED glass elements, Flourite, and High Refractive lens elements all guarantee that you don’t see distortion or glare on your shots when using this lens.

If you are shooting rally races or other exciting car events, this lens comes in handy since it has four focus functions right at the barrel.

You can also engage the AF lock in case you want the lens to shoot in one location.

You are getting your money’s worth since it is a contender for the best car photography lens.

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6. Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8

Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F3.5 – 4.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: APS-C/DX
  • Focal length: 55–200mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (4.5 stops claimed)
  • Lens mount: Fujifilm X
  • Weight: 580g (1.28 lb)
  • Diameter: 75mm (2.95β€³)
  • Length: 118mm (4.65β€³)
  • Materials: Metal barrel, metal mount
  • Zoom method: Rotary (extending)

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Fast and accurate AF
  • Sharp results throughout the zoom range
  • Wide range of focal length

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Doesn’t do well in indoor scenarios without flash

I believe the Fujinon XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens to be the top Fuji lens on our list of best lenses for car photography.

It is a great choice not only for shooting photographs but even for shooting videos thanks to its image stabilization feature.

It is dubbed by many Fuji users as the best lens for car videography considering the steady shots that it could produce. On top of that, it offers a great range that allows users to shoot subjects from a great distance.

It also delivers superb AF performance when tested either on cars that are parked or cars that are moving. As for the quality of the shots, its high-performance lens elements give users sharp and vibrant results throughout the zoom range.

However, when shooting indoors, you might want to bring your flash.

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7. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM

Canon EF 85mm f1.8 USM

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Prime lens
  • Maximum aperture: F1.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 85mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Weight: 425g (0.94 lb)
  • Diameter: 75mm (2.95β€³)
  • Length: 72mm (2.81β€³)
  • Materials: Plastic barrel, metal mount
  • Sealing: No

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Sharp and vibrant images
  • Wide aperture perfect for low-light conditions

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Fixed lens

The Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Medium Telephoto lens is considered by some as the best car photography lens by Cannon when it comes to low-light scenarios.

It creates great bokeh allowing photographers to focus on small details of the car, especially when shooting the interiors.

This is also the type of lens that can come in handy if you are dealing with a car from around 10-15 feet away.

Though it is a fixed lens and you have to go near or far from the car you are trying to shoot, it is still a great choice for most car photography enthusiasts.

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8. Panasonic LUMIX G II 100-300MM

Panasonic LUMIX G II 100-300MM
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Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F4 – 5.6
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: FourThirds
  • Focal length: 100–300mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (Mega OIS)
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • Weight: 520g (1.15 lb)
  • Diameter: 74mm (2.91β€³)
  • Length: 126mm (4.96β€³)
  • Zoom method: Rotary (extending)

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Great range
  • Suited even for videography
  • Lightweight and durable design
  • Vibrant colors

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Doesn’t do well indoors

Considered one of the best lenses for car photography if you have a micro four-thirds camera, the Panasonic Lumix G II 100-300mm Vario Lens offers superior quality shots and the freedom to shoot from afar to its users.

Its 300mm focal length is equivalent to a 600mm lens on a full-frame lens. This makes it a good choice if you are dealing with cars from a distance.

You can take their photos even without going near the subject. Plus, these are lightweight lenses that are not too tiring to use when you don’t have a tripod.

You can also expect sharp results with realistic colors. And since there is a growing number of people who also love shooting videos, this lens is also a good pick for those looking for the best lens for car videography. It comes in with a standout AF that captures the subject fast.

The only drawback is that it doesn’t do well indoors. With an F5.6 aperture, it isn’t exactly the best choice for those who don’t use flash.

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9. Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN

Sigma 24-70mm f2.8

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 24–70mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: L-Mount, Sony FE
  • Weight: 835g (1.84 lb)
  • Diameter: 88mm (3.46β€³)
  • Length: 123mm (4.84β€³)
  • Materials: Magnesium alloy
  • Sealing: Yes

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Durable construction
  • Warmer colors and sharp results
  • Superb autofocus
  • Great range
  • Performs well indoors

My Cons With This Lens:

  • n/a

The Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG DN Art Lens for Sony E Mount is the only third-party lens on our list of best lenses for car photography.

Though made by Sigma for Sony, this lens is a top contender based on its performance and construction.

This Sigma lens with its wide F2.8 aperture is perfect whether indoors or outdoors. The quality of the image is also a standout based on its lively colors and sharp results.

One of the most unique features of its results is its warm hues.

It also offers a great range regardless if you want to take a photo of the entire car or you simply want to take close-up shots of the vehicle. Plus, this lens comes in with superior-quality construction designed for different situations.

And let’s not forget that it comes with a fast AF.

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10. Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm F4.0

Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm F4.0

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F4 – 5.6
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: FourThirds
  • Focal length: 45–200mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • Weight: 380g (0.84 lb)
  • Diameter: 70mm (2.76β€³)
  • Length: 100mm (3.94β€³)

My Pros With This Lens:

  • With optical image stabilization
  • Great quality shots and vibrant colors
  • Durable construction

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Not as good indoors as it is outdoors

A lot of people don’t have the money to spend on multiple prime lenses. If you are a micro four-thirds user who wants to carry just one lens, then you might want to check the Panasonic Lumix G II Vario Lens 45-200mm F4.0-5.6.

As long as you are shooting outdoors, you won’t see any issues with this lens. It offers high-quality images with vibrant colors and a powerful range that will allow you to shoot photographs of cars even from afar.

It is also well-made considering that it has dustproof and splashproof construction.

And even if you are not using a tripod, this lens is easy to use with its built-in optical image stabilization technology.

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11. Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm F4.0

Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm F4.0
Sale

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Zoom lens
  • Maximum aperture: F4 – 5.6
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: FourThirds
  • Focal length: 40–150mm
  • Image stabilization: No
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • Weight: 190g (0.42 lb)
  • Diameter: 64mm (2.5β€³)
  • Length: 86mm (3.39β€³)
  • Sealing: No

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Great range
  • Silent focusing capability
  • Vibrant colors

My Cons With This Lens:

  • Doesn’t do well indoors

Good range, easy to use, and performance savvyβ€”these are things that make some of the best lenses for car photography.

All of these characteristics can be seen in the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm F4.0-5.6 R Zoom Lens. Just as long as you are shooting photos of cars in broad daylight, you won’t be getting any problems with this lens.

It is also lightweight not to mention it produces great results on micro four-thirds. And lastly, you get to enjoy silent focusing which means that it can also shoot videos without any issues.

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12. Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM

Canon EF 28mm f2.8 IS USM
Sale

Lens Specifications:

  • Lens type: Prime lens
  • Maximum aperture: F2.8
  • Minimum aperture: F22
  • Max Format size: 35mm FF
  • Focal length: 28mm
  • Image stabilization: Yes (4 stops)
  • Lens mount: Canon EF
  • Weight: 260g (0.57 lb)
  • Diameter: 68mm (2.69β€³)
  • Length: 52mm (2.03β€³)
  • Materials: Plastic barrel, metal mount
  • Sealing: No

My Pros With This Lens:

  • Vibrant colors and sharp photos
  • With built-in stabilizer
  • A wider perspective than 50mm allows you to easily take a shot of the entire car

My Cons With This Lens:

  • The motor is a bit noisy

If you want to take photos of cars including a good amount of background in your photos, then you should be looking into the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM Wide Angle Lens.

This is a handy pick if you prefer a slightly wider perspective on your shots. This means that you get to include the entire car in your photos without any problem.

This lens produces superb quality photos with its trademark vibrant colors and sharpness. It also has a built-in stabilizer minimizing blurred shots.

However, if you are going to use it to shoot videos, you might notice its autofocus motor to be too noisy.

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FAQ

What Lens Types are Best for Car Photography?

There are several lens types that are well-suited for car photography, including wide-angle lenses, standard lenses, telephoto lenses, zoom lenses, and macro lenses.

Do You Need an Expensive Lens for Good Car Photography?

You do not necessarily need an expensive lens for good car photography, as there are many high-quality lenses available at a variety of price points. However, an expensive lens may have certain advantages such as better image quality, wider aperture, and more durable construction.

Car photography involves different styles. Whether you are a budding photographer or someone who does car photography for a living, better find the lens that fits your style and your needs. Consider the pros and cons along with your budget before you decide to buy these lenses.

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