The Best Aftermarket Camera Lenses - Photography Equipment Buying Guide

The Best Aftermarket Camera Lenses - Photography Equipment Buying Guide
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Choosing a Lens

You’ve just bought a brand new SLR camera. You have the kit with the standard lens, but really want to start using some more adaptable lenses with your camera. The problem with this is that the lens that is recommended for your camera is way out of your budget. What do you do?

Well, there are plenty of aftermarket lens options out there. But, you’re wondering whether or not they’ll work just as well as the camera lens recommended by your manufacturer? Well, the answer is yes and no. If you’re just an amateur photographer, you will probably do just fine with an aftermarket lens.

But, if you’re looking to take professional quality photographs, you may want to fork out the bigger bucks and use the camera lens made by your manufacturer. For amateurs, however, looking to break into photography and want a beginner lens, here are a few of the best aftermarket lenses to be had.

The three top manufacturers of aftermarket lenses are as follows: Tamron, Tokina and Sigma. There’s plenty of debate about who’s the best out of the three, but they’re all pretty even in quality and usability.

Tamron Lenses

Tamron has quite a number of lenses that can work for a variety of purposes. One of the consistently top-rated is the Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 Di LD IF Macro Lens (around $730.00 to $760.00 online). While this lens tends to be a lot more expensive than many other aftermarket camera lenses, it’s well worth the value. This autofocus, zoom lens is meant for Sony or Minolta digital SLR cameras. It has a focal length of 70mm-200mm, filter size of 77mm and aperture of f/2.8-f/32. Its dimensions are 89.5mm diameter x 194.3mm length. This camera lens has been highly rated for people who photograph sporting events and portraits. It’s very flexible and great for amateur photographers. The major issues with this lens is that it’s rather slow, especially in low-light situations, and it’s relatively heavy at 46.6 ounces.


The Tokina 17mm f/3.5-4.5 AT-X 107 DX AF Lens is slightly cheaper than the Tamron lens at around $580 online, but has gotten just as good ratings. This macro, zoom lens is meant to be used with digital SLR cameras. It has both manual and autofocus with a focal

length of 10mm-17mm. It measures about 2.7 inches in diameter with a length of 2.8 inches.

The lens aperture is f/3.5-f/22 and weight about 12.3 ounces, making it rather lightweight. The lens takes really sharp pictures, and the quality of the fisheye and wide angle lenses is quite comparable to more expensive lenses. The color quality is also wonderful for both amateurs and professionals. The major issue with this lens is that some people have had trouble with the autofocus feature.


One of the best Sigma lenses on the market is the Sigma 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 Aspherical Macro HF (as cheap as $45 online) for Sigma, Canon, Minolta, Nikon (D) and Pentax AF cameras. This auto focus, zoom lens has an aperture range of f/3.5-32, a length of 2.8 inches, a 2.7 inch diameter and a focal length of 28mm-80mm.


It only weighs nine ounces, which is extremely lightweight. It’s meant to be used with 35mm SLR and needs an attachment size of 55mm. What’s nice about this lens is that it’s easy to use and focuses quickly so you don’t have to wait for a shot. It’s lightweight so it’s great for throwing in a backpack if you’re going somewhere and is really reliable. It’s pretty versatile so an amateur or intermediate photographer can use it. The only major issue with it is that it has a cheap feel to it.