If you’re looking for a way to improve your photography without spending big bucks, the video below is just what you need—with 10 budget lenses that one pro says, “will blow your mind.” Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced photographer you’ll be surprised by what these “hidden gems” can do.
Photographer Mark Wiemels’ popular YouTube channel is devoted to budget gear that delivers “pro results,” and this episode is all about cheap glass. The 10 bargain optics that he reveals today are all designed for crop-sensor cameras, and some of them cost less that a camera bag.
Weimels’ top picks range from $19 to $500 and everything in between, they vary in focal length, and include both zooms lens and primes. These gems are also available in mounts for most popular cameras, and Wiemels include links beneath the video to where you can find them.
At $19, the first lens is the cheapest, and it’s what you might call a “plastic fantastic.” This is the fixed-aperture Holga 60mm f/8 prime that Wiemels bought on a whim, just to see what could be accomplished for $20 bucks. He was really surprised and says this: “I can’t tell you how much I love shooting with this lens.” His fascination has to do with how this lens is intentionally designed to provide light leaks for photos with an interesting vintage look.
Weimels presents his choices in order of price, from low to high, and the next bargain is the $88 manual-focus 35mm f/1.4 from TTArtisans, with surprisingly good build quality. In addition to its fast maximum aperture, this “amazing” lens boasts an all-metal body and a polished metal mount. Weimels explains the great results you can expect, saying, “you really can’t believe you’re getting a lens of this quality for this price.”
Next on the list is another rather awesome prime from TTArtisans, the 17mm f/.4. Wiemels highly recommends this one as “a budget alternative to the Sigma 16mm f/1.4.” Wiemels earlier posted a comparison of these two lenses, and you can find a link in the description beneath this video.
Weimels’ other picks include a 50mm f/1.2 prime, a 5-27mm f/2.8 wide-angle zoom, and a super-fast 35mm f/0.95. There’s also a 7-12mm f/2, an 8-23mm f/1.4, a 9-30mm f/1.4, and an 18-50mm f/2.8 at the top of the heap.
We should warn you that you’re likely to spend some money after watching this video. The good news is that you’ll get a real bargain with whatever lens you choose. Be sure to check out Weimels’ YouTube channel for more great budget gear.
We also recommend watching the video we posted recently from our in-house expert, with six affordable photo accessories that will make a big difference in your photographs.