The global automotive manufacturing market was sized at $2.7 trillion in 2021. This vast industry has made some other industries flourish. Car photography is one of those.
If you are enthusiastic about shooting cars in different motions, situations, and scenery, you need to pick a good lens. But to choose the best lens for car photography?
In this article, you will know the best type of lens to shoot a car, among different brands- the best canon lens for car photography and things you should consider for buying a lens.
Without further ado, let’s dig right in.
What you’ll learn in this article
Why Does Choosing the Best Lens for Car Photography Matter?
The best lens does a lot more than only shooting cars. Choosing the best lens for car photography is important because it
- Minimizes chromatic aberration, distortion, or vignetting.
- Offers a wide variety of aperture ranges that is crucial for night or low-light situations.
- Captures wide scene of cars, including foreground and background details.
- Creates layers in the composition.
- Offers a polarizing filter to reduce unwanted reflection from the car photos.
- Offers a variety of faster shutter speed ranges to avoid blur when shooting a racing car.
Which Type of Lens Are Best for Car Photography?
Every subject glows under the right lens functionality, and that will differ from product to product. A lens that shoots a giant car may not be a wise choice to shoot the rear-view mirror or the paddle shifters.
Here, we have listed down the 4 best lenses that are proven to do justice for car photography. Those are-
- Wide-angle lens
- Zoom lens
- Prime lens
- Telephoto lens
Here’s why these should be the best lens for shooting cars.
1. Wide-Angle Lens
A wide-angle lens captures images of a wide area. It has a short focal length maximum of 35mm. When you need to shoot a car with details in the background (i.e., internal parts of a car), a wide lens should be your 1st pick.
This lens allows you to take close shots, including the vital elements inside the frame. As a result, you will get images that will show a real look as you see with bare eyes.
If you are to shoot a small area, this lens works best as well. In the case of a bigger area, no matter what elements are included in your frame, everything near and far will be focused sharply.
2. Zoom Lens
A zoom lens is a single lens that has different focal length functionality. It has different variables that allow users to make the scene in the frame zoom in or zoom out.
Zoom lens generally has a different focal length which ranges between 2 numbers. For example, a 70-200mm lens allows you to zoom up to 70mm. The magnification level of the zoom lens allows you to cut the unwanted parts and sharply focus on the subject.
As there’re adjustable focal lengths, you can shoot cars on maximum resolution. You don’t even have to change lenses or think about the camera. This is a great option for car shooting outside as it saves you from carrying multiple lenses.
3. Prime Lens
A prime has a fixed focal length, for example, 50mm. It means you can neither zoom in nor zoom out. Also, you don’t have to deal with distortion issues.
Rather, with a wide aperture, it allows more light to enter, resulting in shooting fine in low light. Also, this lens is known for taking high-quality, sharp images, and thus, it can be a good choice for car photography.
If you want shots where your car will look super sharp, but your background will remain blurred, a prime lens is a perfect lens. It’s one of the preferred lenses by professional photographers for light in weight, small in size, easier to cope with, and quality images.
4. Telephoto Lens
A telephoto lens can vary; it can be a zoom lens or a prime lens. However, a normal telephoto lens has a focal length of a minimum of 70mm.
This lens has a narrow field of view, meaning this can take shots of an object at a certain distance. Even if the subject is small in size, the lens makes it appear closer and bigger. Also, it makes the background blur, thus separating the subject so that viewers get to focus only on the subject.
Telephoto lenses are used when the subject is unreachable. Hence, you can use this lens for taking shots of cars in motion. Being somewhat heavy-weight, it needs a tripod to support it.
Also Read: 35mm vs 50mm vs 85mm: Which Lens is Best for Portraits?
7 Best Canon Lenses for Car Photography
Canon’s lenses are reputed for their outstanding performance worldwide. On that note, here professional automotive photographer suggested 7 best canon lenses for car photography are noted below-
- Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
- Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
- Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
- Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
- Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
1. Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
This wide-angle pancake lens has ranked 1st in our list of canon’s best lenses for car photography. It’s a small-size prime lens and is specifically compatible with DSLR cameras with APS-C sensors.
The thin structure is quite handy for outdoor shooting when you are capturing wide-angle images. As cars are your model, you can take shots of streetcars, giant cars with background detail, cars in the widest field view or in the low-light situations are good-to-go shots for you.
Dimension: 0.91 x 2.68 x 2.68 inches
Weight: 4.4 ounces
Lens construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Diagonal angle of view: 59°10′
Closest Focusing Distance: 0.52 ft. / 0.16 m
|Sharp image quality||Doesn’t have image stabilization|
|Lightweight and compact|
|Quick to focus|
2. Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM
This is a wide-angle full-frame lens. It is a prime lens as it doesn’t allow zooming in/out. With the sturdy building and ring-type USM motor inside, it is fast, accurate, and automatic to focus on the subject and offers enhanced quality images.
For your searching for the canon best lens for car photography, this lens can add bang for your buck by allowing vibrant color images with a wide background and sharp photos. In short, you can take shots of a car entirely without any unwanted situations.
Dimension: 2.2 x 2.68 x 2.68 inches
Weight: 9.9 ounces
Lens construction: 11 elements in 9 groups
Diagonal angle of view: 84 Degree
Close up focus distance: 0.25m/0.82 ft
|Stabilize images (no blurry photos)||Not good for shooting videos as the motor inside creates noise.|
|Convenient to work in low light|
3. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
This is a telephoto lens and perfectly suitable for daily shooting. With this lens in hand, you can shoot vivid photos in low light and shallow depth of field. However, in strong light, it doesn’t create ghosting or flare.
Just like the previous one, having the USM motor as an in-built feature, this lens is quick to focus. It allows users to capture images with a soft blurring effect without any distortion. If you are to shoot a video, an adjoining tripod will give you the best output.
Dimension: 2.01 x 2.91 x 2.91 inches
Weight: 10.2 ounces
Lens construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
Angle of view: 46 degrees
Closest focusing distance: 1.5 feet
|Lightweight building||Lacks weather resistance|
|Video shooting in low light|
4. Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
This is another best lens for car photography by Canon. It is a full-frame rotatable standard zoom lens. Whether cars are still or in motion, this lens allows users to take sharp and high-quality images with maximum speed and accuracy.
It is strongly built and tiny in size. The design follows the typical L series of canon lenses. It allows fast focus and accurate images that are propelled by the inside USM lens.
Dimension: 4.45 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 1.77 pounds
Lens construction: 18 elements in 13 groups
Diagonal angle of view: 84° – 34°
Close focusing distance: 0.38m/1.25 ft
|Offers outstanding optical performance||Doesn’t have image stabilization|
|Produces sharp and high-quality images||Expensive|
|Controls chromatic aberrations, distortions|
5. Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II
Here’s our next L series canon lens for car photography. It is a telephoto zoom lens that allows users to take high-quality shots from a distance. The rotation styled zoom ring inside ensures image precision when it is used for shooting moving subjects.
Canon has incorporated enhanced optical design, improved image stabilization, weather resistance capability, and many other features in this lens, making it one of the best lenses for shooting distant subjects.
Key Specifications –
Dimension: 7.6 x 3.7 x 3.7 inches
Weight: 3.46 pounds
Lens construction: 21 elements in 16 groups
Diagonal angle of view: 24°–6°10′
Close focusing distance: 3.2 ft. / 0.98m
|Takes sharp shots from afar||A bit weighty|
|Impressive image quality|
|Quality bokeh effect|
|Perfect for shooting race track cars|
6. Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM
Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM is one of the best camera lenses for car photography. This is a telephoto lens and works really awesome in any lighting, especially in low-light situations- a great deal in exchange for bucks.
The lens is lightweight, small-sized, and provides fast results due to the USM inside. It is widely popular for optical quality and sustainability. It gets close to the subject and ensures sharp results.
Key Specifications –
Dimension: 2.83 x 2.95 x 2.95 inches
Weight: 15 ounces
Lens construction: 9 elements in 7 groups
Diagonal angle of view: 28.5 degrees
Close focusing distance: 2.8 feet
|Works fine in low light||a fixed lens|
|Satisfactory quality and results||Doesn’t have image stabilization|
|Fantastic DOF and amazing bokeh|
|Sharp and vibrant images|
7. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
This is the last one of our canon best lenses for car photography. It is another telephoto zoom lens that delivers outshining results. This L series lens of canon has a sturdy building. It is weather-resistant, so taking shots from afar or zooming in fast and smoothly is way easier.
The offered image quality is mind-blowing, and it focuses accurately. It has an in-built chromatic aberration mechanism. Also, it allows detailed shooting of the subject with a beautifully blurred background.
Key Specifications –
Dimension: 7.8 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
Weight: 3.18 pounds
Lens construction: 23 elements, 19 groups
Diagonal angle of view: 34° – 12°
Close focusing distance: 3.9 feet, 1.2-meter
|Fast autofocus||Heavy weighted|
|Dust and water-resistant|
|ns flare and shake reduction|
Things to Consider While Buying the Best Lens for Car Photography
A camera lens is the type of gear that will benefit you for a long time if it’s the right fit. Therefore, choosing it with caution is a must.
Also Read: What is the Best Camera for Food Photography
Take a look at these 9 vital factors While choosing the best lenses for car photography
1. Zoom or Prime Lens
If you need to shoot your car with a fast reframing option, a zoom lens will give you that type of accessibility. But, if you need quality images without thinking of zooming, a prime lens will do the job.
2. Image Stabilization
It helps to create sharp images by decreasing blur; in short, it makes images stable and clear. Most cameras have this system inbuilt; if not, you should buy an in-body stabilization lens.
Lens manufacturers name image stabilization differently, such as-
|Panasonic, Fujifilm||OIS||Optical Image Stabilization|
|Sony||OSS||Optical Steady Shot|
3. Aperture Range
The aperture is the lens opening through which light transmits. Lens’ barrel has the range of aperture written in the word “F/f”. The smaller (i.e., f/22), the number the wider scene a lens captures and vice versa.
4. Focus Options
For fast and quick action, autofocusing lenses are popular and available now. Most lenses allow switching between auto and manual, though. However, an autofocus lens tends to be somewhat pricey but worth it.
5. Focal Length
Focal length is expressed in millimeters (mm). Every camera has a focal length number imprinted in its body. The bigger the number, the less scene it captures, and the smaller the numbers, the wider the details will be included.
6. Camera Compatibility
For an APS-C (cropped sensor size) camera, both an APS-C and the full-frame lenses will be compatible. But for a full-frame sensor camera, you must use a full-frame lens. General lenses are built targeting full-frame cameras.
7. Weight and Size
Lens’ weight and size matter a lot. No matter which lens you choose to pick, after frequently using that, these won’t bother you much. But, if you have to use telephoto lenses, weight is something you can’t shake off.
Shooting in different weather might get you some exquisite level of car images. Hence, make sure to pick a weather-resistant lens. Such a lens has an inbuilt structure that prevents dust or water from penetrating inside and makes it safe to work.
Having a lavish budget may get you any good lens, but if you are on a tight budget, you may have to search really hard. If you are new to car photography, buying a pre-owned one is suggested.
After you have done your fair share of research, make sure to check the reviews of other users. It will give you extra advantages and make your sorting car photography lens out easier.
You Can Also Read: What is the Best Nikon Lens for Wedding Photography?
Frequently Ask Question
Which is the best lens for car photography?
Wide lenses, prime lenses, zoom lenses, and telephoto lenses are considered to be the best car photography lens.
- A wide-angle lens allows capturing clearly
- A prime lens gives a wide aperture
- A zoom lens allows making quick adjustments by zooming in and out
- A telephoto lens is suitable for taking shots of cars in motion.
How do you photograph a black car?
Here’re 3 tips for taking shots of a black car-
Tip 1: Pick golden hour while shooting in daylight.
Tip 2: Select a long exposure when shooting at dusk.
Tip 3: During night shooting, select a wide-open aperture, nearly f/4 or more.
Do I need a special lens to photograph moving cars?
Yes, you do. You can use a telephoto or zoom lens for taking shots of moving cars.
What is the best camera setting for car photography?
For a non-moving car, start shooting at f/4, ISO 300, and shutter speed 1/100.
For a car in motion, start shooting at an aperture of f/4, ISO 200, and a shutter speed of 1/600. [Data written experimenting on daylight].
What makes a lens best for car photography?
Any lens won’t work for taking car shots. Some lenses do best here. It depends on the features that comply well with a camera to bring the best version of car images.
Can I use the 50mm lens for car photography?
Yes, you can. A 50mm lens is a prime lens and is one of the best lenses for car photography.
Can I use the 35mm lens for car photography?
Yes. This prime lens has a short focal length and doesn’t blur the background. It is one of the best lenses for shooting still cars.
Is an 85mm lens good for car photography?
With the longest focal length, an 85mm lens is great for creating stunning car photos.
Here you go; all about why you need the best lenses, which lenses are best for car photography, the best lenses for car photography, and how to pick a camera lens.
Now let your photography creativity run wild with the best lens and use your potential to the fullest.