14 Best Lenses for Car Photography (The Ultimate Guide & Reviews)

Choosing the right lenses can greatly improve the visual appeal and image quality of car photographs, whether the photographer is a professional or a hobbyist.

After testing different lenses for car photography, I feel confident recommending the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G as the best all-around lens for this type of photography.

I got into car photography a few years back. Capturing sporty designs, speed, and unique modifications makes car photography fun and challenging for me. I’ve met many new and interesting people thanks to this hobby, and I love listening to the stories behind the vehicles I capture.

I’ve found that experimenting with my equipment has helped me develop a personal style over the years, and I particularly like how versatile the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G feels. 

This fast lens is perfect for capturing stunning shots of moving cars, and the unique aspherical design of the lens allows for a wide-angle view without the typical distortion present in wide-angle lenses.

I understand that every photographer has a unique style and favorite focal lengths. Some might not mind incorporating distortion when composing a shot. The large maximum aperture might not be a standout feature if you mostly take pictures of cars that stand still. 

Even though I recommend the Nikon lens, I included detailed reviews of other lenses to help everyone find the best fit for their unique style.

Keep reading to learn about what are the optimal focal lengths for car photography, as well as why the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G is my favorite, and alternative options I recommend.

The Best Focal Lengths for Automotive Photography

I strongly recommend the four most popular lenses for automotive photography:

  • 35mm f/1.4 — A 35mm wide-angle lens is ideal for experienced photographers looking to capture a car sitting still. It showcases the entire car as well as the environments it’s in. And, with the wide apertures of f/1.4, you can shoot not only at night or in a garage, but also blur the background, making the car stand out.
  • 50mm f/1.8 — The 50mm focal length is a versatile and natural perspective for both beginners and professional photographers. It’s best used to capture a car’s overall shape, as well as the car’s interior, details like its headlights, taillights, grills, logos, and wheels. In addition, the fast maximum aperture is best for capturing car movements, and also for low-light shooting. 
  • 24-70mm f/2.8 — The 24-70mm is a great mid-range zoom lens for car photography. You can shoot wide-angle or telephoto shots with a single lens. Although the primes are usually better in terms of sharpness, and distortion, its fast maximum aperture of f/2.8 allow you to create a shallow depth of field, making the car stand out against background. It’s also ideal for shooting moving cars.
  • 70-200mm f/2.8 — A 70-200mm lens will allow you to create a more compressed and dramatic look, and capture specific details of the car like the steering wheel or seats from a safe distance. 

Top 14 List of the Best Lenses for Car Photography

Below is my list of the top 14 best lenses for car photography.

  1. Overall Best Lens for car photography: Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G
  2. Best Wide Angle lens for car photography: Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM
  3. Best Standard Lens for car photography: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens
  4. Best Telephoto lens for car photography: Nikon Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens
  5. Best Prime Lens for car photography: Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Prime Lens
  6. Best Zoom Lens for car photography: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
  7. Best Samyang Lens for car photography: Samyang 35mm f1.4
  8. Best Canon lens for car photography: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM
  9. Best Sony lens for car photography: Sony FE 24-70 mm F2.8 G
  10. Best Nikon lens for car photography: Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens
  11. Best Sigma lens for car photography: Sigma Art 24-70mm f/2.8 FE Lens
  12. Best Fuji lens for car photography: Fujifilm XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS
  13. Best Tamron lens for car photography: Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8
  14. Best Olympus lens for car photography: Olympus M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm F4.0

14 Best Lenses for Car Photography Reviewed

Below are the 14 best lenses I recommend for car photography.

1. Overall Best Lens for Car Photography: Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G

The Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G is my favorite lens for car photography. I highly recommend it because the 50mm focal length is ideal for a wide range of scenarios.

Focal length indicates how much of a scene a lens can capture. A 50mm focal length creates a medium field of view that allows me to focus on my subject. With this technique, I can capture just enough of the background to create an interesting shot.

The f/1.8 aperture has two main benefits. This wide aperture creates a shallow depth of field. It makes the subject stand out, and creates a soft, blurred background known as bokeh. It’s one of my go-to car photography tricks to make the sleek lines of a car stand out.

The other benefit of the f/1.8 aperture is the speed. The lens features a fast shutter speed that maximizes exposure.

It’s less performing than a typical sports lens, which means this Nikon lens remains affordable, but it’s fast enough to capture cars in movement at low speed. It’s also a valuable feature for capturing crisp shots in low-light conditions.

There are a few additional features worth mentioning:

  • The lens uses aspherical elements that help prevent distortion, especially when photographing a car at a distance.
  • The autofocus feature is fast and quiet. It’s great for beginners and allows you to instantly focus on your subject.
  • You can turn the autofocus feature off and use a manual focus feature instead of turning the focusing ring.
  • The lens elements use a Super Integrated Coating to preserve colors and details.

2. Best Wide Angle Lens for Car Photography: Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM

A wide-angle lens is a lens with a focal length of 35mm or less. Reducing the focal length means the lens will focus on a plane that is closer to you and capture a wider field of view.

Working with a wide-angle lens allows you to snap stunning landscape pics. When it comes to car photography, I like to use a wide-angle lens to explore ways of incorporating a car into a scene and compose a shot with elements of framing.

I also like getting close to the subject and using a wide-angle lens to create a fisheye effect. I’ve seen car photographers who use this trick to create a fresh and urban feel. It’s also a great way to emphasize the rounded shapes used in car designs.

My favorite wide-angle lens is the Canon EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM. Fast and lightweight, this wide-angle lens can focus as close as 0.52 ft away, which is perfect for achieving the fisheye effect I was describing above.

I like the aperture on this lens. It’s fast and uses seven blades. Budget lenses typically have six blades while professional lenses come with nine or more blades.

Using more blades creates a rounded aperture shape that results in softer lines when working with bokeh effects. A seven-blade aperture will help the small bokeh dots look rounder and result in crisper background colors.

There are other features I like:

  • The lens uses a special coating to prevent flare and other aberrations.
  • Capturing movies and short videos is fun thanks to the STM motor feature. The built-in STM motor can automatically track focus points for a clear and crisp result.

3. Best Standard Lens for Car Photography: Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Lens

The purpose of a standard lens is to capture images that look similar to what the human eye can see. These lenses achieve this result by using a focal length that is close to the size of the sensor.

I highly recommend the Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens to anyone looking for a standard or versatile lens.

It’s one of my top recommendations for beginners, or photographers who need to take practical rather than artistic shots, for instance, photographing cars for a dealership’s website.

I’ve found that the f/1.4 aperture is ideal for shooting in a wide range of light conditions. The shots look colorful and detailed even in low-light settings thanks to the aperture that maximizes brightness.

I also liked the Ultrasonic Autofocus mode. It’s fast, quiet, and zeroes in on the subject almost instantly. With it, I never have to worry about missing the moment.

My favorite feature is the Gaussian optics. When capturing a shot with lines that converge or diverge on the same plane, a type of distortion called astigmatism can appear. This lens uses Gaussian optics. This feature prevents distortion and ensures that lines present on the same plane remain sharp.

This lens has additional features worth mentioning:

  • The aperture uses eight blades to create a soft bokeh effect that brings out background colors.
  • The focusing distance of 1.5 ft is versatile and allows for some up-close shots to showcase specific vehicle features.
  • There is a manual focus mode available. I had fun playing with it to bring some car modifications into focus and make them look sharper.

4. Best Telephoto Lens for Car Photography: Nikon NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 Lens

A telephoto lens typically has a focal length of 70mm or higher. This type of lens is great for capturing shots from afar. It narrows the field of view and keeps the subject in focus while separating it from the background.

I recommend using a telephoto lens for racing, off-road derbies, and other events where getting close to the vehicles might be difficult.

My favorite telephoto lens for car photography is the Nikon NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 lens. The zoom feature convinced me to include this lens on my list.

The focal length ranges from 70 to 200mm, with the quality of the optics allowing for a high level of detail and crispness when using the maximum zoom setting.

The f/2.8 aperture isn’t as fast as the other lenses on this list, but it’s suitable if you’re photographing a standing vehicle or a car moving at low speed.

I like the Vibration Reduction feature. It helps stabilize the image. It made a difference when using zoom. When zooming in, a small movement can result in a blurry image. Thanks to the Vibration Reduction feature, I was able to capture shots quickly and get good results without relying on a tripod.

The extra-low dispersion glass is another feature I found interesting. Using this type of glass helps prevent chromatic aberrations that can result from light dispersion.

This Nikon lens has other noteworthy features:

  • There is a built-in autofocus focus. I liked how quickly the autofocus identified the subject and kept it in focus as I composed my shot.
  • Switching to manual focus helped me experiment when working with a 70mm focal length, but I don’t recommend it when zooming in.
  • The optics feature a Nano Crystal coating. This coating helps improve colors and details, especially when capturing a shot from a distance.

5. Best Prime Lens for Car Photography: Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 Prime Lens

A prime lens is a type of photography lens that uses a fixed focal length. It’s a versatile option that can be forgiving for beginners. It also makes composing shots easier since the final result is close to what you can see in the viewfinder.

The best prime lens I tested is the Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 prime lens. The quality of the optics stands out, and even though this lens isn’t the most affordable accessory on my list, I think it’s versatile enough to justify getting it.

It’s a fast wide-angle lens with an outstanding autofocus feature. I had fun adding some filters to introduce different effects, but I found that using the lens by itself resulted in high-quality pics that feel professional.

The Zeiss Distagon design is a feature that impressed me. The Distagon design is a wide-angle lens system. ITreduces curvature and distortion when capturing a subject that is far away. The result looks clean and natural.

I recommend this prime lens to anyone who wants to start experimenting with manual focus and aperture settings. The lens makes adjusting these specs easy thanks to the responsive manual focus and aperture rings.

There are a few more things I liked about this Sony lens:

  • The lens uses spherical elements to emphasize sharpness. I found that it makes car body designs stand out.
  • The f/1.4 aperture features nine blades with a soft bokeh effect and gorgeous background colors that blend together.
  • I liked the close-focus feature. I was able to focus my shot 0.98 feet away, which makes the lens even more versatile.

6. Best Zoom Lens for Car Photography: Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

Being able to adjust the focal length can make a lens more complex to use, but it allows the photographer to capture detailed shots of subjects from a distance.

I recommend using a zoom lens in scenarios where getting close to a car could be difficult. Examples include auto shows or street photography.

I also like using a zoom lens to bring small details into focus without having to move my camera. In my experience, it’s a convenient feature when working with a tripod or a light setup that I can’t move for every shot.

The Canon EF 70-200m F/2.8L IS II USM is one of the best zoom lenses in the market thanks to its impressive zoom range. With 23 elements, it’s a lens with a complex construction, but I found it easy to master.

The 70 to 200mm focal length range is versatile and allowed me to work at different distances from my subjects. I found that the inner focusing system added value. It makes it easy to focus on the subject regardless of the magnification level.

The optical image stabilization feature is another detail I enjoyed. It helped me get clear results when shooting from a distance.

I also liked the constant maximum aperture of f/2.8. It’s fast, bright, and gave me excellent control over the depth of field.

There are more features I liked:

  • The ultra-low dispersion optic elements help correct color fringing and other flaws.
  • It’s easy to switch between autofocus and manual focus.
  • The focus limited switch helps keep focus within a predetermined range. It’s a helpful feature for beginners.

7. Best Samyang for Car Photography: Samyang 35mm f1.4

Samyang Optics is one of my favorite third-party manufacturers. The Korean brand offers a wide selection of lenses for Canon, Fujifilm, Sony, Samsung, and other cameras.

Samyang lenses are typically budget-friendly options. These lenses deliver excellent image quality for the price range.

I recommend the Samyang 35mm f.14 to anyone looking for an entry-level accessory. It’s a versatile and affordable lens, and there are different variations compatible with Sony E and FE mounts, Canon EF mounts, and Fujifilm X mounts under the Rokinon brand.

This Samyang lens impressed me with its quality. The optical elements use coating and refractive materials to deliver sharp and colorful shots with plenty of contrast.

I enjoyed working with the f/1.4 maximum aperture setting. I found that it worked well for photographing cars in low-light settings. I was able to create soft bokeh effects with the nine-blade aperture.

The controls are another feature I liked. The lens has a focus hold button that I found convenient. Using this button allowed me to take my time when setting up my shots, and I had fun setting the focus and moving the camera to create blurred effects.

There are other features I’d like to mention:

  • There is a custom switch for adjusting the aperture or the focus ring.
  • The autofocus tracking feature is a nice addition for shooting videos.
  • The minimal focal distance of 0.95 ft is interesting for capturing close-ups and details.

8. Best Canon Lens for Car Photography: Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM

Canon lenses stand out thanks to their quality, durability, and image quality. Plus, these lenses feature an outstanding weather-sealed construction that is ideal for outdoor use.

My favorite Canon lens is the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM. This lens works with the Canon EOS family, but it’s possible to attach it to another Canon camera by using a mount adapter.

This lens features 18 elements, an advanced construction that opens up more possibilities compared to the other Canon lenses I listed above.

It’s a great all-around lens that feels versatile. Thanks to the focal length range of 24 to 70mm, I was able to use this lens to replace my usual standard and zoom lenses.

I love the image quality this lens delivers. The lens uses elements that reduce chromatic aberrations and distortion, even when capturing wide-angle shots. Canon also uses excellent lens coating products that deliver optimal colors and details.

The fast autofocus is one of my favorite features. Canon has one of the best autofocus algorithms on the market, and the fast autofocus delivers consistent and accurate results.

This Canon lens has other noteworthy features:

  • The f/2.8 aperture features nine blades. It’s perfect for low light settings or creating a soft bokeh effect.
  • The rotating focus ring makes switching to manual focus easy.
  • Canon uses a fluorine coating to protect the external elements of the lens and increase its durability.

9. Best Sony Lens for Car Photography: Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8G

Sony offers a wide selection of lenses at different price points. Overall, these lenses deliver outstanding value and quality.

The Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8G is one of the best Sony lenses in my opinion. It fits a7 and a9 full-frame mirrorless cameras, but this FE lens will work with other Sony cameras with the help of a mount adapter.

It’s my favorite lens from Sony for car photography because of the performance of the zoom setting. The zoom feature makes the lens somewhat heavy and bulky, but the amazing wide-angle shots I can capture with it make it all worth it.

The 24mm focal length setting is perfect for snapping wide-angle shots. Plus, my shots remained natural thanks to the spherical elements that correct disruption.

I also like the aperture setting that ranges from f/2.8 to f/22. Adjusting the aperture closer to f/2.8 lets in plenty of light. I was able to capture stunning details when photographing cars at dusk.

Selecting a setting closer to the f/22 limit results in crisp shots with a wide depth of field and extremely detailed backgrounds. I love using this setting to capture shots that place cars in a wider scene and tell a story.

There are a few other features that make this lens worth getting:

  • The magnification ratio of 0.24x makes the lens versatile.
  • The focus hold button is a convenient feature.
  • I like the removable hood that shades the lens and prevents flares.
  • However, the 1.24 ft minimum focusing distance is higher than on most lenses.

10. Best Nikon Lens for Car Photography: NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 Lens

I recommend investing in a high-end telephoto lens to anyone who is serious about photography. Nikon has an excellent selection of performing lenses that yield professional results, and for those who want to focus on car photography, the NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is an excellent choice.

This lens stands out thanks to the professional image quality, and the stunning shots captured with this lens will take any automotive blog to the next level. I like this lens because it delivers outstanding edge-to-edge sharpness when combined with a Nikon FX or DX camera.

This Nikon lens feels versatile with its medium to wide angle range. It’s a telephoto lens with an amazing autofocus feature. This feature automatically adjusts regardless of the focal length selected. This smart autofocus feature uses internal lens elements and doesn’t move the front lens group. It makes it easier to adjust the focus, and it’s a plus when stacking filters.

There are a few other features that make this lens stand out:

  • The lens elements use a nanocrystal coating to enhance image clarity and prevent flaring.
  • There are aspherical lens elements designed to reduce distortion and make the shots look more natural.
  • The Silent Wave Motor allows for a fast and quiet autofocus feature.

11. Best Sigma Lens for Car Photography: Sigma Art 24-70mm f/2.8 FE Lens

Sigma cameras are emerging as a budget-friendly alternative to the more expensive mirrorless cameras from major brands like Canon or Nikon.

Sigma offers a wide range of lenses and accessories, but the Sigma Art lenses stand out as the closest thing to professional-grade equipment Sigma offers.

Testing the Sigma Art 24-70mm f/2.8 FE lens was a fun experience. The quality of the shots impressed me, and the lens feels like an affordable alternative to professional equipment. It’s compatible with mirrorless Sigma cameras, but the manufacturer makes variants that work with cameras from other brands.

I liked the wide aperture and was able to achieve a soft focus effect that looks artistic by adopting a shallow depth of field. The lens also uses two special low-dispersion elements to deliver sharp results and correct distortion and aberration, which helped me get clear shots in a wide range of conditions.

This Sigma lens feels versatile since it doubles as a standard and wide-angle lens. I loved the autofocus motor. It surprised me with how fast and accurate it is, and the lens rivals what other major manufacturers offer in terms of autofocus.

I noticed a few potential downsides when testing the lens. The autofocus motor makes some noise, which can be an issue when shooting videos. I also noticed that the lens isn’t weather sealed. These drawbacks are minor considering the affordable price point.

There is more:

  • This Sigma Art lens is surprisingly compact and lightweight given that it uses 19 lens elements.
  • I loved the wide aperture feature that lets in plenty of light for shooting indoors or at night.
  • The lens comes with a hood that provides shade and prevents flares.

12. Best Fuji Lens for Car Photography: Fujifilm XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS Lens

Fujifilm is one of my favorite camera brands thanks to its selection of lightweight products and outstanding manual exposure controls.

The manufacturer also offers an impressive selection of lenses, but the Fujifilm XF55-200mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS lens stands out to me. I like the fact that this lens remains affordable and easy to use while delivering professional results.

This lens works on any camera with a Fujifilm X mount, but it’s possible to use an adapter. It’s a great telephoto lens with a focal length range of 55 to 200mm. The minimum focusing distance of less than 44” allowed me to capture some aesthetic close-ups to showcase details on cars.

The image stabilization feature is another feature that makes this Fujifilm lens stand out for me. It’s an impressive feature that helped me get crisp and sharp shots, even as I was moving around to capture a vehicle from multiple angles. I also appreciate the fact that I could turn this feature on and off as needed thanks to a switch.

I also liked the aperture controls. I was able to adjust the aperture from f/22 to f/3.5 – 4.8 thanks to the convenient aperture ring control. It’s an impressive range at this price point, and the performance remains consistent throughout the 17 aperture stops.

I had fun experimenting with a wide depth of field. I found that I could bring cars into sharper focus easily while muting the background by adjusting the aperture.

There are a few more features that impressed me with this lens:

  • It uses two motors to adjust focus automatically, making the autofocus feature fast and precise.
  • The lens design includes ED elements that do an amazing job of preventing chromatic aberrations.
  • I also liked the special HT-EBC lens coating that prevents flaring and ghosting.

13. Best Tamron Lens for Car Photography: Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8

Tamron is a lesser-known manufacturer, but I highly recommend it to anyone interested in third-party lenses. This brand has an interesting selection of lenses compatible with Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras.

I like the Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 lens. This lens is compatible with Sony full-frame mirrorless cameras. It’s perfect for professionals who need to travel with a lot of photography equipment. The lightweight and compact design is a plus, and it’s a durable lens thanks to its fluorine coating and weather-resistant construction.

I love using this lens for car photography because of its fast aperture. The f/2.8 setting is ideal for keeping a car in focus and creating a soft bokeh effect in the background.

The close focus is another feature I enjoy working with. I was able to get crisp shots by setting the focus as close as 7.5” away when shooting in wide-angle mode. It’s an impressive performance, and it opens up new possibilities for showcasing details and modifications.

There are different versions of this lens. I recommend getting the improved G2 version released in 2021. This new version features some changes that result in better image quality and faster autofocus.

I also liked the Tamron software that comes with this lens. It’s for advanced users, but it’s a fun way to explore new possibilities and customize the lens.

There are a few other features I should mention:

  • The lens comes with a convenient zoom and focus ring to make controls easier.
  • The autofocus feature uses a linear motor for fast and accurate results.
  • When filming a video, it’s possible to choose two preset focal points ahead of time and the lens will automatically shift focus to create some interesting effects.

14. Best Olympus Lens for Car Photography: Olympus M. Zuiko ED 40-150mm F4.0

Olympus has a smaller selection compared to other manufacturers, but the brand stands out thanks to its exceptional Micro Four Thirds camera line. These lightweight and compact cameras are perfect for travel photography, and this format is compatible with a wide range of lenses.

For Olympus camera users, the Olympus M. Zuiko ED 40-150mm F4.0 is an excellent lens that impressed me with its compact design. The lens uses only 15 elements but delivers outstanding image quality and weighs less than a pound. I also liked the weatherproof design that makes the lens ideal for shooting outdoors.

I recommend this lens for auto shows, racing events, and other situations where a photographer would need a highly portable setup.

The constant maximum aperture of f/4.0 is worth mentioning. It results in excellent contrast and lets plenty of light in. I also liked working with the focal length that ranges from 80 to 300mm. I was able to capture stunning shots in telephoto or wide-angle mode with edge-to-edge sharpness.

There are a few other features that make this lens worth considering:

  • The maximum image magnification of 0.21x is impressive.
  • The fluorine coating is a plus when using the lens outdoors.
  • The lightweight design makes it easy to add filters.


After testing several lenses for car photography, I recommend the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G. This lens truly impressed me with its overall performance and quality.

I liked the 50mm focal length, which feels versatile and natural to work with. The wide aperture is another plus since it creates a shallow depth of field that brings cars to the forefront, and I also liked the aspherical elements, coatings, and other features that help preserve image quality.

Learn more about the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G here and get ready to purchase one of your own.

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