Best Lens for Car Photography: Top Picks

This article contains affiliate links, if you purchase using these links we may get commission.

When it comes to car photography, the right lens can make all the difference. Whether you’re shooting at a racetrack or capturing a classic car on the street, choosing the best lens for the job is crucial. That’s why we’ve put together a guide to help you find the perfect lens for your car photography needs.

From zoom lenses to prime lenses, there are a variety of options to choose from. Some lenses are better suited for capturing the details of a car’s interior, while others are ideal for shooting from a distance.

We’ll cover the pros and cons of each type of lens, as well as provide recommendations for specific lenses that are great for car photography. So whether you’re a professional photographer or just starting out, we’ve got you covered.

Understanding Car Photography

Car photography can be a challenging yet rewarding genre of photography. It requires a good understanding of angles, composition, and camera settings to capture the beauty of a car.

In this section, we will discuss the background of car photography, as well as composition techniques that can help you take better car photos.

Background

Automotive photography has been around since the invention of the automobile. It was initially used for advertising purposes, but it has since evolved into a popular art form.

Car enthusiasts and photographers alike appreciate the beauty of cars and the challenge of capturing their essence in a photograph.

Composition

Composition is key to any photograph, and car photography is no exception. Here are a few tips to help you compose your car photos:

  • Angles: Experiment with different angles to find the best one for your shot. Shooting from a low angle can make the car appear more imposing, while shooting from a high angle can make it appear smaller and more vulnerable.
  • Camera Settings: Adjusting your camera settings can help you achieve the desired effect. For example, using a wide aperture can create a shallow depth of field, blurring the background and making the car stand out.
  • Photography Tips: Use props and lighting to enhance your shot. For example, using a reflector can help you bounce light onto the car, highlighting its curves and lines.

Types of Lenses for Car Photography

When it comes to car photography, choosing the right lens is crucial in capturing stunning and high-quality images.

There are different types of lenses that you can use for car photography, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Prime Lens

A prime lens is a fixed focal length lens that doesn’t zoom in or out. It has a wide aperture, which makes it ideal for low-light situations.

Prime lenses are known for their sharpness and clarity, making them a popular choice for car photographers. They also produce a beautiful bokeh effect, which can make the background blur and the subject stand out.

One of the most popular prime lenses for car photography is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM Lens. This lens is known for its sharpness and excellent low-light performance, making it perfect for shooting cars in dimly lit environments.

Zoom Lens

A zoom lens, as the name suggests, allows you to zoom in or out to adjust the focal length. This type of lens is versatile and can be used for different types of photography.

Zoom lenses are great for car photography because they allow you to adjust the focal length quickly, making it easier to capture different angles and compositions.

The 24-70mm f/2.8 is a popular zoom lens used for car photography. It offers a wide range of focal lengths, making it ideal for both wide-angle and close-up shots.

Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens is a long focal length lens that allows you to zoom in on distant subjects. This type of lens is great for capturing details and creating a compressed look.

Telephoto lenses are also useful in isolating the subject from the background, making it stand out.

The Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR Lens is a popular telephoto lens for car photography. It offers a long focal length range and excellent image stabilization, making it perfect for capturing sharp and detailed images of cars from a distance.

Whether you prefer a prime lens, zoom lens, or telephoto lens, there are different options available for you to choose from.

By understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each type of lens, you can select the one that best suits your needs and preferences.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Lens

When it comes to car photography, choosing the right lens is crucial. There are several factors to consider when selecting a lens that will help you capture stunning images of cars.

In this section, we’ll discuss the three most important factors to consider: focal length, aperture, and image stabilization.

Focal Length

Focal length is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a lens for car photography. The focal length of a lens determines how much of the scene you can capture in a single shot.

For car photography, we recommend using a lens with a focal length of at least 50mm. A longer focal length can help you capture more detail and create a shallower depth of field, which can be useful for isolating the car from the background.

Aperture

The aperture of a lens refers to the size of the opening that allows light to pass through the lens. A wider aperture (lower f-number) allows more light to enter the lens, which can be useful in low-light situations or when you want to create a shallow depth of field.

However, a wider aperture can also make it more difficult to keep the entire car in focus. We recommend using a lens with an aperture of at least f/2.8 for car photography.

Image Stabilization

Image stabilization is a feature that helps reduce blur caused by camera shake. This can be particularly useful when shooting handheld or in low-light situations.

Some lenses have built-in image stabilization, while others rely on the camera body to provide stabilization. If you plan on shooting handheld or in low-light situations, we recommend choosing a lens with built-in image stabilization.

Overall, when choosing a lens for car photography, it’s important to consider the focal length, aperture, and image stabilization.

These factors will help you capture stunning images of cars with great detail, image quality, and bokeh effect.

Top Lenses for Car Photography

When it comes to car photography, having the right lens can make all the difference. We’ve researched and tested various lenses and have come up with our top picks for capturing stunning car photos.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L

The Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L is a great all-around lens for car photography. With its versatile zoom range, you can capture both wide-angle shots and close-up details of cars.

The lens has a fast f/2.8 aperture, which allows for great low-light performance and shallow depth of field. It also features aspherical and ultra-low dispersion glass elements, which reduce distortion and chromatic aberrations for sharp, clear images.

Nikon 50mm f/1.8G

The Nikon 50mm f/1.8G is a budget-friendly lens that produces great results for car photography. Its fast f/1.8 aperture allows for excellent low-light performance and shallow depth of field.

The lens is also lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around and use in various shooting situations. While it’s not a telephoto zoom lens, it’s a great option for capturing detail shots of cars.

Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3

The Sigma 100-400mm f/5-6.3 is a telephoto zoom lens that’s great for capturing cars in motion. With its long focal length, you can get up close and personal with cars on the track or on the road.

The lens also features ultra-low dispersion glass elements, which reduce chromatic aberrations and produce sharp, clear images. While it’s not as versatile as some other lenses on this list, it’s a great option for capturing action shots of cars.

Sony 85mm f/1.8-22

The Sony 85mm f/1.8-22 is a great portrait lens that can also be used for car photography. Its fast f/1.8 aperture allows for great low-light performance and shallow depth of field.

The lens also features aspherical elements, which reduce distortion and produce sharp, clear images. While it’s not a telephoto zoom lens, it’s a great option for capturing detail shots of cars.

Whether you’re looking for a versatile all-around lens or a specialized telephoto zoom lens, there’s a lens on this list for you.

Additional Features to Consider

When it comes to choosing the best lens for car photography, there are several additional features to consider beyond focal length and aperture.

In this section, we will discuss some of these features, including auto-focus, vibration compensation, and fluorine coating.

Auto-Focus

Auto-focus is an essential feature for car photography. It allows us to capture sharp images of moving cars quickly and accurately.

When choosing a lens, look for one that has a fast and accurate auto-focus system. Some lenses, such as those with a hypersonic motor, offer even faster and quieter auto-focus performance.

Vibration Compensation

Vibration compensation is another important feature to consider. It helps to reduce camera shake and blur caused by hand-held shooting.

Look for lenses that have built-in vibration compensation or image stabilization. These features can make a significant difference in the sharpness of your images, especially when shooting in low light conditions or with slower shutter speeds.

Fluorine Coating

Fluorine coating is a feature that can help to protect your lens from dust, moisture, and fingerprints. It is a special coating that is applied to the front element of the lens.

It repels water and oil, making it easier to clean and maintain. Look for lenses that have a fluorine coating, especially if you plan to shoot in challenging environments.

In addition to these features, there are other factors to consider when choosing the best lens for car photography.

The picture angle is one such factor. A wide-angle lens can capture more of the car and its surroundings, while a telephoto lens can isolate the car and create a more dramatic effect.

Consider your shooting style and preferences when choosing a picture angle.

In summary, when choosing the best lens for car photography, consider additional features such as auto-focus, vibration compensation, and fluorine coating.

Look for lenses with fast and accurate auto-focus systems, built-in vibration compensation or image stabilization, and a fluorine coating for protection and easy maintenance. Don’t forget to also consider the picture angle and your shooting style.

Best Settings for Car Photography

When it comes to car photography, getting the right settings is crucial to capturing stunning images. In this section, we will discuss two important settings to consider: low depth of field and motion blur.

Low Depth of Field

Using a low depth of field can help to isolate the car from its surroundings and create a more dramatic effect. This technique is achieved by using a wide aperture (low f-number) which will create a shallow depth of field. This means that only a small area of the image will be in focus, while the rest of the image will be blurred.

When using a low depth of field, it’s important to focus on the part of the car that you want to be in sharp focus.

This could be the front grille, the headlights, or any other part of the car that you want to highlight. By doing this, you can create a more dynamic and eye-catching image.

Motion Blur

Capturing motion blur can add a sense of speed and movement to your car photography. This technique is achieved by using a slower shutter speed, which will create a blurred effect on any moving parts of the car.

When using motion blur, it’s important to consider the speed of the car and the lighting conditions. If the car is moving quickly, you may need to use a slower shutter speed to capture the desired effect.

However, if the lighting conditions are too bright, this could result in an overexposed image. In low-light conditions, you may need to use a higher ISO to compensate for the slower shutter speed.

Remember to always consider the lighting conditions and the speed of the car when adjusting your settings, and don’t be afraid to try new things to achieve the perfect shot.

Conclusion

In conclusion, finding the best lens for car photography can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. We have explored some of the best lenses available in the market, and it all comes down to your personal preference and shooting style.

When it comes to image stabilization, it’s always a good idea to invest in a lens that has it. It can make a huge difference, especially when shooting moving cars or in low light conditions.

Opting for a high-quality lens is always a wise decision, as it can make your images sharper and more detailed. This is especially important for racers and racing photographers who want to capture every detail of the car.

A variable ND filter can also come in handy when shooting in bright sunlight, as it allows you to control the amount of light that enters the lens. This can help you achieve a more balanced exposure and avoid overexposure.

Ultimately, the best lens for car photography is the one that suits your needs and preferences. We hope that our guide has helped you narrow down your options and find the perfect lens for your next car photography shoot.