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Interchangeable & SLR lenses

What's behind our interchangeable & SLR lens Ratings?

Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 23 models in interchangeable & SLR lenses to see which ones perform best.
We look for:
  • Overall score
    This is based almost entirely on the lens¿s image quality, based on tests of sharpness (modulation transfer function), geometric distortion, reflexes within the lens (flare), veiling glare index, vignetting, and macro performance. Ease of use was also considered.
  • Image quality
    Image quality is based on tests of sharpness (modulation transfer function), geometric distortion, reflexes within the lens (flare), veiling glare index, vignetting, and macro performance.
  • Image stabilization
    An image stabilizer compensates for handheld camera shake. Optical (in the lens) and mechanical (in the camera body) image stabilizers are the best types to use, although some cameras include simulated stabilization, which is considered a less effective type than the others.
  • Modulation transfer function
    This is a measure of lens performance and shows how well a lens reproduces object detail in the image it produces.
  • Geometric distortion
    All lenses have degrees of geometric distortion, which will depict straight lines as slightly curved. Two most common types are barrel distortion and pin-cushion distortion. These types of distortions are often seen in zoom lenses at both ends of the zoom range.
  • Reflexes within lens
    Stray light in lenses and optical systems caused by reflections between surfaces of lens elements and the inside barrel of the lens.
  • Veiling glare index
    Veiling glare index is a ratio that measures the effect of flare on image contrast.
  • Vignetting
    Vignetting is a lens defect that occurs when the light coming through the lens does not do so evenly. An image that has a lot of vignetting, for example, will have darker or underexposed corners in comparison to the center of the image.
  • Ease of use
    Ease of use is determined by how easy is it to do basic functions such as zooming, focusing and mounting the lens on the camera body.
  • Macro performance
    This test indicates the quality of an image in its closest focus.
  • Weight
    Weight of the lens (without case, pouch or filters).

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Recommended interchangeable & SLR lenses

Recommended interchangeable & SLR lenses are standout choices with high scores. They include CR Best Buys, which offer exceptional value. When narrowing your choices, weigh features, price, and attributes that matter to you.
  • Buying Guide
  • Price & Shop
Digital SLR lenses typically are quicker to focus and come with a variety of creative features, including built-in optical image stabilization for steadying shaky shots and wide apertures for shooting in low light. f you're looking for information about Interchangeable & SLR lenses, Consumer Reports is your best resource. Consumer Reports’ Interchangeable & SLR lense reviews will give you honest buying advice that you can trust. Use our SLR lense buying guide to discover which features are most important to consider. We also provide unbiased Ratings and Interchangeable & SLR lense reviews to help you choose the best SLR lense for your needs.

Interchangeable & SLR lens buying guide

Interchangeable & SLR lens buying guide

Interchangeable & SLR lenses typically are quicker to focus and come with a variety of creative features, including built-in optical image stabilization for steadying shaky shots and wide apertures for shooting in low light. The problem is that many of the best lenses are expensive--not to mention so big and heavy that you wouldn't want to carry one around all day. This lens guide can help take some of the confusion out of shopping.

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