- DSLR: Both Canon and Nikon have a massive lens range for every job. Pentax also has many bases covered, and contributions from many third parties only adds more options to each system
- Mirrorless: Lens ranges for even more established lines are still developing, but many options are now covered. The most recent is on newer systems from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Panasonic and Fujifilm’s medium format line, which are still getting off the ground
If you want the widest possible choice of lenses, a Canon or Nikon DSLR is possibly your best bet. Each has an extensive range of lenses to suit a range of price points, as well as excellent third-party support from the likes of Sigma and Tamron.
While Canon and Nikon have both had decades to build-up and refine their lens line-up – Nikon’s lens mount is unchanged from 1959, for example – the first mirrorless camera only appeared 11 years ago. Mirrorless cameras are, however, certainly gaining ground.
Because Olympus and Panasonic use the same Micro Four Thirds lens mount and have been established the longest, the range of Micro Four Third lenses is the most comprehensive, offering a broad range of optics, from ultra wide-angle zooms to fast prime telephoto lenses.
Fujifilm’s lens system is growing all the time, with some lovely prime lenses and excellent fast zoom lenses. Even the 18-55mm ‘kit’ lens that comes with many of its cameras as standard is very good. There are still a few gaps in the range, but Fujifilm is definitely working hard to deliver a comprehensive, high-quality range of lenses.
Sony offers some really nice high-end optics that are designed for its full-frame line of cameras like the Alpha A7 III, while its just recently launched a mighty FE 600mm f/4 GM OSS telephoto prime lens too. It now offers a relatively healthy selection for both its APS-C and full-frame cameras.
Both Canon and Nikon have recently launched full-frame mirrorless cameras to run alongside each company’s DSLR range. At the moment, the dedicated optics for each are limited to a handful of lenses, but many more are promised. Not only that but both Canon and Nikon offer affordable adapters that allow you to use lenses designed for DSLRs (though in some cases, with restrictions).
The most recent change here is the introduction of the L-mount alliance, a venture that unites Panasonic, Sigma and Leica. The three companies have pledged to develop products that can be used in conjunction with those from the other manufacturers, which should help the line to develop quickly.