Best Photo Booth Lens

There are dozens of lens options available to a Nikon or Canon photographer, so it helps to narrow down the options to find the best photo booth lens in your price range.

The general guidelines are:

  • Primes are preferred to zooms. Primes generally give better image quality at a given price, and the flexibility of a zoom isn’t required as you are in control of camera and subject placement.
  • Focal length should be on the wide side (18-35mm on a crop sensor, 28 – 50mm on a full frame camera)
  • IS and fast apertures aren’t required, as you’ll typically be shooting between at middle apertures (between f/5.6 and f/11) and using a tripod.
  • Lower price is better, as parties and events can be a harsh environment for expensive gear.

With that in mind, here are a few suggested options

Canon Lenses:

Crop sensor bodies (ie, Rebels, 70D/60D/50D, 7D):

24stm EF-S 24mm 2.8 STM pancake lens. At $149 us it is one of the least expensive canon lenses available, has impressive image quality at middle apertures, and hits the sweet spot for focal length.
18-55 18-55 3.5-5.6 kit lens (IS / IS II / STM). Generally included with a camera body, these lenses aren’t the most impressive optically, but give decent results at middle apertures, so long as your subjects avoid the corners at the wider focal lengths. Can be helped quite a bit by lens correction in post production.

Full frame bodies (ie, 6D, 5D, 1D series):

40stm EF 40mm 2.8 STM pancake lens. Similar to the 24mm crop version, it isn’t overly expensive at about $199 us, gives great image quality at middle apertures, has a good focal length for this application.
50 EF 50mm 1.8. The “nifty fifty” or “plastic fantastic” is literally the cheapest lens you can buy from Canon, but is just as sharp at f/8 as the 20x as expensive F/1.2 version. A little bit on the long side in terms of focal length.

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