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(Pocket-lint) - Your DSLR kit may have given you a standard lens that provides you with well-performing zoom, but picking up an additional option can really help elevate your shots and improve overall performance. 

The thing you're likely weighing up is whether splashing out a large three-figure sum for a new lens is really worth it. However, plenty of entry-level DSLR kits come with, as you may expect, an entry-level feel to them. With a dedicated lens, you're not just getting a higher-quality zoom, but better build quality and faster aperture, too. 

So, whether you're completely new to buying lenses or you're a Canon and Nikon veteran looking to add to your collection, we've rounded up some of the top options for you to consider.

As ever, you'll have to do your own checks on whether they match up with your camera's lens mount and sensor size, but, with that, you'll be ready to explore.

Best DSLR zoom lenses available to buy 

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Canon EF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Standard Zoom Lens


For Canon owners looking for a well-rounded standard zoom lens, this is an ideal pick.

It's relatively compact and light, giving you a wide magnification range and a focal length that stretches from normal to a telephoto equivalent to 29mm - 320mm in the 35mm format. 

There's also Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer on board, allowing for up to 4-stops of correction at full zoom, and the circular aperture to help you add some background blur around your shot. 

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Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED


An excellent pick for Nikon fans, this behemoth of a lens is heavy but packs in incredible zoom levels - stretching from 27mm - 210mm in full-frame.

Interestingly, this is the only Nikon DX format lens that's compatible with the rest of the company's DSLR cameras, giving users fast, 4-stop auto-focus, a weather-sealed metal mounting plate and a sharp capture at both the short and long end. 

It's also considerably more budget-friendly than other picks. Considering its wide-ranging compatibility, that's a real treat.

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Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM


It may be a little long in the tooth by now - first launching back in 2006 - but this Canon special is proof that having the latest lens doesn't automatically give you the best performance. 

It's also the closest we've seen the company come to offering a professional-level APS-C lens. 

The f/2.8 aperture rating ensures you receive consistent performance throughout the zoom range, and, even though the design isn't the most compact or light, it's tough to do better if you're a Canon owner. 

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Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM FLD


Sigma's option gives owners of a Nikon DX format camera another option to consider, also offering variations for Canon, Sony and its own wares.

If you need a large-aperture standard zoom lens that stays consistent throughout the entire zoom range, this is a really nice pickup, also offering an anti-shake feature, up to 4-stop shutter speed and multi-layer coating to help reduce flare. 

Simply, this is a budget-friendly and relatively compact addition to your camera bag.

TamronBest DSLR zoom lenses: Top attachments for your Canon or Nikon camera photo 5

Tamron 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD


If you're less about picking up a specific lens for a job and instead want more of an overall starter kit to help take your camera game to the next level, Tamron's offering is definitely worth considering. 

This package includes Tamron's 18-400mm f/3.5-6.3 Lens (compatible with Canon, but with a Nikon option also available), which offers elite zoom performance for those with an APS-C format camera who want to mix between telephoto and wide-angle shots.

Also included are AirBag's protective carry cases, an Altura miniature tripod/case and lens pouches. It adds some great value on top of an impressive and versatile lens. 

Writing by Conor Allison. Originally published on 2 December 2020.