Best Standard Zoom
Almost everyone buys a camera with a standard zoom. The lens you get (since the price difference between a camera body and a body with kit lens is so small you can call it getting rather than buying) is amazingly good. Even if you find out after a while that you can't photograph everything with it. In bad weather or in the dark, you would actually want a lens with the same zoom range, but with higher brightness. And if possible, with even higher image quality. No problem.
Especially for photographers who are looking for the best standard zoom, we have made a Good Stuff Awards list with the best standard zooms we have ever reviewed. The best standard zoom lenses for SLR cameras with a full-frame sensor. And standard zoom lenses for cameras with an APS-C sensor or a micro-43 sensor. They have one thing in common: they are chosen from the list of 300 lenses that we have reviewed in recent years.
Sony FE: Standard zoom lenses (full frame)
Nikon FX: Standard zoom lenses (full frame)
Canon EF: Standard zoom lenses (full-frame)
Micro-43: Standard zoom lenses
Canon EF-S: Standard zoom lenses (APS-C)
Nikon DX: Standard zoom lenses (APS-C)
Sony E: Standard zoom lenses (APS-C)
WHAT MAKES THESE ZOOM LENSES UNIQUE?
When I think of a good standard zoom, I think of a bright 24-70 mm (for a full-frame sensor), an 18-55 mm (for an APS-C sensor) or a 12-35 mm zoom (for a micro- 43 sensor). With this zoom range, you can do a lot: from taking a landscape shot to shooting a portrait. That's why you will almost always find these zooms in the standard equipment of travel photographers or professionals on holiday. These Good Stuff Award 2016 winners are all zoom lenses that outclass many a lens with a fixed focal length. And not only with image quality:
In the list of standard zoom lenses that won the Good Stuff Award 2016 - irrespective of the size of the sensor - an extremely high image quality is accompanied by a high brightness of f/1.8 to f/2.8. All these zoom lenses have impeccable build quality. Some are additionally sealed against dust and splash water (Canon, Olympus, Sony and Tamron) or are guaranteed to work in the freezing cold (Olympus).
The two odd ducks in the flock, in terms of zoom range, are both Sigma Art zooms. The Sigma 18-35 mm f/1.8 Art (for single-lens reflex cameras with an APS-C sensor) and the Sigma 24-35 mm f / 2 Art (both for full-format cameras and APS-C sensors) have a smaller zoom range. That choice pays off in an even higher image quality.
WITH OR WITHOUT LENS CORRECTIONS?
Lens manufacturers design lenses in which distortion, color separation and vignetting are not optimally corrected. They assume that lens errors will be automatically corrected in the camera (for jpg files) or afterwards in Lightroom or Photoshop (for RAW files). The advantage of this choice, for manufacturer and consumer, is that you can achieve high image quality at relatively low costs, because you do not have to use expensive types of glass to prevent all lens errors. But there are also, usually the more expensive, lenses where a manufacturer has gone to extremes to prevent lens errors in the lens design. CameraStuffReview shows tables and graphs of Imatest results with lens corrections ("in-camera jpg") and without lens corrections ("RAW" outside of Photoshop or Lightroom). You can thus use the scores that are closest to your workflow.