Here’s a super helpful guide for those looking to buy a lens, written by the wonderful Kristi Camara! – Drew
Depending on your life, your hobbies, and your passions, the kinds of moments you want to capture most may be very different. Whether you focus on big group photos, incredible landscapes, sports and action shots, or beautiful close-up portraits, there are specific lenses that can help you capture those moments better.
So if you have a DSLR and a basic idea of the kind of photos you take most, lens shopping doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. To help you out, below is a list of four lenses I recommend to start growing your photography arsenal.
1. Your Kit Lens
If you bought your camera in a bundle and it came with a kit lens, then you already have one down! Kit lenses truly do not get enough credit. They’re awesome for getting started because they can act as several lenses in one, roughly covering the basics in photography. The versatility of a kit lens is great because if you’re a beginner, you’ll have no problem shooting landscape photos zoomed all the way out and making portraits way in, all without swapping lenses. The prices of kit lenses vary based on the camera brand you’re purchasing. But, they’re usually some of the most inexpensive starter lenses available.
While it’s a great lens to start experimenting with, the standard kit lens does have one slight drawback that you’ll find with many lenses. Because the f-stop is a range and is not fixed, the depth of field is limited. This means that if you zoom in all the way, your aperture will automatically adjust and allow less light to enter the lens as a result. No need to worry though, you can compensate with a higher ISO or lower shutter speed.
2. Zoom Lens
This lens can get to be a bit pricier, but the range you’ll have access to zoom through is remarkable. If you’re a parent looking to take action photos from the bleachers of your child’s baseball game, or if you take close-up photos of the animals at the zoo, this is the lens you’re looking for.
Because this lens also has an f-stop range and is not fixed, you will lose the capability to allow more light into the lens when you zoom in closer. If you’re looking for a wider range of zoom and don’t want to lose any depth or light, there are great telephoto zoom lenses with a fixed f-stop. Some examples of these include the 18-200mm f/2.8 lens. The upgrade in glass won’t come without a hefty price tag though. Depending on the quality, these lenses can be anywhere from $400 to over $1,000.
Buy a Zoom Lens:
3. Wide Angle Lens
If you find yourself shooting outdoors frequently and want to get as much of the view in your frame as possible, the width of a kit lens’ focal range just won’t cut it. These lenses are great for landscape and architectural photography and work especially well for taking large group portraits.
Buy a Wide Angle Lens
4. My personal favorite, the Nifty Fifty: 50mm Prime Lens
This lens is by far my least expensive, but also the one I use the most frequently. Although the 50mm lacks the ability to zoom in or out due to its fixed focal length, it allows for beautiful depth to achieve that blurry, dream-like background. The images you take will be sharper and crisper than those taken with your kit lens. This lens works surprisingly well in low light and its compact size makes it easy to travel with. Especially for portraits, this lens is definitely my go-to!
Buy a 50mm Prime Lens
You’d be surprised at the different kinds of images one camera can take with a set of different lenses. Despite this, know that while the lenses may make the camera, the camera doesn’t make the photographer. Photography is all about your eye, style and how you combine them.