Choosing the right lens for your DSLR. So you’ve got your first DSLR which it came with a kit lens but now you want add another lens or two! The question we all ask ourselves is ‘how do I pick the best one for my camera’!
Choosing the Right Lens for Beginners
The lens that usually comes packaged with your DSLR is known as a kit lens. Although kit lenses are inexpensive they can come with a few drawbacks; slower to focus, noisier and made with comparably small maximum apertures which helps to keep the price down.
Quite simply, the wider the aperture the larger the lens body and elements which increases the price.
Firstly, try to understand the lens basics between prime and zoom. A zoom lens magnifies your subject by zooming while prime lenses are fixed. If you need to get closer or further away from your subject with a prime lens you have to do that horrible thing called – walking!
I always recommend anyone new to photography to purchase a 50mm prime lens for their first DSLR lens. See my post on ‘Why should you have a 50mm Prime Lens’.
Choosing the Right Lens – Focal Length
Look at your lens closely and you’ll see they have two measurements. The focal length e.g. 16-50 means you can achieve a wide focal length at 16mm and close at 55mm. As prime lenses do not zoom they would be labelled e.g. 50mm
The second measurement would be the aperture. The aperture, which determines the amount of light that travels through the lens to the sensor is displayed as f-stops: 1.4, 2.8 and 4.5 etc. If we compare 2.8 to 4.5; as 4.5 is a larger number, it has a smaller aperture meaning it captures less light.
Try to remember it this way; smaller apertures mean more light in turn enabling you to take images easier especially in low light settings.
So now you have a grasp of the basics, you need to decide on the type of lens required for the kind photography you will be doing: Landscapes, Portraits, Macro, Sports etc. A wide angle lens is ideal for Landscapes and can be quite costly.
Most kit lenses that come with your DSLR will most probably be a wide angle lens. As it has a wide field of view you are able to capture as much as possible within your frame.
Choosing the Right Lens Telephoto
The next lens most photographers get are telephoto zooms which are ideal for sports and nature photography. A telephoto zoom lens has a narrower field of view enabling you to zoom in on subjects so that they appear much closer to you than they actually are.
A macro lens is used for extreme close up photography and was one of the first lenses I bought. You may find zooms with Macro on them but these are not true macros as they have a ration 1.2! Look for a 1.1 macro which reproduces your subject at life-size on your sensor.
You’ll find that these are prime lenses and I recently bought the Tamron 90mm SP DI. as it was one of the lowest cost macros in its range yielding amazing results.
Most manufacturers also offer 2 lines in their lens production. The ‘budget’ and ‘top of the line’ giving you the best optics which of course come at a high price.
Choosing the right lens: if you’re a beginner why not get used to your camera and kit lens before deciding on your next purchase. You don’t always need top of the line lenses to get amazing results and when you have found the type of photography which interest you decide on your upgrade!
How to choose the right camera equipment is dependent on your photography!