Which lens to buy first?
I bought my first camera, but I don’t know which lens to choose. With so many different options, how do I choose? The answer to the question of which lens to buy first is surprisingly simple.
The best first lens for a beginner to buy is the camera kit lens. For many entry-level cameras, this lens will be 18-55mm. With its moderate zoom range and affordable price, this is by far the most versatile kit lens for beginners.
As you progress, you will want to expand your equipment beyond the kit lens. Use this guide to help you decide which lens to purchase first.
Best Lenses For Beginners 2022
There are many lenses that are considered “good” for beginners, but that does not necessarily mean they are the perfect fit for you. Before deciding which lens is best for you, first consider what kind of photography you are interested in.
If you are a complete beginner, you may have no idea what kind of pictures you want to take. You want to photograph everything and see where you stand. This is how many people, myself included, start out: getting an idea of different genres before sticking to one.
The philosophy I like to use when considering beginner goals is which ones are the most versatile. Especially if you are an amateur, you want to have one lens that can capture everything.
What is the most cost-effective while still being able to take the pictures that you have in mind? Let’s take a look at some lens suggestions.
Best Lenses For Beginners | Comparison Table 2022
5-Star Picks | Great Prices | High Quality
|Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras - Fixed||Canon||Check Price|
|Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras||Nikon||Check Price|
|Voigtlander Nokton Vintage Line 50mm f/1.5 Aspherical II VM Multi-Coated Lens, Black||Voigtlander||Check Price|
|Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens for Canon SLR Cameras||Sigma||Check Price|
|Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs||Canon||Check Price|
|Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon||Sigma||Check Price|
|Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L is II USM Lens (9524B002) with Professional Bundle Package Kit for Canon EOS Includes: DSLR Sling Backpack, 9PC Filter Kit, Sandisk 64GB Extreme SD Card + More||Canon||Check Price|
|Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras||Nikon||Check Price|
|Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras, Lens Only||Canon||Check Price|
Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:
Best Lenses For Beginners | Reviews 2022
1.Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 Best Lenses For Beginners
- 85 millimetre standard lens with f 1.8 maximum aperture for Canon SLR cameras, Lens Type:Telephoto Zoom Lens
- Ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) brings subject quickly into focus, Focal length: 85 millimetre, closest focusing distance: 2.8 feet
- Natural angle of view and perspective is ideal for portraits and natural images
- Designed to produce beautiful background blur; weighs 15 ounces
- Measures 3 inches in diameter and 2.8 inches long; 1-year warranty. Refer User manual for troubleshooting steps.
- Lens not zoomable
- USM Medium Telephoto Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
The Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM Medium Telephoto Lens is a high-performance lens designed for use with Canon SLR cameras. With a fixed focal length of 85mm and a maximum aperture of f/1.8, this lens is well-suited for portraits and other applications that require a natural angle of view and perspective.
One of the key features of this lens is its ring-type ultrasonic monitor (USM) which enables the lens to quickly bring subjects into focus. This is especially useful for capturing fast-moving subjects or for situations where you need to quickly adjust focus. The closest focusing distance for this lens is 2.8 feet, allowing you to get up close to your subject while still maintaining a good working distance.
In terms of design, the Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM lens is built to produce beautiful background blur, and its compact size of 3 inches in diameter and 2.8 inches long makes it easy to handle and use. The lens weighs 15 ounces and comes with a 1-year warranty. Please refer to the user manual for troubleshooting steps. However, it is important to note that this lens is not zoomable.
- A fast f/1.8 maximum aperture is effective in low light and ideal for shallow depth-of-field focus control.
- Ultrasonic autofocus motor (USM) provides fast, smooth, and quiet AF action.
- The front lens group does not rotate during focusing, allowing for effective use of polarizing and special filter effects.
- A natural angle of view and perspective is ideal for portraits and natural images.
- Its compact size and lightweight design make it easy to handle and use.
- Not suitable for zooming in and out to capture a subject at different distances.
- The closest focusing distance of 2.8 feet may be too far for some close-up shots.
- May be expensive for some photography enthusiasts.
2. Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lenses For Beginners
- Ultra-fast f1.4 classic portrait lens, Nano Crystal Coat
- Focal Length : 85 mm, Minimum Focus Distance : 3.0 ft. (0.85m). Compatible Format(s)- FX, DX, FX in DX Crop Mode
- Optimized for edge to edge sharpness on both FX and DX cameras;Closest focusing distance:0.85 m
- M/A Focus Mode Switch enables quick changes between manual and autofocus operation
- Internal Focus (IF) provides fast and quiet autofocus
- Lens with Auto Focus for Nikon DSLR Cameras
The Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G Lens is a high-performance, medium telephoto lens designed for use with Nikon's FX-format SLRs. With a fast f/1.4 aperture, this lens is ideal for portraits, low-light photography, and other applications that require a fast maximum aperture. The lens features a classic portrait design and offers an ultra-fast f/1.4 maximum aperture, which allows for shallow depth of field and selective focus.
One of the key features of this lens is the Nano Crystal Coat, which greatly reduces ghosting and flare. This coating is applied to the lens elements, and it helps to minimize the amount of light that is scattered by the lens, resulting in sharper, more contrast-rich images. Additionally, the lens has a 9-blade rounded aperture that produces a soft and pleasing blur characteristic.
In terms of focusing, the lens has a M/A Focus Mode Switch that enables quick changes between manual and autofocus operation. The internal focus (IF) provides fast and quiet autofocus, and the closest focusing distance is 0.85m. The lens is optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness on both FX and DX cameras, which makes it a versatile option for all types of photography. Additionally, the lens is built with durable construction and has a long-lasting quality that professionals and enthusiasts can rely on.
- A fast f/1.4 maximum aperture is ideal for portraits, low-light photography, and selective focus.
- Nano Crystal Coat greatly reduces ghosting and flare, resulting in sharper, more contrast-rich images.
- 9-blade rounded aperture produces soft and pleasing blur characteristics.
- M/A Focus Mode Switch enables quick changes between manual and autofocus operation.
- Optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness on both FX and DX cameras, making it a versatile option for all types of photography.
- May be expensive for some photography enthusiasts.
- The closest focusing distance of 0.85m may be too far for some close-up shots.
- Not suitable for zooming in and out to capture a subject at different distances.
3. Voigtlander Nokton Vintage Line 50mm f/1.5
- New Improved Optical Design, Outstanding Sharpness
- Small Compact Lens for a Fast Aperture, 43mm filter size
- A Dozen Aperture Blades for Great Bokeh
- SILVER LENS Single Coated for a Vintage look with more flare
- Aspherical II VM Single-Coated Lens, Silver
- Leica M-Mount Lens, Multi-Coating
- One Dual-Sided Aspherical Element
- Aperture Range: f/1.5 to f/16
- sleek normal-length prime M-mount lens distinguished by its speed and classic rendering
- optical design includes one double-sided aspherical element
The Voigtlander Nokton Vintage Line 50mm f/1.5 Aspherical II VM Single-Coated Lens is a high-quality prime lens designed for use with rangefinder cameras. The lens offers a fast maximum aperture of f/1.5, which allows for low-light photography and shallow depth of field control. The lens has a new improved optical design that provides outstanding sharpness and clarity. The lens is small and compact, making it easy to carry and use.
One of the key features of this lens is its aperture design. The lens has a dozen aperture blades, which create a smooth and buttery bokeh. This is particularly useful for portraits and other photography where a pleasing background blur is desired. The lens also has a 43mm filter size, which makes it compatible with a wide range of filters.
The lens comes in three different vintage-style barrels, including Black Paint, Silver Paint, and a nostalgic 1930s design. Each barrel is available in two different coatings: Multi-Coating, which provides a modern look with a minimum of flare, or Single Coating, which creates a 1960s-style flare when shooting against the light. The Voigtlander Nokton Vintage Line 50mm f/1.5 Aspherical II VM Single-Coated Lens is a versatile and high-performing lens that will appeal to both professionals and enthusiasts.
- Fast maximum aperture of f/1.5 for low light photography and shallow depth of field control.
- Improved optical design for outstanding sharpness and clarity.
- Compact and lightweight design for easy portability.
- A dozen aperture blades for smooth and buttery bokeh.
- Available in three different vintage-style barrels and two different coatings to suit different shooting styles.
- Only compatible with rangefinder cameras which may not be suitable for all photographers.
- Single-coating may produce more flare when shooting against the light.
- The vintage-style barrels might not appeal to all photographers as they may prefer a more modern look.
4. Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye Lens for Canon SLR Cameras
- Diagonal fisheye image fits into entire frame
- Close focusing distance & extreme angle of view
- Carrying Case, front/rear caps & front adapter ring
- Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
- 180° Angle of View
- F-Mount Lens/FX Format
- offers super-wide perspective for creative applications
- Bright f/2.8 maximum aperture facilitates working in difficult lighting conditions.
- Minimum focusing distance of 5.9 benefits working with close-up subjects
The Sigma 15mm F2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye lens is a versatile and unique lens that is compatible with Canon SLR cameras. The diagonal fisheye design of the lens allows for a distorted scene to be shown in a full frame within the camera's field of view. This allows for creative and eye-catching images to be captured by taking advantage of acute perspectives that are not visible to the human eye.
The large F2.8 aperture of the lens makes it capable of handling any lighting situation, and the close focusing distance and extreme angle of view allow for fun and creative placement of subjects near the camera with distorted backgrounds. This lens is a great choice for wedding photographers looking to add an artistic touch to their images, as well as for underwater and scenic photographers looking to capture a maximum field of view.
The lens is made by Sigma, a company that has been in the business of designing and manufacturing imaging products since 1961. Sigma's dedication to its craft is evident in the quality of its products, and the 15mm F2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye lens is no exception. The lens comes with a carrying case, front and rear caps, and a front adapter ring. It has a weight of 370 grams and dimensions of 73.5 x 69 millimeters.
- The diagonal fisheye design allows for the distorted scene to be shown in the full frame of the camera.
- Close focusing distance and extreme angle of view allow for unique and creative compositions.
- A large f/2.8 aperture can handle low-light situations.
- Carrying case, front and rear caps, and front adapter ring included.
- Produced by Sigma, a company with a long history of producing high-quality imaging products.
- Distorted images may not be suitable for all types of photography.
- The extremely wide angles can make it difficult to compose shots.
- The lens is relatively heavy at 370 grams.
5. Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5
- 10-22mm wide-angle zoom lens with f/3.5-4.5 maximum aperture for EOS digital SLR cameras
- Superior AF performance and speed, with full-time manual focus with the turn of a ring
- Close focusing to 9.5 inches; fills the frame with subjects as small as 3.6 x 5.4 inches
- Circular aperture design produces natural highlights
- 1-year warranty
- USM SLR Lens for EOS Digital SLRs
- One Super-Ultra-Low Dispersion Element
- EF-S-Mount Lens/APS-C Format
- Aperture Range: f/3.5 to f/27
- 16-35.2mm (35mm Equivalent)
- One Super-Ultra-Low Dispersion glass element noticeably reduces color fringing
The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR lens is a wide-angle zoom lens that is specifically designed for use with Canon EOS digital SLR cameras. This lens provides a focal length range of 10-22mm, which is equivalent to a 16-35mm zoom lens on a full-frame camera. This allows for ultra-wide-angle coverage, making it a great option for landscape, architectural, and interior photography.
The lens features a maximum aperture range of f/3.5-4.5, which allows for excellent performance in low-light conditions. The lens construction includes three aspherical lens elements and a Super-UD element, which work together to produce the high image quality and minimal distortion. The lens also features a ring-type USM, which allows for fast and silent autofocus, as well as full-time manual focus with the turn of a ring. Additionally, the lens has a close focusing distance of 9.5 inches, making it possible to fill the frame with subjects as small as 3.6 x 5.4 inches.
The Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM SLR lens is compatible with a wide range of Canon EOS digital SLR cameras, including the 7D Mark II, 7D, 80D, 77D, 70D, 60D, and Rebel series. The lens also features a circular aperture design, which produces natural highlights in images. The lens comes with a 1-year warranty, providing peace of mind for the users. Overall, this lens is a great option for photographers who want a versatile, wide-angle zoom lens for their EOS digital SLR camera.
- Provides ultra wide-angle coverage with a 10-22mm focal length.
- Equivalent to a 16-35mm zoom lens, offering excellent performance and optics designed specifically for digital SLR use.
- Superior AF performance and speed, with full-time manual focus available with the turn of a ring.
- Close focusing distance of 9.5 inches, allowing for subjects as small as 3.6 x 5.4 inches to fill the frame.
- Circular aperture design produces natural highlights.
- Only compatible with Canon EF-S mount cameras, limiting its versatility.
- A maximum aperture of f/3.5-4.5 may struggle in low-light situations.
- Only comes with a 1-year warranty.
6.Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon
- 50mm focal length
- 75mm equivalent focal length on APS-C cameras, 80mm equivalent focal length on Canon APS-C cameras
- F1.4 maximum aperture; F16 minimum
- Ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing
- 77mm filters.Angle of View (35mm):46.8°
- Aperture Range: f/1.4 to f/16.
- Hyper Sonic AF Motor.
- Three Special Low Dispersion Elements.
- Floating System & Large Diameter Design
- Compatible with Sigma USB Dock.
- fast standard-length prime designed to achieve high optical performance
The Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon is a high-performance prime lens that is designed for professional photographers who want to achieve exceptional image quality. With a 50mm focal length and a maximum aperture of F1.4, this lens is ideal for portrait, landscape, studio, and street photography. On APS-C cameras, the lens has an equivalent focal length of 75mm, and on Canon APS-C cameras, the equivalent focal length is 80mm.
One of the key features of this lens is its ring-type ultrasonic-type AF motor with full-time manual focusing. This ensures that the lens can focus quickly, quietly, and accurately, making it ideal for capturing fast-moving subjects. Additionally, the lens has a minimum aperture of F16, which allows for great depth of field control and beautiful bokeh. With a minimum focusing distance of 40cm, the lens is also great for close-up photography.
Sigma is known for its exceptional lens design and manufacturing, and this lens is no exception. It features 13 elements in 8 groups, which provides unsurpassed performance even at wide apertures. It also features Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and Super Multi-Layer coating, which ensures that the lens provides excellent image quality even in challenging lighting conditions. With a 77mm filter size, this lens can be paired with a variety of filters to further enhance its capabilities. Overall, the Sigma 50mm F1.4 Art DG HSM Lens for Canon is an exceptional standard prime lens that will help photographers achieve their vision.
- A large maximum aperture of f/1.4 allows for excellent low-light performance and selective focus.
- Hyper Sonic Motor (HSM) provides quiet, smooth, and accurate auto-focusing.
- Special Low Dispersion (SLD) glass and Super Multi-Layer coating ensure high image quality.
- Close-up photography can be easily managed with a minimum focusing distance of 40cm.
- The lens is part of Sigma’s Art line, known for its exceptional design and manufacturing standards.
- The lens has a fixed focal length of 50mm, limiting its versatility.
- The lens may be larger and heavier than other 50mm lenses on the market.
- The lens is not weather sealed, making it less durable in harsh conditions.
7.Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM Lens
- Compact, high performance L-series super-telephoto zoom makes it ideal for sports and wildlife photography
- Rotation-type zoom ring allows for more precise composition and excellent balance when handholding
- Improved zoom torque adjustment ring allows easy setting of zoom tension, Focal Length & Maximum Aperture:100-400mm 1:4.5-5.6, Closest Focusing Distance-3.2 ft. / 0.98m
- New Air Sphere Coating (ASC) helps to significantly reduce backlit flaring and ghosting, Highly resistant to dust and water, and amazing durability enabling shooting even in harsh conditions
- 9-blade rounded shape diaphragm.
- Rotatable, removable tripod collar.
- Optical image stabilizer having 3 modes.
- Fluorine lens coatings and air sphere.
- One Super Element of UD and One Fluorite.
The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM Lens and is a high-performance telephoto zoom lens that is perfect for sports and wildlife photography. Its compact construction and brilliant resolving power make it a great choice for photographers looking to capture high-quality images at long distances. The lens features a rotation-type zoom ring that allows for more precise composition and excellent balance when handholding. Additionally, the improved zoom torque adjustment ring allows for easy setting of zoom tension.
The lens also features new Air Sphere Coating (ASC) that helps to significantly reduce backlit flaring and ghosting. It is highly resistant to dust and water, making it durable enough to be used in harsh conditions. The lens also features a 9-blade circular aperture that renders beautiful, soft backgrounds, and a 3 mode (standard, panning and exposure only) Optical Image Stabilizer that provides up to 4 steps of image correction.
The inner focusing AF system of the lens helps ensure fast and accurate focus down to 3.2 ft. with a .31x maximum magnification.
The lens also features a redesigned tripod mount that can be attached and detached without removing the lens from the camera, and an all-new lens hood with a side window that makes it simple to adjust specialty filters, like polarizers, without the need to remove the hood. Overall, the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM Lens is a high-quality and durable lens that offers advanced features and refined controls for a wide variety of situations.
- The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L II USM Lens is a high-performance lens that is ideal for sports and wildlife photography.
- The rotation-type zoom ring allows for more precise composition and excellent balance when handholding.
- The improved zoom torque adjustment ring allows easy setting of zoom tension.
- The lens features new Air Sphere Coating (ASC) which helps to significantly reduce backlit flaring and ghosting.
- The lens is highly resistant to dust and water and has amazing durability enabling shooting even in harsh conditions.
- The lens is relatively expensive compared to other options on the market.
- The lens may be too heavy for some users to handhold for extended periods of time.
- The maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6 may not be fast enough for certain low-light photography situations.
8. Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras
- 70 300mm telephoto zoom lens with f/4.5 5.6 maximum aperture for Nikon digital SLR cameras
- Internal Focus (IF) system provides fast and quiet autofocusing; 4.9 feet Minimum focus range, Focal Length Range : 70 300 mm.Two focus modes are available — M/A and M
- Vibration Reduction (VRII) minimizes effects of camera shake to produce sharper images
- 2 Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements delivers super contrast and resolution performance
- Lens, frond and real cap, HB 36 Hood and CL 1022 Pouch / Packaging type : White box(Bulk Packaging)
- Compact and lightweight, it’s a well-balanced walk-around lens for stills and HD videos.
- Its specialized Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass produces clear, high-contrast images with minimal chromatic aberration
- An optical glass developed by Nikon that is used with normal optical glass in telephoto lenses to obtain optimum correction of chromatic aberrations.
The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Nikkor Zoom Lens is a versatile telephoto zoom lens designed for Nikon digital SLR cameras. With a maximum focal length of 300mm, this lens is perfect for capturing distant subjects such as wildlife, sports, and landscapes. The lens features an internal focus (IF) system that provides fast and quiet autofocusing, and a minimum focus range of 4.9 feet.
This lens is also equipped with Vibration Reduction (VRII) technology which minimizes the effects of camera shake, allowing for sharper images even when shooting handheld. It also includes two Extra Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements which deliver superior contrast and resolution performance, making it a great choice for both digital and 35mm photography. The Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables fast and quiet autofocusing, and the internal focus design ensures that the subject-working distance remains unchanged throughout the focus range.
This lens also features a non-rotating front element which is convenient for using circular polarizing filters and the Nikon Wireless Close-Up Speedlight System. Additionally, it has a nine-blade rounded diaphragm that helps make out-of-focus elements appear more natural. The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED-IF AF-S VR Nikkor Zoom Lens is a high-performance lens that provides a wide range of focal lengths, making it a great choice for a variety of shooting situations.
- The high zoom range of 70-300mm, approximates the picture angle performance of a 105-450mm lens on a 35mm SLR.
- Internal Focus (IF) system provides fast and quiet autofocusing with a minimum focus range of 4.9 feet.
- Vibration Reduction (VRII) minimizes the effects of camera shake to produce sharper images.
- Two Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements deliver superior optical performance for both digital and 35mm photography.
- A Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables fast and quiet autofocusing, and quick switching between autofocus and manual operation.
- The maximum aperture of f/4.5-5.6 may not be ideal for low-light photography.
- The lens does not have image stabilization, which is a feature that some photographers may find useful.
- Some users may find the lens to be heavy and bulky, which can make it difficult to carry or use for extended periods of time.
9. Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8
- 17-55mm wide-angle zoom lens with f/2.8 maximum aperture for Canon DSLR cameras
- AD and aspherical elements deliver impressive image quality through entire zoom range, Closest focusing distance : 1.15 feet
- Image Stabilizer lens groups shift to compensate for image shake even in dim lighting
- Large circular aperture produces shallow depth of field; ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM)
- Measures 3.3 inches in diameter and 4.4 inches long; weighs 22.8 ounces; 1-year warranty
- IS USM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras, Lens Only
The Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens is a versatile wide-angle zoom lens designed for use with Canon DSLR cameras. With a focal length range of 17-55mm, this lens is capable of capturing a wide range of subjects, from landscapes to portraits. The lens features a large maximum aperture of f/2.8, which allows for a shallow depth of field and excellent low-light performance. The lens construction includes UD and aspherical elements, which deliver impressive image quality throughout the entire zoom range.
One of the key features of this lens is its image stabilization system, which compensates for camera shake and allows for sharp, clear images, even in dim lighting. The lens also features a ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM), inner focusing, and new AF algorithms for quick and quiet autofocus. Additionally, the lens offers full-time mechanical manual focusing, allowing for fine adjustments even in AF mode.
Measuring 3.3 inches in diameter and 4.4 inches long, and weighing 22.8 ounces, this lens is relatively compact and lightweight. It is also compatible with a range of Canon DSLR cameras, including the EOS 30D, EOS 20D, EOS Digital Rebel XT, and EOS Digital Rebel SLRs. Overall, the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM Lens is an excellent choice for photographers looking for a versatile, high-performance lens with a wide focal range and excellent image stabilization.
- Large maximum aperture of f/2.8 that allows for a shallow depth-of-field and precise focusing.
- Image Stabilizer lens groups shift to compensate for camera movement, ensuring clear, crisp images even in dim light.
- UD and aspherical elements deliver impressive image quality throughout the entire zoom range.
- Ring-type ultra-sonic monitor (USM) and new AF algorithms allow for quick and quiet autofocus.
- Full-time mechanical manual focusing allows for manual adjustments even in AF mode.
- Only compatible with certain Canon DSLR cameras.
- Heavy and bulky compared to other lenses.
- Expensive compared to other lenses in the same category.
What to know before buying the Best Lenses For Beginners
Focal length, shutter speed, wide-angle... The field of photographic lenses has its own lexicon. To choose your lens without drowning in technical data, do a little clarification. First, you need to be familiar with the key terms.
It tells you the zoom capacity of your camera in millimeters (the distance between the optical center of the lens and the focal point).
For example, 18-55mm indicates that the camera can zoom to a maximum focal length of 55mm.
It designates the opening capacity of the diaphragm of your camera, adjustable according to the quantity of light desired.
Body type available on the SLR market. These cameras have a smaller sensor than full-frame cameras and are often less expensive. If your DSLR belongs to this category, make sure that the lens will be APS-C compatible!
Another name for the full-frame camera. It offers a wider viewing angle than APS-C.
Be also clear with your expectations vis-à-vis your objective:
- Is it suitable for your level? Some lenses have more features but are also more complex to master.
- What do you want to photograph? Portraiture and wildlife photography, for example, will not require the same type of lens.
- What budget do you want to put into your goal? Prices vary widely: from $70 to more than $3,000 for the most advanced lenses. Fortunately, you don't have to go very high in range to find a satisfactory objective!
A Wider Aperture
An aperture is a small hole in a lens, the size of which can be adjusted to change its effect on the image. A larger aperture increases the amount of light passing through the lens, resulting in a brighter image. However, a larger aperture also results in a shallower depth of field, making it more difficult to focus on a single shot.
For many photographers, the availability of a large aperture lens is always ideal. It is nice to have an option when you want to shoot in low-light situations or at night. Just because a lens has a fast aperture doesn't mean you have to use it.
Ideally, the aperture of a lens should be the same at all focal lengths. Most beginner camera lenses have a maximum aperture of f/4-5.6. This means that when the lens is at its longest focal length, an f/4 aperture can be used. However, when you start zooming in, the maximum aperture is f/5.6.
For many photographers, this is a major problem in determining whether a lens is good or bad. If you have to change your camera settings because you zoomed the lens, it can quickly become a hassle. But to begin with, variable aperture lenses are by far the least expensive lenses, not the ones that cost thousands of dollars.
Image stabilization is a feature of the lens that allows the camera to maintain a sharp image even at slow shutter speeds. When shooting hand-held, the camera is constantly moving when the shutter release button is pressed. If the shutter speed is too slow, this movement can cause blurring. With IS (Image Stabilization), however, this movement can be canceled out and the picture will not be blurred.
This does not mean that any shutter speed can be used while using IS, but it does provide a little more freedom than without IS. Image stabilization technology is also found in many camera bodies and lenses. With both, you have an unstoppable and stable Hercules. The better the image stabilization, the more expensive a lens with IS will fetch than one without. IS is also a major factor in determining whether a lens is good or bad, especially since it plays an important role in the lens' ability to perform in low light.
Limited Amount Of Distortion
Light passing through the lens is bent and reshaped to hit the camera's sensor. Some lenses bend light so much that the image appears distorted. This phenomenon is often seen with wide-angle lenses, where the edges of the frame appear slightly distorted compared to the center. To see this effect, look around the room with the wide-angle lens itself. Notice that the corners and edges of the walls are not perfectly straight. This is due to lens distortion.
There are many lenses in the world, some with minimal distortion. Lens distortion can cause subtle discomfort in a photo and change the impression of the scene. For many photographers, it is desirable to have as little distortion as possible. This allows for more realistic reproduction of the scene.
If you think about it, it would take a lifetime to read and compare different lenses and their degree of distortion. Don't get too carried away and try to find a lens that has minimal distortion and does not destroy the overall image. If a lens distorts an image slightly, it is not the end of the world.
Low chromatic aberration
Chromatic aberration is one of the most important factors that determine the quality of a lens. Each ray of light that enters a camera is composed of a number of colors. As light passes through the glass part of the lens, the camera focuses that light to a single point on the sensor. Some lenses struggle to collect light of all colors, causing certain color regions to be out of focus. The result is colored flare (often cyan or magenta) at the edges of the image.
Chromatic aberration is a sign of a lens defect. It can be corrected by photography but should be avoided if at all possible. Modern lenses are getting better at handling chromatic aberration, but high-end lenses usually have chromatic aberration completely eliminated. Even if all the requirements are met, poor chromatic aberration may be the deciding factor between a good and a bad lens.
To get your bearings: the standard focal length
Acquiring an SLR requires knowing the settings of the camera well before leaning on the lens. If you're a total beginner, there's no need to invest in a lens right from the start: the standard focal length sold as a kit with your SLR will do just fine. This is most often an 18-55mm lens. It allows you to obtain a very good quality image and introduces you to landscape, portrait, macro photography...
For moving subjects: the telephoto lens
Wildlife photography, sports, street scenes: these three types of photos require candid capture and a good zoom capacity. Choose a lens with very good speed and a long focal length.
Canon, Nikon, and Sigma regularly offer new models and the choice is very wide. It's up to you to choose depending on where you want to put the slider in terms of aperture, shutter speed or ease of transport.
Recommended model for beginners: the Tamron AF 70-300 mm, a telephoto lens with dazzling focus and at a very affordable price.
For portrait photography: the portrait lens
Unlike the landscape, the portrait lens is designed to capture detail and emotion. The focal length will therefore be wider: between 50 and 200 mm, in order to obtain a greater depth of field (including the famous bokeh effect, the round blurs in the background). This lens has a large aperture for finer light management.
Recommended model for beginners: The Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM. Excellent quality and optimal value for money.
For landscapes: the wide-angle focal length
If you primarily want to photograph landscapes, streets or buildings, opt for an optic designed to open up a wide field of vision: the wide-angle lens. The image obtained is enlarged compared to your vision with the naked eye, which makes it possible to encompass a larger surface. 10-20mm focal lengths are best for this type of shot.
Recommended model for beginners: the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM (for APS-C). A safe bet for photographers of all levels!
For versatility: the fixed focal length
Do you want to test different areas without investing in 5 objectives? The 50mm fixed focal length is an excellent investment. Its advantages: compact, efficient, very good sharpness even in low light, very aesthetic bokeh background for portraits... The fixed focal length is used by both professional photographers and beginners. If you do not know which lens to choose in front of the abundance of choices, the focal length to remember is this one!
Best Lenses For Beginners | Infographics
Three Lenses EVERY Beginner Photographer | Video Explanation
Which photo lens to start with?
What type of lens to choose?
What type of lens for what type of photo?
What Lens Is Good For Beginners?
For beginners, a good lens choice would be a versatile zoom lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths, such as an 18-55mm or 24-70mm lens (depending on the camera format). These types of lenses are often included as kit lenses with many entry-level DSLRs and mirrorless cameras.
A versatile zoom lens allows beginners to experiment with different focal lengths and shooting scenarios without having to invest in multiple lenses. They are also generally more affordable than specialized prime lenses, making them a good choice for those just starting out.
Another good lens option for beginners is a prime lens with a wide maximum aperture, such as a 50mm f/1.8 or 35mm f/1.8 lens. These lenses are often inexpensive and provide excellent image quality, making them popular among photographers of all levels. They are also great for low-light situations and creating a shallow depth of field, which can add visual interest to portraits and other types of photography.
What 2 Lenses Should Every Photographer Have?
The two lenses that every photographer should have depends on the type of photography they are interested in. However, generally, the two lenses that can cover a wide range of shooting scenarios and help photographers create diverse and stunning images are:
- A versatile zoom lens: A good quality zoom lens with a wide focal range (such as 24-70mm or 18-135mm) is an essential part of any photographer's kit. This lens is perfect for shooting a wide range of subjects, including landscapes, portraits, street photography, and even some wildlife photography. With a zoom lens, you can experiment with different focal lengths and compositions without having to switch lenses frequently.
- A fast prime lens: A fast prime lens with a wide maximum aperture (such as f/1.8 or f/1.4) is another must-have for any photographer. This type of lens is perfect for low-light situations and creating a shallow depth of field, which can add visual interest and artistic flair to portraits, still life, and street photography. Prime lenses also tend to be sharper and produce more pleasing bokeh than zoom lenses.
Having both a versatile zoom lens and a fast prime lens in your kit can help you capture a wide range of subjects and create diverse and stunning images.
What Is The Best Focal Length For Beginners?
There isn't a specific "best" focal length for beginners since it depends on what type of photography they are interested in. However, generally, a good focal length range for beginners is 18-55mm or 24-70mm.
An 18-55mm lens is a common kit lens for entry-level DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. This lens provides a versatile focal range, from wide-angle to standard zoom, which is ideal for beginners who want to experiment with different types of photography. With this lens, beginners can shoot landscapes, portraits, and street photography, among other things.
A 24-70mm lens is a popular zoom lens that covers a similar focal range and is often used by professional photographers. This lens is suitable for shooting a wide range of subjects and is versatile enough to be used in various shooting scenarios, including weddings, events, and street photography.
Ultimately, the best focal length for beginners will depend on their interests and shooting style. As they become more experienced, they may develop preferences for specific focal lengths or invest in specialized lenses for particular types of photography.
What Lens Should You Start Out With And Why?
The lens you should start out with will depend on the type of photography you are interested in, but generally, a good place to start is with a versatile zoom lens that covers a broad focal range. A 18-55mm or 24-70mm lens is a great starting point for most photographers.
Here are some reasons why a versatile zoom lens is a good choice for beginners:
- Versatility: A versatile zoom lens allows you to capture a variety of subjects and shooting scenarios, from landscapes to portraits to street photography, without having to switch lenses.
- Convenience: A zoom lens is more convenient to use than a prime lens, which has a fixed focal length. You can adjust the zoom range to frame your subject without having to move closer or farther away.
- Affordability: Kit lenses with a broad focal range are often included with entry-level DSLR and mirrorless cameras and are relatively inexpensive to purchase separately. This means you can start with a basic kit and upgrade later if you decide to specialize in a particular type of photography.
- Learning: A versatile zoom lens can help you learn about the different focal lengths and their effects on composition and depth of field. As you experiment with different settings, you can develop a better understanding of how to use different lenses for specific purposes.
As you gain more experience and specialize in a particular type of photography, you may want to invest in more specialized lenses to achieve specific effects or to work in low light conditions. But starting with a versatile zoom lens is a great way to learn the basics and to explore different types of photography.
What Are The 3 Types Of Lenses?
There are three main types of camera lenses:
- Prime Lenses: These are lenses with a fixed focal length, meaning they can't zoom in or out. They are generally known for their high image quality and fast maximum aperture, making them great for low light situations and portrait photography.
- Zoom Lenses: These lenses have a variable focal length, meaning you can zoom in and out to adjust your framing. They are versatile and popular among photographers who need to capture a wide range of subjects, such as travel, sports, and wildlife photography.
- Macro Lenses: These are specialized lenses designed for extreme close-up photography, allowing you to capture very small objects or details with great clarity. They have a high magnification ratio and are often used for product photography, scientific imaging, or artistic purposes.
Some lenses may fall under more than one category, depending on their features and intended use. For example, there are zoom lenses with a wide aperture that can be used for portrait photography, and there are macro lenses that can also be used for general photography.
How Do I Choose Eye Lenses?
Choosing the right lenses for your eyes involves several factors, including your visual needs, preferences, and lifestyle. Here are some things to consider when choosing eye lenses:
- Prescription: Your prescription is the most important factor in determining the type of lens you need. Your eye doctor will prescribe lenses that correct your vision and address any specific issues you may have, such as astigmatism or nearsightedness.
- Lens material: There are various lens materials available, including plastic, polycarbonate, and high-index materials. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to discuss your options with your eye doctor.
- Coatings: Lens coatings can improve the durability, clarity, and comfort of your lenses. Some common coatings include anti-glare, scratch-resistant, and UV protection.
- Lifestyle: Your lifestyle and activities can also affect your lens choices. For example, if you spend a lot of time outdoors or playing sports, you may benefit from lenses that are polarized or impact-resistant.
- Budget: Finally, your budget will also play a role in your lens choices. While premium lenses may offer more advanced features, they may also be more expensive. Talk to your eye doctor about your options and find a balance between your needs and budget.
What Is The Trinity Of Lenses?
The "trinity of lenses" refers to a trio of essential lenses that are commonly used by professional photographers to cover a wide range of shooting scenarios. The three lenses are:
- Wide-angle lens: This type of lens typically has a focal length of around 14-35mm and is ideal for capturing wide vistas, landscapes, and architecture. It can also be used for street photography and environmental portraits.
- Standard lens: A standard lens typically has a focal length of around 35-85mm and provides a more natural perspective that is similar to the human eye. It is suitable for everyday photography, including portraits, still life, and street photography.
- Telephoto lens: This type of lens typically has a focal length of 70-200mm or more and is used for shooting distant subjects, such as wildlife, sports, and events. It can also be used for portrait photography to isolate the subject from the background.
While the "trinity of lenses" provides a versatile set of tools for most shooting situations, it's worth noting that there are many other types of lenses available that can be used for specific purposes.
Which Lens Is Best For Photoshoot?
The best lens for a photoshoot depends on the type of photography you will be doing and the look you want to achieve. Here are some common lens choices for different types of photoshoots:
- Portrait photography: For portraits, a lens with a focal length of around 85mm is often preferred as it can produce a natural-looking perspective and provide a flattering compression of the subject's features. Alternatively, a 50mm or 35mm lens can also work well, depending on the desired look.
- Landscape photography: For landscape photography, a wide-angle lens with a focal length of around 16-35mm is often preferred as it can capture a wide view and provide a sense of depth and scale.
- Sports and action photography: For sports and action photography, a telephoto lens with a focal length of at least 200mm is often preferred as it can bring the action up close and isolate the subject from the background.
- Macro photography: For macro photography, a lens with a high magnification ratio and a focal length of around 90-105mm is often preferred as it can produce sharp and detailed close-up images.
- Street photography: For street photography, a wide-angle or standard lens with a focal length of around 35-50mm is often preferred as it can capture the scene in a natural-looking perspective and allow the photographer to get close to the subject without being intrusive.
Overall, the best lens for a photoshoot depends on the specific needs of the shoot, the available lighting conditions, and the desired aesthetic.
What Are The Only 3 Camera Lenses You Need?
The only three camera lenses you need depend on the type of photography you are interested in. However, if you want to cover a broad range of photography genres, here are three lenses that can be considered essential:
- Standard prime lens: A standard prime lens is a fixed focal length lens that offers a natural field of view and a fast aperture. A 50mm f/1.8 lens is a popular choice as it is versatile and produces sharp images with a shallow depth of field. This lens is great for everyday photography, portraits, and low-light situations.
- Wide-angle zoom lens: A wide-angle zoom lens offers a range of focal lengths that can capture a broad scene or provide a sense of scale and depth. A 16-35mm f/4 lens is a popular choice as it can cover landscapes, architecture, and environmental portraits.
- Telephoto zoom lens: A telephoto zoom lens offers a range of focal lengths that can bring distant subjects closer and provide a shallow depth of field. A 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is a popular choice as it can cover sports, wildlife, and portraits with a compressed perspective.
While these three lenses can cover a wide range of photography needs, it is important to note that there are many other lenses available that can offer unique perspectives and creative possibilities.
Is 50mm Focal Length Boring?
No, a 50mm focal length is not boring. In fact, it is a popular and versatile focal length for photography, especially for portraits and street photography. A 50mm lens offers a natural field of view that is similar to what the human eye sees, making it great for capturing candid moments and producing images that feel familiar and relatable. Additionally, 50mm lenses often have wide apertures, such as f/1.8 or f/1.4, which allow for a shallow depth of field and great low-light performance. While there are many other focal lengths available that can offer different perspectives and creative possibilities, a 50mm lens can still be a great choice for many types of photography.
What Is 50mm Focal Length Good For?
A 50mm focal length is good for a variety of photography purposes, including:
- Portraits: 50mm lenses are great for portraits because they produce a natural-looking image and offer a shallow depth of field, allowing you to blur the background and make the subject stand out.
- Street Photography: The 50mm lens is a popular choice for street photography because it is lightweight, compact and allows you to capture candid moments without drawing too much attention to yourself.
- Low-Light Photography: Many 50mm lenses have a wide maximum aperture, such as f/1.8 or f/1.4, which makes them ideal for low-light photography. The wide aperture allows more light to enter the lens, resulting in brighter and clearer images.
- Everyday Photography: 50mm lenses are versatile and can be used for everyday photography such as capturing family gatherings, landscapes, and events.
- Product Photography: 50mm lenses are also a popular choice for product photography, as they can produce sharp and detailed images with a shallow depth of field, making the subject stand out from the background.
Overall, the 50mm focal length is a great choice for beginners as it is versatile and relatively inexpensive. It is also a great lens for those looking to improve their photography skills and take their images to the next level.
Why 50mm Is The Best Focal Length?
50mm is often considered a good focal length for several reasons:
- Versatility: A 50mm lens is versatile and can be used for a wide range of photography genres including portraits, street photography, landscape, and even some sports and action photography.
- Natural perspective: A 50mm lens captures a field of view that is close to the natural perspective of human eyes, making it suitable for general-purpose photography.
- Fast aperture: Many 50mm lenses have a fast maximum aperture, usually around f/1.8 or f/1.4, which allows for excellent low-light performance, shallow depth of field, and beautiful bokeh.
- Affordable: 50mm lenses are usually one of the most affordable lenses available, making them a great option for beginners or photographers on a budget.
Overall, the 50mm focal length is a great option for photographers who want a versatile lens that can handle a wide range of shooting situations, while also being affordable and easy to use.
Which Lens Is Most Commonly Used?
The most commonly used lens depends on the photographer's preferences and the type of photography they are doing. However, one of the most popular lenses for both amateur and professional photographers is the 50mm lens, also known as the "Nifty Fifty." This lens is considered versatile and is often used for portraits, street photography, and general-purpose photography. Another commonly used lens is the 24-70mm zoom lens, which is popular among wedding photographers, photojournalists, and event photographers. It offers a versatile range of focal lengths and is suitable for a variety of shooting situations.
What Lens Size Is Best?
There isn't a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the "best" lens size for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your photography style, the types of subjects you shoot, and your personal preferences.
In general, there are three main types of lenses: wide-angle lenses, standard lenses, and telephoto lenses. Wide-angle lenses typically have a focal length of 35mm or less and are great for landscape photography and capturing a broad perspective. Standard lenses, such as the 50mm lens, are versatile and can be used for a wide range of subjects, including portraits, street photography, and general-purpose photography. Telephoto lenses have a focal length of 70mm or more and are ideal for shooting sports, wildlife, and other distant subjects.
Ultimately, the best lens size for you will depend on your specific needs and shooting style. It's a good idea to experiment with different lenses and focal lengths to find the one that works best for you.
What Is The Best Lens Type?
The best lens type depends on the specific photography or videography needs of the user. There are different types of lenses that are designed to achieve different goals. For example:
- Standard lens: A lens with a focal length of around 50mm is considered standard and is suitable for general-purpose photography.
- Telephoto lens: This type of lens has a longer focal length, typically 70-200mm or more, and is used for photographing distant subjects like wildlife, sports, and events.
- Wide-angle lens: This type of lens has a shorter focal length, typically 14-35mm, and is used for capturing landscapes, architecture, and interiors.
- Macro lens: This type of lens is used for extreme close-up photography of small objects like flowers, insects, and textures.
- Zoom lens: This type of lens has a variable focal length and allows the photographer to zoom in and out without changing lenses.
Ultimately, the best lens type is one that meets your specific needs and helps you achieve your creative vision.
TO RECAP, HERE’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO TO FIND THE LENS THAT’S RIGHT FOR BEGINNERS:
- clearly define your needs, this is the most important step to see more clearly among the plethoric offer of optics available on the market.
- depending on the previous step, choose the focal length you need (wide-angle, standard focal length, zoom, etc.), without forgetting the "crop factor" trap...
- is the maximum aperture decisive for you? How far open are you willing to climb?
- after these 3 steps, you will already have a small selection of lenses. All that remains is to sort according to the budget, then refine according to the opinions & tests consulted on the Internet.
- finally, before using your credit card, go to the store to try on the lens you have selected, just to confirm that you like it. After all, this material is expensive, you will carry it around for several years. Make sure you like it!
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