Camera Lens

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SLR camera lenses are even more confusing to buy than the cameras. Here are some tips to help you avoid wasting your time and your money shopping for new SLR camera lenses.

1. Know What You Want to Shoot

Do you love taking pictures of Johnny on the baseball field? Then you might want a telephoto lens.

Do you like taking pictures of the family indoors or the flowers in your garden? Then you’d want a standard lens. (unless you’re taking the group photo, then a wide angle lens is better).

And if you’re catching the fall foliage around a lake, then a wide angle lens is best.

2. Prime Lens Or Zoom Lens

Prime lenses don’t have adjustable focus. You have to move the camera. But they take better pictures, they’re lightweight, and cheaper than zoom lenses.

But to photograph different distances, you’ll need different lenses. You probably got a 18mm – 55mm zoom lens when you bought your camera. Which is a great first lens.

The benefits are that you can stand in one place and get the exact picture you want.

prime lens – high quality, light in weight, relatively inexpensive, excellent photos.

zoom lens – stand in one place, get a variety of shots.

A 28mm – 135 mm lens goes from wide angle to telephoto. A zoom is good to get started with, but once you find you photo passion, you can’t beat the quality of a prime lens.

3. Light Conditions Or How Big’s Your Aperture

What sort of light conditions do you shoot in? If you shoot in dim lighting, then you’re going to need a lens with an extremely wide maximum aperture.

But if you’re a broad daylight nature buff, then the wide maximum aperture isn’t as important.

All SLR camera lenses list their maximum aperture (or maximum aperture range for zoom lenses). And they list maximum, because they can always be narrowed.


The wider the aperture = more light

The smaller the aperture # = more light

This can be very confusing. Wider aperture/smaller aperture number means…. more light, faster shutter speed (prevents motion blur), shallower depth of field (the face in the photo is in focus, but the background isn’t).


f/1.4 – indoors without flash

f/2.8 – overcast

f/3.5 – shade

Sunny doesn’t matter because you won’t use the max aperture anyway.

4. How Much Do You Want To Spend

First party lenses – made by the same company as your camera.

Third party lenses – made by different company with special mounts for different camera types.

Fist party lenses are generally higher in quality and most compatible with your camera.

Third party lenses are lower in prices and have a greater variety of lens type.

5. Are Any Bonus Features Important?

Here’s a list of bonus features you can get with your SLR camera lenses

* Silent auto focus – essential for wildlife photogs

* Full-time manual focus – when you don’t want to switch back and forth from auto to manual

* Non-rotating front element – if you like to take polarized pics

* Crop reduction – makes sure what you see in the viewfinder is the picture you get

* Superior optics – self explanatory

* Image stabilization – not necessary for cameras with built in stabilization

* Internal zoom – lens stays same an zoom occurs internally

All of them will add to the price of any of the SLR camera lenses.

So now you know what you need to decide… before you shop for SLR camera lenses. And you won’t waste time or money buying the wrong lens.