When you venture into the world of DSLR cameras with interchangeable lenses, you will find that are many types and brands to choose from. They vary when it comes to size, capabilities, quality, price, types, and brands.
A lot of DSLR’S don’t come with a lens at all. Some come with a basic kit lens to get you started, but eventually you will want to add to your collection if you planning on becoming a serious photographer. You may find one in your collection as your “go to”, but it’s always a good idea to have at least a couple of more on your arsenal.
Below are a list of some of the different types of lenses. Keep in mind, all lenses aren’t suitable for all cameras, so always do your research on the specifics before making any big purchases.
Prime lenses, also known as fixed lenses, are a type of lens that shoots at a “fixed” focal length. You cannot zoom in and out with a prime lens. This means you will have to “zoom” with your feet by moving closer to or farther away from your subject to compose them properly.
Prime lenses are good for all types of photography, including: portraits, landscapes, and real estate.
24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm, and 200mm are the most common focal lengths for prime lenses. The smaller the number, the wider the range will be.
Zoom lenses are great for versatility purposes. If you shoot where you need to remain in one spot without moving around too much, a zoom lens is the answer. Zoom lenses allow you to have multiple focal lengths built into one lens.
For example, if shooting with a 70-200mm lens, you can shoot at 70mm, 200mm, and every other focal length in between!
These types of lenses are a bit heavier than prime lenses and they aren’t always as sharp. But the versatility alone makes them a must have for certain types of photography such as weddings, sports, and children.
Macro lenses allow you to get really up close and personal to small objects and details. They are great for photographing insects, small animals, flowers, etc. They come in a variety of focal lengths ranging from 50mm-200mm.
If you want to get major close-up shots of the details of an ants face (for example), this is the type of lens you need to look for.
Wide Angle Lenses:
Wide angle lenses give you focal lengths with very wide angles. They are great for real estate and landscape photography because you get such a large field of view.
If you are looking to get a lot of a scene into one photo, wide angle lenses are what you need. They are great for real estate because they allow photographers to get a lot of area into one image, even in small spaces.
Telephoto lenses allow you to capture images from long distances. Some are prime (fixed focal length), and some are zoom (a range of focal lengths).
Telephoto lenses are really popular for sports photographers because they allow them to get up close and personal to the action from a distance.
They are also great for capturing things such as wildlife from a distance, or things like the moon and stars.
There are other types of lenses on the market as well, such as fish-eye (for abstract purposes), but the above listed are the most commonly used in the industry. There are also more and more brands on the market with each passing year, with Nikon, Canon, and Sigma being a few of the most popular options.
When purchasing lenses, read the specs and reviews and know which ones are suitable for you. As with any products, some brands out perform others. It’s all a matter of doing your research. Not all lenses work for all cameras either, which is another reason you need to know exactly what you are getting before making purchases.