How to choose a camera Lens? Buyer’s guide for beginners

Choosing a right lens for your camera is always a confusing job, specially when you are a beginner. Here is quick guide to choose your camera lens which suits your taste and purpose of photography.

In any kind of photography, using the right lens is the most important part of the camera. With the many options out there, we know it will be difficult to find the right lens for you. A right lens is very important for achieving the perfect shot. With maximization of use of your camera’s interchangeable lenses can turn your photographs from amateurish to professional.

So, for choosing your lens wisely, here’s a quick guide for buying your first camera lens.

So, the question to every beginner’s mind is: How to choose the right camera lens? Therefore, to narrow down your choices, you should consider 5 factors before buying a camera lens:

  1. Focal Length
  2. Wider Aperture
  3. Lens type: Prime & Zoom lens
  4. Camera’s sensor
  5. Cost

Focal Length

The first thing to consider when choosing your new lens is the focal length. Focal length is written in millimeters(mm) and specifies whether the lens is a Wide-angle or Telephoto. In generic terms, how far “zoomed in” the lens is.

Wide-angle lenses, are fine for nature photography when you want to capture more of the landscape. They’re usually good both in brightness and at depth of field. These lenses are usually physically smaller and lighter than telephoto lenses. On the negative side, the wide-angle is not ideal for photographing people, at least not in a pure portrait context. A wide-angle gives an impression of greater distance between what is close and what is distant, and it can thus quickly look like that model has a bigger nose and sunken eyes. You’re also more likely to get so-called distortion with a wide-angle lens—the straight lines begin to bend into the edges of the image. If you want to fit more into your frame, you might want to look into wide-angle focal lengths: 14mm, 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, and 35mm.

Telephoto lens, with this you’ll naturally get closer to subjects far away. Telephoto lenses are preferable for portraiture as they protect the facial proportions better than a wide-angle lens. With a telephoto lens, it’s much easier to get a blurred background since telephoto lenses have less depth of field than wide-angle lenses. Telephoto lenses usually have usually lower brightness and are more vulnerable to blurriness during the shoot if there is any camera shake. Telephoto lenses are usually physically larger than the wide-angle lens. For a telephoto lens, the focal lengths usually range from 50 to 100mm.

Between both wide-angle and telephoto lens there is a cross lens which is called Normal Lens. This lens replicates the environment and shows it as we see it with our own eyes. The focal length for a Normal lens will is 50mm as anything below that will be the wide-angle lens and larger than that will be a telephoto lens.

Wider Aperture

An aperture is a measure of how much light can enter your camera. There is a term in a lens name the “f/number” term, which stands for the lens’s maximum aperture. Aperture can be best described as the “pupil” of your lens. Just like the pupil in our eyes, the aperture in a lens will let in more or less light. Aperture is written as a fraction. f/2 is larger than f/4 – it’s just like 1/2 is larger than 1/4. Expensive lenses often have large apertures to let in a lot of light. For that reason, a 35-70mm f/2.8 zoom is going to be more expensive than a 35-70mm f/4 zoom

In general, prime lenses have a larger maximum aperture than zooms. It’s one of the major reasons why most photographers use prime lenses. Zooms usually max out at f/2.8, while plenty of primes on the market go to f/1.4 and sometimes wider. This means prime lenses can let in 4x as much light as the best zooms.

Lens type: Prime & Zoom lens

Prime lens:

A prime lens is a fixed focal length lens that doesn’t let you zoom in or out. This focal length is the distance between the point of convergence in the lens to the sensor in your camera. Prime lenses have very wide or large apertures. Get a prime lens if you want to incorporate more brightness into your shots and be able to tweak and correct shooting errors easily. Apertures measure the size of the hole when the lens opens inside a camera. Prime lenses have maximum apertures typically ranging from f/2.8 to f/1.2. There are few moving parts in a prime lens, making it difficult for major problems to arise. Types of Prime lens are:

  • Standard
  • Wide-angle
  • Fish-eye
  • Telephoto
  • Super telephoto
Zoom lens:

Zoom lenses are lenses in which the focal length can vary, and while convenient, they have a much more complex system that can potentially cause more issues. A zoom lens is larger than the prime lens and has a variety of other benefits comparatively. If getting as close as possible to the subject is your main priority, then you should get a zoom lens. Types of the zoom lens are:

  • Digital zoom
  • Optical zoom

If you want to compare both these lenses then we have taken some factors to consider their comparison:

Portability: In a prime lens you have to bring additional lenses of different focal length as it has a fixed focal length. On the other hand, you need to bring only one zoom lens instead of two or three lenses, a zoom lens will cover the full range of focal length by itself.

Size: Prime lenses are smaller and lighter than an average zoom lens. Zoom lenses are generally large and bulky.

Price: Zoom lenses are quite more expensive than Prime lenses, but on the other hand in the prime lens you have to bring multiple lenses which will come somehow the same in terms of price for one zoom lens.

Photo quality: Prime lens focuses on sharp and crisp photos even in low light. On the other side, a zoom lens is specialized in standard quality images of scenes that are afar.

Camera’s sensor

In digital cameras, a sensor that detects and conveys information is used to make an image. It does so by converting the variable attenuation of light waves (as they pass through or reflect off objects) into signals, small bursts of current that convey the information. Sensors in DSLR cameras are bigger than sensors in point-and-shoot cameras, so the images produced by the former are clearer and more realistic.


There two main types of camera sensors: the charge-coupled device (CCD) and the active-pixel sensor (CMOS sensor). Both CCD and CMOS sensors are based on metal–oxide–semiconductor (MOS) technology, with CCDs based on MOS capacitors and CMOS sensors based on MOSFET (MOS field-effect transistor) amplifiers. The CMOS sensor is larger and captures lighter than CCD, which allows it to produce higher-quality images. This difference in size can also affect the structure and overall function of your camera, so make sure you should get a lens that is compatible with your camera sensor’s specifications and body type.

Cost

This is an obvious factor you won’t want to miss – set yourself a budget; we recommend a more conservative one when you’re still not sure whether you want to take this on as a full-time profession or not, shop around for deals, or set alerts once you’ve chosen one. As with everything, you have to consider how much you’re willing to pay for a lens. This will narrow your choices down to certain brands and models.

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