Lens Buying Guide
Use these prompts to help you decide what your next lens choice should be! Pop in your details below to download the free guide! Xx
One of the most common questions people ask when getting started in photography and want to expand on their beginner’s kit is “what lens should I buy next?”
There’s no easy answer… there’s so many options! Why on earth isn’t there just one lens that can do it all?
(no really, why? lol…)
Lenses vary so much in quality, length, aperture, effects… and with a huge range in price points too! So it’s not surprising it can be confusing on where to start and knowing what is it that you really need?
Often as we progress in photography we start to desire better and better quality and effects, and when we can’t achieve it, we start to question if our gear is holding us back.
“If only I had an awesome camera like hers, my photos would be better”
Does that sound familiar?
Well here’s the thing… the lens has more to do with the shot that the camera body, so your camera body is only as good as your lens. In that regard,an awesome lens can help make up for an entry level camera body.
So if you only have the budget for a new body or a new lens, and the only lenses you own are kit lens, we suggest upgrading your lens first.
And we want to help you make an informed decision… we don’t want you throwing your hands up in frustration!
When choosing a new lens, the most important questions to ask yourself are:
– What focal length and aperture do I want?
– What do I want to photograph?
– Is image quality or versatility more important to me?
– What is my budget?
– Which brand do I want?
These are the two most important numbers on a lens.
So when looking at lenses, first check the focal length and the aperture. Some examples for you:
So now you understand what the focal length and aperture means, you need to clarify for yourself what you want to photograph the most, because different focal lengths suit different genres of photography for varying reasons.
Here’s a general guide on focal lengths and what they’re best suited for:
This is not the no brainer you might think. Of course you want quality, or you wouldn’t be upgrading your lens.
Once you go beyond kit lenses, zoom lenses get much better in quality. But then you have prime lenses, which are lenses with a fixed focal length such as 35mm, 50mm and 85mm etc. Good quality prime lenses will generally take better photos than a good quality zoom.
So this is the choice you’re now faced with:
Beyond kit lenses, good lenses can start anywhere from $3-400 and go up into the thousands.
The only exception to this is the nifty fifty, a 50mm f/1.8 which is a versatile prime lens and produces reasonably good quality sharp images for its price (which at the time of publish is around $100-$120).
If the lens you lust after is beyond your budget, look beyond the big names to brands like Sigma, Tamron and Tokina.
It varies from lens to lens, but in many instances their quality is on a par (and sometimes even better).
So now you have an introduction to lenses, we’ve pulled together our favourite posts that cover all our most common questions relating to lenses, what they do, what all the numbers mean, and what types of lenses are best suited!
Grab a cuppa, and dive in!
If you want to use your fancy DSLR in manual mode, let us show you how step-by-step, with fun challenges to practice on and feedback on your images… pop your name on the waitlist for our next Enthusiast Photography Course.
If you’re already confident in manual mode, check out our Advanced Photography Course and let us help you elevate your photography skills to the next level!
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