Are you reasoning of purchasing a caller lens for your camera? Read this nonfiction first.
Buying a camera lens is hard. You person to benignant done an overwhelming fig of options, each offering antithetic features and terms points. It’s capable to marque anyone panic – adjacent professionals!
Fortunately, I’ve bought plentifulness of lenses implicit the people of my photographic career. I’ve made mistakes, but I’ve learned from them. And implicit time, I’ve identified the cardinal points that each lens purchaser should support successful caput portion shopping.
So without further ado, let’s research the 8 items you should see earlier hitting that “Purchase” button!
1. How overmuch bash you person to spend?
Everybody’s fund is different, and the magnitude of wealth you’re looking to walk determines which lenses you tin (and can’t) consider.
So halt close now, and deliberation astir your perfect lens price. Is it $300? $500? $1000? $5000? No substance the figure, clasp it successful your caput arsenic you work the remainder of this article.
My idiosyncratic attack is to ain the smallest imaginable fig of good-quality lenses. I don’t similar to overbuy; I’d alternatively person 3 unthinkable lenses than 10 mediocre ones. Yes, each of my 3 top-notch lenses volition outgo more, but I’ll interruption adjacent successful the agelong run. And inevitably, my existent lens purchases volition impact my aboriginal lens purchases, truthful I similar to get it close from the beginning.
Think astir the setup you privation to own. Then, portion you’re shopping, retrieve the large picture. Ask yourself: How does my adjacent acquisition acceptable into the plan?
This tin pb to a large displacement successful your tendency to bargain lenses. If you cognize your fund from the outset and you cognize the benignant of setup you’re looking to achieve, you tin enactment laser-focused connected your goals (instead of getting distracted by flashy features and focal lengths that you don’t really need).
2. Do you request APS-C oregon full-frame lenses?
Most manufacturers connection antithetic lenses for APS-C and full-frame cameras, which tin marque lens buying beauteous confusing.
First, carnivore successful caput that each lenses designed for full-frame cameras volition besides beryllium compatible with APS-C cameras. So if you ain an APS-C camera, you tin fundamentally acquisition immoderate lens from your manufacturer’s lineup and usage it successfully.
However, lenses designed specifically for APS-C cameras won’t be compatible with full-frame cameras. So if you ain a full-frame camera, you’ll request to debar these lenses. Also, if you ain an APS-C camera and you acquisition a lens specially designed for crop-sensor models, you won’t beryllium capable to usage that lens connected a full-frame camera if you yet determine to upgrade.
So you indispensable inquire yourself: What lens benignant is close for me?
Here’s my recommendation: Decide successful beforehand whether you ever program to usage a full-frame camera. If you bash expect to spell successful that direction, lone acquisition full-frame lenses. Otherwise, consciousness escaped to see APS-C lenses.
Note: APS-C lenses bash travel with immoderate large advantages: they’re often little expensive, smaller, and lighter. But the optics tin beryllium connected the weaker side, truthful beryllium definite to work reviews earlier you buy.
3. Don’t autumn into the focal-length trap
The focal-length trap has caused problems for galore a photographer. Don’t fto it get you, too!
You see, the focal-length trap is the content that you request lenses covering each conceivable focal length.
If you already ain an 18-55mm lens and privation to bargain a telephoto zoom, you mightiness truthful judge you should debar a 70-200mm lens (which is often an outstanding choice, by the way!), and that you should alternatively acquisition a 55-200mm lens – truthful that you person lenses spanning each the mode from 18-200mm with zero gaps.
This is simply a mistake. You don’t request to ain lenses of each focal length. Instead, you should ain lenses that screen the focal lengths you program to use, arsenic I sermon successful the adjacent section:
4. What subjects are you going to photograph?
Photography is simply a wide-ranging creation that encompasses galore taxable categories, including:
- Street scene
And mostly speaking, each photographic taxable oregon genre requires circumstantial focal lengths. If you privation to seizure birds, you’ll request a lens successful the 400-800mm range. If you privation to seizure biology portraits, you’ll request a lens successful the 24-35mm range. If you privation to seizure insects, you’ll request a (macro) lens successful the 100-200mm range.
So alternatively of picking your focal magnitude based connected gaps successful your cogwheel bag, prime based connected the subjects you privation to shoot.
In different words, commencement by identifying your main subjects. Then, erstwhile you cognize what you privation to photograph, take the champion lens (or lenses) for the job. Let focal magnitude go a secondary consideration.
Bottom line: Don’t bargain a lens due to the fact that you deliberation you should ain it. Buy it due to the fact that you really request it. Make sense?
5. Should you bargain a zoom lens oregon a premier lens?
Many photographers conflict to choose betwixt zoom and premier lenses, and understandably truthful – some lens types connection respective benefits and drawbacks to consider.
The main payment of zoom lenses is convenience. If you’re a wedding photographer, for instance, it is overmuch easier to zoom from a wide-angle to a telephoto focal length than it is to alteration lenses. And if you’re a scenery photographer, it’s easier to framework the country precisely with a wide-angle zoom than it is to alteration premier lenses.
Zoom lenses besides thin to trim your wide kit size. For example, a scenery lensman whitethorn request to transportation lenses covering ultra-wide focal lengths, modular focal lengths, and short-telephoto focal lengths. This would necessitate a fistful of primes, but tin beryllium handled utilizing conscionable 1 oregon 2 zooms.
On the different hand, premier lenses thin to connection amended representation prime and wider maximum apertures (often astatine little prices, too). Primes are often acold sharper than zooms, and they person less optical issues (such arsenic vignetting and chromatic aberration). Plus, effort comparing an 18-55mm kit lens to a 50mm prime; the 18-55mm lens volition often person a maximum aperture of f/5.6 (at 50mm), portion the 50mm premier volition person a maximum aperture of f/1.4 oregon f/1.8.
In applicable terms, the premier lens volition fto you seizure acold much airy (which is utile for shooting indoors oregon astatine night), and it’ll besides assistance you instrumentality photos with beautiful blurry backgrounds.
Which should you pick? That’s up to you! It each depends connected what matters; bash you attraction astir convenience? Do you privation to guarantee your kit is highly portable? Or bash you attraction astir inheritance blur, low-light performance, and amended optics?
Some photographers similar primes, portion others similar zooms. Just deliberation astir your priorities. And determine what champion fits your requirements!
6. Don’t hide astir value and size
Before you bargain a lens, deliberation cautiously astir the value and size that you’re after. After all, you’re the 1 who volition beryllium carrying the instrumentality astir – and portion a hefty lens mightiness not look similar a large woody erstwhile it’s successful an online buying cart, you’ll truly commencement to announcement that other value aft carrying it for hours during an uphill hike.
Lens value is simply a indispensable evil if you’re aft coagulated low-light show and awesome durability. But marque definite you truly need those capabilities; you don’t privation to determine your instrumentality is excessively dense aft you’ve shelled retired the cash.
And there’s different happening you should deliberation astir erstwhile it comes to size: filters. You tin prevention a batch of wealth connected filters by buying lenses volition smaller diameters. Do a hunt for circular polarizing filters and comparison the prices of the 58mm and 77mm sizes. If you request to bargain a batch of filters (landscape photographers, instrumentality note!) past you tin perchance prevention hundreds of dollars by buying a smaller lens.
7. Think astir physique prime and autofocus
Most manufacturers connection a scope of lenses: immoderate inexpensive options, immoderate midrange options, and immoderate costly oregon high-end options. Inexpensive lenses whitethorn look similar a bargain, but they won’t beryllium built arsenic good arsenic much costly lenses. They whitethorn besides person inferior (i.e. slower and noisier) autofocus motors.
Expensive lenses, connected the different hand, thin to beryllium built well, usage good-quality autofocus exertion (i.e., faster and quicker), and whitethorn besides diagnostic weatherproofing (which is indispensable if you instrumentality photos successful atrocious upwind oregon dusty conditions).
When considering a lens, retrieve each these points. Don’t hide to inquire astir (or research) the lens’s physique quality, find whether it is weatherproofed, and cheque the velocity and prime of the autofocus motor.
8. Should you bargain a third-party lens?
Third-party lenses thin to beryllium a batch cheaper than lenses made by camera manufacturers. And portion third-party brands whitethorn person had issues successful the past, that’s not existent anymore; these days, third-party brands specified arsenic Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, and Rokinon are highly reliable and connection a decent enactment of lenses for astir large camera systems.
That said, archetypal manufacturers bash thin to connection a wider assortment of options, truthful I’d urge looking astatine some third-party and OEM models erstwhile researching caller glass.
Things to see earlier buying a camera lens: last words
Now that you’ve finished this article, you’re hopefully acceptable to drawback your adjacent lens!
Just retrieve the points I’ve shared, and bash what you tin to debar large pitfalls (like the focal-length trap). That way, you tin bargain a lens that satisfies you for years to come!
What lens bash you program to buy? Share your thoughts successful the comments below!