Types of Camera lenses and which-lens-does-what? (Beginners Guide)

When I decided to take my photography work to a professional level, first decision i made was to upgrade all my gear (camera and lenses), thus I bought my self a Full Frame sensor size camera: Canon 6D then I started researching all the internet in order to find the right lenses to invest in that will suit my current needs based on my plan of taking my photography forward to a business level, and while my deep dive I found that the most frequent asked two questions by many beginner photographer(s) are:

Which Camera should I buy?’ and ‘Which Lens Should I buy for my DSLR’

I will skip the first one as it has been already covered by many photographers in many blogs, and in this article I will give you a brief complete guide of all the information I have tallied so far upon my research before i made my personal decision about ‘Which Lens Should I buy for my DSLR’

Before deciding which Lens I/You should buy, we need to ask ourselves two questions which will give us a better clarity and understanding in order to invest in the right equipment and get the best out of it:

1- What are types of lenses?
2- Which lense-does-what?

– What are types between lenses?

When investing in a camera lens, I found it a bit difficult to choose from the multitude of options available.  The answer of this question will help you to narrow your vision by breaking down the three main types of camera lenses. Which are:

A- Prime Lenses

A prime lens has no zoom – it is one focal length, and one only. Because the lens is manufactured precisely to provide this one length, and doesn’t have the moving pieces and mechanisms required to zoom, so you have to physically move in order to change the composition of your photo.

They have an angle of view which is roughly the same as the angle that the human eye can comfortably view, meaning that they produce images which appear “natural” to the viewer.

Prime Lenses with a lower focal length of 40mm are popular for a wide range photography of subjects/products, portraits, and travel photography.

Below you can see some examples of Prime Lenses and how they look like:

– Prime Lense-does-what?

Everyday life, People/Portrait, Travel

Prime Lenses availability and prices:

B- Macro Lenses

A macro lens is one designed especially for close-up photography. They have a different internal construction from normal lenses which gives them very good sharpness and contrast, meaning that they produce some really eye-catching photos.

Macro lenses are useful for photographing any subject at very close range. Typical subjects include insects, animals, and plants, but they are also popular for taking extremely detailed photos of everyday objects.

The most important property of a macro lens is its magnification ratio, also known as the reproduction ratio. This describes how much the subject will be enlarged in the final image.

– Macro Lense-does-what?

Insects, plants, details & Macro,

Macro Lenses availability and prices:

C- Wide Angle Lenses

“Wide-angle” usually refers to lenses with focal lengths between 8mm and 40mm.  Wide-angle lenses provide you with a broad view of the scene before you.  This makes them ideal for photographing landscapes, exterior architecture, small interior spaces that you want to look larger, events like concerts where you are very close to your subjects, street photography, and environmental portraits–portraits that also include your subject’s surroundings.

The biggest downside of wide-angle lenses is that they can create distortion–they tend to stretch things out and make them look larger, especially elements that are close to your lens.  This makes them a less than ideal choice for portraiture, since they can be unflattering to your subject (no one wants their nose to look too big!).

– Wide Angle Lense-does-what?

Landscapes, Nature, Architecture, Events/Concerts, Travel

Wide Angle Lenses availability and prices:

D- Telephoto Lenses:

A telephoto lens has a long reach, allowing you to photograph a subject that is far away or magnifying the subject in your frame. Generally, a lens is considered “telephoto” if it has a focal length of 60mm or longer.

Many people confuse telephoto lenses with zoom lenses but they are actually different things. A telephoto lens can be—but does not necessarily have to be—a zoom lens. Telephotos come in a variety of focal lengths from “medium telephoto” (generally 70-200mm) and “super telephoto” (longer than 400mm) and they can be either zoom or prime lenses. It doesn’t matter whether the lens zooms—what matters is how long the focal length is.

– Telephoto Lense-does-what?

Wildlife, Sports, Action

Telephoto Lenses availability and prices:

The lower the focal length number the wider the lens can cover, see the below chart for better understanding.

Hopefully, this article has cleared things up for you and you can now see yourself purchasing the camera lens that’s right for you!

In the upcoming article about lenses will be about the mount(s) of each lens and the differences between cheap lenses and expensive lenses?

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