How To Choose Camera Lens

Piper O'Shanassy23 Mar 2022

Camera lenses instantly give the photographer two important creative features via visual field and maximum aperture. However, the fact is, most photographers never replace their lens kit.  Lens has a hidden potential waiting to be discovered, particularly if you have a camera with interchangeable lenses.

If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses, you will eventually want to change things up and try something different. However, selecting the proper lens for you could be challenging, especially considering the photography lingo of abbreviation. Furthermore, each camera manufacturer uses a distinct version of this language, so acronyms for the same functions may change.

Understanding Camera Lenses

Simply put, a lens is a piece of glass that has been cut and refined to amplify light and serve as an optical instrument. A lens typically has three types of features - aperture, focal length, and possibly an added selling functionality such as image stabilisation.


The maximum aperture indicates how much light the lens can transmit to the sensor at its optimum. Since there is a lot of light, you could keep taking photos in low-light situations without the photo blurring due to camera shake. Aperture is specified as an aperture number, like f/2.8 or 1:2.8. The more light that enters the camera, the lower the aperture number.

Focal Length

The focal length, which is specified and quantified in millimeters, determines if you have a telephoto or a wide-angle lens. The biggest advantage of using a telephoto lens is that you can approach your subject as close as you wish. You won't have to endanger yourself trying to cross a busy street with oncoming traffic just to capture the perfect close-up photo of a bird sitting on top of a pole on the opposite side of the street. You may use your telephoto lens to snap the photograph from where you are. The biggest downside of using a telephoto lens is that most affordable models start at f3.5 or even f4.5, which does not allow much light in. If you're willing to pay more, you can get your hands on an f2.8 lens, which is normally preferred by professional photographers.

Wide-angle lenses provide not just adequate lighting but also the proper depth of field. This is particularly the case when shooting in natural settings. You don't have to be concerned about the quality of your images, even if you shot them in a remote spot with little light. Nevertheless, these lenses are not always suitable for portrait photography. The wide-angle alters the appearance of the facial features like the nose appearing much larger. The biggest plus of wide-angle lenses is they're easy to carry around since they're compact and lightweight.

Image Stabilisation

Image stabilisation is intended to avoid blur in photographs and is a particularly helpful feature while shooting handheld or in low light situations. This is a popular feature on newer lenses. The initials “IS” for Canon's Image Stabilisation, “VR” for Nikon's Vibration Reduction, and various acronyms for other camera brands are used to signify image stabilisation.

How To Choose a Macro Lens

Shooting up close is a good way to capture a small subject or take abstract photos. But, you can't get up and personal using just any lens. DSLRs and mirrorless cameras won't be able to focus on things close to the camera lens without a macro lens. 

Fixed or Zoom Lenses?

Macro lenses, just like all lenses, have two types of lens: fixed focal lengths that do not zoom in or out, or zoom lenses that encompass a range of focal lengths.

The advantages of a zoom lens are straightforward. They could cover a wide variety of focus points, eliminating the need to change lenses. They're also excellent for tracking a moving subject, such as when shooting macro insect pictures. Unfortunately, zoom lenses are not cheap.

Fixed lenses are often less costly, making them much more accessible to amateur photographers. Because many macro subjects are immobile, fixed lenses are essential for capturing stationary subjects.

Narrow or Wide Aperture?

When shooting macro, a smaller aperture is typically preferable to keep the subject entirely in focus. Wider apertures can be utilized to blur the background, although f/1.8 is normally too wide for macro photography. This implies that if you're looking for a lens to use solely for macro photographs, getting the f/3.6 instead of the f/1.8 will save you some money. On the plus side, many macro lenses aren't limited to macro photography. Macro lenses with lower f-numbers, such as f/1.8, could be used to blur the backdrop of a picture or capture shots in low light. Take note however that excessively wide apertures are frequently too weak for most macro photography photos.

How To Choose a Wide Angle Lens

Nothing surpasses a flexible wide-angle lens for travel, landscape or street photography. Whether you're photographing mountain views or busy street scenarios, the wide-angle lens provides a perfect mix of characteristics for swift, spontaneous photography.

Moderate Wide-Angle Lenses

The moderate wide angles are represented by lenses in the 24-35mm range. These are usually the best option for landscape photography, but they could also be utilized for portraits without the distortion of perspective that wider lenses have.

Ultra-Wide-Angle Lenses

Ultra-wide-angle lenses, with focal lengths ranging from 17mm to 20mm, provide overblown perspectives for unexpected effects, making them ideal for spectacular seascapes or silhouetting an appealing frontal subject against a night sky. Subjects in close proximity to the camera could look massive, whereas those farther away will fade into the distance. When utilizing these lenses, placing a significant foreground subject in your picture will usually increase the impact of your photographs.

Fisheye Lenses

These are specialized lenses with focal lengths ranging from 6mm to 16mm. Fisheye lenses have a very restricted applicability and tend to be highly expensive. They could, however, deliver eye-catching results. Fisheye lenses are accountable for the unusual circular pictures that appear to bend the landscape. They must, of course, be used with caution and are only suited for particular themes.

Which Lens Allows a User To Choose Multiple Focal Lengths?

Zoom lenses are fantastic because of their incredible flexibility. Zoom lenses let you stay in position while zooming to multiple focal lengths with a single autofocus feature. What's truly remarkable is that a zoom lens on autofocus can keep its focus while you switch focal lengths, allowing you to take photographs swiftly and easily.

A photographer's camera is worthless without a lens. A high-quality lens could allow you to shoot beautiful images even with a low-cost camera, whereas a low-quality lens can make even the finest camera lackluster and the consequent picture quality poor. Hence, it's important to choose the right lens to suit your photography needs.

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper O'Shanassy

Piper grew up with a love of animals, which quickly turned into a love of photographing them. She shares her tips and tricks on photography, and hopes she can help you shortcut your expansion of a passion.

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