Monday, April 23, 2012

What Lenses?

What lenses do you need? Over time, I've discovered what lenses I need, but what you need on your Digital Reflex Camera depends on what you intend to photograph the most. Aside from the cheap and poorly built "kit zoom" that might have been bundled with your camera purchase, here are some generic possibilities:

Standard Realist Photography                 Get an improvement on your Kit Zoom and / or
                                                                Two high quality Prime Lenses - a 28mm and a 50mm
Real Estate or Automotive                      A 16 - 35 Wide Zoom, or 24mm Prime
Concerts, Portraits, Events, Fashion        Improved Kit Zoom that extends to 70mm
                                                                Two high quality Prime Lenses - a 50mm and a 85mm
Travel, Video                                          A 18 - 270mm "Travel Zoom" (one lens does all)
Close Ups                                                High quality 60mm, 80mm or 100mm Macro primes
Wildlife, Sports                                        High quality 70 - 300 Zoom (don't buy cheap here)
Architecture, City, Miniatures                  High quality Tilt-Shift lens (no such thing as cheap!)

If you are new to Digital Reflex Cameras (DSLR's), be prepared for "sticker shock" when it comes to buying new lenses! Another option (the way I went personally) is to buy old film SLR's with the lenses you might want and couple them to your camera with adapters. Note this results in complete disabling of all automation, unless you get a "Chipped" adapter, in which case you can use Aperture Priority Auto Exposure and also get a "beep" signal when you have successfully focused manually. You save a pile of money, get superb lenses with a film camera or two thrown into the deal, and gain the experience of shooting in Manual or AP Mode. This would not be recommended for wildlife or sports photography, where speed and full automation are essential.    

This is just a rough "everyman's" guide, but then, I'm just a humble hobby shooter who loves doing this.

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