Here is a subject that I hear a lot of debate about. Usually it comes about when you are ready to move on to a better lens from the one you originally purchased or received with the camera. With so many choices available out there how do you know what is right for you? Here is a quick rundown of the types of lenses and their purposes in photography.
The most popular lenses around nowadays are the telephoto lenses or now referred to as all purpose lenses. These lenses often feature a larger focal length starting from a wide angle. For example, 18mm to 200mm focal range is usually where most of these lenses fall under. These are very useful and serve a great purpose in everyday photography. Now instead of carrying two lenses most people are able to carry just the one and still get all the shots they want. The drawbacks to using these lenses is typically lenses at the cheaper end have variable aperture i.e. 3.5-5.6 or higher. This varying in aperture can ultimately effect your overall picture and even artistic vision.
Next are prime lenses. These lenses have fixed focal lengths like 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, and 135mm. Typically these lenses are used for portraits, studio photography and artistic ideas. In addition, these lenses are perfect for shooting video with due to their fixed focal lengths. Another benefit to fixed or prime lenses is that usually these lenses have constant apertures as well. For example, 1.4a 1.8a 2.0a 2.8a and 4a which allow for shallow depth of field and great low light performance. The real drawback to using prime lenses is just that… that they are prime and offer no flexibility in focal length. You need to use your feet to bring things closer or fewer away.
Specialty and Zoom lenses are the last group of lenses that we will discuss in this post. Zoom lenses are lenses that are built for long focal lengths only. Sometimes these lenses are built using mirrors to reflect the light into the camera. These lenses allow you to reach great distances and usually used for sport or wildlife photography. Specialty lenses include Fisheye, Tilt Shift and Ultra Wide Angle are the most popular. These lenses serve more of an artistic purpose then typically everyday use. Do not discredit these lenses and dare to use them and be creative with your photography! Fisheye will distort the photo giving you a 180 degree view of the world. Ultra Wide angle lenses are just that. They are typically as low as 10mm or 12mm at their widest angle and distort slightly, which are great for sweeping landscapes! Tilt Shift lenses are incredibly useful in changing focal plane. For instance, when taking pictures of buildings and they look as if they are falling backwards use a tilt shift to change the perspective to keep the straight.
Point of this post is to expand your creativeness in photography. When you buy a nice lens and take care of it the lens can last you a lifetime. So do some research before buying your next lens. Thank you for reading.