Hello, readers of Passion, Pink and Pearls! I'm Lauren, owner of Lauren Werkheiser Photography. Veronica and I thought it would be fun to turn my last post into a sort of mini series, in hopes that it will make choosing camera gear a little bit easier! When I last guest posted here, I shared a few questions that you should ask yourself, when picking out a DSLR camera. Today I'll be talking about lenses. There are so many to choose from and my hope is that todays post will help you narrow down your choices and choose the best camera lens for you!
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When picking out a DSLR camera, you will more than likely have the option to buy the camera body on it's own, or the camera body and a "kit lens". But which should you do? Most of the same questions that you asked yourself when choosing a camera can be applied here as well, and it's definitely worth asking yourself those questions again, as well as a few others. This time, though, you need to consider both - the camera and the lenses.
If you've been looking to buy a DSLR, my guess is that it's probably for personal use. Maybe you just want to take nicer pictures for your blog or of your children, or maybe you want to push yourself to learn something new.
Ask yourself: Am I buying this for personal use, professional use, or something in between?
To zoom or not to zoom?
There are two types of lenses; those that zoom and those that don't. The lenses that do not zoom are called prime lenses. With those, you will have to move closer to / further from the subject using your feet. A zoom lens, on the other hand, is not only a more versatile option (allowing close ups and wide angles without the need to change out your lenses), but it also gives you the option of not having to move much, which many may find more convenient.
One of the benefits of prime lenses is that the aperture can reach a lower number such as 1.2, 1.4 or 1.8. This is important for those of you that shoot in manual mode (or aperture priority for those of you that haven't mastered manual, yet) because it lets in more light and creates more bokeh (beautiful, blurry backgrounds) in your image.
If you're buying a camera for personal use, you'll find that two of the most common lenses that come with a basic DSLR camera are the 18-55mm 3.5-5.6 and the 55-250mm 4.0-5.6. Sometimes you can even buy a kit that includes both of these lenses. But what do those numbers mean? It means that the largest aperture (lowest f-stop number) possible for the 18-55mm is 3.5 (at 18mm) and the lowest possible f-stop number for the 55-250mm is 4.0 (at 55mm). While you can still achieve blurry backgrounds with these apertures, they are also not the largest aperture (smallest f-stop number) possible. However, you have to remember that with these lenses, you do have the option to zoom out to either 55mm or 250mm.
Ask yourself: Do I want a zoom or prime lens? Which is more important to me: the ability to zoom, or a larger aperture (smaller f-stop number)?
When picking out a camera lens, you definitely need to consider your price point. If your budget is $600 total, you have a choice: you can spend it all on the camera body and lens (assuming you don't want to buy insurance for your camera or other accessories such as a camera bag, etc) or you can spend, say, $500 of that on a camera body and the other $100 on a lens such as the nifty fifty.
Ask yourself: What is my price point?
Most lenses are not interchangeable. For example, you cannot use Nikon lenses on Canon camera bodies. However, there are some third party companies, such as Tamron or Sigma, that make lenses compatible with your Canon/Nikon/etcetera camera. This is a great option for those of you that want to save a little bit of money (depending on the lens - some may be higher priced and others may be lower priced) or if you're looking for a certain type of lens that is not made by the makers of your camera, etc.
Ask yourself: Does the brand matter? Am I willing to look at third party lenses?
As always, it's a good idea to see the lens for yourself before you buy it. If you're able to, I suggest going to a local store that sells electronics so you can see/feel the lens to make sure you like it. If you have a camera body already picked out, ask if you can see them together to make sure you like that combination.
Ask yourself: Have I done my research?
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I hope you found this post helpful! If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I would love to help you out :)