Deciding the Best Camera Lens for You

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Many beginning photographers have little idea what type of camera lens they should purchase with their new SLR Camera. That is totally understandable since there are so many different ones to choose from. Choosing the camera was hard enough right? Well, there are several questions and aspects a photographer should consider before deciding on a particular lens.

The first question you need to ask your self is "What brand of Camera do I own?" This is probably an obvious question, but it’s important to make sure that the lenses you are considering to buy is compatible with your camera. Different lens brands use different lens mounts. This means that only a Sony lens can be used with a Sony camera, a Nikon lens with a Nikon camera, a canon lens with a canon camera, etc… However, it is important to note that there are third party companies that make lenses as well; just make sure that the third party lens was constructed for your specific brand and model of camera.

The second question you need to ask yourself is "What kind of pictures do I plan on shooting?" Generally, the typical photographer is going to mostly take portrait photos and perhaps some nature or landscape photos. However, if you are planning on filming a nature documentary while on an African Safari, well then you will probably want a different type of lens than what is considered "typical".

Essentially there are five different types of lenses and each type is ideal for certain scenarios. These lens types include:

• Extreme Wide Angle
• Wide Angle
• Standard
• Telephoto
• Super-Telephoto

These five different lenses are categorized mainly by their focal length. The focal length of a camera lens is distinguished by the lens’ angle of view. Thus, by changing the angle of view you determine how much you’re magnifying the object in focus. Simply put, if your lens has a short focal length then you will have to physically be close to the subject. If your lens has a long focal length, you can zoom up close on the subject from a far distance.

The Extreme Wide Angle Lens has a focal length range of 0-21mm. This lens can capture very large images. It is typically used to capture shots that need to be very broad such as large architectural buildings.

The Wide Angle Lens has a focal length range of 21-28mm and is much like the Extreme Wide Angle Lens except that it is somewhat milder. This type of lens is comparable to what your eye would see when looking at an image. This type of lens is also excellent for taking broad shots. It is typically used to take pictures of landscape such as tall hills or mountains.

The Standard Lens has a focal length range of 35-85mm and is used for what a "typical" photographer would use a lens for. This type of lens has a wide focal range, being able to zoom in and out from objects well enough for most shots. This lens is generally considered an "all purpose" lens, just not quite as specialized. If you plan on taking mostly portraits of people and landscape shots, this is the lens to get. Note: most photographers have a Standard Lens, which is generally recommended to be the first lens to purchase.

A Telephoto lens has a focal length range of 100-300mm which looks like a very long lens. This type of lens is used for taking close up images from a far distance away. These lenses are great for shooting details photos from around 50 feet away. Generally a Telephoto lens is used for taking pictures of subjects in sports games.

A Super-Telephoto Lens is a Telephoto lens on steroids with a focal length range of 300mm+. This type of lens is a professional grade lens and is quite expensive. It is able to capture detailed images from subjects at a very far distance. This type of lens is perfect for shooting pictures of wild life such as lions or panthers hunting. This lens allows the viewer to see the lion from very close up, while the photographer is physically much further away; which is an absolute must when dealing with dangerous situations.

The aperture is also another very important aspect when considering buying a lens. The aperture essentially allows you to control the amount of light that enters the shot. Each lens has a different aperture range. Note: the lower the aperture number, the more light you are allowing to enter. For example f/2.8 is going to have more light that f/16. Depending on what type of picture you want to take, you will want to have a lens compatible with a certain aperture setting. Do your homework and find out the aperture range of the lens before buying it.

If you follow those guidelines in determining the lens you want to purchase, you will find a lens that is perfect for your specific situation.

If you want to read more great camera related articles or just to check out some lenses or camera reviews, visit Best Camera for Photography

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