March 2014
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Selecting the right lens to use – 5 tips (contd ..)

In the previous post, we were talking about different types of lenses. In this post, we will explore in more detail.
If you have a compact camera, then you have a given lens that is part of the camera. However, if you have a SLR or the new series of mirror-less cameras, then you have the option of selecting the desired lens, and this is where there are a lot of options. People can get pretty confused about which lens to have, which can be confusing in multiple ways. You may want to select 1-2 lens which meet all your needs, or you may have multiple lens, and want to select 1-2 lens to carry with you while you are on a trip. How do you select the right lens to carry ? This post might be simple for those who have some experience, but I have come across many people who don’t have this much information.

Tip 1296 (Figure out the type of situation you need to shoot): Lenses can be expensive, and unless you are the wealthy sort who can easily buy multiple lenses, most people will buy 1, or at the maximum, 2 lenses. In such a case, it is very important that you decide on the type of shooting that you want to do, and the lens to get will depend on these types. If you are doing a lot of wildlife shooting, then getting 1-2 telephoto lens would be appropriate, but if you really just wanting a lens to explore, then a kit lens (or a slightly extended one, such as these lenses for Canon (18-135mm ) or Nikon (18-105mm) will be fine, similar lenses are available for other manufacturers are available). If you are doing other work, then you need consider the requirement, and get the appropriate lens.

Tip 1297 (Need for a tripod): As you get into the range of better lenses (especially for more telephoto or wider lenses), these lenses will become more and more bulky and heavy, and at a point, it will not be feasible to shoot just by hand-holding the camera and lens. You will need to get a tripod, such as this one (Manfrotto Tripod) for your shooting. Using a tripod requires more effort for setup and use, and for carrying the tripod around, so if you don’t want to go down that route, get a lens that does not require a tripod to use.

Tip 1298 (Want to get a lens with different zooms): There are many lens that combine both the lower end of the kit lens in terms of width, and yet go to a zoom that is close to a telephoto zoom (for example, the Canon 18-200mm or the Nikon 18-200mm). The advantage of such a lens is that you can get objects nearby, as well as get a zoom that lets you capture objects at a distance. You will not be able to use this lens for wildlife, and it cannot match up to a dedicated wide lens or a telephoto lens, but if you willing to take a slight degradation of quality (this reduction in quality may be only at the extreme wide or telephoto ends, and may not be noticeable as well), then this is the lens for you.

Tip 1299 (Fast lens): A lot of people are confused at what are fast lenses. When you explain that this is corelated to the aperture of the lens, the puzzlement does not go away. So, consider that the exposure you get in a camera depends on the light being taken during the time that the shutter is open. This depends on the shutter speed and the size of the aperture. When you need faster shutter speeds, then you need larger apertures to get the same amount of light and that is why lenses with larger apertures are called as fast lenses. However, lenses with larger apertures tend to be more expensive, so you need to factor that in your calculation.

Tip 1300 (The brand of camera and lenses): This one seems very logical, but people can get messed up, or go for more expensive options. When you are buying a camera and a lens, first you need to be sure that the lens you are buying (if different from the regular kit lens supplied with the camera) is compatible with the camera. So, when you have a Canon camera, then you will need a Canon lens, but there are other options available, such as third party makers who make lenses that work with the Canon camera (such as Tamron, Sigma, and others). In many cases, the performance of the third party lens is nearly comparable, with a reduction in cost, so that might be a good option.

The Lens: A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer How to Choose a Camera, Lens How to Choose Yor Camera Lenses

Videos on selecting the proper lens for the DSLR:

How to Choose a Lens for a DSLR

Choosing Your First Lens for a DSLR Camera

Photography Techniques : Selecting a Camera Lens

An overview of digital SLR lenses

Read more about how to select the right lens (Part 2)

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