So you’ve bought a shiny new DSLR or mirrorless camera are now ready to go out and do some serious photography, so you might be wondering what the best lenses are that you should buy to complement your camera.
Here are some of our recommendations for the types of lenses you should be using before you get something very expensive ad specialized.
- The Kit Lens
Many people fail to realize the fact that the kit lenses coming with cameras these days are actually quite good. The typical lenses you’ll find packaged with a camera are either the 18-55mm or the 16-50mm. These are both very good focal lengths for everyday shooting. Use the kit lens to get to grips with how a lens works. Experiment with different focal lengths and see which kind of photography suits you more. Practice focusing manually, try to take images from different perspectives, play with the aperture values. Use your kit lens to the best of its ability and you’ll see why you don’t always need a new lens right away.
- A Prime Lens
Once you have gained enough practice with your kit lens and want to get something else for your arsenal, I would recommend a prime lens. A 35mm focal length for a cropped sensor body or a 50mm focal length for a full-frame body is a great place to start.
A prime lens is one with a fixed focal length, meaning you can’t zoom in on your subject. Many young photographers think this is a bad thing and opt for a telephoto lens instead (I would know that because I did the same). However, the value of a prime lens in developing yourself as a photographer is something no one can deny.
Not only is a prime lens challenging to use as it restricts what kinds of shots you can get with it, it also forces you to be more creative. You have to walk around more, which makes you actually study your subject. You see how the light falls on your subject from different angles, how it looks up close, what details you can capture in your frame. All of this makes you a better, more inquisitive photographer. Rather than just standing some twenty feet away and zooming in to take a photo, you actually interact with your subject up close and try to find more creative angles.
So if you’re looking for a new lens for your camera, especially if it’s going to be something that teaches you how to be a photographer, get a prime lens.