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what lens do I need?

It’s easy to feel intimidated next to a person who has a super big zoom lens on their camera. But does that mean that you need one?

What lens you need, all depends on what you want to take photographs of.

Here is a very quick guide to lenses and what you would use them for...

Please don’t forget to give me a call for 10-minutes of FREE advice before purchasing a camera or lens!

10mm – 22mm – Ultra Wide Angle Great if you can get relatively close to an object that is big and you want to get it all in the photograph. Example: Estate agents might use an ultra wide-angle lens to take photographs of rooms in a house.

24mm – 35mm – Wide Angle Most of us will want a lens that covers this range. It’s great for landscapes, travel and street photography and even group shots of friends and family.

50mm – Prime Lens This lens will not zoom in or out. It has a fixed focal length of 50mm (you can also buy prime lenses with different focal lengths) These are usually much cheaper than zoom lenses and the aperture will go very low, perhaps down to f1.8. 50mm is approximately what we see with our eyes, so it gives a natural point of view. These lenses are great for portraits if you can get close to the person and also good for some product photography.

18mm – 55mm Kit Lens You may buy a camera that comes with a lens and it will likely be around the range of 18mm – 55mm. It’s a great lens to start with as it covers your wide-angle needs and is good enough for taking some portraits of your family. However, it is likely that you will soon outgrow this lens as it doesn’t zoom in very much.

Macro Macro lenses usually come in a range of 40mm, 60mm, 85mm, 105mm or 200mm. Depending on how close you can physically stand to the subject will determine which one you will need. Macro lenses are used for small subjects like flowers and jewellery to tiny subjects like bugs.

Up to 105mm – Zoom Most beginners I teach in the UK just enjoy taking photographs of their children and dogs and therefore, will probably not need a zoom bigger than this. I survived over 5 years of wedding photography with a lens that covered 18mm -70mm with very little problems. If you can get a zoom lens in your budget that can cover 18mm – 105mm you will have a range that will cover most day to day photography and some.

Up to 200mm – Zoom I use a 70mm – 200mm for most of my portrait work now. It allows me to stand that little bit further away from my subject so they don’t feel they have a big camera right in their face. It’s great for dogs as they can also be a little bit shy if I stand too close to them and I can get them running from a great distance.

Up to 300mm – Telephoto I would advise anyone who enjoys wildlife photography to think about getting a lens that will zoom up to at least 300mm. It’s not often you can get very close to wildlife so this will make your images look way better being zoomed in this close.

Up to 800mm – Ultra Telephoto If your budget can stretch, go for a 400mm or 500mm for wildlife and sports photography it will be vastly better and get you much closer. I use Nikon’s 200mm – 500mm for my wildlife photography. If you would like to try it out before you buy a telephoto lens for yourself please give me a call.

There are hundreds of lenses available, and some really are better than others. Your budget will likely be a factor in your buying process but the main thing to consider is “what will I use it for”?

You may also need to think about what apertures you will likely need and how heavy the lens will be. Is it practical for you to lug around a very heavy 500mm lens all day? Only you know the answer but I am happy to discuss it with you before you take the plunge.! Give me a call on 0114 383 0644.

You may also find my article on camera accessories worth taking a look at as you may need a monopod for that telephoto lens you are thinking of getting 🙂

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