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Beginner's Guide to Photography

Beginner’s Guide: Part 2 (Which DSLR Lens to buy?)

Buying a DSLR and confused about Lenses?? We can help you!!

When you see all those beautiful pictures on websites, blogs and even those which have been posted by your friends on Facebook, you tend to stop by and give it a thought. How come these pictures are so beautiful and perfect? Is my friend turned into a professional photographer? Which camera is he using to get these kind of pictures? And so on.

Then lights a spark in you – “hey even I want to click such pictures!! Even I want to upgrade my “shiny little digital camera” into a DSLR. Then the search begins!! We often stop by electronic stores and check out these professional cameras but couldn’t understand a thing. Maybe because these are complicated to understand and buy or maybe because the salesman on the other side of the counter is focusing on his sales target rather than trying to give his Gyaan on professional cameras.

Anyways, we do our research from friends and internet but when the final buying call needs to be taken, some have deep pockets who end up buying the costly equipment and then later figuring it out what is it about. Others (like us J) who have been saving money all this time to buy our newly discovered passion, end up in a high confusion mode with questions –

The Intriguing Question:

Which is the best DSLR to buy ? Should I buy the standard kit with lens or should I go for body and lens separately???? Which lens would be best suited for my requierments & type of photography?

This is where MyFirstPic come for your help and share a buying guide which is based on our experiences and which will help you in deciding your purchase.

Digital SLR lenses come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and there is substantial price variation. Some are built for the demanding needs of professionals and others are just right for the everyday snapshot photographer.

In this section, we will give an insight on the type of lenses. This will help you shorten your research and lead to a concrete decision on which lens you should buy. 

The Camera Body

A good camera body is helpful, especially using one which has a full frame sensor, that has a good low light performance, or AF performance but this is actually the least important part of the buying decision. The biggest mistake that new camera buyers make – they buy an expensive camera body and compromise on standard kit lens and then they wonder why their photographs haven’t improved.

We, at MyFirstPic advise you going for a comparatively inexpensive body in the manufacturer’s line that has full manual controls, and spending more on procuring a better lens.

What Brand is your SLR?

Lenses are Manufacturer Specific. So even before you start your search for the lens, you have to know the Brand of your DSLR you are going to buy. Lenses have an electronic connection with the digital SLR camera. This connection relays information from lens to camera so that you can change setting on the lens (like aperture) from the camera body itself. These connections are not same across manufacturers so this is what makes them unique.

In a nut shell, a lens manufactured by Nikon won’t function with other camera brands like Canon, Sony, Pentax etc and vice-a-versa. Now what ? Question is have I got no option than to pay a big price for these manufacturer specific lenses? Answer is NO. There is a way out. There are some third party manufacturers who develop the same lens but with different lens mounts for different camera bodies.

The key to understanding which lens will work with your digital SLR can when you understand the concept of lens mount.

The lens mount is the point of connection between a lens and your digital SLR. A Canon lens mount is different from a Nikon lens mount which is different from a Pentax lens mount.

So if you have a need, you can buy a third party lens in much lesser amount. Now, it’s time to give you an overview on the various types of lenses and what they do. 

Types of Lenses

  • Standard Lenses – These lenses are provided by the camera manufacturers along with the camera as a part of the kit. These are generally of the 18 – 55mm focal length. Fit for every basic need right from fairly decent wide angle shots to normal zooms. Light in weight and very handy in day to day photography. Cheap and Best!! 
  • Prime Lens – With a prime lens, the focal length (the zoom factor) is fixed – so you “zoom” by moving your feet closer to or further away from the subject. These are smaller and lighter than zoom lenses and because there’s a single focal length, they are optimized for it in terms of image quality. These lenses offer stunning background blur. Great choice for Portraits, Landscapes, Travel and Night shots. Loved by portrait photographers.

    fig 2: Prime Lens

  • Standard Zoom Lens – These are versatile and portable lens with normal zooms and thus become vital part of your photography. They offer steady shots and offer more photo opportunities from daily snapshots to travel documentary work. Offers a variety of focal length lenses to chose from.

    fig 3: Standard Zoom Lens

  • Telephoto Zoom Lens – These are used to get closer view of far away subjects. Especially for nature and wildlife photographywhere you cannot go near to the subject but want to fill the frame with the subject from a distance.

    fig 4: Telephoto Zoom Lens

  • Wide Angle Lens– Go by the name, these lenses capture a very wide angle shot. These are typically used in Landscape photographyfor getting nice and close to the subject still fitting a lot of them in the frame.

    fig 5: Wide Angle Lens

  • Fish Eye Lens– It is an extreme wide angle lens which makes the picture look circular. These specialized lenses which purposely distort the subject in a curved way to get more into the shot.

    fig 6: Fish Eye Lens

  • Macro Lens– You must have seen pictures where close-ups of Insects have been taken. These shots are captured through Macro lens as they can focus at much closer distance than other lenses. These are specifically designed for shooting object close ups. Macro lenses will produce images that are life size and that enable you to get in incredibly close to small subjects such as flowers and insects.

    fig 7: Macro Lens

                            MyFirstPic ViewPoint:
                            Choice of Lens totally depends upon what type of photography you want to  do. Be                                     completely clear in your mind before taking a decision, as whichever lens you may                                   choose, is going to cost you dearly. Hence, take your time!
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