I've made my camera selection, now, what lens?

Started Aug 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
G Rothwell Regular Member • Posts: 224
Re: I've made my camera selection, now, what lens?

It can all seem a little overwhelming, can't it.

You need to ask yourself some questions to help you decide...

What are you going to photograph?

You usually want a wide angle lens (28mm or less) for landscapes, and a telephoto(300mm or more) for wildlife/sports

Will you want to photograph in low light? (any darker than outside just after sunset)
Get a lens that's brighter than f/2.8, most likely a prime.

Do you imagine yourself carrying round a bag full of equipment?

Would one or two lenses be all you want, will you know beforehand what you are going to photo?

Do you imagine spending more money on photography in future?
Just get 1 lens now and start learning what you like to photograph

Do you want to photograph fast moving things (wildlife, sports, toddlers, etc)?
Canon lenses generally focus faster than other manufacturers (on a canon camera)
Some cameras have improved focusing with f/2.8 or brighter.

What are you going to do with your photos?

If you are going to print 60" x 40" photos, image quality is everything. If they are just going on facebook, forget image quality, nobody will be able to tell what lens was used with the possible exception of...

Do you want to be able to have the subject in focus and the backgroud blurred?
Get a lens that's brighter than f/2.8, most likely a prime.

Are you happy to buy a lens that will have very little value if you want to sell it.

Kit lenses don't hold their value, there's loads of them about, and they're not an upgrade for many users. Also Canon lenses hold their value more than Sigma, Tamron, etc.

Other information/suggestions, which you may well already know...

At wide angle every mm makes a difference, at telephoto there isn't much difference between 250mm and 270mm

f/2 is 3 stops brighter than f/5.6, meaning that you could have a shutter speed of 1/160 rather than 1/20, or you could use iso 200 rather than 1600. If you don't already know what stops are, and how light is measured by cameras spend a couple of hours learning, it will improve your photos.

Learn about Bokeh, my suggestion about blurring the backgroud above is a huge simplification of a complex subject.

I currently own EOS 5D and 24-105mm, EOS 7D and 100-400mm, and 50mm 1.4.

I'd like the 5D mark2, but other than that I'm happy, and if I'm still using these lenses in 5 years time I'll still be happy.

Just before a recent trip to Canada I was going to buy another 7D and the 15-85mm (replacing the 5D), but received a faulty camera. The 15-85mm is an excellent lens from my short experince of it, on a par with my 24-105mm.

My recommendation would be the 15-85mm. It is an excellent walkaround lens covering wide angle and protraits, and is a lens that you will still be happy with in 5-10 years.

Or if you're really not sure what you want, go for the Sigma 18-200mm or similar, are see what you like photographing. My first DSLR was the 20D with Sigma 18-125, I used them to take some great photos and I learnt a lot using them.

Best of luck with your decision.


 G Rothwell's gear list:G Rothwell's gear list
Sony RX100 Panasonic ZS100 Nikon D750 Nikon D7200 Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D +5 more
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