The best camera lens for your camera depends on the photographic
effect you wish to achieve. The lens you choose can have a dramatic impact on the final image
so it's important to make an informed choice. This article will help you choose which one
is best for any situation and enable you to get the maximum potential from your SLR camera.
Lenses range from 10mm to 800mm although the best digital camera lenses at either end of
this range they come with a hefty price tag. Lenses in the 18-300mm are affordable for most
Wide-angle Lenses ~ 8mm to 34mm
Wide-angle lenses will
make everything look further away and will exaggerate distances. They emphasise
spaciousness. They also give a large depth-of-field which means everything in your photo
will be sharp even when selecting a fairly wide aperture.
Fish-eye lenses are extremely wide-angle and will distort the image causing curved edges. Any tilting of
the camera will exaggerate the distortion.
Rectilinear lenses on the other hand will produce images with straight edges if the camera is
not tilted and distortion will be minimal.
The best camera lens for emphasising dramatic cloud formations is a wide-angle lens. It's also a
good choice for examphasising foreground interest which can be achieved easily by tilting the camera
downwards at about 45 degrees.
make sure there is strong foreground interest usually something large
position the subject in the centre third of the frame
make sure the top third is interesting - if it's a dull sky then crop it out before shooting
a wide-angle lens will push things back in the picture and make them look quite small
parts of the image can appear empty and dull as there is so much more included with a wide-angle lens
Standard Lenses ~ 35mm to 55mm
Standard lenses will let you make photographs that appear roughly how the scene looked
to the naked eye. However, a standard lens does not produce a picture with great depth-of-field
unless you use a small aperture (which requires higher light levels) or are a long way away
from your subject. On the plus side however, perspective will be more natural than with a
are fixed focal length lenses often in the 35mm to 55m range. Although it might seem more
convenient to use a zoom lens which offers a variety of focal lengths, a prime lens is
preferred by many photographers because quality is usually superior to that of a zoom as fewer
moving elements are required allowing the manufacturer to concentrate everything on the quality of
glass. Prime lenses are therefore somewhat cheaper and often weigh less.
Another reason for using a prime lens is that, dollar for dollar, they are usually faster which means that
you have one or two extra stops available and can utilize low-level light more successfully.
From a creative point-of view, they have the merit of making you actually move around a scene and get really involved with it. This tends to
produce quite different pictures to those of a photographer who always uses a zoom lens and is literally and
metaphorically distanced from the subject.
Telephoto Lenses ~ 55mm or More
Telephoto lenses will make objects look closer to the viewer than they actually are and will
also compress the scene making objects look much closer to each other. The angle of view is
much smaller so the image tends to be simpler in composition as there is less in the frame, and
the emphasis is on detail.
Depth-of-field is much smaller with a telephoto lens and it can be difficult when shooting to
achieve the depth-of-field required. The closer you are to the subject, the smaller will be
the depth of field and conversely the further away you are, the greater the depth of field.
It can be useful to view the scene through a telephoto lens as it helps to see details that
would otherwise be missed when looking with the naked eye.
I hope now you have a clearer idea of which would be the best camera lens for your
particular needs. If you are still in doubt, feel free to
contact me with any questions.