The Importance of a Good Camera Lens
A good camera lens has a major impact on the quality of your photos. It gives even the most basic cameras the ability of producing great images. There are several important components to consider when shopping for a lens, including zoom capability, aperture size, focal length, quality of the glass, and more. If you’re still exclusively using the lens that came with your camera and want to improve your photography, it may be time to find out what other lenses can do for you.
Which lens is right for me?
It depends on what you’re shooting. Some common types of photography include panoramas, skyscapes, interiors, landscapes, candid family shots, portraits, sports and action, wildlife, and the night sky. Different subjects require different lenses. One important aspect to consider is focal length, which is the path the light travels on the way to your camera’s sensor. Generally speaking, big, wide scenes require lenses with shorter focal lengths, while more distant subjects require longer focal lengths. A zoom lens will allow you to use a single lens at a variety of focal lengths.
Here are various applications, and the lenses most ideally suited for them. Note that these examples use the focal length marked on the lens itself, or 35mm-equivalent. For some cameras – such as APS-C or m4/3 – you may need to apply a crop factor (see this Explora article for more information):
- For ultra-wide scenes, waterscapes, and skyscapes—a fisheye or ultra-wide angle lens with a focal length range between 8mm – 24mm
- For interiors, architecture, and general landscapes—a standard wide angle lens with a focal length range between 24mm – 35mm
- For environmental or full-length portraits, street photography, and travel—a standard lens with a focal length range between 35mm – 85mm (50mm is the most common)
- For portraits and candid shooting—a short telephoto lens with a focal length range between 85mm – 135mm
- For close sports and action—a medium telephoto lens with a focal length range between 135mm – 300mm
- For wildlife and more distant sports—a super telephoto lens with a focal length above 300mm
It’s not uncommon for versatile photographers to own multiple lenses. Check out Explora’s Purchasing Your Next Lens article for more information.