Cinematography

A Concise Guide to Choosing a New Lens

Andrew S. Gibson runs down the basics of how to choose a lens when upgrading from the kit lens.

I think it’s fair to say that most photographers buy a kit lens with their first camera. It’s a good place to start, as despite the limitations, a good one is versatile (an idea I explored in my article Why Your Kit Lens is Better Than You Think).

But, however well a kit lens performs in the right hands, at some point you will ask yourself what lens you want to buy next. Or, you might already own more than one lens and be wondering if a new one may improve your photography. I am going to help you answer these questions by outlining some of the things you need to think about when choosing a new lens.

You may find it helpful to think of lenses in categories rather than specific focal lengths. That’s because the field-of-view of a specific focal length depends on the size of your camera’s sensor (learn why in our article Crop Factor Explained).

The benefit of considering lenses this way is that each type suits certain subjects. If you are into landscape photography, for example, then a wide-angle lens of some sort is essential. If you photograph sports, then it is difficult to do without a telephoto lens.

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