Oh, I get that question so often: “what lens should I get”?
And of course that is a difficult question to answer, because there is no “should”. It depends. But in general, these remarks may help:
Michael’s Baker’s Dozen Lens Tips:
- The lens makes the picture more than the camera does
- Faster is better. The lower the lowest “f-number”, the better.
- Zoom lenses are more convenient, but prime (fixed) lenses are faster, better, and lead to more consistent photography.
- Consumer zooms cannot go to the same lowest f-number when zoomed in and out. Pro lenses, on the other hand, can go to the same lowest number whether they are zoomed in or out.
- IS/VR, stabilization, is a great feature: get it if you can, especially on long lenses. It will allow you to shoot 1-3 stops slower without camera shake.
- The very wide angle lens is underused (10-20mm range on a crop camera, 16-35mm on a full-frame). This lens is especially great in travel and journalism
- A good lens keeps its value for many years. (The corollary: no great deals on used lenses).
- Always use a lens hood (good lenses come with one).
- Manufacturer lenses are typically better than third-party lenses, but not always. Third party lenses do offer better warranties.
- The greater the range of a zoom lens, the more it is a compromise.
- Specialty lenses (fish-eyes, tilt-shift) are great fun but you will probably not use them all that much (ymmv). A macro lens, however, is also a great portrait lens, and you will probably use it regularly.
- Do try the lenses you have in mind. You can order into the store, or you can rent before you buy!
- Full-frame lenses (eg Canon EF) can be used on any camera of the brand they are made for. Crop lenses (eg EF-S, DX) are cheaper, but can usually only be used on crop cameras.
There’s more, but not much, so this should get you started!