Baker’s Dozen Lens Tips

Oh, I get that question so often: “what lens should I get”?

Michael Willems's Lenses

A Few Of Michael's Lenses

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:

  1. The lens makes the picture more than the camera does
  2. Faster is better. The lower the lowest “f-number”, the better.
  3. Zoom lenses are more convenient, but prime (fixed) lenses are faster, better, and lead to more consistent photography.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
  7. A good lens keeps its value for many years. (The corollary: no great deals on used lenses).
  8. Always use a lens hood (good lenses come with one).
  9. Manufacturer lenses are typically better than third-party lenses, but not always. Third party lenses do offer better warranties.
  10. The greater the range of a zoom lens, the more it is a compromise.
  11. 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.
  12. Do try the lenses you have in mind. You can order into the store, or you can rent before you buy!
  13. 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!


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