To view more of my photography please click on www.rakmilphotography.com
If you have a camera with interchangeable lenses, then sooner or later you think about the lenses you want to buy.
The kit lenses that come with cameras are excellent in some cases, the Nikon 18-55mm dx is an example; others kit zooms are weaker and suck dust onto the sensor.
When asked, most people suggest the first lens you should buy is the so-called “nifty 50mm. Mine is the fastest lens I own at f1.8. Great for street, family and close up event photography, just like my 35mm dx lens. Good inexpensive lenses that are sharp and useful.
Professional zooms have improved and the usual combination is a 24-70mm f2.8 and a 70-200mm f2.8. These have great range, all well built and have excellent image quality. Some add another wider zoom below 24 to fill out their range and have three lenses that cover the main focal lengths.
Much cheaper lenses are the variable aperture lenses (e.g. the fstop changes as you extend the lens out to 300 as opposed to the 2.8 lens that can maintain the same fstop through the range of the lens.). There are some very good variable aperture lenses e.g. the Nikon 70-300 mm lens, but they may feel a touch slow in focusing etc., after you use a 70-200 2.8 lens and they are not as functional in low light except at high ISOs.
Some people I know prefer to use only prime lens like 20, 24, 35, 50, 85, 90, 105 (macro) 135 mm etc. that by definition do not zoom.
After that there are the exotics, the big telephotos, the really wide lenses, the macros and the tilt and shifts.
As good “glass” like the 70-200 2.8 lenses are expensive, the standard rule is buy what you need and can afford. Don’t buy a slow 5.6 fstop lens for indoor sports, it may be more frustrating then helpful as you will never have enough light to catch the action. The fstop will make a lot less difference on a wide-angle lens you wish to use for landscapes.
One thing that is often forgotten is that every lens requires some adaptation on the part of the user, a learning curve and a period of time to get used to it.
There is another saying I hear, “spend more on “glass” than on the camera”. Good idea but lets not go too far in that direction as the auto-focus mechanism will have a lot to do with how well you like a specific lens.
Hope this helps you choose your lenses, I know my choices early on were difficult, fortunately good lenses can last a long time!