Buying Guide for DSLR Lenses

Quick guide to choosing lenses for a dslr camera.

Video Transcript

One of the most important features of DSLR cameras is the ability to interchange lenses giving photographers a wide array of options to capture their images. I'm Jon Rettinger here with a quick guide to picking the right lenses for your DSLR camera. Features on a DSLR camera body are important but sometimes the specs on the lenses you use can have a greater impact. Lenses also have an edge on longevity so you might replace your camera body every few years but lenses are almost always compatible with future models. With this in mind let's focus on which lenses best fit your needs. The starting point for many people is the basic zoom lens. They are relatively cheap, around a couple hundred dollars, compact, lightweight, and highly versatile. These lenses typically have a focal length around 18 to 24 millimeters at its widest or 135 to 200 millimeters at its longest. This allows them to handle both close range shots such as nearby objects or a group of people of people in social settings and long distance shots where objects and actions can be magnified in the lens. The basic zoom lens is great for travelers packing light, casual photographers and shoppers on a tighter budget. But, while the basic zoom lens is highly versatile other lenses better fit specific uses. If you're interested in sports and wildlife photography or even just more of a photo enthusiast a higher end zoom lens model might be a better selection. These advanced lenses can offer a greater range of focal lengths for extra magnification. An image stabilization feature can also be quite useful. This is a lens system that reduces blurring of images caused by motion of the camera during exposure and when capturing action faster response times for focus adjustments and triggering the shutter can help mean you won't miss your shot. Zoom lenses are practical and you can't always control how close you are to what you're shooting. In exchange for that flexibility however zoom lenses lose out in other areas compared to prime lenses which have fixed focal lengths. While prime lenses don't let you change magnification they do generally produce sharper and better quality images. In various scenerios, they're a great choice. People interested in portrait photography often prefer prime lenses because they can deliver a shallower depth of field. This is the effect of having a subject in sharp focus but all areas in front of and in back of the subject are out of focus. Prime lenses are generally better at this because they have a wider aperture which is the lens opening that is needed to create the shallow depth field. Prime lenses around 85 millimeters are considered favorites for portraits because they can help flatten out facial features creating a more pleasing look. At focal lengths much shorter facial features can be distorted on camera. At focal lengths much longer you start to get pretty far away from your subject. People interested in low light photography often prefer prime lenses too. The same wide aperture that allows for a shallow depth of field also lets more light into the camera. More light eliminates the need use a flash and many photographers prefer to use natural light. While prime lenses can deliver better results than a zoom they do necessitate carrying around multiple lenses. At least the price of primes in generally less which helps if you decide to go that route. Whatever lens or lenses you choose remember investing in a great DSLR camera but not in a great set of lenses is a little bit like buying a gourgeous set of spinner rims then throwing them on the family station wagon. They might work together but maybe you put the money in the wrong place. To learn more about digital photography check out our other episodes of Tech Savvvy right here on eHow Tech. Thanks for tuning in!

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