Entering into the world of photography can be quite daunting when it comes to buying the right camera gear and lenses that meet your budget and requirements.  Many assume that is good camera will make your photographs look good when take a picture. This is not the case, a camera is in actual fact just the “tool” that snaps the actual photograph that you intending to capture. It is the lens that will make the difference in what you see and capture. First bit of advice is to understand how your camera actually works using all the manual settings to make sure the camera that you have chosen gives you the result you are expecting, note manual is the the only way forward to start the process.

Why the Lens is so Important

Original versus Generic Lens Options

There is a wide selection of lenses on the market from which to choose from that will work with your brand of camera, whether it be Nikon, Canon, Sony, or similar. There are also many generic lenses available that will work, which are designed specifically for your brand of camera. First up, generic is not a bad choice, however, there are many out there that indicate that they meet all the specifications and the quality of the original brand, and there are certain of those to definitely avoid. It is normally the top end pro  generic lenses options that are very decent. My suggestion is to do some comparisons and research as to what people are suggesting before rushing in to make your purchase, as often there is very little difference in the price between the actual brand and the top end generic option. Don’t be fooled by the look and feel of the lens, nor the what the salesperson reads off the box, it is all about facts and what other photographers has added in their reviews and ratings.

Differences between Entry Level and Kit Lenses

When purchasing and entry level set up, the kit that includes two or three lenses and a camera body, know from the start, that those lenses are absolute rubbish and will never result in you becoming a better photographer. You are actually wasting your time and money on these such deals. One of these so called lenses that I refer to is the 18 -55mm, which is included in most of these kits, along with a zoom lens that is really poor in terms of image quality. When considering any form of kit lens, look more at the semi to pro options, as they will deliver better range for general use and composition. The glass partitions are constructed from better quality glass and the body or housing is also of a superior build. A great semi pro affordable general lens for a person starting off is the 18 -135mm option, or the 24 – 105mm, like the ones from Canon, thereafter there is the 24 -105mm L – lens, which is costlier, but the glass is great. My thoughts for those on a limited budget, or starting out would be to consider a pre owned semi-pro or pro-lens. Lenses should last, so long as the glass is good, if cared for and looked after, where the actual camera body becomes outdated by technology and later models fill the shelves.

It is all in the Glass

Again, let me state that the glass is the most important part of your kit in terms of the lens or lenses you choose to buy. A lens that offers range, as opposed to fixed lens that has a fixed range is more costly, as there are more glass partitions that make up the build and construction. A fixed lens has less glass and partitions, so they are generally less costly, however they are for specific genres only. An example of a decent semi pro lens would be a 50mm or 40mm lens for portraiture or product, where you are able to get away achieving above average results. Google the “nifty 50”, and you will understand what I am referring to from the reviews. This is one of the best and most affordable kit lenses if you interested in this type of photography. Bottom line, glass costs. once you have you kit and ready to go, my advice would be to attend a short workshop to familiarize yourself with your camera and lenses in the genre you wish to focus on pursuing.

Why the Pro-Lenses are First Choice for Photography

To summarize, the glass and the build are normally of a high-end quality and finish. Both options are available, either in fixed lenses or other. When starting off, my all rounded everyday choice of lens would be the 24-70mm f2.8, or the 70-200mm f2.8, for those wanting more zoom. Do your homework or a short workshop first before making your choice, both options are for very different purposes and offer a very different result. The pro options are normally lenses that are fast on the focus, especially in low light conditions and have an aperture range from f1.4 or f2.8 upward. The aperture has a major effect on the quality and outcome of the image, especially when the lighting environment is shady or low. Poor glass and entry level lenses struggle in low light and the images end up noisy. Noisy or grainy images are frustrating and cannot be edited in post. Again, understanding your camera and the lens will be necessary when working with depth of field (DOP). The DOP is important when composing a shot, having a wide aperture range provides possibilities that an entry level or intermediate lens lacks.

I am hoping that this article is helpful to those starting out in photography as well as photographers wishing to upgrade their kit.