Tips for Choosing the Right Lens: Which Lens for Which Photo?

  • Lenses
  • 7 min read
Tips for Choosing the Right Lens

This article will share some tips for choosing the right lens and explain which lens is suitable for which type of photography. Taking a photo is easy. On the other hand, knowing how to take beautiful photos is a whole different story.

With a lens, capturing quality images becomes more evident. However, there are so many models on the market that it can sometimes be challenging to know which one is suitable for a particular outlet. They are differentiated by their type, brand, options, and name. Because of this diversity, it is not easy to know which model to buy to take a particular photo (landscape, portrait, wildlife, etc.). And trying everything is not for everyone.

To help you choose your new lens, here are some valuable tips.

1: Define Your Needs

Tips for Choosing the Right Lens
Tips for Choosing the Right Lens

The first key element in buying a lens is to define what to do with it. It is essential because it will make it easier to focus research.

When talking about needs, we are, of course, referring to the types of photos you would like to take: animal, portrait, wedding, sport, etc.

2: Adapt Type of Lenses and Type of Photos

Tips for Choosing the Right Lens

Considering its focal length, a standard lens will not photograph a subject the same way as a macro model. Each type of lens has its specialties when it comes to shooting:

Wide-angle for landscape and architectural photos: with its short focal length (less than 30 mm), a Wide Angular lens allows you to have a comprehensive view of the subject (with little hindsight). These lenses are very popular with photo reporters.

The standard for medium shots (portraits, group photos, family photos, documentary with natural effect, street photo): a 50 mm lens is said to be standard. It is suitable for capturing subjects from a medium distance. The size of the plug matches that of the frame.

Telephoto lenses for a distant target (sportsmen, wildlife): with a long focal length (more than 85 mm), these lenses are ideally suited to animal documentaries and sports journalists.

Zoom and standard type lenses for all kinds of photos: these types of optics – from their focal range – are versatile. Their focal length is variable: 17-50 mm, 70-200 mm, 18-150 mm, etc. These lenses can take pictures of distant objects and close-ups; they are suitable for reporters thanks to their flexibility. Also, they are versatile enough to deal with any situation. In addition, it saves you from cluttering yourself with heavy equipment and multiple lenses.

The macro for macro photography: macro lenses are especially suitable for professionals. They are used to capture tiny subjects such as flowers or insects with sharpness and detail.

The tilt-shift lens: shift lenses are suitable for architectural photos, while tilt-shift lenses are used for food and advertising photography.

3: Find the Real Focal Length of the Lens with the Crop Factor

Tips for Choosing the Right Lens
Tips for Choosing the Right Lens

We can generally refer to the technical characteristics of the lenses. But, it is still helpful to do this concerning the crop factor. It is a cropping element. It is used to calculate the actual focal length of a lens mounted on an APS-C sensor.

In general, the lens’s focal length must be multiplied by 1.5 (variable depending on the brand) to obtain the absolute index. For example, the actual focal length of an 18mm wide-angle lens mounted on an APS-C sensor housing will be 27mm (18 x 1.5).

It is essential to consider this factor because, in the event of a miscalculation, we risk ending up with an unsuitable lens for the type of photo desired.

4: Choose Maximum Opening for a Low Light Frame

Tips for Choosing the Right Lens
Tips for Choosing the Right Lens

A lens is often considered efficient through the maximum aperture of its diaphragm (absent on entry-level optics). The larger it is, the more light it lets in the lens. Concretely, this means that you can take pictures in a dimly lit place. It also allows for a reduced depth of field, facilitating artistic blur effects and creating bokeh (background blur). It also helps to dispense with flash and ISO settings.

This maximum opening index is expressed in f/number. The smaller the number, the wider the opening will be. For example, a 50mm f/1.4 lens will have an aperture of around 35mm in diameter (focal length/maximum aperture), while a 50mm f/2.8 model will be approximately 17 mm.

Therefore, a lens can be fixed focal length (50mm f/1.4), a zoom lens with constant aperture (17-50mm f/2.8), or with two maximum apertures (70-300mm F/3, 5-5.6).

5: Fixed Focal Length or Zoom Lens, The Choice of Quality and Versatility

Tips for Choosing the Right Lens
Tips for Choosing the Right Lens

If you are looking for a lens, know that a fixed lens has a single focal length while a zoom has a focal range. The quality of its holds favor the first: more constant, sharper, and sharper. It is generally brighter and has a large maximum aperture.

However, the strength of zooms lies in their versatility: they can instantly switch from a wide-angle view to a long focal length field. This model can handle everything (except at a lower quality at fixed focal length optics).

Because of these characteristics, zooms are heavier and are generally more expensive but very flexible. Conversely, a fixed focal length lens is lighter and cheaper but is limited in shots.

You may also like to read: Sunset Photography Tips: How to Photograph a Sunset Like A Pro?

Tips 6: Get a Blur-Free Photo with An Optically Stabilized Lens

Tips for Choosing the Right Lens
Tips for Choosing the Right Lens

If you are looking for a lens without blur, you should look for a model with optical stabilization. This system is used to reduce the shutter speed to limit camera shake.

In short, you can choose your lens, considering what you want to do with it. It will allow you to turn to a particular model taking the focal length as a basis. In general, the brand is a secondary criterion. It impacts more on the quality of manufacture and the price. Side characteristics, all models are equal.