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Choosing your first lens

When you purchased your DSLR camera it probably came with what is referred to as a "kit" lens. That simply means that the camera body and the lens were sold as a bundle. Typical lenses that are included in a bundle is are 18-55mm or 70-300mm. These are versatile lenses but they have one major drawback; they do not offer the capacity to shoot at apertures lower than f/3.5 or f4, respectively.

As your photography hobby grows you will probably want to experiment with shooting at lower apertures for lots of reasons:

  • To create blurry backgrounds
  • To capture images where there is less light
  • To have creative control

There are TONS of lenses to help you reach these goals, but here are some go-to choices when you are ready to purchase your first lens. Note that these are "Fixed Length" lenses, meaning that they do not zoom. (You will have to use your manual zoom, also known as your legs!)

50mm

50mm lenses capture an image more or less as your eye sees it. There is no distortion.

 Click for more info:  Nikon AF  FX  NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D . Note, if you have a Nikon DX camera this lens will create a cropped image.

Click for more info: Nikon AF FX NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8D. Note, if you have a Nikon DX camera this lens will create a cropped image.


 Click for more info:  Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens

Click for more info: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM Lens


40mm

Just a little wider than a 50mm lens. Canon only. I much cheaper alternative to the 35mm f/2.

 Click to learn more:  Canon EF 40mm f/2.8

Click to learn more: Canon EF 40mm f/2.8


35mm

These lenses capture images a little wider than what the eye can naturally see, but without so much distortion that is it distracting.

Click for more info: Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G  For DX cameras only.


 Click for more info:  Canon EF 35mm f/2

Click for more info: Canon EF 35mm f/2



Before purchasing any lens, be sure to check that it is compatible with your camera body. Most manufacturers have easy-to-read guides on their websites! Enjoy!