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What Lens Should Every Photographer Have?

What Lens Should Every Photographer Have?

Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a seasoned pro, every photographer needs a good variety of lenses in their kit. Here are the top lenses every photographer should have no matter your experience level or preferred subject matter, and when to use each one!


Normal or Standard Lenses
Standard lenses have a mid-range focal length between 40mm and 60mm. The most common focal length is the one that falls right in the middle– the 50mm, giving you roughly the same field of view as the naked eye. When should you use this must have camera lens? Standard lenses are great all-rounders given they closely mimic what we see naturally. They are generally the basic lens used for portraits, street photography, indoor photography, and landscape photography. They aren’t too big or too heavy so they’re perfect for just throwing in your bag and taking with you wherever you go.

Canon lens

Telephoto Lenses
Another one of the lenses every photographer should have is the telephoto lens from Telephoto lenses have a longer focal length (anything above 60mm) and magnify the subject. This allows you to take photos of subjects that are further away. They also give great background blur, helping separate your subject from the background. A “mid-range” telephoto lens is around 70–200mm. Then there’s the must-have camera lens, the super-telephoto. This is anything over 200mm! As the focal length goes up, so does the weight and size of the lens, in which case you’ll need to use a tripod, or seriously increase your time in the gym! Given they’re usually pretty big, it’s best to use a telephoto lens outside, especially when you have some distance between you and your subject. Telephoto lenses are a must have camera lens for shooting wildlife photography, sports photography and astronomy. 

Wide Angle Lenses
Wide angle lenses aren’t your typical, every day lens. But they’re still one of the must have camera lenses. They’re the exact opposite of telephoto lenses, as you can fit more into the frame in a much shorter distance. The focal length of these lenses is pretty much anything below 40mm. The smaller the focal length number, the more you’ll be able to fit into the frame. Because of the distortion you can get, wide angle lenses aren’t particularly great for individual portraits, but they can be great for shooting in cramped interiors, large group shots, and landscapes!

Macro Lenses
Macro lenses are your basic lens for close up photography.  They have a 1:1 ratio, which basically means they can capture your subject at life size magnification. All of this means that macro lenses from are perfect for taking nature photography, insect photography, and detail photography. Extremely beautiful portraits can also be taken with these must have camera lenses. Making a macro lens a good all round purchase.

Fixed Prime or Zoom?
Once you have an idea of the focal ranges of the different types of lenses, you then need to decide whether you’re going for a fixed prime lens, or a zoom lens.

Zoom Lenses
One of the best lenses for photography is the zoom lens. Zooms allow you to change through the whole focal range of the lens, just by turning the barrel, so you can zoom in and out to fill more or less of the screen. The benefit of a zoom is simply that you can get multiple focal lengths in one handy lens. This is great if you only want to invest in one lens! However, they’re heavier to carry and don’t have quite the same image quality as you get from fixed prime lenses. 


Prime Fixed Lenses
Prime lenses are those that have a fixed focal length such as 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm and so on. They don’t zoom in or out, so you have to physically move yourself closer or farther away from your subject. They generally can shoot at lower apertures and therefore are must have camera lenses for letting in more light, and also for creating background blur, especially if you have a telephoto lens. Finally, prime lenses tend to give you sharper images, and better overall image quality than zoom lenses! The lenses you use are the most important gear in your bag. So the more time you spend researching and learning about must have camera lenses, the better off you’ll be.
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