The Beginners Guide to Choosing a Camera Lens

Whatever you’re snapping, every inch of your subject has the potential to become super-clear and supremely focused thanks to a state-of-the-art camera lens.

So, whether you’ve been an established prohotpgrapher for years and are looking to update your kit, or are entering the realms of photography for the first time, here is a quick guide to the various lenses and what you can expect for your budget.

It’s time to maximise the potential of your camera – the tilt shift, prime, macro and zoom lens way.

Tilt shift lenses

By projecting a larger image circle compared to your standard camera lens, a tilt shift lens is able to capture a greater focus on the subject (in the centre). You’ll never suffer from blurry edges again with this piece of kit.

Tilt shift lenses are ideally created for horizontal and vertical panoramas – therefore perfect for capturing everything from nature scenes to high-rise tower blocks. Perspective is also a tricky one to muster, without scales and angles distorting, so tilt shift lenses make this nice and easy.

Prime lenses

For amateur photographers looking for their first super-lens, a prime lens should be your accessory of choice. Choosing a fixed focal length gives those behind the camera a much wider maximum aperture setting – which is ideal for capturing any low-light moments.

Although you can’t get closer or further away from your subject without physically walking towards them, there are plenty of portraits, gig shots and candle-lit dinners to document before you could possibly get bored of this light-enhancing lens. They are also a cheaper and lighter than their ‘more advanced’ counterparts.

Macro lenses

Widely regarded as the crème de la crème of lenses for close-up, images, you can’t get better attention to detail than with a macro lens.

If you want to capture the texture, intricacy and patterns on small subjects, then a telephoto macro lens is also worth bearing in mind. It is better for taking photos of unpredictable nature – such as butterflies and insects that could be spooked easily.

If you’ve been shooting for years and are proficient at such skills as depth of field, magnification and diffraction, using a macro lens are sure to give your images a new-found sharpness.

Zoom lenses

The sole focus of these lenses is to give you variable focal length. Point and shoot at intricate objects many metres away without the logistical stresses of getting physically closer to your subject.  Zoom lenses are a top pick for budding photo journalists and keen wildlife lovers wanting to capture creatures of beauty from afar.

Whether you’re on the lookout for a Nikon, Fujifilm, Olympus, Leica, Panasonic, Pentax, Sigma, Kenko, Zeiss or Canon lens, be sure to shop at an independent retailer who offers impartial advice. What Digital Camera and Amateur Photographer magazine awarded Clifton Cameras with the Gold Award in the Online Retailer and Independent High Street Retailers categories if you’re looking for somewhere to start your search.