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DSLR Lenses – An Introduction

Today we continue the series on purchasing digital cameras and shoosing what you need with an introduction to lenses for you DSLR.

Below is a reprint from dPS.

When I first started writing about digital cameras the main question i was asked by readers was ‘Which Camera should I buy?‘ Usually they were in the market for a point, fairly entry level point and shoot digital camera.

However these days with the increase in people buying DSLR cameras (they are so much cheaper and more people are feeling comfortable enough with digital now that they want to take it to the next level) the biggest question that I’m now asked is ‘Which Lens Should I buy for my DSLR?‘

Answering the question is something of a minefield as each digital camera manufacturer offers a large range of lenses of different qualities and budgets. Add to this that each photographer shoots differently and has their own styles and preferences and it can be something of a minefield to navigate to answer the ‘which lens’ question.

What follows below is an attempt to unpack the different types of lenses that most manufacturers offer in the DSLR market. I’m not going to get into talking about specific lenses but want to give a brief introduction to some of the terms and types of lenses that you’ll come across as you begin to explore the DSLR lens market.

Keep in mind that most DSLRs are not what are known as ‘full frame’ cameras. Their sensors are generally smaller than full frame and as a result lenses don’t have the same impact on these cameras as they would on a film camera. This is why you’ll often hear manufacturers talking about the ‘equivalent’ focal length of a lens.

Types of DSLR Lenses

Wide angle lenses come both as prime lenses but also are being found at the lower end of telephoto zoom lenses increasingly. Be aware that very wide lenses will sometimes distort your image a little (or a lot), especially at the edges of your photos where they can be quite curved. This can be used to great effect but can also be quite frustrating at times.

At the extreme end of the ‘wide angle’ range are ‘fisheye lenses’ which purposely distort your image in a curved way to get more into the shot. Again this is a style of photography that many love but is an art to get right.

So there you have it – you’re now at least equipped with some definitions and starting points for shopping for your next DSLR lens purchase.

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