Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lens buying guide

Last year, I put up this post regarding buying lenses for your digital SLR.

There are two reasons why lens buying advice needs to be updated:
  1. There are many new lenses coming out these days, more so than I can remember in the recent past.

  2. The dedication by manufacturers such as Canon and Nikon to the DX format APS-C image sensor used in most consumer and pro-sumer DSLR's seems to be here to stay.  More and more lenses are being built specifically for APS-C and they fill a void left in many manufacturer's full frame lens line-ups for use with APS-C cameras.  What does this mean to you?  If you want a true wide angle lens for your DX format APS-C DSLR, you're going to need to buy a lens built specifically for APS-C sensors.  In my post mentioned above, I said that you should avoid these lenses unless you have a specific reason to buy them, and I still believe that to a degree.  But I believe that these days there are more reasons to buy them and the lenses have gotten much better, so I've softened my stance on this a little bit.
All of this being said, I was about to write a new post for my blog on this topic when I opened up the DPreview.com web site this morning and saw their shiny news Lens Buying Guide located at this link.  I read the article and it's well written and accurate, so to save me a heck of a lot of typing and repeating a lot of what they said, I will simply refer you to their excellent guide to start your lens buying research.

From my perspective, my original advice from my original post on this still stands:  Most serious photographers will be quite happy with a lens collection that includes a high quality wide zoom (approximately 17-50 mm), a medium range general-purpose zoom that will probably be on your camera most often (approximately 28-135mm), and a long zoom (approximately 70-300mm).  After that  you can buy specialty lenses for specific purposes if you need them.
Enjoy, and happy shooting (or should I say "happy shopping")!


  1. Dam I was halfway through writing one of those myself! dpreview always does a great job, one of the best sites out there for this kinda thing. Its pretty hard to beat them for attention to detail so a wise choice to save the effort :)

  2. Hi Ciaran...

    You're right! I saved a lot of typing! :-)

    Usually when I run across a potential subject for this blog like writing a lens buying guide or whatever type of thing in that area, more than likely it's been done very well by one of the major photo sites already, so I'll link to it if it's relevant.

    What I then try to do instead is supplement the main article/link with my own thoughts and experiences on the topic. So, while I might not have written the full lens guide, hopefully people might get something relevant out of the lens comments that I add to it.