It can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to camera gear. Today I am going to go over understanding camera lenses, and help you guys see the pros and cons of different lenses.
There are two different types of lenses. Prime lenses and zoom lenses. The prime lens keeps the same focal length in every image you take, while the zoom lens has the capacity to change focal lengths. The benefit of using a zoom lens is that it is very versatile. The benefit of a prime lens is that it usually has a wider aperture (lets in more light) and is more compact. I use both types of lenses, although right now my zoom lens is my favorite.
There are two numbers on a lens that you need to understand. The first number listed ends with mm. This number tells you focal length of the image. It’s basically telling us how much of the image is going to be captured and how zoomed in it is. The lower the number, the more scenery you will capture and the more zoomed out your image will be. For instance, my 35 mm (towards the lower end) lets me capture the beautiful scenery as well as the subjects I am photographing. If I want to just get the subjects in the frame while standing in the same spot, however, I would use my 85 mm.
The second number listed is the aperture of the lens. Prime lenses list only one aperture (like 1.2). Zoom lenses list two apertures, because the aperture capability depends on the local length you choose. My zoom lens has an aperture range of 2.8-4. The aperture listed on the camera lens is the lowest the number can go. Lenses have the ability to go higher than that, so the number is just letting you know your lowest aperture.
There are many different companies that make lenses. If you shoot with a Nikon, you don’t just have to use Nikon lenses. Same with Canon. Sigma and Tamron are two other popular and reliable brands. I have both Nikon and Tamron lenses.
A great basic lens to start out with is the 50 mm 1.8 lens. It is nicknamed the nifty fifty, because is is the ideal lens for starting out. It is on the cheaper end of lenses and gets the job done for almost all occasions. I still use mine! You can get one for about $200.
If you have any questions, Perfect Light in Idaho Falls is more than helpful! They teach me all I need to know and more about the lenses I am thinking about investing in. They have helped me make some lens choices that have really improved my photography game!
Good luck guys! Please let me know if you have any questions. I am always more than willing to help out fellow photographers!