DSLR lens types

dslr-2lensesFrom ultra-wide to super telephoto, both in fixed focal lengths and zoom, there are plenty of interchangeable lenses from which to choose. Be prepared to open your wallet wide for a high quality lens.

Digital Single Lens Reflex camera lenses come in several grades. As the grade gets higher, prices increase but so does build and image quality. Starter lenses, such as the kit lens that comes with an entry level DSLR, are the least expensive.  There are also mid-priced and professional-grade lenses.

Interchangeable lens types

Prime lens

A prime lens has a fixed focal length. Prime lenses are said to offer superior image quality over most zoom lenses. They are less expensive and lighter than zoom lens and have less moving parts…but they are also less versatile.

Standard lens – 35mm to 85mm – Standard lenses are used for general photography and portrait shots. A 50mm lens, known as a “normal” lens, has about the same angle of view as the human eye.

Wide angle lens – 28mm and lower; great for large group photos, landscapes and for photographing interior and exterior of buildings.

Telephoto lens – 100mm to 300mm; used for portrait and sports photography

Super telephoto lens – 300mm and above; used for sports and wildlife photography. Super telephoto lenses can be super heavy and may need to be used in conjunction with a tripod.

Macro lens – used for taking photos of very small subjects such as coins, jewelry, insects and flowers.

Zoom lens

Zoom lenses offer a lot of flexibility. While heavier and more expensive than a prime lens, they offer variable focal lengths in a single lens.

Specialty lenses

Fisheye lens – an ultra-wide angle lens that captures a view as much as 180 degrees.  The image, while distorted produces an interesting effect.

Tilt-Shift lens – tilt movements allow you to obtain a wide Depth of Field even at the maximum aperture while the entire subject remains in focus.

Pancake lens – a lightweight, short barrel lens. It’s size makes it relatively flat when mounted on a DSLR body. On a small camera body, the duo may be pocketable.

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