The prices of interchangeable lenses for digital single reflex cameras range from about $100.00 to those costing thousands of dollars.
The prices of most professional grades lenses can take your breath away, or cause you to mortgage your house.
Benefits of expensive lens
High quality lenses, called “glass” by photographers, render better colors, images can be sharper and they have less distortion, though are not necessarily distortion-free. High quality lenses are built ruggedly and many are waterproof. Professional quality lenses are as good as they get.
Some of the main reasons to purchase better lenses are that they focus quicker, have quieter motors and may be “faster.” A fast lens has a large maximum aperture that lets more light pass through during a given time span. Fast lenses are particularly useful for low light photography and when high shutter speeds are required.
Don’t balk at budget lenses
For many, a quality budget lens will meet their photographic needs.
A gowning number of these lenses are designed for today’s smaller DSLRs. They are compact and lightweight compared to their more expensive counterparts. Their light weight may be of particular benefit to compact digital camera users moving to small sized DSLRs.
A heavy lens, though, may not balance well on a lighter DSLR body. Those who use and like the spontaneity of a super zoom camera may balk at the fact that heavy, long and super telephoto lenses may require the use of a tripod or monopod. Tripods and suitable tripod heads for specific photographic needs, such as panning or photographing panoramas, can be expensive.
Budget lenses have gotten better
Shop carefully and read a few reviews before purchasing a lens. You’ll find that a number of the newer budget DSLR lenses, including those with Image Stabilization, provide very fine image quality. They lack the build and some of features found on more expensive lenses but those features may not be missed.
Images produced by high megapixel count cameras often do not appear sharp when viewed at 100 percent on a computer monitor, even when properly focused. When an image is reduced in size and edited, including sharpening, it may be near impossible to see the difference between images taken with a quality budget lens and one that costs a lot more.
Buy a budget or expensive DSLR lens?
If you’re a new DSLR user, you may want to begin with a quality, budget lens. Some DSLRs come packaged with a kit zoom lens, or lenses, which range from wide angle to telephoto. Kit lenses, when purchased along with a camera body, can cost less than the exact same lenses purchased separately.
This is not to say you shouldn’t start off with a better lens if it meets your photographic needs and is affordable. Just don’t assume that a better lens will automatically make you a better photographer.
How do you know if you need a better lens?
The answer is simple: when you are no longer happy with the results of the one you currently own; when you find you need a longer or wider focal length or one that has faster, more accurate focus.