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A Guide To Buying Your Camera Lens: This Mistake Will Cost You Money!

Photography

Buying the right lens for your camera is a minefield, and not to mention an expensive endeavour; it will ultimately determine how your images will look and what style of photography you’re going for.

What’s important is that you buy a lens that’s going to fit your budget and camera, then use that camera lens to develop your photographic skills.

I’ve wasted money buying the wrong lenses; now they just sit on my shelf gathering dust. Purchasing without knowing what area of photography you’ll be venturing into, or what style you want to develop becomes expensive. If you’re unsure, hire first and experiment.

Let’s dive deep into this to save you spending thousands on an unsuitable lens.

Before you buy a camera lens, think about what you’ll be using it for. Will you be travelling a lot, in low light situations, have to work fast, need to be hidden, or have more of a connection.

Are you shooting a wedding, an event, portraits, street, wildlife, sports; the list is endless and so it the opportunity to buy many lenses when really you may only need two.

Let’s start with my favourite, Prime Camera Lenses, which are fixed focal length. These are a great all-rounder; they mimic what we can see naturally, the closest focal length to the human eye is around 22, 24 or 50mm.

What’s in my photography bag?

Standard lenses

Sigma 35mm – f/1.4 | What I use it for:

Weddings – Wide venue shots, landscapes, dynamic dancing shots

  • Events
  • Landscapes
  • Travel

Why it’s a great lens:

Sigma Art lens, in my opinion, was the sharpest I could find. It’s lightweight, quick to autofocus, sharp, great in low light situations, and due to the f/1.4 aperture, it creates a beautiful, creamy, soft, blurry background with beautiful bokeh. Bokeh has been defined as, “The way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light”.


Sigma 50mm f/1.4 | What I use it for:

Canon rf 50mm f/1.2

(filming and photographic lens for the Canon Camera eos R)

  • Portraits
  • Travel
  • Street
  • Indoor
  • Couple shots
  • Group shots
  • Weddings – Details, groups, throughout the whole day
  • Events

I loved the Sigma 50mm 1.4 lens, it is the perfect travel lens, lightweight, fast shutter, sharp, great in low light, perfect for those awesome sunsets moments with a HOYA PROND 4 filter. The 1.4 aperture gives you a creamy, soft, light, blurry background with beautiful bokeh.

When I bought the Canon R 1.2, well that took my creativity to a whole new level; however, the lens is cumbersome, heavier than my 24-70mm zoom lens – but totally worth the weight.


Nikon 85mm f/1.8: | What I use it for:

  • Portraits
  • Weddings – speeches, couple shots
  • Group shots – however, you have to stand quite far back, and this can disconnect you from the group
  • Any situation where I want more spontaneity in my shot

These 3 are great all-rounders and can be used in most situations:

Telephoto lenses

Zoom lenses provide more flexibility; however, they are heavy, not as fast and sometimes not as sharp at the lower end of the F stop (aperture) as primes.

I’ll use in a lowlight situation if it’s for an event or a wedding with a lot of stage lighting.

Nikon 24mm – 70mm f/2.8 | What I use this for:

(I found this lens to be sharp at aperture 4 and above)

  • Travel – on the odd occasion – however, it is a beast to carry around.
  • Commercial shoots
  • Fashion – Dynamic angles
  • Landscapes
  • Wedding, first dance, cutting of the cake, large groups

Nikon 70mm – 200mm f/2.8 | What I use this for:

(I found this lens to be sharp at 2.8, I never take it on holiday)

  • Studio
  • Location shoot
  • Commercial shoot
  • Portraits
  • Weddings – Reception, speeches
  • Sports
  • Wildlife – If I shot wildlife

This lens is my commercial workhorse – due to the focal length, it gives me a beautiful, shallow, creamy background without losing the sharpness of the subject.

It is incredibly flattering for portraits, as it slims down the face ever so slightly and gives that excellent background blur, helping to create separation.

After a while, my arm does start to hurt. That’s why I always bring my harness or a tripod to the shoot.

If you want to get finer and close up details, then you will need a Macro Lens.

Going for a special effect? Then perhaps a Fisheye or Tilt & Shift Lens, which I used for a few weddings, really good fun!

Knowing what I use now, and what’s essential for me to create my style of photography and what’s versatile, I’d buy a 50mm f/1.2, giving you the option to be creative, shoot in low light and adaptable for most situations.

Except for wildlife, you’ll need the 70mm -200 or even 300mm. You can’t be sneaking up with a 50mm…

Want to improve your photography? Get off auto and onto manual mode. Figure out how to get the best out of your camera and lenses while gaining in-depth knowledge about the exposure triangle!

Download my free guide to photography cheat sheet

Come and join my community of photographers and creatives where I share extra tips, have live chats and discuss your photography evolution and business strengths, weakness, how to market yourself and most importantly, how to find clients.

Lens Explained

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