Choosing the right lens for your new camera
Eager to unleash the full potential of your DSLR or mirrorless camera? Take your photography to the next level by adding lenses to your repertoire...
The right lens opens up a whole new world of possibilities to create professional-looking photos worthy of being on the cover of a magazine. But with so much choice, it can be hard knowing where to start.
Let us point you in the right direction with our pick of fantastic lenses from the top brands.
Prime, pancake or zoom?
Once you’ve got to know the fundamentals of your camera, you can start building up your collection of lenses to help your photos really stand out from the crowd.
If you’ve got a DSLR…
Try a prime lens. This shoots at a fixed focal length so doesn’t allow you to zoom in or out when you’re taking photos. It lets you work with a narrower depth of field and produces a sharper overall image than a zoom lens.
- Telephoto prime lens – capture wildlife, sports and other faraway subjects in crystal-clear clarity with the Canon Telephoto Prime Lens. It offers completely silent focusing, and you won’t need to use the flash in low-light conditions, so animals won’t be disturbed.
- Standard prime lens – this hogs the middle ground between a wide-angle and telephoto lens in terms of focal length. At 35mm, the Nikon standard prime is a great all-round lens that’s ideal for capturing landscapes and street life. And it’s lightweight so doesn’t add too much bulk to your camera.
But there’ll be times when you just can’t get close enough – like when you’re in a crowd, trying to photograph a deadly predator or capture action-packed sport. On these occasions only a zoom lens will do. They bring your subject closer to you and – if you pick the right lens – do so with amazing clarity. You’ll think they’re standing right infront of them.
Zoom lenses like the Canon EF 75-300 MM are also great if you’re travelling with your camera and don’t have space for lots of kit. They can do the job of a two or three prime lenses in one.
If you’ve got a mirrorless camera…
Check out our Canon, Fuji and Sony lenses for shooting everything from people and places to everyday life.
- Pancake lens – this is a very thin and compact lens, making it easy to carry around with you. It doesn’t zoom so optical quality isn’t diminished. The Canon Pancake Lens is lightweight and great for portraits and low-light shoots.
- Telephoto zoom lens – get up-close shots of something in the distance. Whether it's the kids playing football or a bird in flight, the Fuji Telephoto Zoom packs some serious punch and allows you to experiment with different focal lengths to get the perfect shot. Or try the Sony Telephoto Zoom Lens - it lets you get closer to the action with its 3.8x zoom capabilities, and it’s also ultra-quiet if you need to be discreet.
- Telephoto prime lens – prime lenses give the ultimate image quality, making them perfect for portrait shots when you want to capture your subject in absolulte clarity. The FujiFilm Fujinon XF 90 mm telephoto prime lens produces ultra-sharp images with rich bokeh (the out of focus areas that help draw your eye to the main subject) even at the maximum aperture setting.
Make your camera more flexible with a mount adapter
Each camera-maker uses its own lens mount so, ordinarily, lenses can’t be swapped across brands. But a mount adapter lets you use a lens on a camera that it wasn’t designed for. For instance, you might want to use a Canon lens with a Sony camera. Or a DSLR lens with a mirrorless camera. This gives you more options to expand your photography skills even further.
You can fit lenses from Canon's EF and EF-S range to the EOS M mirrorless camera with the Canon EF-Mount adapter
Attach Canon EF lenses to Sony E mounts with the Sigma converter
Fit a NIKKOR F mount DSLR lens to the Nikon 1 mirrorless camera with the Nikon FT1 lens mount adapter
Tips for taking professional-looking photos
- Turn off automatic mode: You bought your DSLR or mirrorless to shoot better photos, right? It’s time to turn off auto mode. Scary we know. Experimenting with aperture, shutter speed and white balance is the best way to learn the finer points of photography. You can start tentatively by shooting on Aperture priority mode (look for Av or A) – this gives you control over how much light the camera is taking in.
- Shoot all types of subject: Landscapes, wildlife, sports and street photography all present different challenges. Try all of them to see which ignites your passions the most – and practise, practise, practise. The great thing about digital cameras is that you can delete anything you don’t like.
- Adjust the shutter speedfor action shots: If you want to create fast-moving images with blurring motion or crisply freeze the action in a moment in time, use a fast shutter speed. A good rule of thumb is to use a speed of 1/1000 of a second.
- Use a high ISO for shooting in low light: If you’re shooting in dimly lit conditions such as a dark cathedral or concert venue, there isn’t much light available for your camera sensor. A high ISO number, such as ISO 3200, will give you a correctly exposed image.