Photo Tip Series – Lens Selection for a SLR Camera

Written by: Nathan Wertheimer

The next Photo Tip Series I will be writing about is the Lens selection for your SLR camera. It does not matter if you own film or digital SLR camera. If you have a SLR camera body then you have to make the decision on what lens to attach. The lens selection will depend on what you are photographing.

Some people are unaware about the technical information about some lenses. Today, some models like Nikon still use lenses from the past and present. As a Nikon user, I am trilled about using vintage lenses on my camera. They don’t make lenses like they used too. Most lenses today have a plastic mounts. The older metal mounts can also break too. It is your decision to go with plastic vs. metal mounts. If you own a Nikon DX camera body you have the option of buying either FX or DX lenses for your camera. FX lenses are made for full frame SLR cameras.

When shopping for a lens you have the option of buying a brand name or a third party lens. Some of the well-known third party lens manufacturers are Tamron, Sigma, and Tokina. I have personally used all three brands. There are other third party brands out there too. Don’t discount the third party lenses. Sometime the third party lenses are better than the name brand lens. Please read online photo equipment reviews for certain lenses before thinking of purchasing them. This will save you time and a headache of problems.

If you decide to buy a used lens then check out these guidelines to look out for. Check the lens for fungus, cracks, damaged internal and external parts, and or missing pieces. Ask the buyer or retail store questions on the lens you are thinking of purchasing. If you feel it is not in good shape walk away from the sell. Each store is going to have a different selection of lenses for sell. Other places to purchase used lenses are eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, pawn shops, individual owners, and direct from the manufacturer. Finally, ask the retail shop or individual if they are willing to lower to price for the lens you are looking at. You never know unless you try and ask.

After purchasing a lens, many photographers buy lens accessories. Some of these accessories include lens hood, lens front and rear lens caps, lens filters, and a nice lens bag to protect your lens. Lens hoods are made in either rubber, metal, and plastic. Each one has its draw back. When buying a new lens it already comes with front and rear lens caps. If you are buying a used lens sometime the lens does not come with lens caps at all. If you do not know the exact lens opening for a lens cap I would recommend bring the lens in person to a photography retail store for assistance. Another accessory is the lens filter used for many reasons. If you want to protect your lens then buy a clear skylight filter. Please note there are different quality and colors lens filters. Consult your photography retail store associate for assistance and they will explain an show you the different quality lens filters and colors.

When traveling within the United States or traveling the world. You might want a lens you can use on the go. I would recommend the 28-300mm lens. This is an all-purpose lens so you don’t have to change lenses in daylight situations. If you had two lenses you would be carrying around an18-55mm lens along with a 70-300mm lens. Sometime there is not time to change lens on a tour, on a ride, and l or in a live performance.

For wide-angle photography, many photographers like photograph portraits. Portrait photography is a photo of individuals, family members, relatives, co-workers, and teammates. It does not matter if it is one person or filling the whole entire frame with people. The lens I recommend for portrait photography is the 18-55mm lens. This lens is great in tight situation and for group shoots too. Another situation this lens is great for is up-close concert photography near the stage or an overall feel of the stage setting with people enjoying the concert.

Do you ever wonder how they get the perfect sports photography? If you said yes, then check out this telephoto zoom 70-200mm f2.8 lens. This lens is great in low light and to blur out the background at F2.8, which is the biggest opening on this lens. There are many sports you can photograph with this lens. Some big sports that come to mind are soccer, football, golf, basketball, baseball, and many more. Keep in mind this is an expensive lens if you bought it brand new. There are plenty of telephoto used lenses.

This information was written for general lens knowledge to help get you started. Once you have a camera in hand go out and capture the moments of a lifetime. Happy photography to you. Thank you for reading this Photo Tip Series and check back again for more Photography Tips in the future.

Photos courtesy of Nikon USA and Tamron USA. (Left photo) Nikon 18-55mm lens. (Right Photo) Tamron SP 70-200 F2.8 Di

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