Saturday, April 9, 2011

Photo Tip #12 - Best Value Lens

In Photo Tip #5, we talked about getting to know your current camera and learning how to use it, instead of buying your way to better photography. Today I'm going to give you my opinion on the MOST asked question I get about cameras and lenses. "What lens should I buy next?" As always, that depends on what you want to do, but I will do my best to give you a couple of options.

If you are ready to step up to a DSLR camera from your point-and-shoot model, don't be afraid of any of the newer Canon Rebels (T1, T2, or T3) or their Nikon counterparts. If you own an Olympus, Pentax, Sony or something else, those can be good choices too...I just don't know that much about them...sorry! The lenses I'll show you can work for everyone.

The first question on buying lenses usually revolves around buying some sort of "kit lens" set up. That's because Canon, Nikon and others package these bundles at places like Costco and Best Buy to make things easy for you. I'm a fan of these deals. They can be good starting places. A common set up for a Canon is: a rebel, 18-55 lens, 55-250 lens. This is a good all around package. I started this way. The thing I didn't like about this package was changing lenses all the time. I found myself at places like La Jolla Cove wanting to take a wide angle shot with the 18-55 lens, only to find myself wanting to shoot a parade of flying pelicans, and needed to switch to my zoom lens.

If you find yourself in this situation, or getting ready to purchase a new DSLR, consider buying an all-around lens like the Tamron or Sigma 18-200, 18-250, or 18-270. These are great walk around lenses. There is not that much difference between the 250 and 270 in zoom. The biggest difference is price. One of these lenses can be a great option instead of the kit lens solution. You'll come out at nearly the same price. One store you might consider in purchasing is B&H Photo. They have great pricing, great shipping, and good customer service.

Most of you who already own DSLR cameras, have the above set up. But if you find yourself wanting to shoot in low light without a flash, and also wanting to take a nice portrait shot with the background blurred, there is good news! You don't have to break the bank for this lens. Both Canon and Nikon have a sub-$100 lens that will do the trick. It's a 50mm f/1.8 lens that will do all of the above. If you have kids and want to take great portrait shots of them, this is the lens for you! With a newer Rebel camera, you can shoot this lens in very dim light situations without using a tripod. I bought my daughter one for her birthday last year and she LOVES it!

You don't have to break the bank to have lots of fun with your camera! I hope these options will give you lots of great photo fun! Keep those questions coming!


Jake M said...

The best deal for Nikon is actually the 35mm f/1.8, not the 50mm. But it's pretty much the same thing.

Darrel Larson said...

Thanks for the inside scoop on the Nikon lens Jake!