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Camera Lenses

Camera Lens Buying Guide
Cameras are wonderful things as they are but they can be made...
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Camera Lens Buying Guide

Cameras are wonderful things as they are but they can be made even better and more useful with the right equipment or attachments. Specifically I'm speaking of camera lenses, yes not all cameras have interchangeable lenses but many do, and you don't have to purchase an expensive camera either to get the luxury of using different lenses.

Some cameras must have lenses on them where they attach directly to the body, these cameras sometimes don't even come with a lens when purchased either, so the cost of the camera rises with the added expense of purchasing a lens as well. Many though come as a kit, these are the best options really, they'll include a nice camera and one, two or maybe more different lenses for you to use and choose from depending on what your shooting.

Other cameras have a lens built into them and you can take pictures right out of the box with no need for an additional lens, but they have the ability to attach a lens to them over the built in one. This ability will allow you to select various types of lenses, like Macro and Zoom styles, and even add different filters to the camera. This is the type of camera that I own personally and use most often, I like the ability to just turn it on and shoot, but I also like the idea of being able to add a new lens if need be.

There are several types and styles of lenses on the market today and of course which one or many you choose will depend on what you intend on doing with your camera.

Camera lenses are most commonly made from glass, but can be made from quartz or even plastic. You might be thinking that a plastic lens can't possibly be any good, and yes you could be right in that assumption, but as technology has progressed so has their manufacturing process been improved. Some, but not all plastic lenses can be as good, if not better than those made of glass, but of course you'll want to look for name brands to be sure you are getting a quality lens.

There are really only four main types of lenses out there today, but there can be thousands of variations on those types making it seem like there are many more available.

Standard Lens – These are just a normal lens, the type that takes general pictures, nothing special about them, they just do their job, they're great for general everyday pictures.

Telephoto Lens – A telephoto lens is what you'd use if you want to bring a far away subject closer, similar to binoculars, but for your camera. If you're bird watching or maybe spying on the neighbors this is the lens that you'd need for the job to make sure you get a good close look at things. Telephoto style lenses are often used for portrait photography actually.

Wide-Angle Lens - This type of lens allows you to get a wider shot, you can get more in your picture with a wide-angle lens, hence the 'wide' in the name obviously. Wide angles lenses are nice for some things, but they often distort the images like making straight lines appear curved at the farthest points. Wide angle lenses are commonly used in cinematography for the perspective they offer, and the fact that you can get more into the picture.

Macro Lens – The Macro lens is my personal favorite type of lens, it's use to really zoom in on things, and what I mean by that is you use a macro lens for taking pictures of details. You can zoom in for close ups of a bee maybe and see the hairs on it's back, the possibilities are endless really for the things you can discover with a Macro lens on your camera. I've found that they can be used to see things that the naked eye cannot, like imperfections in a piece of metal, of the texture of a finely woven cloth.

Besides the standard types of lenses you can also get specialized ones that can be useful or add effects to your photography. These can be actual lenses like a Fish eye lens that kind of squeezes the image, but other times they are called filters where they can be useful in filtering out or filtering in light. You can get filters to create cool effect where reds are reduced and blues are increased, or warm filters with the opposite effect. You can also get infrared, rainbow, sepia, and many many more styles, so you can really get creative with your picture taking.

When purchasing a lens for your camera you'll have to figure out first what you want to photograph and then you can proceed from there to figure out which lens will be right for you.

It's often recommended to purchase a lens from the same company that manufactured your camera, this will guarantee that it will fit and work correctly with your camera. You don't have to though, there are many companies out there now that specialize in lenses as well, you'll just have to make sure you get the correct size for your camera's lens mount. Speaking of lens mounts, some cameras can even accept different sized lens though the use of special adapters that can usually be purchased through the manufacturer and sometimes from a third party.

When buying camera lenses, the general rule is 'you get what you pay for', but that's only a generality really, as I personally have purchased inexpensive lenses that worked fine for me. On the flip side of that though I've received cheap lenses that were just that, cheap, they had bubbles in the glass of the lens and were basically useless to me like that obviously. So with cheap lenses it's the luck of the draw really, and a hope that the company has a good support department and return policy for any bad lenses received. What I'm saying is that, if you can afford it and really need it then I would look at purchasing the more expensive, name brand lenses that you know are manufactured with strict quality controls, at least you'll have a solid company reputation behind the product and have a high expectancy of receiving a quality product.

When purchasing a lens for your camera the best thing you can do is research, through product reviews yes but more importantly look around and see what others are using that have the same shooting style as you do. There are many photography magazines and websites devoted to discussing cameras and their lenses, you can quickly and easily find out if the lens you're thinking of buying is the correct one for what you want to do. Most of the websites as well offer forums where you can ask questions and learn from the other members, don't be afraid to ask questions, that's the only way you'll learn!


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