One of the most intriguing question for someone who has recently bought a DSLR is which lens to buy.
We live in times where every camera company drowns us in a pool of innumerable lens options. There are lenses for each demographic, different price ranges, boasting different features.
Add to that the sensibilities of an individual photographer, what you are left with is a complex maze to navigate.
Here is a humble effort to help you out by demystifying different aspects of a camera lens. Treat it like a Lens 101 to whet your appetite.
We shall now look at DSLR lenses available for Canon and Nikon cameras. Note that Canon and Nikon manufacture lenses as well for its cameras. Besides Canon and Nikon, there are other lens manufacturers like Tamron, Sigma, and so on that manufacture lenses for Canon and Nikon cameras.
Table of Contents
- Best lenses for Canon DSLR Cameras
- Best lenses for Nikon DSLR Cameras
- Tamron AF 70 – 300mm F/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
- Samyang SY14MAE-N 14mm f/2.8 ultra wide angle prime lens for Nikon AE
- Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Nikon Cameras
- Nikon AF-S DX-Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Prime Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Camera
- Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300 F/4.5 to 5.6G ED VR Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
- Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4 to 5.6G Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
- Nikon 50mm Nikkor f/1.8D AF Prime Lens for DSLR camera
- Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm F/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
- Different types of DSLR Lenses
- Things to consider when buying DSLR Lenses
- Let us now dive into Lens maintenance
Best lenses for Canon DSLR Cameras
Canon EF-50mm f/1.8 STM Lens for Canon DSLR Cameras
This Canon lens is ideal for portrait photographs, as they can work in low light conditions and are fit for everyday use.
This lens comes with a wide aperture that enables you to produce artistic and impactful photography.
The advantage of the STM feature is the near-silent focus motor that ensures you focus with utmost precision. The robust build is an additional advantage.
This lens is an ideal one for photographing facial expressions with accuracy. It is easy to use this lens in low-lighting conditions because the f/1.8 aperture allows eight times more light to enter than the standard zoom lens.
Hence, you get sharper images with as little motion blur as possible. This lens also allows you to create high-quality movies because it provides continuous focusing while making no noise at all.
Samyang SY14M-C 14mm f/2.8 Ultra Wide Angle Prime Lens for Canon DSLR Camera
This Samyang lens is an ultra wide-angle prime lens that can fit Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras.
The Samyang lens gives a wide 115-degree angle to the photographer. This non-spherical lens helps you achieve high-quality images with minimum distortion.
It enables you to take photos from a distance as near as 0.9 feet. This lens has an aperture range of f/22 to f/2.8. Hence, it is perfect for shooting wide-angled photos.
It comes with adequate protection in the form of a petal-type hood. This lens delivers excellent performances because of the presence of Ultra Multi-coated anti-reflective layers to minimise ghosting and flaring.
The highly refractive extra-low dispersion lenses help in shooting high-clarity photographs.
Tamron A09E 28 – 75mm f/2.5 SP XR Di LD Aspherical IF Zoom Lens for Canon Digital SLR Camera
This Tamron lens is a fast zoom lens that comes with excellent features. It is an ideal lens for Canon DSLR cameras
This Tamron lens is the world’s smallest and lightest lens. Its fast f/2.8 aperture allows you to take photographs in dim light.
This remarkable zoom lens will enable you to focus down to 0.33m thereby providing a 1:3.9 magnification that is compatible with what crop sensor cameras achieve.
This Di (Digitally Integrated Design) lens fits full frame cameras. The low dispersion glass helps to reduce chromatic aberrations thereby ensuring a high degree of clarity.
This Tamron SP lens is ideal for professional shooters and those who look for the highest image quality.
The lens comes with an extra refractive index glass that can bend light rays at steeper angles. Therefore, you end up with sharper images. It also enables Tamron to develop smaller lenses without sacrificing lens speed and image quality.
Tamron’s IF feature (Internal Focusing feature) provides a closed minimum focusing distance and improves optical illumination at the corners of the image field.
The Aspherical design enhances the quality of the images by eliminating spherical aberrations and image distortions. The unique Zoom Lock (ZL) feature prevents the extension of the lens barrel, especially when you carry the camera on a neck strap.
Tamron SP-85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD Lens
This Tamron lens is ideal for taking portraits, as it comes with excellent features. Taking sharp images with this lens is possible.
Tamron SP lenses are ideal for professionals because of the high quality of photography possible. This 85mm lens comes with a dual focus whereby you can toggle between auto and manual focus.
It is also possible to switch off the Vibration Control option available in this camera lens.
It is an ideal camera lens for taking portraits because you can focus up to as near as 0.8 metres.
The VC feature allows you to shoot crisp hand-held images at a shutter speed of 1/8 second without any vibrations.
The image quality is one of the best you get with Tamron. Its wide aperture allows you to shoot in low light while capturing portraits with a smooth blurred background.
The only drawback in this lens is that there are complaints of dark corners and its high pricing.
Best lenses for Nikon DSLR Cameras
Tamron AF 70 – 300mm F/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
Landscape photography becomes comfortable with this Tamron Telephoto Zoom Lens. This lens is compatible with Nikon DSLR cameras.
This Di Macro telephoto zoom lens fits full frame cameras as well as crop sensor cameras.
The switchover mechanism allows you to reduce the minimum working distance to 0.95m within the focal length of 180 to 300mm.
The magnification factor is 1:2 making it an ideal one for capturing images of flowers and small insects.
The LD glass elements help to eliminate chromatic aberration. Chromatic aberration is the reason for the reduction of the sharpness of images.
By eliminating chromatic aberration, this lens enhances the overall picture quality.
The telephoto lens is perfect for taking crisp photos of long distance items using the focal length at the lower end of the zoom range.
Hence, it is an ideal lens for shooting long distance and short distance subjects.
Samyang SY14MAE-N 14mm f/2.8 ultra wide angle prime lens for Nikon AE
Samyang is a Korean manufacturer of DSLR camera lenses of the highest order. These lenses fit both Canon and Nikon cameras. The specific SY14MAE-N is compatible with Nikon AE cameras.
Samyang is a reputed Korean manufacturer that excels in producing high-quality photographic lenses compatible with Nikon DSLR cameras.
This ultra wide-angle lens has 14 elements in 12 groups that feature one hybrid aspherical lens and a glass aspherical lens element. It provides an impressive angle of 115.7 degrees on full-frame cameras and 93.9 degrees on APS-C cameras.
The Samyang lens eliminates all kinds of chromatic aberrations to ensure images of the highest quality.
The wide aperture allows the camera to take photos in dim light as well. It is a great lens for photography like landscape, portraits, and close-up.
This lens is a sturdy one as it comes with a robust plastic body and a protective hood shaped like a lotus petal. The multi-layered coating on the lens eliminates ghosting and flares. You can use this lens to take wildlife photography as well.
It is an ideal camera lens for both amateur and professional photographers.
Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM Contemporary Lens for Nikon Cameras
Sigma is a reputed manufacturer of DSLR camera lenses, especially for their Sigma brands and other brands like Nikon. The hyper-telephoto zoom lens is one of the best in the business.
This Sigma hyper-telephoto zoom lens is an excellent lens to take long-distance photographs, especially of outdoor sports activities.
It is a lightweight and compact camera lens capable of handling long-reach photographic situations. This lens comes with updated Sigma technology such as hypersonic motor and optical stabiliser.
It is an ideal camera for shooting wildlife, birds, and even sports action from long distances. The zoom lock switch enables you to carry it along with ease.
Sigma has developed a specific software solution known as SIGMA Optimization Pro that can update the lens firmware and adjust its various parameters including its focus.
Sigma lenses have customisable AF speed, focus limiter, manual focus function, and OS function. Other customisable features include the Custom Mode Switch on specifically dedicated lenses.
Nikon AF-S DX-Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G Prime Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Camera
Nikon cameras are such that DX lenses fit both the full frame cameras and APS-C cameras. This Nikkor lens is a prime lens that comes with manual and autofocus modes.
- Focal Length – 35mm
- Aperture – f/1.8
- Silent Wave Motor for clear focus
- Aspherical lens[/su_note]
This Nikkor lens is a compact one that fits your Nikon DSLR camera perfectly. You need not have to worry about moving objects or trembling fingers when you have this Nikkor 35mm camera lens on hand.
It comes with Image stabilisation features to ensure that you get crisp photographs every time you use it.
This lens comes with a rounded 7-blade diaphragm to make out of focus objects appear natural. Hence, it is an ideal camera for landscapes, portraits, as well as for general photography.
The wide f/1.8 aperture ensures abundant light to enter the camera. Hence, it is an excellent lens for photography in dim lighting conditions.
The non-spherical shape of the lens prevents chromatic aberration thereby resulting in pictures of high quality. This lens comes with a manual switch that enables you to switch from manual to autofocus mode at a flick of a finger.
As there is no time lag, the focusing becomes faster and smoother.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 55-300 F/4.5 to 5.6G ED VR Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
This high-powered 5.5 times zoom lens is ideal for taking long distance photographs, especially wildlife photography. It is also a great camera lens for travel photography.
This Nikkor lens having a focal length range of 55 to 300mm is ideal for long-range photography. The VR feature ensures that you can take photos of moving objects with a great deal of clarity.
Similarly, you can also take pictures while you are on the move without affecting the quality of the image.
This lens can fit both full frame and APS-C cameras. The narrow apertures f/4.5 to 5.6G makes it perfect to focus on long-distance objects with ease. It allows you to bypass the objects in the front and focus only on the details you need.
The 5.5X zoom lens is ideal for capturing sunsets, and family pictures.
The low dispersion glass elements and the high-refractive-index lens element enable you to shoot with perfect contrast, sharpness, and accurate colour reproduction.
The Super Integrated Coating minimises lens flare and ghosting to improve the performance of the lens in low light conditions.
The SWM technology in place enables you to auto-focus with ease. Hence, it is the right camera lens for wildlife photography.
Nikon AF 70-300mm f/4 to 5.6G Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
This compact and lightweight Nikon lens deliver excellent quality pictures. The telephoto lens is perfect for travel and sports photography. You can also take portrait photos with it.
Apart from providing you with a huge zoom range, the Nikon AF 70-300mm telephoto lens is ideal for taking long shots. The versatile lens allows you to zoom in and take portraits as well.
This lens fits both the APS-C cameras and full-frame cameras. It comes with a narrow f/4 to 5.6G aperture to make it easy to concentrate on distant objects while blurring the near ones. However, this lens does not have VR.
Therefore, you should be a professional photographer who has a steady hand while taking photos. Amateur photographers can also handle this lens but should note not to shake while shooting pictures.
The working distance of 1.5 metres also makes it an ideal lens to take close-up images.
Adventure photography is also easy using this lens. Hence, travel and sports enthusiasts both benefit from using this telephoto lens.
Nikon 50mm Nikkor f/1.8D AF Prime Lens for DSLR camera
This Nikkor fixed focal length camera lens fits both full frame and crop sensor cameras. The quality of images does not suffer because of the Super Integrated Coating for high contrast.
This 50mm lens is ideal for shooting still images and videos as well. The high aperture range allows for clicking dynamic pictures in low lighting conditions.
This lens is perfect for shooting high resolution and compelling portraits. It also enables you to take landscape photographs. Hence, it is ideal for photography inside your homes as well.
The wide aperture eliminates the need for a flash thus providing a natural look to your photos. This lens comes with a 46-degree angle of view.
The only drawback of this lens is that it does not come with image stabilisation features. However, the lens comes with a six-element structure to allow more control.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm F/3.5 – 5.6G ED VR Zoom Lens for Nikon DSLR Camera
Here is a high-quality lens with a unique focal length range to allow wide-angled as well as long-distance photography. It is compatible with both APS-C and full frame cameras.
This high-powered lens comes with a 7.8X zooming feature that covers a focal length range of 18 to 140mm.
Hence, it is perfect for taking wide-angled photography like the ones you witness at wedding receptions or team gatherings.
Similarly, it is also a great camera lens for capturing scenery and wildlife when travelling. The focal length range coupled with the aperture makes it possible for you to take unique portraits.
Taking close-up photographs is also possible because the working distance is as low as 1.48 feet.
The presence of ED glass elements prevents chromatic aberrations thereby resulting in sharper and crisper pictures. The aspherical lens element complements this feature.
Taking photos on the move becomes easy because of the VR feature. The SWM functionality ensures to deliver silent auto-focusing. The lens comes with high-quality protection in the form of a sturdy plastic body and front and rear lens cap.
Different types of DSLR Lenses
These are some basic lenses that you would hear about in popular photography lingo.
Now let us dwell into the things you should look into while buying lenses for your beloved DSLR
Things to consider when buying DSLR Lenses
The speed of the Lens
If you enter a shop to buy a lens, the sales guy will pitch a lens to you on its speed. The speed of the lens of Lens speed can be defined as the maximum aperture of the lens.
Aperture is the small opening in the lens which allows the light to flow through it(measured in f-number).
If f-number is small the aperture is large and allows more light to pass through at any given time. If the aperture is large, you can increase the shutter speed and make the lens faster. Hence a fast lens is one with a large maximum aperture and high shutter speed.
There are some benefits attached to fast lenses, some are mentioned below.
This is the length of your lens which is measured in millimetres. The length is the distance from the centre of your lens to the focal point on the image sensor. You must have studied about focal length in introductory optics in school.
The thing to know about the focal length of a lens is that it tells you about the magnifying ability of the lens. It also tells you about the viewing angle for the lens. whether you will see a large perspective or you get a zoomed image.
One other thing to keep in mind is the closest point a lens can focus. There are times when you need to get up and close to the subject, In such situations, it is very important that your lens has small focusing distance so that you can get as close are possible for capturing the minutest of details.
DSLR these days come loaded with some kind of image stabilisation mechanism to counter the shake.
The shake is the movement in the camera that happens during the capturing of a photo. The effect can be more pronounced when you are shooting at slow or long shutter speed without the tripod, or while using high focal length lenses.
Every manufacturer uses different methods for image stabilisation, but almost all come with some sensor to capture the shake and counter it accordingly.
There are image stabilisation in camera too, but the ones in lenses add an extended cusion so as to give you sharp crisp, blurless images.
Image stabilisation is an expensive technology, and if you are not one shooting in low light or need high exposure, you can give a miss to this feature to get costs down.
Once you zero in on the above features the most important consideration is the quality of the lens you are buying. Each manufacturer produces lenses in different qualities for different clientele.
If you are someone who will shoot in hard outdoor conditions and expect a grime and dust should invest in high-quality lenses which are more durable and give more bang for the buck than cheap plastic ones which are often prone to a lot of wear and tear.
Always go for tough, rugged lenses which are reasonably fast.
All of it, at last, comes down to the dreaded question of price. It is a generally established fact about lenses that you reap what you sow. The price you pay for a lens in proportionate to the improvement it gets to your image.
So you will need to break the bank in order to take those brilliant shots you always dream of. Invest in your lenses, in the long run, you would make the most of it.
If you are someone who already has some lenses, fret not, here is a little something for you too.
Let us now dive into Lens maintenance
As you start using the lens it starts gathering smudges which start affecting the quality of the image, you want to clean the lens but are too afraid that you might accidentally damage the damned thing.
Here are a few tips for such times
A lens is an expensive investment and should be properly cared for. Keep your lenses in good shape and they will keep your photos in good stead.
That all for now guys. As always, Happy clickin‘
Ankit Singh is a sorceror and camera is his wand. You wont find anyone more in love with light and lenses. When he is not clicking pictures, he is engrossed in the world of technology.