Best Lens Choices For Your New Camera

Getting a new camera usually means getting a slew of new accessories and one of the first most people start looking for are new lenses.

There’s a big risk labeling anything the “best” when it comes to either cameras or accessories. Photography is a very competitive field from an equipment standpoint and the best of anything will frequently depend on the type of camera you have and what type of shooting interests you the most. Beyond that is figuring out the context. The best value for the money? The best quality at any price? The highest rated?

If you’ve looked at ten different site rating lenses, you’ll find ten different sets of recommendations. That’s not because they’re being bought off by manufacturers, it’s because there is so much good equipment on the market.

What I tried to pick here are lenses that have a loyal following and prove themselves useful in a wide variety of situations. I’m also going to assume you got a kit lens with the camera, most of which are fairly good lenses.

50mm lens

Canon Nifty Fifty and The Nikkor 50mm f/1.8

The 50mm lens has proven itself in 35mm photography for decades and the new breed are lighter and faster than ever before. A good 50mm lens is one of the few that will serve you equally as well with either a full frame or crop sensor camera.

Equally good for portraits and landscapes, the 50mm will be the most consistently useful lens in your bag.

sigma 17-50mm
The Sigma 17-50mm is hard to beat for sheer speed and versatility

The Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8

Available for Canon and Nikon the Sigma 17-50 is a great lens for shooting fast and on the go, making it a great choice for photojournalism. It gets 4.5 stars on 65 reviews at Amazon Marketplace.

This lens is very similar to the Tamron 17-50mm, which is my favorite portrait lens but I should clarify that is in the context of photojournalism, not studio portraits. Gets a slightly lower overall rating compared to the Sigma because of the focusing noise and sometimes clumsy zoom ring. Compare the two here.

Canon 70-200 f/2.8L

The Canon EF 70-200 and Nikkor AF-S 70-200

These two lenses tend to be the workhorses for many professional photographers. The zoom range gives you plenty of stand-off range for shooting weddings and events, particularly on an APS-C camera. I’ve seen them shot under almost every conceivable shooting situation, including studio work, and they always deliver consistently good results.

Certainly these lenses are not the best choice for every shooting situation, but they have proven themselves useful and reliable over the years. It’s hard to go wrong with any of these in your bag.

Top Six Lenses Given As Gifts

You gotta love statistics. It gives you the ability to slice and dice data and make discoveries of interesting trends, like the top six lenses that are purchased as gifts, as compiled by Amazon.

1) CanonEF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS

Canon EFS
Canon EF-S 55-250mm

The Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4-5.6-IS lens is designed for the consumer market with EF-S mount cameras, primarily APS-C models. This model will not work well with full frame cameras like the Canon 5D MKII. The big selling point is having a long zoom range with built-in image stabilization.

This lens has received some criticism for feeling like plastic, but overall gets good marks from users.

2) Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens

Canon 50mm f/1.8
The Canon 50mm f/1.8

The Canon “Nifty-Fifty” 1.8 lens is a must for any camera bag.  It’s small, sharp, fast and inexpensive.  A great lens for any kind of general shooting duty, including portraits and walking around.

Has been criticized for feeling like plastic and noisy focusing motors, but what do you expect for $100?


3) Canon EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6

Canon EF 75-300

A very light and inexpensive lens for the focal range. While the build quality is mediocre, the lens generally gets decent reviews from users.

Criticized for being soft at the wide end at lower f-stops, the clarity improves as you stop down. Focusing speed is okay, but not fast.




4) Nikon Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6

Nikon Nikkor 55-200mm
Nikon Nikkor 55-200mm

A lens criticized for the plastic mount, but praised for high quality optics and excellent clarity. Considered by many to be the telephoto lens deal of the decade.


Handling does take some care not to chip the plastic mount.


5) Nikon NIkkor 35mm f/1.8

Nikon Nikkor 35mm
Nikon Nikkor 35mm

This inexpensive hero from Nikon is frequently the one that gets left on cameras the most often. Fast focusing and versatile, this lens gets high marks from Nikon shooters.

Criticized for feeling like plastic and being a little slow on the focus.



6) Nikon Nikkor AF-S 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 55-200
Nikon Nikkor AF-S 55-200mm

Another Nikkor lens that gets high marks for clarity, light weight, and optics but criticism for the build quality. Another point of contention is the noisy autofocus. A lens popular with many weekend sports enthusiasts.

How camera lenses are made

Have you ever wondered how camera lenses are made? Discovery Channel’s “How it’s Made” produced a segment a few years ago on the process of assembling a lens.

According to the video it takes 6 weeks to make an lens and optical glass can costs up to $1000 per kilogram, no wonder lenses are so expensive.

Image credit: Photographs by Duncan Meeder

How to Properly Clean a DSLR Camera Lens

In this video created by Nikon Help Hotline we will learn how to thoroughly clean your camera lenses. You probably won’t need to do this level of intensive cleaning all the time, most of the time a LensPen or microfiber cloth will do the job.

What you will need:

  • 91% strength isopropyl rubbing alcohol
  • Giottos rocket blower
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Non–powdered rubber gloves
  • White synthetic brush

(via Lifehacker)


Top 5 most popular Canon Lenses

The team at LensHero loves data, so we have compiled a list of the top lenses of 2010 based, on what you have been searching for.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II

You can not go wrong with a the Canon 50mm f/1.8 II, it’s small and cheap. It functions well in low light conditions and is a great portraits lens. The perfect lens for beginners.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM

Again another great low light lens this is one big step up from the 50mm f/1.8. It also includes a focusing motor which will should provide faster and quieter focusing.

Here is a full list of Canon low light lenses.

Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

The Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 is an amazing macro lens, allowing you to get those amazing close up shots. This lens has a very smooth auto focus which will help when you are in close to your subject.

Here is a list of other great Macro Lenses for your Canon.

Canon EF-S 15-85mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM

If I was in the market for a general purpose lens this is the one I would buy. This lens goes from a very wide 15mm right up to 85mm which is a zoom range of 5.7x which is more then enough for most people. This lens also has image stabilization which will come in handy.

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM

The pricey lens on our list, designed for professionals the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM is one of the sharpest lenses out there.