Camera Lenses

At Shopbot, we have all the answers to your Lenses-related questions. When you purchase your camera, you get the standard stock lens, but if you want to get more into it and produce better work, then you need to invest in specialized lenses for the job.

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Buying guide



Shopbot's Official 2020 Buying Guide for Camera Lenses



The 3 key points:

·         What are you shooting and what style are you going for?

·         Where are you shooting? How much space do you have?

·         What is your budget? As you get more into the field of camera lenses, you find that the prices start to go up exponentially.


Fish-eye lenses 4mm-14mm, are pretty much ultra-wide-angle lenses that are used in more artistic and abstract photography. They give the image a convex look and take straight lines and distort them; at the 4mm range of the focal length, they can even result in a circular image that has a 180° view.


Ultra-Wide-Angle lenses 14-24mm. These lenses are often considered specialty items as they create a wide-angle of view; this can make the subject appear distorted. Wide and ultra-wide lenses are about putting yourself in the centre of it all, not just getting the whole of a scene in.


Wide Angle 24-35mm.This lens is most used for documentation of situations as this provides a realistic look with little distortion to the image while providing enough context with its wide angles. Side note: distortion usually appears from 24mm and down.


Standard 18-55mm Normal lenses sit around 50mm, give or take. In this range, the lens reproduces what our eyes see (excluding peripheral vision), a good lens for shooting on the street or in a close setting.


Short Telephoto 70-200mm. This is an excellent portrait lens as it separates the face from the background without completely isolating it while being light and easy to carry around.


Telephoto 135-300mm, this bracket of focal length, is considered the medium telephoto lenses. An excellent lens to bringing far scenes and subjects closer while making them the centre of your composition The downside is that they're heavy.


Macro lenses come in multiple focal lengths but allow you to get up close to the subject for extreme detail, sharpness with high contrast and allowing for a life-size subject (1:1) or larger capture.


Mirrorless lenses are designed specifically for mirrorless cameras. The ultra-wide compact lenses take in more light across the entire frame giving you a crisper clearer image.


Prime lenses have a fixed focal length. This leads to better results than your kit lens as they are built with a single purpose in mind by doing one job well rather than multiple jobs poorly. A 50mm f1.8 prime lens is a versatile lens to have and is excellent for portrait photography.



There are a few lenses brands out there, but the main deciding factor is your camera itself as the make and model of camera you have. The leading brands are Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm, Leica, Sony. These brands only supply lenses for their cameras as their mounts are different. So, look at the camera you have and match your brand likewise.



The Prices of lenses range vastly, but the more quality and specialized the lenses, the higher the price. Always plan for the growth of your skills but stay within budget.


The Right Aperture

Aperture is the opening in a lens in which light passes to the camera's sensor. Lenses are identified by maximum aperture, which is the fullest amount they open, this is printed on the barrel of the lens in numbers called f/stops.

When purchasing a lens, getting the lowest f-number is the best without sacrificing the focal length you desire.


Focal length

Usually represented in millimetres, focal length determines how much of the scene is captured and the magnification, I.e. Longer focal length = narrower angle of view, and higher magnification, there will be more distortion.


What Do All Those Letters Mean?

They vary between cameras, but all mean the same thing as they are just acronyms.

·         MF. Manual focus.

·         II. This is the version of the lens.

·         Image Stabilization. The way the camera stabilizes itself or the lens so that you’re able to take a photo at slower shutter speed.

·         Silent Wave Motor. The Silent Wave Motor drives the lens focus mechanism to enable high-speed, ultra-quiet autofocus operation. The lens is steadied when focusing and accommodates a filter on the end.

·         Pro Lens. A higher-quality lens with a wider maximum aperture, beneficial for low light situations. (identified with a red or yellow line around the lenses.)

·         Low Dispersion Glass. This reduces nasty chromatic aberration produced by the cheap glass.


Full Frame and Crop Sensors

Full frame sensors have a standard size dimension image (35mm or 24mm x 36mm). Crop sensor refers to any sensor smaller than the 35mm image frame — a crop sensor camera crops out the edges of the frame, which increases the focal length.


To wrap it up

The best way to improve your images and videos is to upgrade your lens to specialize in your specific field. Know your style and work towards improving that as this is art, so every person is unique with their expression. Get the best you can within your budget. Understand your shooting environment and purchase a lens that works in that space. The most important thing is to research and understand your camera and your needs.


Happy shopping, Shopbotters.





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