Lenses

One of the primary benefits of a DSLR camera is its versatility and ability to change lenses which will allow you to indulge your passion in photography to create even better photographs. When you can change your viewpoint of even a familiar subject through the use of a wide angle or telephoto lens it can result in a totally different and interesting perspective.

The range of lenses available for DSLR cameras is huge (along with the price range!) and as with the type of camera you bought it will depend on what your photographic needs and interests are. The other obvious point is that the lenses must be compatible with your camera. This will mean either proprietary lenses from the camera manufacturer e.g. Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus etc. or a third party lens company e.g. Sigma, Tamron, Tokina etc. (where you need to ensure that the lens has a compatible mount for your camera) plus whether your DSLR camera has a full frame 35mm sensor or a APS-C sensor.

Terms Used on Lenses

    Focal Length: Identifies the field of view of the lens e.g. 50mm (fixed focal length), 18-55mm (zoom lens)

    Aperture: The size of the opening in the lens through which the light will pass to reach the sensor. Along with the shutter speed and ISO setting, the aperture determines what the overall exposure will be.

    Image Stabilization: Helps to compensate for camera shake. A wonderful feature/benefit if shooting in low light without a tripod.

    Format: Identifies the camera sensor size i.e. Full Frame, APS-C, Four Thirds (4/3) etc.

    Camera Mount: Identifies the type of mount required on the lens to fit the camera e.g. Canon EF, EF-S, Nikon F, DX, Sony DT etc

Choosing a Lens

There are a huge range of lenses available across all of the camera manufacturers and the third party lens manufacturers so there are a couple of things that must be taken into account when choosing a new lens. Under each of the camera brands below I have included information of the naming convention that each manufacturer uses for senor compatibility, image stabilization etc.

    Prime Lens: A prime lens is a camera lens that has a fixed focal length e.g. 24mm, 50mm, 135mm whereas a zoom lens will cover a range of focal lengths. One of the main advantages of a prime lens is the speed i.e. biggest aperture (e.g. f/1.2, f1/4) it can offer which if shooting in low light can be a real benefit. Another advantage is generally that a prime lens will be of better quality construction and higher quality optics as they have less moving parts than a zoom lens.

    However, as with camera bodies the lens manufacturers all make a range of prime and zoom lenses to suit different levels of users and price points.

    Zoom Lens: A zoom lens is a camera lens where you can change the focal length e.g. 18mm – 55mm, 55mm – 250mm to change the viewpoint of the subject you want to shoot. Due to the manufacturing requirements of zoom lenses they will be slower (smaller aperture range) than a prime lens but obviously you wouldn’t have to change the lenses as frequently as with a prime lens.

    Compatibility: Each camera manufacturer makes their own proprietary lens and they cannot be used on another brand of camera e.g. Canon lenses will not fit a Nikon camera. The next question is whether the lens is compatible with the sensor in your camera. Each of the camera manufacturers will use either an APS-C cropped sensor (e.g. Canon EF-S, Nikon DX) or a full frame sensor (e.g. Canon EF, Nikon FX) in their high-end cameras. So check if the lens is compatible with your camera body. Usually the lens designed for the full frame cameras will work on both sensor types but the APS-C sensor specific lens will not fit onto a full frame model (e.g. Canon EF lens will fit all Canon DSLR cameras but a Canon EF-S lens will not fit a full frame Canon DSLR camera.

    Focal Length: Depending on whether your camera has a full frame sensor or a APS-C sensor this will impact on what the focal length of the lens will actually be on your camera. For example a 50mm lens on a full frame camera will give you a true 50mm field of view but on APS-C sensor camera it will give you approximately a 75-80mm field of view and a 100mm field of view on a Micro 4/3 sensor. For all APS-C sensor cameras you need to multiply the focal length of the lens by either 1.5 (Nikon) or 1.6 (Canon) depending on the brand. For a Micro 4/3 sensor camera multiply the focal length of the lens by 2.

Canon Lenses

See the great deals below on the wide range of Canon lenses available for their DSLR range of cameras covering both the APS-C sensor DSLR cameras and the full sensor DSLR cameras.

Here are the naming conventions used by Canon in relation to their lens specifications.

    Format: Canon have both an APS-C sensor (cropped sensor) range and a Full Sensor range of DSLR cameras.

    Camera Mount: Identifies the type of lens mount required to fit the Canon camera body i.e. Canon APS-C = EF-S, Canon Full sensor = EF

    Image Stabilization: Canon = IS (Image Stabilization)

    Autofocus: Canon = Ultrasonic Motor (USM)


Nikon Lenses

See the great deals below on the wide range of Nikon lenses available for their DSLR range of cameras covering both the APS-C sensor DSLR cameras and the full sensor DSLR cameras.

Here are the naming conventions used by Nikon in relation to their lens specifications.

    Format: Nikon have both an APS-C sensor (cropped sensor) range and a Full Sensor range of DSLR cameras.

    Camera Mount: Identifies the type of lens mount required to fit the Nikon camera body i.e. Nikon APS-C = DX, Nikon Full sensor = FX

    Image Stabilization: Nikon = VR (Vibration Reduction)

    Autofocus: Nikon = Silent Wave Motor (AF-S)


Sony Lenses




See the great deals below on the wide range of Sony lenses available for their DSLR range of cameras covering both the APS-C sensor DSLR cameras and the full sensor DSLR cameras.



Here are the naming conventions used by Sony in relation to their lens specifications.

    Format: Sony have both an APS-C sensor (cropped sensor) range and a Full Sensor range of DSLR cameras.

    Camera Mount: Identifies the type of lens mount required to fit the Sony camera body i.e. Sony APS-C = DT, Sony Full sensor =

    Image Stabilization: Sony = (NEX system)- OSS (Optical Steady Shot)

    Autofocus: Sony = Supersonic Wave Motor (SSM)


Pentax Lenses

See the great deals below on the wide range of Pentax lenses available for their DSLR range of cameras covering both the APS-C sensor DSLR cameras and the full sensor DSLR cameras.

Here are the naming conventions used by Pentax in relation to their lens specifications.

    Format: Pentax have both an APS-C sensor (cropped sensor) range and a Full Sensor range of DSLR cameras

    Camera Mount: Identifies the type of lens mount required to fit the Pentax camera body i.e. Pentax APS-C = DA, Pentax Full sensor =

    Autofocus: Pentax = Supersonic Drive Motor (SDM)


Lumix (Panasonic) Lenses

See the great deals below on the wide range of Lumix lenses available for their DSLR range of cameras covering both the APS-C sensor DSLR cameras and the full sensor DSLR cameras.



Here are the naming conventions used by Lumix (Panasonic) in relation to their lens specifications.

    Camera Mount: Identifies the type of lens mount required to fit the Lumix/Panasonic camera body i.e. Lumix APS-C = DT, Sony Full sensor =

    Image Stabilization: Lumix = OIS (Optical Image Stabilization)

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