When I first started photography, I think the hardest thing for me was comprehending lenses. Sounds silly, right? Actually, no. Many people get confused over what lenses are good for what and especially when they’re just starting out. To answer all the newer people’s questions, here are some perfect lenses for beginner photographers.
Side Note: I’m a Canon user, so I will mainly be talking about Canon lenses but the focal lengths are for any camera. Also, I will be going in focal length order and not by price.
Canon 20mm f/2.8
A 20mm lens is a good wide angle lens that you will find yourself needing in certain situations. For weddings this would be ideal for the cramped areas you will find yourself in while taking getting ready images. If you have a crop-sensor camera, you can find equivalents. This one is an EF lens which is used for full-framed cameras. This lens will allow a nice view of the room without getting too much of that barrel effect. Of course the closer you get up on things the more distorted it will get. It’s roughly between $400-$500+ depending where you purchase it from. There are plenty of Amazon and Ebay sellers out there.
Canon 35mm f/2
While a 20mm isn’t exactly needed, I feel like every person should own a 35mm lens. This one comes in at around $600 new. If you’re learning and hesitant on buying something at that price, check out Yongnuo. This company has recently started to come out with lenses. Their 35mm is only $93 and can be found on bhphotovideo.com. While is it
significantly cheaper, it’s not bad. It’s definitely not the best one on the market but I still believe it to be a great lens to start with! For people who are intermediate with photography, this lens will be nice to add if you’re wanting to see how you’ll like a 35mm. The drawbacks are: It’s loud, some color fringing, and a bit hard for it to focus in lower light situations. It’s surprisingly fast to focus when in a well lit area and decently sharp for how inexpensive it is.
Canon 50mm f/1.8
This lens is a staple piece in any camera bag. If you’re just starting, this little guy is amazing! It retails for just over $125 on Canon’s website. It’s definitely on the cheaper made side of lenses but it is a really nice one to start off with. If that seems a bit too pricey still, guess what?! Yongnuo has a 50mm lens at just $50!
How crazy is that? It can also be purchased on bhphoto. Again, I wouldn’t say it’s the best lens, but hey… this is a starter photography kit! This is just to get you going so that you can learn and upgrade later! A 50mm is a great lens
that works well in many different situations.
Canon 85mm f/1.8
This lens is honestly a pretty good one. It comes to ya at just around $420. This is a great lens for a little bit of distance between you and your subject. If you’re a shy person and you’re not into getting close and personal with you subject, then this will be a good one for you! This lens and length gives you that nice creamy background that you’ll come to love! You’ll start to learn all about how to isolate your subject from the background or other surroundings. Having a nice soft background will really help to make your subject pop just that little extra!
Canon 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6
Honestly, this is the slowest lens of all the ones I mentioned. I’m including this one as a “you can use this one only if needed” deal. What I mean is this lens gives you a good range to work with. You go all the way down to 28mm and zoom right past 85mm to 135mm! Usually this lens will be one of the few you can pick if you get a camera kit online. Camera kits comes with the camera body and one lens. If you were to buy this separately, it would be around $480. I used this lens for a really long time and I absolutely loved it. Actually, it was the only lens I used for my conceptual works for 2 years until I purchased my Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art lens. I’ll write another post about Sigma lenses later.
While I only talked about Canon lenses here and a few alternatives, this goes for Nikon and Sony users as well. I believe prime lenses are the best for learning and understanding your camera and your distances between the camera and subject. You don’t have to have ALL of these lenses to start out. These are just some I recommend having, mainly while photographing weddings. Hope this guided a few people in the right direction. I didn’t go into deep details about each lens because I truly feel like a lot of learning cameras has to do with actually using one. I could sit here all day and talk about how certain lenses can make people look skinnier, but most people wouldn’t understand it unless they saw it themselves.