• Paolo Ferraris

Best Lenses for Beginners

What is the best lens for a beginner? Without guidance the answer can be daunting. Choosing a camera body means deciding about a brand and a model but when it comes to lenses… Major manufacturers like Canon or Nikon or Sony have line-ups with hundreds of models.

What is a good lens for a beginner photographer?


Let me break down my suggestions into 3 scenarios:

Scenario 1: Very, very tight budget

If you are a beginner and you can afford with only 1 lens get a

  • Zoom 24-105mm F4


All major camera brands have a version (Nikon has a 24-120mm F4.) Sigma has a good version too with different mounts according to what camera body you will use it on. Buy the top of the line version (e.g. Canon L series, Sony G series, Sigma Art series etc.)

Reasons for my suggestion. Pros: The 24-105mm F4 is an all purpose lens that gives you good image quality at an affordable price (compared to other pro lenses.) It is a lens that can be used for different jobs or assignments: Landscape photography, product photography, wedding photography, portrait photography etc. As a beginner you will need time to find your niche, develop your style and figure out what lenses work best for your professional needs. The 24-105mm is a good starting point.

Cons: F4 aperture will not give you the extreme shallow depth of field pro photographers often crave for. If you shoot in very low light conditions, aperture F4 might cause slow shutter speed and unwanted camera blur.


What are the most important camera lenses to have?

Scenario 2: Good budget

If you are a beginner and you can afford 2 lenses get

  • Zoom 24-70mm F2.8

  • Zoom 70-200mm F2.8


Reasons for my suggestion. Pros: If you get the best versions from the camera manufacturers or a reputable third party lens maker, you will have two superb lenses with incredible image quality and great versatility. The whole focal range (from 24mm to 200mm) will make sure you have the right focal length no matter what you're photographing and what your assignment is. F2.8 is an aperture that will give you shallow depth of field and great bokeh.

Cons: Those two lenses are expensive. The 70-200mm is bulky. This combo works well if you own and work with two cameras. Continuously changing lenses during a photoshoot is not practical.


What lenses do professional photographers use?

Scenario 3: Splurge

If budget is not a constraint (lucky you!) get the following lenses

  • Zoom 24-105mm F4

or the combo

  • Zoom 24-70mm F2.8

  • Zoom 70-200mm F2.8


Also get a Prime lens according to your field or passion. Example:

  • 14mm for Real estate photography, architecture photography or landscape Photography

  • 35mm or 50mm for street photography, photojournalism

  • 85mm or 135mm for portrait or fashion photography

  • 800mm for wildlife photography, sport photography, birdwatching etc.


Reasons for my suggestion. Pros: With the zoom(s) you cover your basics. With the prime lens you will get absolute top image quality, incredible bokeh and you will be able to shoot in extremely low light conditions.

Cons: Three lenses and two camera bodies are a big investment. Your camera bag will get bigger and heavier.


How do I choose lenses?

Paolo's Take

  • You don’t have to buy a ton of lenses to start your career in photography

  • Always rent before buying

  • If you need a lens for a specific job and you’re not sure you will need it again and often, rent, don’t buy.

  • Don’t buy cheap lenses. The initial saving will make you happy but you’ll regret the purchase soon. Cheap lenses will not give you good image quality. Cheap lenses are not durable, are not sharp when shooting at full aperture, are not fast and lose value quickly.

#bestlens #bestlenses #photography #photographers

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