Photography - Gear/Equipment

3 Lenses for a Beginner's Photography Kit

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A good photographer has the ability to bring together art, beauty, and emotions in one photograph. A great picture can speak a thousand words and can move millions of people.But to capture a great picture you need the perfect lens. And if you are a beginner, you might find it difficult to know the best-suited lens.So having the right lenses for a Beginner’s Photography kit is very essential.

The number of photographers is increasing every day which is why social platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram are such huge successes today. Thousands of creative and attractive photos are uploaded daily by people all around the world. We want to ensure that as beginner photographers, you feel comfortable in being part of this epic journey to explore, express, and engage. There is a whole world out there, behind our office cubicles, that is waiting to be captured.


The Basic Requirements

Just like we need our eyes to capture beautiful memories, a camera needs a lens to help capture and share these memories with the world. As a beginner photographer with hundreds of camera lenses out there, you might find it difficult to understand which ones you really need and which ones you can do without.

Lenses behave a lot like the human eye. In bright light, your pupils grow smaller so as to restrict the amount of light entering your eyes. In the same way, the reduced aperture of the camera lens to restrict light gives much better images. On the other hand, when you walk into a dark room, your pupils grow bigger to take in more light and try to make things clearer. Similarly, to make objects in a dark room brighter, you need to have a wider aperture which takes in more light to give better image. To understand more about camera lenses and how they work, check out the following video.

With the basic working of a camera lens in mind, let’s get started and learn about the essential lenses that a beginner will find useful. The following lens suggestions are of the Canon lens models, but similar specifications can be found across all other top camera brands around the world. Here’s a list of Lenses for a Beginner’s Photography kit.

Lenses for a Beginner’s Photography Kit

1. The 18 – 135mm Kit Lens (Canon)

This lens has a variable focal length of 18-135mm. The F values begin from 3.5 at 18mm focal length and from 5.6 at 135mm focal length. The higher the F value, the narrower the aperture. A narrow aperture helps click great pictures in daylight but doesn’t do too well in low light conditions. As the F value goes on increasing, the aperture becomes narrower, and thus the light in the image goes on reducing. The widest aperture is at the lowest F value (3.5) which gives the brightest picture. The aperture can be made as narrow as required as the F value can be increased to much higher values. Let’s understand the difference between the pictures taken at different focal lengths and F values (different apertures) to understand the difference in the lighting of the image.

The first image has been taken with :

  • Shutter speed – 160
  • 6 (this causes the blur on the keyboard in the image below, and only keeps the focus point sharp)
  • ISO 100

3 Lenses for a Beginner's Photography kit

You can clearly see how the brightness of the image is high since it is taken at a lower F value – F5.6 (which means a wider aperture).

The second image is taken with :

  • Shutter speed – 160
  • F22 (this reduces the blur on the keyboard and makes the entire picture sharp)
  • ISO 100

3 Lenses for a Beginner's Photography kit

As you can clearly see, compared to the previous picture this one has lesser light because of the high F value- F22 (which means a narrower aperture).

Since this lens is also a zoom lens, it is very versatile. It can be used for street photography, sports, portraits, and wildlife.

2. The 50mm Prime Lens

This is a lens with a fixed focal length; it cannot be zoomed. The glass of this lens provides a good magnification and also a clearer image than the previously discussed kit lens. The F value of this lens begins from 1.8 as compared to the minimum value of F3.5 in the previous kit lens, which means it has a much wider aperture. Because of the wide aperture, this lens can take great photos even in low light conditions. This prime lens also provides a much better depth of field, which means objects are relatively sharper.

Read why 50mm Lens is also called the Wonder baby

Since this is a non-zoom lens with a wide aperture and apt magnification ratio, it is most commonly used for portraits. Portraits are one of the most loved forms of photography. In the words of one of the greatest portrait photographers of the 20th century, Yousuf Karsh,“There is a brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record.”

The portraits taken using this lens are superior as compared to other kit lenses. Here’s a portrait taken using this lens:

3 Lenses for a Beginner's Photography kit

3. The 55-250mm Kit Lens (Optional)

This lens is similar to the 18-135mm kit lens, except that it has a longer focal length. This helps to take clearer photos of objects that are farther away from the camera. The F values of this lens are comparable to the earlier kit lens (similar aperture as well). This lens is superior to the previous kit lens in photography applications where the object is generally at a distance. Because of the focal length of the lens, the distance of the subject from the camera has to be substantial.

The main use of this lens is for wildlife and nature photography, though it can be used satisfactorily for almost any kind of photography. Having these basic lenses is going to be enough for you to begin your path toward becoming a great photographer. So now that you know the lenses for a beginner’s photography kit, get out there and capture whatever brings you joy.

More than lenses. You should know your camera: 8 Tips for DSLR Beginners.

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