Camera Lens Buying GuideFinding the perfect lens for every occasion
What Type of Photo Do You Want to Take?
Enjoy the creative freedom to capture the shots you want and don’t be limited by the constraints of your current lens. So, whether you’re looking to snap an action shot at your favourite sporting event, a brilliant image of the night’s skyline, or the perfect portrait of a loved one, there’s a lens for every photographer. With lenses from all the major brands, Best Buy has the one you need to snap frame-worthy pics.
Camera Lens Types
If you take a lot of photos at night or in low light, consider a prime lens. Also referred to as a fixed focal length lens, a prime lens has only one focal length. Great for low light shooting, these small, light lenses have larger maximum apertures and the power to snap sharp images in any condition.
Wide Angle and Fisheye
Perfect for the avid traveler who loves to document both people and places, wide angle lenses give you the power to fit more into the frame than your typical kit lens would allow. Great for snapping a large group, landscapes and architecture, this lens has a smaller than normal focal length to capture more of the scene that you’re looking at.
If you love shooting nature shots and getting extreme close-ups, then a macro lens is perfect for you. Macro lenses typically have a magnification ratio of 1:1 or greater and a focal length between 40-200mm. This magnification ratio allows you to reproduce a life-sized image of your subject on the image sensor.
Great for shooting sports and wildlife images, telephoto lenses let you get closer to every subject, no matter how far away you are. They offer a high zoom range (usually 55-200mm or 75-300mm) for images with great clarity, colour, and detail.
Mirrorless camera lens are designed specifically for mirrorless interchangeable-lens cameras. Traditionally, mirrorless cameras took lower-quality images when compared to DSLRs, but many new models contain full frame sensors, producing similar quality images between the two designs. Still able to take a variety shots, including landscape, portrait and macro, mirrorless cameras and lenses are more compact and lightweight than their DSLR counter-parts, making them perfect for travelling, backpacking and sight-seeing.
What to Consider When Making a Purchase
Focal length is expressed in mm and a lower number means that the lens is perfect for wide shots, while a higher number delivers a bigger zoom. If the lens has a focal length range with two numbers, 18-55mm for example, then this lens is capable of zooming and being used at any point within that range.
Referring to the maximum amount of light that a lens gathers, maximum aperture can be shown a number of ways, including f/2.8 F2.8 or 1:2.8. Lenses with larger maximum apertures allow in more light, are great for low-light situations and are capable of producing a shallower depth of field.
Lens Mount and Format Compatibility
Each lens is made to ensure that the image sensor is covered for the camera that it’s designed for. It’s important to know which mount your camera uses when looking to make a purchase because most manufacturers make lenses with proprietary mounts that will only fit their devices.
Minimum Focus Distance
The minimum focus distance is the closest that the image sensor can get to the subject while maintaining focus on the subject. This distance is different depending on the lens type and can vary depending on focal lengths as well.
Also known as vibration reduction, this feature automatically corrects for any camera shake so every shot comes out crisp, clear and free of blur. Allowing for use of slower shutter speeds, image stabilization is great for when you don’t have a tripod handy or when you’re shooting video. Sometimes this technology is incorporated into the camera body, and other times in the lens itself.
Camera Lens Accessories
When your lenses aren’t in use, use a lens cap to help keep dust from settling on the surface. It will also help prevent fingerprints smudges when you grab your lens from inside your bag.
A lens hood helps reduce the glare and flare that’s caused when you’re shooting outdoors and the sunlight hits the front of your lens. It also helps provide images with rich colours and deep saturation.
Adapters & Rings
Lens adapters and rings allow you to mount a variety of accessories and lenses that otherwise would not be compatible with your camera body. If you’re looking to add a bit of artistic flare to your photos or extend the range of your existing lens, a lens adapter is an easy and affordable solution. By attaching one to your lens you can easily turn your standard lens into a telephoto, wide-angle, or fisheye lens. Adapters are also available to allow you to use your regular DSLR lenses on a mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera.
Allowing you to properly focus at a closer distance, diopters act like glasses to bring the camera closer to the subject for macro photography. Also called “close-up lenses”, diopters can be stacked to increase the optical power of the lens.
Get photo-enhancing features without having to purchase expensive, time-consuming software with the use of a lens filter. Helping you achieve a variety of looks, lens filters can be a quick and effective way to reduce light, soften subjects and reduce glare. Here is a sample of some of the filters available and their benefits:
- UV Filters: Help reduce the haziness created by ultraviolet light.
- Polarizing Filters: Help reduce glare and reflections on reflective surfaces. Also, increase the saturation and colours in a scene.
- Neutral Density Filters: Reduce the amount of light entering the lens, allowing you to use a slower shutter speed when the conditions are too bright.
- Diffusion Filters: Soften light and subjects for a dreamy, glare-free image.
- Filter Kits: A great place to start, filter kits have a variety of filters and each provides a unique tool that will help expand your photography experience.
Check out this handy guide to find filters for your favourite lenses:
For more information about lens filters, check out our Camera Filter Buying Guide.
Once you’ve chosen the type of lens that’s best suited for your photography, you’ll want to keep it as pristine as possible. The surface of your lens (or the filter that protects it) is susceptible to dust and fingerprints that can alter the quality of your photos. Best Buy carries a variety of lens cleaning tools, including lens pens, camel brushes, lens tissues, and microfiber cloths.
Take the Next Step
Best Buy carries a wide selection of camera lenses and lens accessories both in-store and online.
If you’re also looking for a new camera to go with your lenses, check out the Best Buy DSLR Buying Guide.