What is the Right Lens for My Camera?

I took photography class in college and have taken thousands of pictures over the years, but I was frustrated with the blurry images that I was getting when shooting in low light situations. I had two photography friends explain to me that my that my lenses was “too slow” for night and low light situations in doors. In addition, the Cannon Rebel XS that I have at the church only shoots at 1600 ISO…not very fast compared to more modern (and expensive) cameras.

There are several workarounds that were suggested. Use a mono pod. Move closer to the subject. Add more light. Get a “faster” lens.

While those are all good, most of the time I find myself in a situation where I’m not controlling the environment, using a flash is unacceptable and need the maximum about of flexibility to move around. I also have no budget for a new lens.

One of the most helpful tricks I learned was to shoot in “AV mode”. Also know as “Aperture Priority”, this camera setting allows you choose the maximum aperture value while the camera selects a shutter speed to match. While this limits your depth of field, for most situations that is of benefit because it helps draw this eye to what is in focus.

This article from Lifehacker does a great job explaining all things “lens” and why having a faster lens is so important.

How Do I Pick the Right Lens for My DSLR?

Dear Lifehacker,
I’ve got a DSLR that came with a regular zoom lens. It’s fine, but I want to get a new lens or two so I can do more? How do I pick the right one?

Optically Limited

Dear OL,
The lens you get when you buy a DSLR—generally a standard 18-55mm zoom, or something like it—is designed for some level of versatility but not much beyond that. It doesn’t capture particularly sharp images, and it doesn’t have any special features, but it gets the job done in a variety of situations. When you go out into the world of lenses to find a new one, most of your options aren’t as versatile but handle specific things very well. Let’s go over what types of lenses you can get and why you’d want them.


2 thoughts on “What is the Right Lens for My Camera?

  1. Hey Bruce, Get yourself a nifty fifty. For just about a hundred bucks, you can get a very fast, very sharp lens. Downside: you have to zoom in with your legs instead of your lens.

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