One question I get asked a lot is what lenses I recommend. There is no easy answer to this question, but hopefully I can help you figure out what you may want to buy next! In this blog I am going to share what I would recommend for people just starting out in photography. They are good lenses that are also fairly inexpensive (for a lens!). The great thing with lenses is that they last, and when you invest in a good lens you should never have to replace it if it is taken care of. The other great thing is that the resale value of a lens is very high so when you are ready to upgrade you will be able to get a good chunk of your money back!
Canon & Nikon 50 1.8
If the only lens you have right now is a kit lens that came with your camera, the very first lens I would buy is a 50 1.8. The aperture on most kit lenses only go down to 3.5-5.6 which makes it more difficult to work with in darker situations. You also aren’t able to get as much depth of field with the kit lens. The 50 1.8 will allow you to shoot in lower light, have a shallower depth of field, and will also help you learn to move around to create interesting compositions rather than just zooming in and out. My favorite thing about this lens? It is only around $125!
Canon 50 1.8:
Nikon 50 1.8:
Make sure your camera supports the auto focus on this lens. If it doesn’t, the auto focus is supported on all Nikon cameras for the following lens, but it is about $100 more. http://www.adorama.com/NK5018GU.html
Tamron 28-75 2.8
If you already have the 50 1.8 lens and are wanting to add to your repertoire, there are several options for you to purchase next. What you decide to purchase is going to depend on what you plan on using the lens for. To start with, lets look at the most diverse lens, the Tamron 28-75 2.8. Tamron is an “off brand” that makes lenses for a variety of brands of cameras. When you buy a Tamron lens you need to make sure that you are purchasing the lens made specifically for your brand of camera. Even though Tamron is an off brand, it is still a very good product! When I was first shooting weddings I used a Tamron lens and loved it. The main difference that you will notice between the Canon/Nikon lenses and the Tamron is that the Tamron is not quite as sharp and moves a little slower. Also, the 28-75 will not go as wide as the similar Canon 24-70, but it will zoom in more. The other difference? About a $1000! The Tamron lens runs around $500 compared to around $1500 for the Canon or Nikon. This is a great lens if you will be changing from shooting wide to zooming in quickly and want a lower aperture than what your kit lens has.
Tamron for Canon 28-75 2.8:
Tamron for Nikon 28-75 2.8:
Tamron 17-50 2.8
If it is more important for you to have something wider than a 28, the Tamron 17-50 2.8 is a great choice for around $500. However, you can not use this lens on a full frame camera such as the 5d Mark III.
Tamron for Canon 17-50 2.8:
Tamron for Nikon 17-50 2.8:
Canon 100 2.8 Macro & Nikon 105 2.8 Micro
My final lens recommendation for people just starting out is the Canon 100 2.8. This is a prime lens like the 50 1.8, but you don’t have to stand as close to your subject as you do with the 50 1.8. It is also a macro lens which means that you can do super close up shots that you can not do on the 50 1.8. This is a beautiful lens that lets in a good amount of light and is perfect for things like nature photography! The lens runs around $600 for Canon and closer to $900 for the Nikon equivalent, but you can often wait for a rebate to get it for a little less. This lens is very quick and sharp, and I love it!
Canon 100 2.8 Macro:
Nikon 105 2.8 Micro:
I hope this will help you make a decision on what lens to purchase next! I always recommend upgrading your lenses before you upgrade your camera, because a good lens will make great photos no matter what kind of camera you are shooting on. I will post a blog in the future with some additional recommendations for those of you who have a larger budget and are ready for top of the line lenses!