For anyone who just bought a new DSLR, the next big question is of which lens to buy? After all, the beauty of a DSLR lies in the very fact that you can change the lens on it as per your needs.
Below is a a brief description of several kind of lenses available in the market today and what they can actually do.
1. Short Focal Length : Examples of such lenses are 15mm, 35mm. These lenses allow you to stand closer to your subject to have it fill the frame while the other objects in the background seem farther away than normal.
2. Long focal Length : Examples of suck lenses are 105mm, 300mm. These lenses allow you to stand far from the subject and still have it fill the frame.
3. Zoom Lens : As the name suggests, these lenses have the capability of zooming in and zooming out. Most of the lenses fall in this category. For example, an 18-55mm zoom lens means that the focal length of the camera when completely zoomed out will be 18mm and 55mm when zoomed in completely. The long focal length and zoom lens are pretty much the same. The reason why I mentioned these separately is because people often use different terminology. Some people call them long focal length lens and some as zoom lens.
4. Prime Lens : These lenses are an exact opposite of zoom lens meaning they do not have the capability of zooming in and out. For example, a 35mm prime lens will only give a focal length of 35mm [might change a bit with the image sensor you have on the camera] and the photographer would have to move back and forth to get closer or farther than the subject. There is no option of zooming in on a subject with this lens.
5. Fish eye lens : These lenses offer the widest angle of view you can buy. They are mostly used when you want to photograph absolutely everything in front of your eye in a single image. These lenses are sometimes so wide that they capture the inside of a lens barrel too and the image looks like a circle. These lenses create the same effect that you see when you look through the peep-hole on your door. Its just a small hole on your door but you can still see everyone standing outside, this is the same way a fish eye lens works.
6. Wide Angle Lens : Example of these lenses are 18-30mm. As the name suggests, these lenses offer a wide angle of view and are useful when you want to capture a wide area in a single image [without making it look like a peep-hole effect as with a fish eye effect].
7. Telephoto Lens : Example of such lens is a 70-300mm. These lenses offer a great zoom in capability and are useful when you want to photograph subjects farther away from you. A telephoto however flatten depth in a picture but can beautifully isolate single subjects even when they are far away. A use of tripod is suggested with such lenses because when you are so much zoomed in on a subject, even the slightest movement or shake can blur the image.
8. Standard Lens : This is a category that lies in between a wide angle and telephoto. These lenses take pictures of a subject in the same manner that a human eye will see it. A 50mm lens is generally considered equal to what a how a human eyes sees. These are neither too wide nor too narrow and produce very natural looking images. Example is a 35mm to 85mm lens.
9. Super telephoto : These are lenses that offer a focal length beyond 300mm. They have a super zoom in capability, so much that they can even shoot the moon.
10. Macro Lens : When you have your camera on auto-focus, has it ever happened to you that you were standing too close to a subject and the camera refused to focus, forcing you step back a little? It is because every camera has a minimum focusing distance below which they wont focus. This can get very frustrating when you want to shoot flowers or small insects or have to stand close to a subject. Macro lenses are a solution to this problem. There focusing distance is quite low, hence allowing you to either move in very close to a subject or zoom in real close but still be able to focus.
11. Anti-shake lens : This is just an added feature to any of the lenses mentioned above. These lens are capable of reducing the blur in an image caused by hand-shake or any unwanted movement. Quite handy when you are using a slow shutter speed and don’t have a tripod.