22/10/2013 | by Oli Walker
One of the biggest advantages of using DSLRs and above over GoPros, iPhones or point and shoot cameras is the ability to change lenses. It’s a bit of a weird concept at first, after all, you’ve got on fine without this option before, but once you have a basic understanding of differences in lenses and have used a couple, it’s easy to get the hang of. Looking through the range of lenses available for your camera will give you an idea of how versatile a DSLR can be. Be warned though, collecting lenses can become an addiction, and an expensive one at that.
Most new cameras will come with what is called a kit lens, basic but not particularly awesome; they’ll do for the majority of entry-level requirements. For the Canon range, the normal lens included is the EF-S 18-55mm. The numbers basically mean the distance between different bits of glass within the body of the lens, the higher the number (or focal length for the tech savvy) the closer the lens can zoom into your subject.
Lenses such as the 18-55mm have a variable focal length (in this case anything between 18 and 55mm) meaning you can zoom in and out to frame your subject as desired. In an ideal world you would be able to buy one lens to cover all your needs, but the laws of optical physics sadly prevent this, thus there is normally a compromise between intended use, performance and price.
For a good quality but still basic starter lens, I would forgo the standard one and go for a lens with a fixed focal length of around 35mm to 50mm. This is a great for portraits, lifestyle shots and filming from a fixed position. The trade off is that you can’t zoom in, so if you want to crop your frame you’ll have to walk closer to your subject. But minimal moving parts mean you get great optical quality at a relatively low price. Perfect!