Lens accessories

The main accessories for lenses are hoods, filters and adapters and all have benefits and drawbacks. Some manufacturers supply lens hoods with lenses; others offer them as options. Filters and adapters are always sold separately.

Macro Lenses

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about what constitutes a ‘macro’ lens. True macro capabilities require the lens to be capable of 1:1 or ‘life size’ reproduction. Lenses that provide a 2:1 reproduction ratio (or greater) also qualify as macro lenses but they are usually highly specialised and not widely available.

Lenses for portraiture

Although most lenses can be used for portraiture, fast telephoto lenses with moderately short focal lengths have long been the first choice of professional portrait photographers. Focal lengths typically considered ideal range from about 70mm to 135mm in 35mm format, with a bias in favour of the 85-105mm section.

Lenses for landscapes

Although just about any lens can be used for photographing landscapes, most photographers prefer using wide-angle lenses because they better encompass scenic panoramas. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only option.

Telephoto zoom lenses

The second lens in a twin-lens kit is usually a telephoto zoom lens that picks up where the range of the standard zoom lens ends. These lenses take in focal lengths that are ideal for portraiture, sports and wildlife photography.

Standard kit zoom lenses

Most people buying an interchangeable-lens camera for the first time will opt for the ‘kit’ lens bundled with the camera. When you’re buying an entry- or mid-level camera, it’s a convenient way to get a lens (or two) that suits the camera.

Lenses for compact system cameras

When you purchase a CSC you’re buying into a camera system based upon lenses. The kinds of photos you can take will be dictated by the lenses you have. Choosing a system on the basis of its lens offerings, both now and in the future, is the best strategy for serious photographers.