Types of Camera Lenses

While there are many types of Camera lenses of different brands available in the market with their incredible features, it is really a daunting task to get the right and the best DSLR camera lens for your needs.

From beginner to expert level there are many types of DSLR camera lenses available. Yes, it is of course that a DSLR lens cannot give you the best pictures rather it is also depending upon the photographic skill you have. It is true that those who have expertise in photography know which type of Dslr lenses they should go for.

As a beginner, you are pretty good at handling good shots using a kit lens but in many situations, you probably lack the image quality. Because not every photography needs a particular DSLR lens rather the DSLR lens depends upon the type of photography.

In a broad sense, from wide-angle to telephoto the lenses can cover all kinds of photography. So, if you are a beginner and don’t know much about DSLR lenses, here we have given a brief idea regarding the types of DSLR lenses, their uses and also cover the topics about lens filters, fast lenses and slow lenses.

Here we go…

In general, there are two types of DSLR camera lenses. Those are

Prime lens & Zoom lens

Prime lenses are those lenses whose focal lengths are generally fixed. The prime Dslr camera lens could be 35mm, 50mm and 85mm etc. Prime lenses are generally lightweight and easy to carry and very much travel friendly.

Whereas talking about the zoom lens the focal length of the zoom lenses are not fixed and generally vary from short focal length to longer focal lengths. In general zoom lenses can be heavier or lighter.

After knowing a little bit of idea about the two main types of DSLR lenses. Let’s explore more on Camera lenses.

Types of lenses used in DSLR camera

As far as the focal length is concerned, the DSLR lenses are divided into six types:-

  1. Standard lens
  2. Telephoto lens
  3. wide angle Lens
  4. Fisheye lens
  5. Macro lens
  6. Tilt shift lens

1. Standard lens

Standard lenses could be prime and zoom lenses. These types of DSLR camera lenses come up with focal lengths ranging between 35mm to 85mm. These lenses can give you the exact pictures that the naked eye generally sees. As a result, the images formed by this lens are found to be more natural and vivid with good contrasts.

Talking about their uses, these lenses are more often used in street photography, travel photography etc. Beautiful portraits with suitable blur effects can be achieved through this lens. [Best DSLR Lens For Travel Photorgraphy]

Talking about the best portrait lens, a 50mm Canon or Nikon which is usually called a ‘Nifty fifty’ lens is a great choice for amateurs and professionals. The 50mm lens from Canon is one of the best DSLR lenses at an affordable price that Canon has ever produced. The standard lenses are generally lightweight and some may be heavier as well.

Best Standard Lens –

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2. Telephoto Lens

These types of camera lenses usually start with a focal length of above 85mm. There are two types of telephoto lenses found. One is short telephoto and the other is a long telephoto range lens. The short or medium telephoto comes with a focal length between 85mm to 135mm while the long telephoto is found to be greater than 135mm. Furthermore, a telephoto could be a prime or zoom lens.

The telephoto lens enables you to focus on distant subjects as they have greater focal lengths. Further the varied focal lengths can give you a better perspective for all kinds of photography.

In addition to this, the telephoto lenses are very heavy and generally require tripods or monopods. The main feature of these lenses is that they can produce narrow focal planes. As a result, this lens can produce beautiful portraits with suitable backgrounds.

As these lenses can give you sharper images from longer distances these lenses are pretty useful in sports or wildlife photography.

Here is a list of Best Telephoto Camera Lenses

Best Telephoto Lens –

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3. Wide angle Lens

Wide-angle Lenses generally come up with a shorter focal length that varies from 14mm to 35mm. In a single exposure, you can get a broader field of view which can enable you to capture every corner.

Because of this broader view, the lens is very much useful in landscape and architectural photography. These lenses are also useful in interior and wedding photography as well.

If we talk about its main key feature then its large depth of field can give you razor-sharp images with beautiful colour contrasts. Talking about its downside, these lenses are usually much prone to distortion as they have shorter focal lengths. But no need to worry, by using certain photo editing tools you can get the best pictures.

Here is our article on Best Wide Angle DSLR Camera Lenses

Best Wide Angle Lens –

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4. Fisheye lens

Fisheye lenses are those lenses that have ultra-wide-angle features and the focal length varies from 4mm to 14mm.

The fisheye lens has the capability to produce a 180-degree view of the subjects and can give you panoramic views.

The beautiful circular and hemispherical images can be taken using this lens.

As the name suggests ‘fisheye’, the lens exactly creates the images of what a fish generally sees from a distance. Talking about its uses, the lens is very much useful in outdoor photography, especially skating and surfing shots.

The Lens has the unique ability to produce convex and non-rectilinear photos which certainly adds aesthetic value to your photography. For creative shots to capture, film photographers use this lens.

Check Out Best Fisheye DSLR Lenses

Best Fisheye Lens –

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5. Macro lens

Macro lenses are the types of DSLR camera lenses that can take better close-ups with outstanding sharpness and contrast. Like any other lens, the lens could be a prime or zoom lens.

The Lens usually offers a magnification ratio of 1:1 and is primarily used to take beautiful nature photos.

By using macro lenses you can take the close-ups of very tiny objects which includes insects, flowers etc. Their focal length generally varies from 35mm to 200mm.

Furthermore, the macro lenses are very much useful for shorter distances while for longer distances you have to rely on the telephoto lenses.

Check Out Best Macro Lenses in 2021

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6. Tilt shift lens

Tilt-shift lenses are those lenses whose optics are generally tilted or shifted with respect to the image sensor. The Lens enables you to tilt and shift the lens over a wide range of directions.

The tilt-shift lens doesn’t come with the autofocus feature. However, the advantage of the tilt-shift lenses is there.

The tilt-shift lens generally works on the principle of the Scheimpflug principle which says that the lens plane is not parallel to the image plane or image sensor. In general, the lens changes the plane of sharp focus.

The advantage of this lens is that without disturbing the camera position you can move your lens left or right to get a world-class view of your needs. In movies and creative photography, these lenses are generally used.

The Canon brands also produce the above types of Canon, Nikon DSLR lens and other DSLR lenses as well.

After getting a little idea about the types of dslr lenses let’s discuss the type of lens filters.

Check Out Best Tilt-Shift Lenses

Best Tilt-Shift Lens –

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Lens filters

Lens filters are pretty useful in taking creative pictures. Many photographers need these little pieces of the lens to manage the striking lights (on front elements of the lens) conditions. The lens filters can also reduce flares, reflections and can improve the image quality by enhancing its colour performance.

Advantages of using lens filters

1. The Lens filters can protect the front element of the lens. The protective lens does not allow to put any scratches, cracks and dust on the front elements.

2. The Lens filters are very much useful in colour correction and can give you amazing contrasts.

3. During low lights, filters can give you better exposure over the entire image.

4. Lens filters add high impact to your lens by providing vivid colours and reducing reflections.

Classification of lens filters

Screw-on filters

Otherwise called as circular filters, these lens filters can be mounted or screwed easily to the front part of your lens. There are a number of screw-on filters available of which mostly used filters are polarizers, ND filters and colour filters. These filters have varying diameters and thicknesses. The thick filters usually give vignetting.

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Drop-in filters

Drop-in filters are the filters that are generally used in telephoto lenses. It is because telephoto lenses have larger front elements.

Drop-in filters are used in the rear part of the lens. These filters are generally inserted into the specialized compartments found on the lens.

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Square filters

These filters are generally used with a filter holder which is generally attached to the front part of the lens. This type of lens filter is generally used in landscape photography.

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Rectangular filters

These filters are also used for landscape photography as well. This is also used with a filter holder as well. The Rectangular filters allow the photographer to get more space to move around the subjects.

Types of Camera Lenses filters

UV and Skylight filters

UV filters protect the front element from direct UV light. Apart from that the filters also protect the lens from moisture, dust and scratches. As a result, you can get pretty good shots in wet conditions without worrying about lens damage.

On the other hand, skylight filters can control the excessive blue colour of the sky when shooting outdoors.

These kinds of filters are generally used for almost all types of photography.

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Polarizing filters

These filters are just like sunglasses. These filters add more depth to your image by controlling or reducing reflections. This lens is generally easily attachable to your lens.

These polarizing filters can be primarily used for landscape photography and also useful for all kinds of photography as well. The Lens filters feature a rotating mount where you can adjust the desired image by rotating the polarizing filters which can be seen on the viewfinder or live view.

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Neutral density filters

These are generally dark coloured glasses that have the capability to reduce the number of incoming lights without disturbing the colour of the images. These filters do not need any kind of adjustment, they are superb, easy to attach and you can enjoy hassle-free shooting. This lens filter is most suitable for landscape photography, street photography and you can shoot moving objects as well.

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Graduated neutral density filter

The graduated neutral density filters are a pretty good accessory for landscape photography. This lens filter is featured as the light transition from dark to light. This is because the filter is called a graduated neutral density filter.

The Lens filter has the darker part which does not create any colour over images. For this reason, the lens filter is called neutral which refers to no colour.

During exposure, this lens filter manages the incoming light as this lens has good control over the gradient. The darker gradient does not allow low light to enter inside the filters, which helps in taking desired shots. As a result, you explore more tones of your images. This lens is quite helpful after sunrise and before sunset.

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Colour correcting filters

This filter has the capability to enhance colours which in turn makes the looks of images become sunnier. This filter delivers accurate, realistic and amazing colours. These lens filters are useful for almost all kinds of photography.

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Close-up filters

This filter is also called a macro filter which is quite helpful for macro photography. Even without using a macro lens, you can get better close-ups.

If you don’t want to buy so much costlier macro lenses then you can go for the close-up filters as well.

Though these filters don’t produce the maximum magnification as the macro lenses usually do, still these filters can give pretty good macro close-ups.

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Special effects filters

These filters can be used for a variety of purposes. If you want to shoot an image that will contain street lights, then this filter clearly defines the street lights because of their special effects ability.

However, these special effects filters are losing popularity as tools like photoshop add extra effects to the images. These filters are also suitable for all kinds of photography.

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Fast lenses v Slow lenses

In digital photography, both fast lenses and slow lenses have their own signatures. Fast lenses are generally referred to as the fast or wide aperture like f/1.2, f/1.8 etc. On the other hand, the lenses having aperture f/8 onwards are considered slow lenses.

A fast lens has larger openings of the aperture which can receive more light as compared to the slow lens.

As more light enters inside you will get an amazing depth of field which allows you to separate the subjects from its backgrounds.

As the fast lenses have wide openings they can perform well in dark conditions as well. Suppose you are in a wildlife adventure and want to capture the behaviour of animals even in low light areas, then these fast lenses could be handy for photoshoots.

What Does Lens Speed Mean In Photography? Fast Lens v/s Slow Lenses

The fast lenses usually have faster shutter speeds. These faster shutter speeds allow you to capture distinct moving objects as well. As fast lenses receive more light your camera will not go for the highest ISO settings.

Fast lenses are generally more expensive but thanks to Canon 50mm f/1.2, which is a pretty fast Lens at an affordable price.

In fast lenses, aperture plays a major role. For example, if we take f/24 or f/22 then there is not much difference in aperture openings. But in f/1.2 and f/1.8 there is much more difference in aperture openings. That’s why companies play some tricks to manufacture expensive fast lenses.

Talking about the slow lens, the slow lens has a high aperture value and short openings. As a result, slow lenses perform well in bright sunlight as compared to dim lights. The slow lenses take a much longer exposure time as compared to the fast lenses.

The higher range zoom lenses are generally not so fast; they are very slow at the telephoto end. Talking about the price, slow lenses are not as expensive as fast lenses.

Most Compatible All-Round DSLR Lenses

If you have a DSLR camera and think that every lens will fit into your camera, then you are wrong. Yes, it is sometimes possible but for that, you need a special adapter. But the adapter will not make you happy while you photoshoot and things will not work after some time.

It has been seen that top brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony have their own lenses which can be fit into their respective brands.

Yes, of course, most of the third party lenses are also available which includes Sigma, Tamron, Tokina etc. are also fit for any kind of DSLR camera. Usually, Sigma and their Art line series have a great impact in the photography world.

If you want some of the most compatible all-around DSLR lenses then you should go for the third party lenses as they have good features and performance in terms of price as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Which lens is best for DSLR Camera?

A: It completely depends upon the type of photography you usually do in your daily lives or depending upon your perspective you should go for a DSLR camera lens. You can explore this website to find out the best DSLR camera lens.

Q. What is the standard lens for DSLR?

A: As mentioned above, standard lenses may be prime or zoom. If you want to explore more then go for a standard zoom lens with good features. You can choose a focal length between 35mm to 85mm.

Q. What are the four major types of camera lenses?

A: The four major types of lenses are a standard lens, telephoto lens, wide-angle lens and macro lens.

Q. Which lens is best for Astrophotography?

A: Wide-angle Lenses with high aperture openings are best suited for astrophotography.

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