Buying Guides Lenses

Types of lenses explained

Today I'm going to explain what types of lenses are there, and when you might want to use them.

This is the 2nd part of my Introduction to lenses article and if you haven’t yet read it, you can find it here:

Introduction to Lenses (DSLR and Mirrorless)

Right now you are lost because it’s your first digital camera with a kit lens and you want to buy a new and better lens for it OR you don’t even have a camera yet.

This is where you should be careful. Lenses and cameras are not cheap, and you don’t want to make a bad choice here. So let’s dive right in…

As we have already established these are the types of lenses that you can buy right now (with sample images):

Photo by Simon Berger on

Standard lenses

Those are the most popular lenses among the beginner photographers. They can be used in almost any situation. They are a bit less expensive compared to wide and telephoto lenses. Also a go-to lens for traveling.

Photo by Tuu1ea5n Kiu1ec7t Jr. on

Telephoto lenses

These lenses have a more narrow angle of view which helps isolate the subject from the unnecessary details. Can be used for portraits + blurs the background beautifully.

Photo by Aleksandar Pasaric on

Wide angle lenses

From extreme wide to medium wide angles. Primarily used to show the environment as wide as possible: landscapes, nature, city etc. Almost never used for portraits.

Photo by Jack Bulmer on

Super Telephoto lenses

These are used mainly by sports and wildlife photographers. They “shoot” farther which helps focus on a little bird far far away or on a football player somewhere across the field. Very bulky and extremely expensive.


There are of course a couple other types of lenses. They are so called “special” types: Macro lenses and Fisheye lenses.

Photo by Caio on

Macro lenses

Those lenses allow you to get reeeeally close to your subject. Best used to take a pic of something tiny, like flowers or insects. But actually macro lenses are sometimes used for food photography or even portraiture.

Photo by Jan Kopu0159iva on

Fisheye lenses

Super wide angle (a.k.a. Fisheye) lenses distort everything but it actually looks really cool in some situations.

One last thing.. All of those types of lenses can have a fixed or variable focal length (Primes vs Zooms). Zooms are very versatile but primes tend to be sharper and have lower aperture (even F/0.95!!!!!)

Still confused ?

I’ll help you make the right choice.

Want to buy a new camera or a lens ? I’ll be your virtual shopping assistant.

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