Making a Lens Choice


Choosing the Right Camera Lens


Lesson Info

Making a Lens Choice

All right, so that's a lot of stuff on cameras and lenses. And so now you need to start making a choice about where are you gonna go with your photography and what are you gonna shoot? So a lot of people start off with the lowly 18 to 55 zoom lens. And this is what a lot of basic cameras come packaged with these days. Now the first and obvious place to go is a little bit more telephoto. That is a place that's kind of a no brainer. Everyone's gonna want a little bit more of a telephoto because they're gonna want to shoot something that's a little further away, a little smaller, something they want to show some details of. And that telephoto lens will do very well. What happens next is people start shooting in a wide variety of conditions and they start understanding the importance of having an aperture that lets in more lens. And so what happens then is people usually want to get a faster lens that allows in more light. One of those apertures that goes down to 2.8. Some people get into ...

photography that needs to be able to see more from side to side, and that would be your wide angle photography. Your landscape, your travel shooters and so forth. And some people, they get interested in details. And they wanna get closer, and not the type of closer that telephoto will solve, they want to get closer to their subject in terms of a macro lens. And what I'm trying to figure out what my lens setup is going to be it's always a challenge because there's always so many options and there's so many compromises between the different lenses and what I'm trying to do when I choose a lens is I'm trying to fulfill a particular purpose, and I'm trying to do it as well as I can. It's like, well I need a travel lens that is relatively small but has this feature and that feature and other features, what do I want to carry around, what can I afford, what has good quality? What matches right with my camera and so forth? And so I'm just trying to have that one lens do as big a job or the best job that is can for that particular purpose. What I have found with lenses is that you can have quality features or price. You can choose two of these, but you can't have all three in one particular lens. If you wanted a lens that was just straight up quality awesome. You'd get something like a 300 millimeter 2.8 lens. The quality of that sort of lens, it is unbelievably good. If you said, "You know what," "I want a lens with a lot of features," meaning probably a lot of focal lengths, go ahead, they make a 28 to and you can shoot wide angle, telephoto, just about everything with it. If you wanted something at a good price you'd get one of those 50 millimeter 1.8 lenses and they're 100, 200 bucks, really good. Now you can get quality and features, you can get something like a 14 to 24 2.8 lens. That is an extremely high quality lens and it's got some nice versatility to it. But it is not cheap at all. If you want something that's reasonably priced but has a lot of features, well there's an 18 to 140, it doesn't have as much zoom as the 28 to 300, but it's gonna still be a pretty good all around lens. Quality-wise it's not the top notch of the options but it's gonna offer you a good price and a lot of features. You want good quality and a cheap price, you can do it, but it's a very limited lens. It's a portrait lens and it's the type of lens that I think a lot of people would really like to have, an 85 1.8. That's gonna get you a bit of both, and so as you look for your best, the lens to fill your needs, you are not going to find a perfect lens in all respects. You're gonna find a lens that does a couple of things really well, some things not as well as you would hope, but that is the world of compromised lenses and this is why we have interchangeable lenses and we have camera bags where we can put two, three and more lenses, is that we have different lenses to fulfill different purposes. And sometimes I'm not trying to get lenses that are just right next to the other lens in what they do, I want to have one lens that does one thing, another lens that does something completely different, and a third lens that does something completely different. And that way I can attach three different types of concepts of subjects that I want to shoot out in the field.

Class Description

Once you’ve chosen the camera of your dreams, how do you know which lens will maximize your camera’s capabilities? Join camera expert John Greengo as he explains what the best lenses are to add to your camera bag. He’ll explain:

  • Which lens is best for specific areas of photography
  • The technology behind lenses
  • How to use specialty lenses including macro and fisheye
  • Tips on operating and maintaining your lenses

John will also talk about lens accessories including hoods, mounts, filters, and teleconverters. By the end of this class, you’ll understand exactly what lens you’ll need to take your best photos!


Boris Dimitrov

Excellent class packed with incredibly useful knowledge. John is an amazing lecturer. He has also developed really great materials to help explain all the concepts and technologies that are explored in the class. Looking forward to my next class with him!

a Creativelive Student

Great class. So informative. John Greengo is such a fantastic tutor and explains everything in such and easy-to-understand way. I would highly recommend this class. Prior to doing this class, I was so confused about which lenses are best for various photography. Now I understand lenses completely. Thanks John!

Lettie Turner

Another great JG class, my 4th. He gives a lot of individual attention to several popular lens brands. I really think after seeing this video series you could pick out three lenses that would fit your needs and your pocketbook. The class handout is spot on for what is covered in the video. Great job!! Thank you