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Mastering Your Digital Camera

Lesson 44 of 51

Buying Lenses

Chris Weston

Mastering Your Digital Camera

Chris Weston

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Lesson Info

44. Buying Lenses
One of the perks to mirrorless and DSLR systems is the endless options of optics. But how do you choose a lens? Learn what to consider when buying a lens in this lesson.


Lesson Info

Buying Lenses

when it comes to lenses, you have a huge choice now. I cannot tell you what is the best lens to buy. But what I can tell you is this. The best lens to buy is the highest quality lens. You can afford to get the job done. But I also say is there is no one type of lens that suits a particular genre photography. Now what I mean by this is if you take me as an example, I photograph wildlife, and I use wide focal lengths just as much as telly photos. In fact, my favorite lens for wildlife photography is a 50 mil standard lens because it gives what I think is a really powerful perspective, Always for flexibility. I encourage you to have a set of lenses that cover a wide focal range, and that's what I work with. I work primarily resumes, and my main set includes four lenses that between them cover everything from super wide angle too long telephoto. Each has a short zoom range, for example, standard to short telly, medium telling for long. On, although this means carrying more lenses as oppose...

d to one lens that does all the quality of each lenses superior because optically is having to do less work. But that's May. And, as I said, I cannot tell you definitively, which is the best lens for you. That decision depends on a multitude of factors, of which only you know the answer. Once you have decided on a type of lens, I strongly advise you go to your local dealer and try out the options physically, pick up each lens and see how they feel in your hands. Their size, weight, ergonomics. Often it's more about a feeling than test charts and technical reviews. The first question is, Do I buy a prime lens or do I zooms well in the old days? These be quite a distinction between the quality of prime lenses and zoom lenses. Zoom lenses require more elements, and that means there's more glass for the light to pass through before it gets to the sensor. And that means there's more chance of distortion, so prime lenses typically were sharper. But technology being what it is that gap isn't quite so distinct anymore. So now to the naked eye, often it's very hard to tell the difference. Some other factors important to me when choosing a lens are its speed. That is his maximum veil. Aperture is auto focus performance and its robustness or build quality. Now speed is important because in working terms it means more light. For example, a lens of the maximum aperture of 2.8 gives me two stops more life in the lens with a maximum aperture of F 5.6. The extra light gives me more flexibility in exposure settings. That is, it allows me to use lower esos or to set a faster shutter speed or a combination of the two. Why the apertures also create more background blur because of reduced depth of field, which is especially useful in portrait photography, whether that be a portrait of a person or an animal When shooting fast action subjects, Auto focus critical lens has much to do with that is the camera Auto Focus. Performance is dependent on two things. How quickly the camera works out the focus distance and how far so lens focuses on that point. Now most manufacturers produce a professional range of lenses Onda consumer range. On one of the main differences between the two is the pro lenses have better, faster F motors. Another difference. Dream pro and consumer lenses build quality, generally speaking, more expensive lenses used better quality glass harder wearing a more robust materials and better seals to prevent water penetration and dust. Getting in Now This is important to me because I'm often shooting in camera hostile environments such as humid jungles or arid and dusty savannas. If you're shooting in more benign environments, may be less of a priority for you in all cases. And with all of these considerations, it comes down to deciding which factors are important to your style of photography. Yeah, that's your lens. Final deciding factor, which may trump all others, is budget. Thanks out. Just like you, I have to buy my lenses. And so when I'm considering budget, I put lens quality at the very top of the list. And that's because the quality of the image that comes off the sensor is only as good as the quality of light that passes through the lens on the way. That's even more important when we're thinking about super high resolution cameras 24 36 50 megapixels from your manufacturer. You have the choice between their consumer and professional range, with the former generally being less expensive. We do have another choice, which is between branded lenses and third party or non branded lenses. Now, in the past, non branded lenses used to be thought of as far inferior to branded ones. But just as technology has closed the gap between zooms and primes, so too is it massively improved the quality both in build and optics of non branded lenses. To the extent now, they really off an option. I cannot make this point strongly enough. If you're going to spend money on equipment and investing good quality glass, I don't know.

Class Description


  • Set up your camera with confidence
  • Better understand shutter speed, aperture, and ISO
  • Capture perfect exposures in camera
  • Get sharp, focused images quickly
  • Understand white balance and the difference between RAW and JPEG
  • Quickly and confidently capture images “in the moment”
  • Become a better photographer by building an understanding of basic photography techniques


CreativeLive is partnering with Chris Weston to offer you his Complete Photography Master Course.

Turn terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO from a bunch of obscure photography jargon to a toolset that you can easily manipulate to capture great photos. Led by landscape photographer Chris Weston, this class covers everything beginners need to know to master photography basics from exposure to focus.

Turn that camera dial off of auto and learn how to properly expose a photograph. With a few basic camera settings, get the most image quality and the best colors from your mirrorless or DSLR camera. Then, master focus modes and techniques for sharp photographs.

Learn the basics of photography in a series of short, memorable lessons. Chris' straight-forward teaching style is great for newbies that find the task of learning photography daunting, while the to-the-point lessons make it possible to spend just a few minutes a day mastering your camera with easy photography tips and techniques.


  • Beginner photographers
  • First time DSLR or mirrorless camera users
  • Any photographer that wants to get off automatic mode to shoot better photos


Named one of the world's most influential wildlife photographers, Chris Weston takes a contemporary approach to photography. After launching his career in 2001, the Fujifilm ambassador's images have graced the pages of top publications like BBC, The Times, Outdoor Photography, Practical Photography, and Digital Photography. As a photography educator, Chris has written over 20 photography books, along with leading photo tours and online workshops.


mark jacobson

What a marvelous course! What a marvelous teacher! When I went to college, my father would always ask me about my professors, more than the courses themselves. He was passionate about learning and although too busy with earning an income to go beyond an undergrad degree, continued to read 50 books a year. I still remember how he'd get almost visibly excited when I'd tell him about some special professor who taught with such enthusiasm and, more than just passion, evident delight and joy in the subject. 'Ah they're the best, son. How wonderful you have such a teacher." Well, he passed away decades ago but if he were still around I'd get a kick out of telling him about Chris Weston, the 'Prof' of this course. He's one of the very special ones: a teacher who's loved and lived his vocation--his avocation--since he was a boy--and still is as excited about it now as he was then. The result: a course that seems to be more a labor of love--of pouring far more energy and thought into the details then one typically finds in these courses--than anything else. Bravo Chris! I'm already on to your next one.


Chris is an amazing instructor who dissects theory giving amazing analogies that bring concepts to life. I have rarely been able to sit through most video course for more than a half-hour but watched this one from beginning to end. A good refresher course if you've been away from the camera for awhile or there are some concepts that still illude you. I highly recommend this course and look forward to watching his others. Thank you for the clarity and great explanations.

Sky Bergman

This was an amazing class. I have looked at a number of basic photography classes. This one was by far the best I have seen. Chris is an exceptional teacher. He breaks things down into digestible information and then inspires you to be creative. Thank you!