The Camera Lens Buying Guide

You want to buy the best camera lens for your camera, but where to start? There are so many different types of lenses, manufacturers, and usages that it’s very easy to get confused. This article is a starting point from which you can get detailed guidance about how to select a camera lens based on how you intend to use it. Take a look at the overall guidance we provide so that you start asking the right questions, then click on the guide that you need in the list to find and buy the exact lens that suits your camera and your needs.

Why Lens Selection Is Important

Good lenses are expensive. Selecting a lens that is a perfect match for what you use it can make all the money spent worthwhile. On the other hand, a bad lens selection can leave you frustrated, with poor output and a hole in your pocket.

Buying the right lens for your camera is probably one of the most important decisions you’ll take as a photographer, so it’s important to get it right the first time. That’s why we’re here to give you all the knowledge that you need to buy the camera lens of your dreams.

Comprehensive Guide to Buy Camera Lenses

For Beginner Photographers

If you’re a beginner photographer, you might be looking for an in-depth lens-buying guide to help you along.

This guide is so in-depth that we had to split it up based on the type of photography that you want to do. To help you understand the features of each type of lens, and why those features are important for a particular type of photography, we created one article for each. In each of those lens buying guides, we explain everything in detail. We present our suggestions after we explain each type of photography, and why the lens is best suited to it.

For Professional / Advanced Photographers

If you’re an advanced photographer, you can skip over the basics and just scroll down to the bottom of each article linked below. The careful selection of lenses that we’ve provided in each article should allow you to confirm or deny your own choice.

These lens selection guides will assist you in selecting the exact lens that you require for a specific type of photography with the least stress.

Select The Correct Camera Lens Guide

No matter what type of photography you want to try, our Lens Buying Guides will guide you to find the right tool. In them, we explain not only which lenses are the best, but also why they are the best choices for the job at hand.

The links to all those Lens Selection Guides are listed below.

Lens Buying Guides:

These guides are not just lists of lenses. They’re actual guides that tell you what you would need to look for in a lens for a particular style of photography. 

How Much Money Should You Spend on Lenses?

Lenses are frequently one of a photographer’s most expensive business expenses. In today’s world, where cameras are upgraded every few years, a good lens purchase will most likely be used with multiple cameras over time. For this reason, it makes sense to choose a set of lenses that are well-made and that will serve you well for many years.

A good selection will hold up even in difficult environmental conditions, while still producing excellent images that are technically excellent. So, do you have to spend all of your money to get the best lenses every time?

Understanding The True Requirements

Each type of photo shoot has its own set of requirements, and often a light, easier-to-use lens is preferable to a heavy, but technically-perfect lens. The first step in selecting an appropriate lens is to understand what a photographer requires.

Buying a Lens vs Renting a Lens

Next, we must figure out whether we need to own the lens (appropriate if it will be used multiple times a month), or whether its application will be infrequent enough that we can rent the lens while still making a profit.

If the lens (or any other equipment for that matter), is likely to be used often, it may make long-term sense to buy the lens. However, we do not advise that you go into debt to buy such a lens. Instead, save up so that the purchase can be made with ease of mind.

How To Use the Lens Guides

The Best Way to Use the Guides…

  1. Figure out the type of photography that you want to explore.
  2. Read the appropriate article from the list above to find out which lenses you should be exploring. 
  3. Try out the lenses before you use them. You could borrow one from a friend, or rent one from a lens rental. 
  4. If you’re satisfied that our suggestion – and your pick – is the right lens, then go out and buy the lens yourself.
  5. If not, then try another suggested lens, to find out which one suits your style of photography. 
  6. Repeat until satisfied.
  7. Enjoy taking photographs with some really sweet lenses. :D

Basic Checklist When Buying a Lens

  • Match the DSLR or Mirrorless camera’s mount and format (Full Frame or Crop Sensor)
  • Purpose or Type of Photography the lens will be used for
  • Zoom or Prime Lens – a question of convenience
  • Focal Length needed
  • Widest Aperture needed
  • Lens Quality and Brand Reputation
  • Image Stabilization
  • Weatherproofing
  • Size and Weight
  • Price and Budget
  • Resale value
  • Warranty and Customer Support
  • Reviews and Recommendations
  • Filter Thread Size – Good quality filters can easily become expensive

Why Are There So Many Guides?

The guides are divided up based on various photography disciplines. They address the needs of those disciplines in particular.

Most lenses perform well for multiple uses across photography disciplines. But sometimes certain lenses will far exceed others for a particular job, and that’s why we have these articles categorizing the lenses as such.

Photographers will often use every type of lens that they can lay their hands on. This is because they’re always trying to create an image that looks different …  a different style of image, and this is just as important… To explore the various possibilities that your equipment may offer.

In turn, this means that these guides can never be entirely comprehensive for every photographer. It remains up to you … the photographer; to experiment and learn which lenses suit your style of photography, and to learn how to get the most from each lens that you use. What we offer is merely a beginning point for your exploration.  

Click through the links in the list above to start reading. The titles are self-explanatory.

Suggest Lenses to Help Us Complete the Series! 

This series is incomplete, as you can see. E-mail me about a particular lens that you would like to be included. If you make a compelling argument for the lens, you will see it added to the appropriate guide.

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas

Susheel Chandradhas is a Product Photographer and Filmmaker based in India. He has been taking photographs (almost) all his life. He has a diploma and a bachelors degree in Visual Communication, where his classmates all believed that he would write a book on photography... Instead, he writes on this website (because - isn't a community more fun?).

His passions include photography, parkour, wide-angle lenses, blue skies, fire extinguishers, and fast computers.

In addition to writing for Beyond Photo Tips, Susheel is a staff writer for, and owns and runs ColoursAlive, a photography, and video production studio.

You can connect with Susheel on Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn.

Articles: 158


  1. Hi Peter,

    Thank you for that. That particular post is actually almost ready. I’m just working out the kinks. I should have it up in a week or so.

    Please do check back then!


  2. In your list of lenses for Sports Photography you recommend the older Nikon 600 mm not the newer AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR

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