What lenses should I be using? | Photography Basics

A good lens is more valuable than a good camera body and will certainly outlive it. That statement is certainly true but what I’m not suggesting is that you blow your budget on glass* early on. In all honesty buy the best lenses you can afford and build up your collection slowly. But I guess you’re wondering what type of lenses are the best?


Think about what you intend to photograph first then think about what equipment you will need. It’s unlikely that if you’re doing lots of portrait work you’ll need a fish eye or massive sports photography zoom so be sensible.

Photography Basics Memory Gate


If you are going to invest lots of money early on, start off with one good workhorse lens. Mine is a 24-70mm zoom which has a largest aperture of 2.8.


This is great for just about everything I do. The f2.8 aperture means I can photograph easily in low light and get a really shallow depth of field. The 24mm end of the zoom means I can get lovely wide angle group photos without too much distortion and the 70mm end is great for portraits.

Bare in mind I’m using this on a full frame DSLR so of you are using a camera with a small sensor then the equivalent lens size will be something like 17-55mm.


If you are just starting out and you have what we lovingly refer to in the industry as a kit lens then that’s absolutely fine. I you are going to invest more money in lenses though I would replace this one before buying others. The simple reason being that this will be the lens that you’ll most likely be doing most of your work with and like I said before, it will outlive your current body.


This is fine if you are buying into a system where the lenses fit onto both entry level and high end bodies. The problem is that there are lots of mid price camera systems that have there own lens system. The Nikon N1 or the Olympus Penn or OMD are examples. Most of these lenses can’t be used on higher end models so if you’re spending a lot of money on glass then make sure your are going to stick with that system and not want to upgrade in the not so distant future.

nikon lens

Zoom or Prime lenses?

Firstly I should make it clear that Prime lenses are awesome. They have a particular quality about them which zoom lenses just can’t get near, this is why they are expensive.

If you are just starting out then certainly stick with the zoom lenses but of you are tempted in trying out a prime lens then both Canon and Nikon offer very affordable 50mm prime lenses. Affordable inasmuch as they will cost you less than £100 which is about as affordable as you can get when you’re talking about lenses.

Yes these 50mm are a bit plasticky but they are actually pretty good and I would recommend putting it on your Christmas list.


If you have any particular questions regarding what type of lenses you should be using for different jobs then please feel free to contact me.


*A term that all the cool kids call lenses.


Subscribe to the Memory Gate Training newsletter


Facebook Comments

Contact Memory Gate

    Your Name (required)

    Your Email (required)


    I'm intrested in: (required)

    Business ServicesBaby PhotographyFamily PhotographyOther

    Your Message

    Please type text to field below