Camera Lenses: Types Of Camera Lenses And The Differences

Camera Lenses selection is one of the worst possible minefields that one can possibly face in the world of digital photography. For someone new to photography, these might come as a scary and a daunting task to choose from. With the increase in digital market however, more and more people are opening up possibilities to the myriad of lenses that are produced by the respective parent companies or other tier companies which can easily be compatible with other camera bodies.

However, the most important thing to keep in mind is that the choices depend on the kind of photography that a person is most acclimatized with, the nature of photography that he/she is most involved with. Having just an expensive lens might not necessarily indicate towards better photography but more towards your ignorance of the correct lens as per your requirements.

The most important thing to consider while choosing lenses is the requirement of the focal length. A higher number for a focal length indicates bigger zoom while a lower number indicates a wider field of view with less amount of magnification. It is basically the distance between the optical center of a lens and its sensor. And is basically the standout point when it comes to lenses.

This article is a simple breakdown of the different types of camera lenses that you will find while browsing through the lens market, the type of photography they can be used for.

1. Kit Lens:

Kit lens

This is the basic lens that is offered with most basic DSLRs. It is basically a entry-level zoom lens offering a decent wide-angle zoom. However, kit lens can only do so much when it comes to variety in photography. For sure, they can cover your basic needs, but they falter when it comes to landscape photography.

These camera lenses cover your all-purpose daily needs. From wide-angle to portraits, they just about manage to cover some of the aspects.

2. Prime Lens:


These are the types of camera lenses, which unlike other lenses don’t come with zoom feature, meaning they have a fixed focal length.

But this is made up by the added advantage of a sharper images and larger apertures. They normally come in focal lengths of 35, 50 and 85mm.

Prime lenses are hugely favored for their sharp and tack images and their performance feature is is top-notch when it concerns indoor and low-light photography.

3. Wide-Angle Lens:


Normally, wide-angle lenses come in three varieties –

  • Fish Eye – These lenses tend to produce a distortion effect around the center of the image. In short, they curve the central portion of an image which gives off a circular effect in the image.
  • Ultra-Wide – Also called aspherical lenses, such camera lenses have a focal length of less than 24mm and are capable of getting shots which are more than wider in nature
  • Wide-Angle – Same like ultra-wide but with a focal length between 24-25mm, they tend to offer a wide perspective when it comes to images. Less distortion as compared to ultra-wide.

All wide-angle lenses are known for giving a large depth of field advantage as compared to other types of camera lenses. Which gives out more details in the image for either background and foreground depending on the type used.

4. Telephoto Lens:


Telephoto lens have a focal length which normally crosses beyond 70mm although there are arguments that dispute this saying that an actual telephoto lens are those that go above 130mm. Irrespective of this, what needs to be known is that all telephoto camera lenses have a narrow field of view. This helps in giving a perceived view that the distant objects are brought closer together.

Traditionally, telephoto lenses have always been preferred for sports, wildlife and landscape photography.

Most telephoto lens are quite heavy and might weigh down the user unless proper care is taken regarding the weight factor. If you are thinking of buying a telephoto lens, do take this into consideration otherwise you might end up on the wrong side of health issues.

Image Stabilization feature (IS) is one important point that you should look at while buying a telephoto lens. At the higher end of the focal length spectrum, as you zoom in to a subject, images tend to get distorted due to camera shake. This is where IS comes in handy by reducing the camera shake. Now-a-days, most cameras come with in-built IS feature.

5. Macro Lens:


You must have seen incredible close-up shots of flowers or the eye of a bee. That is mostly done with the help of an macro lens, which is one among the many specialist camera lenses which feature a reproduction ratio of 1:1. You might find the Macro mode on most cameras, but that feature just shows a small preview of what can be actually done with a macro lens. They allow the user to get incredible close-up shots of their subject coupled with excellent sharpness.

Macro lens are preferred for close-up photography of small objects, most noticeably insects and flowers.

6. Superzoom Lens:


Superzoom lens is the perfect definition of do-it-all lenses when it comes to digital photography. Out of the entire gamut of focal lengths, they cover a wide area. The major benefit of this is that you don’t have to carry around a pack of camera lenses in your arsenal or when circumstances might bar you from changing lenses. The downside of this, however is that you might lose out on image quality and slower apertures.

Mostly preferred by casual travellers for their ability to deliver decent images with one lens. Consider this as a one-lens package which covers all the basic aspects.


From what you have read so far, it’s pretty understandable that all these camera lenses give the user the oppotunity to broaden their photographic creativity and imagination. For sure, the combination of a lens and a camera body is what makes the image striking but a lot of it comes down to the lens used for the purpose.

Hopefully, this article has given you a fair understanding of the type of lens out there for one to use. Prices for such camera lenses range from the affordable to the ridiculously expensive tier. You don’t have to shell out a huge amount to buy a lens. There are plenty of options to go for a second-hand lens instead.

Go out there and explore the different lens options and select whichever is best suited for you to deliver striking images and broaden your creativity!