Lots of amateurs love to ask this question of what lenses to get after they buy their first DSLR/SLR. As I was once (and still is a newbie) in more ways than one, I loved to share what goes into my lens buying decision.
Itís very overwhelming to see the amount of lenses available in the market and get confuse over what you need. Add the third party lens offering and its already mind bogging!
However there is always a rule, what you need may not be the right tool others recommended, so how to start?
I would love to share my little photographic gear guide that was my guiding tool.
Like most of us, I started staring at the lens brochure online and started mapping out the different prices versus the focal lengths. Aperture size was an alien concept at first; focal length and cost are always my foremost needs.
So I started mapping out my needs, how many lenses I want and the cost Iím willing to fork out. At first I set my budget to $500 and only wanted an all-in-one lens. I mapped out all the lenses available and nothing but consumer lenses worked in my favour, mostly the 28-105, 24-85 range.
Before I plunge I reviewed the comments on image stabilizers lenses and how they help to reduce camera shake. I took notice of the 28-135 IS but it was $320 off my budget.
My prior experience with SLRs was with a manual film camera with the 24,35 and 50mm lenses. I love the 50mm perspective more than others so I noted my likes on my lens selection.
After debating for a while I increased my budget and bought a 28-135mm lens (45-216mm on my camera with x1.6 crop) and after shooting for a while realise I needed a wider angle to shoot.
Again back to the drawing board and I found only 3 lenses offering what I needed (16-35, 17-40, 20-35) 2 of them above $1k and the other about $700. I started enquiring about 2nd hand lenses and found a seller asking $350 for a 20-35mm lens. I proceed to buy it and spend lots of time shooting with my 2 lenses.
All this time I had on loan a 50mm from the seller for my DSLR (its was 2nd hand) and used it quite frequently.
As my lenses (san the 50mm) was of variable aperture and my DSLR could only handle iso400 (D30) I had to invest in a flashlight worked with the setup for the next 8 months.
During the 8 months I had a taste for bigger apertures to isolate subjects and my next change was to use the 17-35 2.8L zoom, followed by 28-70 2.8L zoom, I bought it 2nd hand for good price. This replaced all my consumer zooms. I bought a 70-200 for work usage as well.
This led to bigger problems for me as I hated the weight of these professional lenses and started using primes like the 35mm and discovered my love for low light photography.
During this time I discovered too shift/tilted lenses and certain projects had great needs for them so I slowly acquired all 3 within 4 months.
I acquired more primes for work 85mm & 24mm. my zoom lenses are only work related but my primes lenses are great for my daily usage. I bring one prime daily and shoot only with it and composed whatever I can think off.
So what worked for me may not be the same as yourself. The most important is to try and shoot and observe your shooting patterns.