Michael 84

Blogger Camera Advice – Which Lens To Buy After 18-55mm Kit Lens?

Blogging Tips, Tech Blog
Tuesday, 28th July, 2015

Blogger Photography Tips For Lenses

You’ve made the leap to a DSLR camera from a compact, you’ve had a lot of fun taking great photos with the kit lens you got with the camera, but where do you go from here?

What lens should you buy? If these are the questions you’re asking yourself, hopefully I can give you some advice from my experiences 🙂

I got my DSLR around 3 years ago, and it’s the camera I mostly use when for blogging, taking photos of everything; From travel photography to taking shots of fashion products and portrait photos, I use it for them all. The main difference from a compact to a DSLR is that the lenses are interchangeable – There’s a lens which can do the job you want to do.

With that comes the cost, and lenses are expensive, so when you’re looking for one it’s best to know exactly what you’re looking for.

Canon or Nikon (or other)

First of all you need to get to know your camera. The two big players are Canon and Nikon. Both are great, and it comes down to personal preference.

I went for Canon, specifically the Canon 600D. You need to make sure you pick the one you like best, because they use different lens mounts, so you will not be able to use the lenses from one to the other if you decide to change cameras after spending a ton of money (sure, you can get an adapter, but you really don’t want to do that).

With that being said, there are other lenses out there which are made for Canon or Nikon, so you don’t necessarily have to buy the Canon brand, just make sure it has a Canon mount; There’s plenty from brands like Sigma, Tokina and Tamron.

The Crop Factor

One thing you may not realise is that most entry and mid-level DSLRs don’t use a full frame sensor, but a cropped one, an APS-C is used on Nikon and Canon. That means the sensor is around 1.52x – 1.62x (Nikon & Canon respectively) of the equivalent lens.

This is really important to consider when you’re buying a lens. That means if you go for a 50mm lens, that’s 50mm on a full frame 35mm camera, however on your cropped DSLR it will be around 80mm.

What Camera Lens Do Fashion Bloggers Use?

I now have 5 different lenses which I use for fashion blogging. Actually, I have 5 lenses, but I only really use 4 for the blog, and I will go into each lens now, and what I think are the perfect usage for each one.

Canon 18-55mm kit lens

OK, I hardly ever use this anymore. This is the kit lens which comes with the camera. I used this for a very, very long time, and it’s a really good starter lens. It does most things you’d want it to do;

It’s a zoom lens, and it’s a pretty good all rounder. I used this as my everyday lens, and it has served me well.

Used For – The all rounder which can be used for pretty much anything.

Canon 50mm f1.8

The nifty fifty as it’s known to many. It’s probably the first lens other bloggers buy when getting their camera, and it’s loved by most. The reason? It’s pretty good, but it’s also cheap, in fact maybe the cheapest lens you’ll buy.

For under £100 you get this, which is f1.8 so let’s in a ton of light, perfect for indoor photography. It’s not the best in build quality, it’s very ‘plasticy’ but it does the job, and does it well. Set the aperture way up to f1.8 and shoot in aperture priority mode, and you’ll get lots of bokeh a.k.a background blur in your images.

Beware of the crop factor! 50mm is really 80mm on a cropped sensor, so it makes this lens not very good for portraits (you’ll have to stand quite a way from the camera to get a whole body shot).

Used For – Small products photography and when I have lots of space, Street Style photos. I use this lens for taking photos of things like aftershaves and other small products.

It’s no good for taking shots of clothing if you want to get all the whole item in, it’s not really wide enough for that. It’s pretty good at handling close-ups of clothing though.

No.7 Protect And Perfect Serum

Product shot using the 50mm at f1.8

Tokina 11-16mm f2.8

My love, my favourite, and the lens which lives on my camera. I was looking for a wide angle lens, originally for my trip to Reykjavik to use for taking photos of the Northern Lights. After a huge amount of reading, I settled on the Tokina 11-16mm.

It’s super wide, fast at f2.8 and even though it’s an expensive for a lens for me, at just over £400 it’s actually reasonable in comparison to other similar lenses. I love this lens, it’s a dream.

As I keep mentioning throughout the cropped sensors really play havoc on getting wide angles, but since this is 11mm at it’s widest it has no problem.

In fact a lot of the time I have to get closer to my subject and even use it at 16mm on plenty of occasions.

Used For – Best used for travelling, it gets everything and more into the frame. I’ve also used it for fashion, clothing, products and full length portraits.

It’s the lens which lives on my camera, it’s the best lens at doing the most. It doesn’t do close-ups too well, but that’s not what it’s designed for.

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The Blue Lagoon In Iceland on my Tokina 11-16mm f2.8

Canon 24mm f2.8

My latest, brand new lens is the Canon 24mm f2.8. I got this lens because I wanted something which was close to a standard lens, and this is exactly that.

It’s 24mm is like a traditional 35mm lens, so the perspective is near the same as the human eye. This is so new to me, I have not used it much, so I can not write much of a review on it yet. It’s a slim pancake, and super lightweight, almost like there’s no lens on the camera.

Used For – The planned usage for this lens for me is for portraits. the Tokina is a bit too wide, the Canon is definitely not wide enough, this is right in the middle.

Canon 55-250mm

This was the 2nd lens I bought, and although I don’t regret it, I have hardly used it. I decided I needed to have more length for a lens, with the kit being 18-55 I thought I would use this zoom for long range shots.

After buying it I realised I actually don’t need it, and rarely use it. I’ve used it in London a couple of times when I had it, other than that it’s only really been used once.

Last year when we had the eclipse I used it, and it was superb! It was worth the money for those shots alone, and it’s nice knowing if I need a long lens I have one.

Used For – Not much! Virtually nothing on the blog. If I were travelling on Safari or something of that nature I can see a use for this, but it’s not a lens which a blogger would typically need.

If you’re thinking of getting a long lens ask yourself, do I really need one, and what would I use it for.

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2014 solar eclipse using my 55-250mm lens

Verdict – My favourite lenses for blogging

I have to say the two lenses which are my favourite (aside from the kit lens which comes with the camera) are the Tokina 11-16mm lens which does almost everything, and the Canon 50mm f1.8 which does the rest.

With those two lenses I really have all of the bases covered, and don’t need to use anything else. My latest addition, the 24mm will be put though it’s paces, and could find it’s way into becoming a lens I really like to use.

I hope you have enjoyed this and learnt a lot from it! You can see these lenses in action in my men’s travel blog here.


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Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger and T-shirt designer from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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