The world of digital camera lenses is vast. Some lenses can cost more than $10,000 while others are as inexpensive as $50. A lens should really be chosen depending on the type of photography you intend to partake in. Professional photographers will require lenses that can put up with professional demands. Amateur photographers are usually content with a lens that does what is supposed to do with ease. When it comes to selecting lenses form the under $300 range, there are a number of good options.
Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro
The Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro lens provides full frame coverage, a f2.5-f0 aperture range, and a maximum magnification of 0.5x. This lens is also lightweight weighing in at 9.8 ounces. In addition, this lens is extremely sharp. A life-size converter will allow the lens to shoot life-size photos. Without the converter, this lens can shoot half life-size photos. Any photographer looking for a basic Macro lens would do well to purchase the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Macro.
Vivitar 100mm f/3.5 Macro
The 100mm f/3.5 Macro lens from Vivitar is a full frame lens that is also inexpensive. Novice photographers may want to consider this lens, since it provides a basic Macro lens experience. The lens is capable of taking ВЅ life-size photos without the close-up lens. However, Vivitar also includes the close-up lens in this lens package, which will allow for life-size photos to be taken. This lens has an aperture range of f3.5 – f0, and weighs a light 9.4 ounces. For the price, there are few lenses that can compete with the Vivitar 100mm f/3.5 Macro.
Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
Unlike more expensive lenses, the Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro can shoot life-size photos without the help of any additional parts. This lens also comes with a lens hood, which is a nice addition. The Sigma 50mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro has an aperture range of f2.8 – f32, and it weighs 11.5 oz (slightly more than pricier lenses).
Third Party Lenses
Many inexpensive lenses are considered third party lenses (such as Sigma lenses). These lenses can be attached to any kind of camera that has the right lens mount. This is not the case with a first party lens that must match the camera body. For example, a first party Cannon lens will not fit on a Nikon camera body.
If you want to purchase a lens that is not made by your camera manufacturer, a third party lens may be your only option. While third party lenses are generally inexpensive, these lenses can also be cheaply crafted (though third party lens quality has improved throughout the past few years). Reading user reviews is the best way to select a third party lens. Another way to decide between a first party lens and a third party lens is to build up a solid collection of basic first party lenses prior to looking for a third party lens. While expensive, first party lenses are usually the safest bet.
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