- 7 Reasons Why a 50mm Lens is All You Need for Great Photography
- Rookie Photography Mistakes You Need to Avoid
One thing that you often hear in photography is that if you're going to spend money on anything, it should be on a good lens.
Good glass gets you much better results than cheap glass, at least most of the time.
But there are some budget-friendly lenses that are an exception to that rule.
In the video above, Christopher Frost outlines an array of inexpensive lenses - 10, in fact - that will get you high-quality results without breaking the bank.
Most of the lenses are for Canon camera systems, but many of them can be found for Nikon and other major camera brands as well.
Below, I've outlined a few of my favorite lenses from Christopher's list.
Editor's Tip: Don't let your old, unused lenses sit around in a drawer. You can sell them and use the money you make to buy a new lens. Find out how to sell your old lenses here.
Budget Wide-Angle Lens: Samyang 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC
For wide-angle photography, it's tough to beat the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 manual focus lens.
It offers a decent f/2.8 aperture for low-light shooting situations, as well as a deliciously wide field of view that allows you to incorporate much more real estate into the shot.
This lens offers superb sharpness, too, especially for a rig that costs about $300 brand new. Compared to name brand lenses of the same capabilities, that's a savings of about hundreds and hundreds of dollars.
It fits Canon, Nikon, Sony, and other systems, and works on full frame and crop sensor cameras as well.
Budget Kit Lens Replacement: Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS HSM
Though most kit lenses are of the 18-55mm variety, the Sigma 17-50mm is close enough in the focal range department.
But where this lens vastly outdoes its kit lens competitors is with its constant f/2.8 aperture.
My Canon kit lens has a variable aperture of f/3.5-5.6, which clearly lacks the same low-light performance as this Sigma.
Granted, the Sigma has a rather antiquated autofocus system and the image stabilization isn't the best, but its sharpness and its constant, wide aperture make up for it.
This lens fits Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Pentax camera systems, and runs about $370 brand new.
Budget Superzoom Lens: Tamron 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
As far as zooms go, the Tamron 18-200mm offers incredible variability in focal length, taking you from wide-angle to telephoto with a flick of the wrist.
Like many zoom lenses, the aperture range is a respectable f/3.5-6.3, which will suit you just fine in most shooting conditions, though low-light shooting will be a problem without increasing the ISO or opening up the aperture.
This autofocus lens doesn't offer the same sharpness or image quality as the other lenses on this list, but at about $200 brand new, this is far and away one of the least expensive superzoom lenses on the market today.
It fits a number of camera systems, too, including Canon, Nikon, and Sony, and makes an ideal travel photography lens, given its wide focal range.
Best Standard Lens: Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM
No list of excellent budget lenses would be complete without the venerable Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 STM.
This incredibly versatile lens offers a robust f/1.8 aperture, making it a rock star in low-light shooting situations. That large aperture also produces beautiful bokeh, which is ideal for portraiture.
But portraits aren't this lens's only strong suit. Whether you use it on a full frame or crop sensor camera, it can shine when used for landscapes, architecture, and street photography. You can even reverse mount it for macro work.
Fifty-millimeter lenses are also ideal for learning the art of composition and framing, as they challenge you to use your feet to zoom, rather than relying on a zoom lens to do it for you.
Best of all, this little guy is just $125 brand new!
Editor's Note: If you want to save even more money, consider buying a pre-owned lens. Buying pre-owned means you can get a better lens for less money, and reap the benefits of improved performance and added features over lenses like those listed above. Search pre-owned lens inventory now.