Having options is always good. Too many options, though, can be confusing. If you’re an amateur photographer simply looking to upgrade your camera kit, it may be difficult to know where to start among Canon’s nearly seven dozen lenses (broken down into 10 sub-categories, no less).
There are two basic types of lenses: prime and zoom. Prime lenses have a fixed focal length, and are typically sharper and reproduce contrast better; zoom lenses have a range of focal lengths, making them more versatile. Furthermore, there are three classes of lenses: wide-angle, standard and telephoto, and each can include prime and zoom lenses.
Lenses are further sub-categorized within the three classes. In some cases, it’s simply an extension of the class—for example, ultra-wide zoom or super telephoto lenses. In others, it has to do with what the lens was designed to do—for instance, macro or tilt-shift lenses.
Here we’ve laid out what type of photography each lens is ideal for, the defining characteristics of each lens and the characteristics of the images that each lens produces. Our primer will help you determine which lens works best for what you want to capture and equip you with the know-how to capture images as you want to remember them.