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Having a wide variety of SLR camera lenses is a necessity for a professional photographer. However, choosing a second lens for amateur photographers can be daunting. The sheer number of SLR camera lenses available on the market is amazing. Discover the differences in camera lenses and make sure you buy the best camera lens for you.

The most important point to remember about SLR camera lenses is that they are always camera brand specific. For instance, a Nikon camera lens would not be compatible with a Canon camera and vice versa. However, a lot SLR camera lenses are interchangeable between different models of the same brand. For instance, the 18-135mm kit lens that comes with the Nikon D80 will work on the D90.

Whichever camera you own, the lenses available vary considerably in purpose, size and price and can generally be easily placed into one of the following five categories.


Most SLR cameras that come with a kit lens will feature a standard lens. It’s designed to take a wide variety of photographs. Their perspective is similar to what the human eye sees. It often has too narrow a field of view for use with interiors and is not selective enough for longer-range views.

Wide Angle

With a shorter focal length than a standard SLR camera lens, wide angle lenses provide a wider angle image. Offering somewhat of a distortion on the picture’s perspective, wide angle camera lenses give the effect that the item which is closest to the camera is a lot bigger than it is, producing a surreal looking photograph. An extreme example of a wide angle lens is a fish-eye lens.

Fish Eye

Often seen as an extension or progression to a wide angle lens, using a fish eye lens can encompass a wider view, but give the photograph a different perspective. Not used particularly widely in general photography, fish eye lenses offer a great and unusual effect to produce some fantastic images.


In essence, a camera with a telephoto lens attached has the ability to bring items that are further away closer to the camera. It works the same way that a telescope or pair or binoculars work. One of the SLR camera lenses that vary in price most, they can cost in excess of $100,000 at the higher end of the market. But amateurs can find them below $1,000. They are especially adept at wildlife and sports photography.


The opposite of a telephoto lens, a macro SLR lens has the ability to make small things that are close, appear extremely large. Not detracting from the detail in the image, high quality macro lenses are capable of taking a photograph of a one inch sized insect with such detail, that it can be blown up to fit a large poster without losing any of the insect’s features.

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