SLR Lens Buying

  • Make Your Wishlist. Go to your favorite online lens source and create a wishlist for each type of lens you are thinking about. Then go shopping and find ALL the lenses that are offered for your camera that fit into your categories. Filter out your selections by dropping anything over your absolute budget threshold. I found 9 super-wides, 8 super-telephotos, and 4 macros– but I included primes and zooms.
  • Prioritize Your Options. Start sorting your lenses based on the information at hand, your intuition, and any cost criteria you may have. Typically, the more expensive lenses are also the better quality lenses (aside from price differences of around $100). My advice is to buy the best you can afford and you’ll never be disappointed.
  • Pick Your Flavor. Do it now or do it later, but if you have more than one type of lens you want, you’ll have to choose at some point. If you do it now you’ll save some time with the research. I decided to leave my options open — I couldn’t decide yet.
  • Do the Research. You want outside opinions and evaluations on each of the lenses you’re thinking about, and it’s best if you can find those evaluations from the same source — but this isn’t always possible. Get multiple reviews too.
  • Make Your Decision. At this point, you should have a good idea of which lens is the best one for you from any given category. If you had more than one category to decide between, pick one. I had 3 categories to decide between, and after my research I had one lens from each category. Based on my budget, I could either get the super-telephoto OR the macro and the super-wide. I chose to get two lenses instead of one! There’s no rule against that!