Which camera lens should I buy first?

Once you’ve got your first photography camera, there’s one big question you’re likely to ask yourself next: which camera lens should I buy first?

It’s a difficult question to answer, but not impossible. Whilst there are dozens upon dozens of lenses out there for Nikon and Canon cameras (amongst others), there are some which are much better suited as a first-time lens.

The aim of the game here is versatility. As a beginner, you might not have a specific style of photography you would like to focus on yet, so making sure that the camera lens you buy first is a versatile one, it will allow you to get the most for your money and take a wide variety of shots without being too restricted.

So as beginner, which camera lens should I buy first? Here are our top picks:

For Canon DSLRs – Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS STM

This is a very popular and fantastic “best of all worlds” lens to start out with. Firstly, it offers zoom with a focal length from 55mm-250mm. Whilst it is considered a telephoto lens, the unzoomed setting is quite low to help you take more expansive shots with a wider field of view. However, you still have the versatility of a reach up to 250mm to zoom in on certain subjects, which is virtually guaranteed to come in handy at some point.

The aperture of 4 to 5.6 is mid-range as well, which allows you to get a good degree of focus for professional looking results. It isn’t too small, where you’re unable to focus on a specific foreground or background subject, nor is it too large, where you’re restricted by tight focus isolation only. The aperture range also gives you a bit of wiggle room so you aren’t fixed to a single aperture number.

Another very handy feature of this lens is image stabalisation, which minimises the effect of camera shaking in the hand. This allows you to take crisper shots in low-light conditions, as you can lower the shutter speed (to allow more light in) without worrying about the blur caused by subtle movements. Similarly, it smooths out the shot when you’re using the full length of the zoom as well.

Plus, it comes with manual or autofocus. Whilst most modern lenses do, it’s important to highlight this as a good autofocus feature is very useful for anyone starting out, with the option to try manual focus if you would like to experiment.

Finally, it’s compact, lightweight and affordable to boot. It isn’t going to do everything perfectly, of course. No single lens does. However, it’s certainly one of the most versatile at that price tag and can provide a wide variety of beautiful photographs.

Buy this lens, and even when you start expanding your collection, it’s one you’re likely to come back to time and time again.

What about compatibility?

This lens fits all APS-C cameras by Canon, meaning that it covers the vast majority. If your camera’s manual or packaging states that it’s an APS-C camera, or it states that it has an EF-S compatible mount, then you’re good to go.

Check out some customer reviews for the Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS STM here.


For Nikon DSLRs – the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

Nikon af-s DX 55-300mm 4-5-5-6

This is quite similar to the Canon lens above, with a versatile 55-300mm focal length and zoom capability. This will allow you to focus in on a specific subject or enjoy a wider field of view depending on the situation. You may find yourself snapping something from quite a distance, or you may just need to tweak the focal length ever so slightly to capture the perfect wider scene within the 4 edges of the shot. With this lens, you have the capability to do exactly that.

The aperture of 4.5 to 5.6 is also mid-range for focus isolation which isn’t too large or too small. This means you can opt for a broader focus across an entire scene, whilst still being able to bring a little more isolation to sharpen up a foreground subject whilst creating an aesthetically appealing background blur.

Another handy feature of this Nikon lens is the image stabilisation, which allows you to slow down the shutter speed to capture brighter photographs in low-light conditions without worrying about blur caused by subtle camera shake in the hand. The silent autofocus motor is also very responsive whilst remaining whisper-quiet, so noise is something you don’t have to worry about when taking video or shooting in locations where sound is a problem.

Finally, it’s lightweight, well-built, very affordable and renowned for beautiful shots, making it a fantastic choice if you’re asking yourself which lens should I buy first. Virtually any photographer is likely to get a whole lot of use out of it, and it’s a lens which many keep on their camera most of the time even after expanding their collection.

What about compatibility?

This lens is known for being compatible with the vast majority of Nikon DSLR cameras as they use the same mount, so if you have a modern Nikon DSLR, you should be good to go. However, if you want to double check, the camera’s manual will display all compatible lens types. Look for ‘AF-S DX’ or ‘F-mount’.

Check out some customer reviews for the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR here.