We are not entirely sure when the first lens was invented. There are evidence that people in ancient China, Greece, and Rome, used polished rock crystals as magnifying stones, however, it wasn’t until about the year 1000 that the principles of how lenses and light work were described by an Arabic scholar. By the late 16th century, people already had a working microscope, and later on a telescope. Thanks to those discoveries, we now have technology such as the Hubble telescope and the next generation Webb telescope, which are literally able to take pictures of “galaxies far, far, away”, I am talking about several billions of light years away. That’s a distance that the human mind can’t even comprehend.
Camera lenses came with the invention of the camera in the early 19th century and have gone a long way ever since. Today we have state-of-the-art camera lenses that are probably the most important components of your photo gear.
If you are planning on buying camera lenses, you will find that there is a huge variety of lenses available on the market, with different features, performance, and of course, price. Now, instinct tells us that the more expensive the better a certain product is. However, have in mind that having the most expensive camera lens won’t necessarily make you a good photographer. As the famous YouTube vlogger, Casey Neistat would put it – it’s all about the story. All the fancy gear is just a tool that helps you tell a story, regardless if it’s a video or a photo.
Having said that, let’s go over the things you need to consider when buying a new camera lens. If you are reading this article, you probably already own a camera and you have done some homework before purchasing it and chances are you also have a kit lens that came with the camera which is decent. But now you want to up your photography game and to do that you need a quality lens.
As I said before, the camera lens is probably the most important component of your gear. Most photographers would rather use an okay camera with a high-quality lens, than the other way round. Before you go and spend your money, make sure you look into which types of lenses you can mount on your camera, from wide-angle to telephoto and all the others in between. It is crucial that you know what your options are. Then, you need to think about what kind of photos you are currently shooting. Different lenses may improve the quality of the photographs you are taking at the moment or they can allow you to take photos that you currently cant. Now, I myself am an amateur photographer and I don’t have all the answers, but you can do what I did when I bought my first camera lens – ask the guys at the camera store for advice. They are usually more than happy to assist you. Ask about features like focal length, maximum aperture, lens mount, format, so on. Also ask about all the different types of lenses such as wide angle, standard, telephoto, super-zoom, macro, what they are used for and what the image characteristics are.
Remember that camera lenses can give you the creative freedom to take different types of images and they are always a good investment, even more so than the camera itself since you can continue to use them with next generation cameras yet to come.