A Camera Lens Comparison

I am frequently asked for recommendations from people who are looking to buy a new camera. Often times, they are contemplating between two camera bodies that are more or less basically the same camera. (Trust me, there isn’t much difference between any of the current Canon Rebels on the market.) I always tell these people that the camera BODY they purchase doesn’t matter as much as the camera LENS they purchase. Seriously, I would argue for DAYS that image quality is more about the lens than the body.

So if you’re in the market for a new camera? Consider the lens(es) you’ll be purchasing more so than the body. To help you, I’ll be comparing the three main lenses that new camera owners (Canon – sorry Nikon people, I’m just not very familiar yet!) often decide between.

The Lenses

Canon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens
Canon 50mm f/1.8 prime lens
Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom (Canon has a their own version of this lens, the 24-70mm, but it is over $1,000!)

The Pros

Canon 18-55mm: wide range of focal lengths (zoom), some macro capabilities, cheap, comes with camera
Canon 50mm: very large maximum aperture, perfect for creating blurry backgrounds, cheap, handles low light well
Tamron 28-75: wide range of focal lengths (zoom), large maximum aperture, perfect for creating blurry backgrounds, handles low light reasonably well

The Cons

Canon 18-55mm: very poor aperture values, won’t get much background blur, doesn’t handle low light very well
Canon 50mm: cheap build, fixed focal length (no zoom)
Tamron 28-75: relatively expensive, a bit on the heavy side

The Conclusion

– Given that it’s only around $100, I think everyone should have the Canon 50mm in their bag. It’s such a great value and creates really great portrait images.

– Those looking to pursue photography seriously (as a dedicated hobbyist or as a professional) should really consider investing in the Tamron 28-75. It provides a great range of focal lengths, perfect for portraits and capturing every day life, and its f/2.8 aperture allows for beautiful blurry backgrounds!

– Those on a tight budget or those who don’t really want to pursue photography seriously will be fine with the kit lens. It provides a good range of focal lengths, and aside from not being able to create very blurry backgrounds, it has good enough image quality. (Expect to have to use the flash in low light situations, however, as the aperture won’t be able to let in enough light to shoot with just available light.)

I hope this helps answer some questions about the different lenses! Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!


If you found this post helpful, please let us know by clicking the “Like” and/or “Tweet” button to the left!