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Camera lenses guide

Achieve a stunning range of photography with an arsenal of interchangeable lenses. If you have a DSLR or a mirrorless camera, you can get extra creative by using specialist lenses. See below to know what to check before you buy, browse our selection and get our recommendations on lenses to suit your shooting style.

What to look for

Focal range

The focal length or range of a lens tells you how much of the scene will be captured in the shot, and how much magnification there will be. Measured in mm, a shorter focal length gives a wide-angle effect that makes objects seems further away, while a longer focal length gives a telephoto effect that makes objects seem closer.

Aperture

All lenses have an aperture range or "f-stop number", which tells you how much control you have over the focus. A lower f-stop number (e.g. f/2.8) lets more light into the camera, causing your subject to be in focus with the background blurred. They tend to have a faster exposure in low-light conditions, better for shooting indoors. A higher f-stop number, e.g. f/38, means the majority of the shot will be in focus, capturing all details.

Compatibility

Whatever lens you choose, it's important to pick one that's compatible with your cameras, as many brands create lenses that only fit their cameras. You also need to match by type of camera, as a DSLR lens will not mount to a mirrorless camera. In addition, you should check that the sensor is compatible, as a camera with a full-frame sensor will not mount to a lens made for cameras with a cropped APS-C size sensor.

Zoom

Zoom and super zoom lenses have a variable focal length, letting you shoot subjects at different distances without having to change the lens.

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Telephoto

These lenses have a focal length of 100mm or more. They're best used for portraits, sports or wildlife photography to focus in on the subject from a distance.

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Wide-angle

Wide-angle lenses have a focal length between 10 - 28mm and are designed to get as much of the scene in as possible - perfect for epic landscape shots and city skylines.

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Macro

If you want to take close-up shots of flowers and insects and capture fine details, a macro lens lets you shoot close-ups from centimetres away.

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What type of photography are you shooting?

Snapping sport shots

With one chance to snap your subject, learn the best ways to use your camera's features such as zoom, autofocus and shutter speed. As well as taking some amazing panning shots.

Wildlife images

Discover how to use different back drops, autofocus and powerful zooms, to capture unpredictable wildlife. Freeze them in action or create moving images – it’s easy with a little patience.

Capturing landscapes

Our Canon expert shows you how to use the lighting, horizon and the correct lens to get your ideal shot. As well as the importance of using a focal point, to create dramatic features.

Taking portrait photos

Think about your framing, direction and amount of light, as well as the lenses you’re using. These factors will influence your end result and help capture any emotion in the picture.

Shoot on the go

Be ready to capture when the opportunity presents itself - get yourself a camera bag to have your lenses on the go.

More great advice

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