If you are new to photography, finding out how many types of camera lenses there are can be pretty overwhelming. For starters, camera lenses can be categorized into only two types: zoom and prime lenses.

What is a Zoom Lens?

The zoom lens is one of the most common kinds of lenses that you’ll need in your photography gear. It offers you an excellent range for taking a picture of everything, whether people in the streets or the animals in the jungle.

Zoom lenses are extremely versatile. It is considered to be your catchall lens. If you require to shoot in a diverse range of conditions, you will need a good zoom range for quality and adaptability. Nothing beats having an all-around zoom lens in your bag. Whether photographing in a sports event, outdoor trek, or in scenarios requiring shooting far away and up close, the zoom lens works best.

The most popular is the 70-200mm lens, which wedding photographers usually use. These lenses possess adjustable focal lengths. As the label implies, you can zoom from 70 to 200 millimeters.

You can also find zoom lenses with a higher range, such as 18-270mm. This zoom lens allows you to shoot up close and from a distance.
However, one of the cons of zoom lenses is that they are typically heavier than prime lenses.

What is a Prime Lens?

A prime lens is probably as old as the camera itself. Prime lenses offer a fixed focal range. You can neither zoom in nor out. On a positive note, prime lenses’ main advantage is specializing in a single focal length. They are your best bet to deliver on one specific type of photography.

Because they are fine-tuned in one focal length, prime lenses produce higher quality images than a zoom lens, especially if you know in which particular situations to use them. For example, the 50mm prime lens, known as the nifty fifty, works perfectly on portraits.
Contrarily, a 35mm prime lens is best utilized to shoot in 35 millimeters. It is perfect for landscape photographers. In addition, this lens type is most commonly used when the subject is primarily stationary, and the photographer moves around. Aside from portrait and landscape, it can also be used in weddings and streetscapes.

Other than the higher quality of images in specific focal lengths, the benefits of using prime lenses include lighter weight and being great for low-light and night photos. Its downside includes not being able to zoom, carrying multiple lenses, and the risk of missing a shot when you need to switch between lenses.

You can look into the specialty lenses when you go past the prime and zoom lenses. Depending on your shooting conditions and scenarios, you may need a particular specialty lens.

What are the Different Specialty Lenses?

There are typically four specialty lenses: Telephoto, Wide Angle, Fisheye, and Macro.

Telephoto Lens

You can upgrade to a telephoto lens if you feel short from using a standard zoom lens. These lenses deliver a range of 100mm to as high as 600mm, sometimes even more.

Some telephoto lenses can be bulky. They may require a tripod to support them. If you talk about practicality, they are nowhere near a standard zoom lens. Not all telephoto lenses are large, though. You can find a decent one that isn’t bulky to bring on your nature hike.
A telephoto lens is invaluable if your job requires shooting at wildlife, sports, or the night sky. This lens also captures an image with an excellent blurry background. However, for amateurs, it can also be bulky on the budget.

As mentioned, the disadvantages of this lens include being heavy, requiring a tripod to get a stable shot, and can be expensive.

Wide-Angle Lenses

Wide-angle lenses give you a wider focal field. Wide angles allow you to capture the scene more vividly than any other lens. If you’re a landscape photographer, this lens is a must-have, especially if you want to step up your game.
Wide angles are also perfect for photographing architecture, even with low light or at night. They have a focal length between 16 and 35mm.

You can also say that this lens is the middleman between fisheye and prime lenses. They may require a good amount of post-processing, such as photo editing with software, to avoid some of the distortion inherent in the lens.

Like prime lenses, wide-angle lenses are lightweight. They capture a clear image of the field in the view; however, they are not as useful for close-up or portraits. You can’t also produce a bokeh or blurred background.

Fisheye Lens


If you are shooting an even wider field of view, then the fisheye lens is the one you’ll need to invest in. This lens is an ultra-wide-angle lens.
Having a focal length of as low as 8mm delivers an enormous field of view. Similar to a GoPro image, this lens can create the fisheye effect.
Typically utilized if you want to see several sceneries in one shot, real estate is one of the most common uses. Fisheye lenses allow for a single photo to show an entire room of a house.

Nonetheless, it can also be used for landscape photos, abstract art shots, cityscapes, and more. Because of the distortions made by this lens, it is not usually employed in portraits and wedding photos.

Macro Lens

For extremely close-up shots, you need the macro lens. Common macro shot examples include a bee on a flower or a snowflake before it melts. This lens gives you great value for money, but it can be costly. Consider if you need it for your typical work assignment. Since it is a specialty lens, you probably won’t need it in typical everyday photography.

As a photographer, you must know which lens best suits the scenarios and conditions you’re capturing. Different types of camera lens can be valuable for almost any situation. Having them in your bag also helps you become a better photographer.

Find cameras, lenses, and other devices at Enhanced View Services Inc. If you have questions or other concerns, you can call us at 305.971.2916 or send an email to [email protected]