Tips & Tutorials

How To Select the Best Camera Lens

To help simplify the process of selecting the best lens for your camera we’ve broken it down into 10 easy to follow steps.

How To Select the Best Camera Lens

When selecting the best lenses for your camera remember the quality of your images depends heavily on the lens.  Often the lens is more important than the camera. So you definitely want nothing but the best. However, that doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money. 

To help make the process of selecting a lens easy we’ve broken it down into 10 easy to follow steps.

Then we’ve included links to guides and other resources in order to help in your search for the perfect lens to fit your needs.

How to Choose the Right Camera Lens – 10 Steps

  1. Decide what Type of Photography you want to do

    Each type of photography requires a set of lens features that make it easier to capture what you want to. For example, wildlife photography is much easier with a longer focal length so you can photograph a distant subject.

  2. Determine your Camera Mount type

    This is generally determined by the brand of camera you have, but also the body type, such as DSLR vs. Mirrorless.

    Compatibility has to do with both the physical fit of the lens on the camera’s mount as well as compatibility of the features of the lens, such as autofocus.

  3. Understand the Sensor Size of your camera

    If you have a camera with a crop sensor, like APS-C, then you can use both full-frame and APS-C lenses. Although you won’t get the full benefits of a full-frame lens on an APS-C.

    If you have a full frame camera than you need to stick with full-frame lenses.

    Again, make sure the mount and features are compatible.

  4. Understand the Focal Length you need

    This is directly related to what type of photography you prefer. Focal length can play a factor in depth of field, as well as image composition and framing the scene.

  5. Do you prefer Prime or Zoom

    This would be based on the type of photography you plan to do and how you like to work. Primes typically have better image quality for the price. A Zoom allows you to easily adjust what your capturing in the image, and may be more comfortable for a beginner photographer.

  6. Is there a certain Aperture Size you need

    The lower the f-stop number, the larger the aperture. Or in other words the more light you’ll be able to let in. Aperture size also has to do with depth of field, or how much of your scene you want in focus.

    So the lower the f-stop the better. Though that also plays a big roll in the cost of the lens. An f2.8 or lower is great, but many types of photography won’t require that, which could save you money.

  7. Determine your Budget

    To determine a realistic price range for a lens you need to understand the items above. For example, Primes are generally less expensive then Zooms. However for sports photography you’d probably want a Zoom.

  8. Select based on Quality

    Don’t be tempted to buy a lens just because of price. Stick to brands with good reputations. Buying a bad lens at a ‘good price’ is still a bad purchase.

  9. Are there Other Features you need from your lens

    Consider if there are additional features you need in your lens. Such as a quiet auto focusing motor for videography, or a certain rating of in-lens image stabilization.

    These features may require you to re-think your budget but in some cases are more “nice to have” features so you may be able to get by with out them.

  10. Are you better off getting Two Lenses rather than one

    Lastly, look at whether two lenses would serve you better than one. Convenience should be accounted for, although having a Prime with a large aperture and then a modest Zoom may be better than splurging for a Zoom with a really big focal range as well as a large aperture.

Selecting Lenses By Brand

Do you want to know what the best lens is for a type of photography? Or are you looking for the best compatible lenses for your specific camera? Visit our partner site, Best Photography Gear, for guides on lenses for specific cameras and situations.

Selecting Lenses By Mount Type

As you consider compatibility you have to account for both the physical fit of the lens on the camera’s mount as well as functionality of certain lens features, such as autofocus.

When selecting the best lens for your camera the lens mount is one of the first things you should consider. The lens mount is generally determined by the brand of camera you have, but also have to account for the body type, such as DSLR or Mirrorless.

Canon Mount Types



  • Canon RF
  • Canon EF-M

Nikon Mount Types



  • Nikon Z

Sony Mount Types

Olympus Mount Type

Still have Questions about How to Select the Right Camera Lens?

When selecting a lens there are a lot of features and terms you’ll come across in your search. Each one of our guides above go into more depth about why you would or wouldn’t want a particular lens. So be sure to continue your search there.

Another great guide we have will help with understanding What the Numbers on Lenses Mean. It breaks down the most important lens features and some of the terms or features you’ll come across. Moreover, it will help you decipher the ‘alphabet soup’ of terms you’ll run across.

After all of this if you’re still unsure of what to buy feel free to reach out to us for our specific recommendations. Just click through to our Buying Advice contact form on Best Photography Gear.