Building the backbone of your system

You should treat your camera system as you would a good-quality audio system: Purchase great speakers and work back toward the amplifier. As you upgrade other equipment, the system will continue to get better; if you start with inferior-quality speakers, the other components don’t matter as much. Consider lenses in the same manner: Concentrate on getting good glass before you purchase a top-of-the-line digital SLR camera.

Lenses range in focal length from fisheye to super-telephoto and are usually grouped into three main categories: wide angle, normal, and telephoto. There are also lenses classified as macro, although these lenses can also serve as a telephoto or normal lens depending on focal length, as 3-2 demonstrates.

To build a really good system, you need to have at least one of each of these lenses in your bag at all times. You may have already decided you don’t need a telephoto or a wide-angle lens, but the fact is you do if you plan to have a solid, well-balanced camera system.

A good set of lenses is something that’s dynamic: You may be changing and adding to it over time as new lenses are introduced, the type of photography you do changes, and so on. But most photographers will agree that no matter how great your camera body is, the images you take will only be as good as the lenses you use with them. So determining what lenses are right for you, and then buying the best quality you can afford, will always pay off in the long run, in my opinion.

The EF 100 f/2.8 Macro lens can also be used in a normal or telephoto range. Taken with a Digital Rebel XTi, 1/250 second at f/8.

Category: Photography System

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