The different types of camera lenses: the different brands and what you should keep in mind when buying a camera lens.

What Are the Different Types of Camera Lenses?

What to Keep in Mind When Buying a Camera Lens

Alongside a camera, the lens is one of the most important tools used in photography. Choosing the right camera lens is not always easy due to the abundance of camera lens brands available on the market.

This article has helpful information and tips on the different types of camera lenses and the different brands. We will also show you what you should keep in mind when getting a camera lens.

The Different Types of Camera Lenses

In general, camera lenses can be differentiated by their focal length and lens speed. Camera lenses can also fall into different categories, depending on when and where they are used. Below we will show you the different types of camera lenses and explain their differences in more detail.

In the following article you can find out more about focal length and lens speed: Which Focal Length Should My Camera Lens Have?

Fixed Focal Length or Zoom Lenses

Fixed focal length lenses are camera lenses with a specific focal length and no zoom option. These camera lenses are small and compact. As a result, they are lightweight and comparatively cheaper to buy. They are usually available from around 125 CHF. One of the advantages of this type of camera lens is the intensity, which usually gives you a better image quality compared to zoom lenses. A disadvantage is that the fixed focal length range is a lot more restricted. If you would like to get a photo from a different angle, you will have to move the position of your camera. Due to the shallow depth of field, camera lenses with a fixed focal length are suitable for portrait photography.

A zoom lens with its adjustable focal length range, on the other hand, is a real all-rounder. This type of camera lens gives you the flexibility to use it in a variety of situations that require different focal lengths such as portrait and landscape photography. Although it offers you a lot of flexibility, there is however a reduction in image quality compared to a fixed focal length lens. Zoom lenses, for example, are not as fast as fixed focal lengths. The light intensity of a zoom lens also decreases the further the focal length is moved into the telephoto range. A zoom lens is also a great choice when going away, as you will not need to take as many camera accessories with you, which means that you will not need extra telephoto and wide-angle lenses.

Different types of camera lenses.

Special Camera Lenses: Telephoto Lens, Wide-Angle Lens & Macro Lens

In addition to being categorised as fixed focal length or zoom lenses, there are camera lenses that differ from a standard lens in terms of their characteristics.

Telephoto lenses have a long focal length (available with focal lengths from 70 mm to over 1000 mm). They are available both as fixed focal length lenses and as zoom lenses and are used to magnify objects that are further away. They create less spatial depth than wide-angle lenses, which condenses the image by creating a feeling of less distance between the photographer and the object. It is recommended to use a tripod when taking photos with a telephoto lens, as they can be quite heavy. This type of lens is used in animal photography and for sports photography.

Wide-angle lenses have focal lengths of less than 50 mm and offer a larger range than standard lenses with the same image distance. They are usually offered as zoom lenses and cover a focal length range of 10 - 35 mm. With the same range, wide-angle lenses create more depth than a telephoto lens, allowing distances between individual objects in the image to stand out. The shorter the focal length of the lens, the greater the effect of vignetting (darkening on the side edges). Among other areas of photography, wide-angle lenses are used in landscape and architectural photography.

Macro lenses are ideal for close-range photography and also for reproducing photographed objects at a reproduction scale of 1:2 or 1:1. They are available both as fixed focal length lenses and as zoom lenses with focal lengths between 40 and 200 mm. Compared to standard lenses, they are characterised by a shorter focusing distance. The disadvantages are the price and their weight. Generally, macro lenses are used for taking detailed shots and pictures of small animals.

Fisheye Lenses Are Ideal for Panorama Photos

The fisheye lens is a special lens with a very wide angle range. It can be used to achieve image angles of up to 180°. It bends straight lines outwards outside the centre of the image, which creates a more rounded image. Effects such as barrel distortion, wider depth and deformation occur, which is why this type of lens is recommended for panoramic photography.

A photo taken with a fisheye lens.

The Different Brands of Camera Lenses

It’s also important to consider which brand you would like to get. Well-known camera brands such as Canon, Nikon and Olympus each offer their own camera lenses for their cameras. There are also specialised camera lens manufacturers such as Leica, Voigtländer or Zeiss. They also offer their own camera mounts. When buying a camera lens from a lens specialist, you can choose between different camera mounts for each lens and select the appropriate mount for your camera model.

How to Choose the Right Lens

We will show you what you should keep in mind when choosing a camera lens so that you find one to suit your needs. In addition, you can find more information on price ranges for camera lenses in the following article: Which Focal Length Should My Camera Lens Have?

Finding the Right Camera Mount

It’s important to make sure you have the correct camera mount when choosing a camera lens. The most common mount is a bayonet mount. This is available in different versions depending on the brand. In the table below you will find some examples of bayonet mounts. Before buying a lens, double check if it is compatible with your camera.


Brand Bayonet Mount Product Name
Canon EF-Bayonet
Nikon Nikon-F, Nikon-1
Pentax K-Bayonet
Olympus Four-Thirds-Standard
Sony E-Bayonet

How to Choose the Right Camera Lens

Before buying a lens it is a good idea to think about what it will be used for. If you need an all-rounder, you should opt for a zoom lens for the reasons mentioned above. For better image quality it is a good idea to get a special camera lens. However, this also depends on which areas of photography you are interested in. Have you only ever used zoom lenses up until now and you would now like to find out how you can improve the image quality of your photos? Then you should look for a suitable fixed focal length lens. Fixed focal lengths of 50 mm are particularly suitable for beginners.

Close-Up Setting and Filter Threads

You should also keep the filter thread and close-up setting in mind when choosing a camera lens.

Minimum close-up is often referred to as MOD (= minimum object distance), defines the shortest distance between the subject and the camera lens. If you would like to work in the field of close-up photography, this is something you should keep in mind.


You can optimise the close-up setting by using so-called intermediate rings (between the filter thread and the camera).

If you already have optical filters for your current lens, make sure to double check your filter thread. If your other camera lenses or any new camera lens have the same filter thread size, you can also use these filters for your new camera lens.


By using filter adapters you can use different filter threads. These can be used to connect larger filters to smaller threads.



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