There are many great lenses out there and to pick the right one may be a real challenge. Of course, in order to pick the right one, we need to know what type of photography we are planning to shoot and what creative control we’d like to gain with our new lens. Without any doubt, there will always be a tradeoff between cost, size, image quality, speed, and/or weight. So, be picky! Ask yourself are you shooting mainly portraits, maybe landscapes, architecture, or wild life? What are your expectations and wishes?
Perspective control can be a powerful compositional tool in photography, and often determines one’s choice in focal length. The following table provides an overview of what focal lengths are required to be considered a wide angle or telephoto lens, in addition to their typical uses. Please note that focal lengths listed are just rough ranges, and actual uses may vary considerably; many use telephoto lenses in distant landscapes to compress perspective, for example. Source.
Lens Focal Length / Terminology / Typical Photography
Less than 21 mm: Extreme Wide Angle / Architecture
21-35 mm: Wide Angle / Landscape
35-70 mm: Normal / Street & Documentary
70-135 mm: Medium / Telephoto Portraiture
135-300+ mm: Telephoto / Sports, Bird & Wildlife
Personally, I know that I mostly shoot portraiture photography and some still life. I also like landscape photography. I know that I am not interested in sports, birds, and wildlife. This limits my lens needs. Although I like to try out telephoto or extremely wide angle lenses and I think they are very fun to work with, I have no desire to purchase one. A friend of mine bought a 500mm lens recently. He paid big bucks for it. And what does he do? He shoots the mountain from his balcony. To me, that’s the waste of money, especially since he does not own a business to deduct that costs. The point? The point is that you need to know your needs before you go out and purchase a lens just because someone else has it. I believe that the size doesn’t matter as long as your lens fulfills your needs.