How Many Types of DSLR Lenses Are There?

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A DSLR camera is one of the most flexible tools in your toolbox. While DSLRs are more complicated than point-and-shoot cameras, learning to operate one properly will be the most crucial choice you’ve ever made for your photography. However, do you know how many types of DSLR lenses are there?

How Many Types of DSLR Lenses Are There?

There are 11 significant types of DSLR lenses. Perhaps the most popular and known lens is the standard lens, which would be a 50mm or 18-55mm lens on most DSLR cameras. Wide-angle and telephoto are also commonly used lenses, alongside the macro lens, used for close-up photography.

Camera lenses on a black surface

Notably, not all DSLR lenses will fit all cameras. Most brands design their DSLRs to work with their line of lenses alone. However, many third-party companies make adapters that allow you to use the camera brand’s lens on other cameras.

Types of DSLR Lenses

If you’re looking to improve the quality of your photos and videos, you’ll want to choose a DSLR lens. These lenses are ideal for portrait photography and capturing action shots. They also work well for taking photos of pets and sports activities.

Before choosing a DSLR lens, make sure it is compatible with your camera. The different types of DSLR lenses include:

Kit Lenses

The first lens most people buy is the one that comes with their camera. This is called a kit lens because the two come together in a kit.

When you’re just starting out, kit lenses are ideal since they enable you to concentrate on learning how to operate your camera rather than worrying about which lens is appropriate for each topic.

The aperture range is usually f/3.5-f/5.6, and the optical zoom range is usually 18-55mm in 35mm format (18mm is wide-angle; 55mm is standard). Kits are a great way to learn about your camera and are perfect for capturing landscapes and natural areas as well as people.

  • You don’t have to worry about compatibility. If you buy your camera, lens, and accessories from the same manufacturer, you’re assured that they’ll work together.
  • You won’t be overwhelmed by options. A kit lens is relatively simple in its capabilities, so it offers an excellent way to learn how things like aperture and focal length affect your photos while still having decent image quality.
  • Kit lenses are usually more affordable than high-end lenses, so this might be your best option if you’re on a budget.

Standard Zoom Lenses

Standard zoom lenses are an excellent choice for anyone who wants one lens that performs well in various situations. It’s easy to find standard zooms at reasonable prices, and they typically offer a good balance between price and performance.

These lenses allow you to frame a variety of shots using one lens. They’re great for portraits, landscapes, and action shots, making them versatile enough for everyday photography. These standard zoom lenses range from 18-55mm to 28-300mm, though there’s one focal length, in particular, that’s considered a standard: 50mm.

Standard zoom lenses have fixed focal lengths, which means they don’t zoom at all; there are several different focal lengths available – 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm being among the most popular – so you can choose one that best suits your style of shooting.

  • The great thing about standard zoom lenses is their versatility. They’re an all-in-one solution when you don’t want to carry multiple lenses with you.
  • Also, as these lenses cover a range of focal lengths, they take up less space in your camera bag than several prime lenses would.
Photo of black DSLR camera on a tripod

Wide Angle Prime Lenses

Wide-angle prime lenses are great for photography that requires a maximum depth of field with sharpness on both foreground and background elements. This lens is commonly used by landscape photographers though it can also be used in certain situations, such as shooting large groups of people or tight spaces.

The wide-angle lens has a field of view that is much wider than that of the human eye. This allows you to show more of the background or foreground in your photos, which adds interest and context to your images.

A prime wide-angle lens works best when close to the subject being photographed. It will distort the image if it is too far away from the issue. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see all four corners of your lens, you are standing too far away from your subject.

  • Wider field of view. A prime wide-angle lens provides a wider field of view than a standard lens, allowing you to capture your subject and the environment around it.
  • Large aperture. Prime lenses usually have larger maximum apertures than zoom lenses, enabling you to shoot with faster shutter speeds or in low light without using a flash or tripod.
  • Sharper image quality. Because prime lenses have fewer parts than zoom lenses

Super Wide Zoom Lenses

Super wide zoom lenses have the widest angle of all the zoom lenses, and they are also considered very sharp. They can capture a scene too far away to capture with a standard lens.

These lenses have a focal length of 14mm or below. They provide an extensive angle of view that can be useful for landscape, architectural, and indoor photography. A super wide-angle zoom lens will typically be limited to an aperture range of f/3.5 to f/5.6.

Super wide zooms are also smaller than wide-angle primes, especially in the super wide-angle category. These lenses are exceptionally sharp and suitable for most photography purposes, even if they are not as sharp as the finest wide-angle prime lenses available at any focal length.

  • Capture beautiful landscapes and other large scenes
  • Can get close enough to people or objects to fill most of the frame
  • Offer more creative options than a fixed lens
  • Can allow for faster shooting because you don’t have to move around as much

Super Wide Prime Lenses

Super wide lenses are prime lenses with a focal length of 14mm and are more comprehensive. These specialty lenses are used to capture ultra-wide scenes that the human eye can’t usually see.

These lenses are used to create a very wide-angle view and can be used to take pictures of huge groups. It is also used by landscape photographers usually. They have a focal length typically less than 24mm and have a vast field of view with a fixed aperture.

Camera lenses on a brown surface

These lenses have a field of view of 90 degrees and are designed for use with full-frame cameras. The focal length of these lenses is usually 14mm or 15mm. These types of lenses are most commonly used for landscape photography.

  • Best optical quality (low distortions, sharpness, contrast)
  • Fastest aperture (great for low light photography)
  • Smaller and lighter than zoom lenses with equivalent apertures

Telephoto Zoom Lenses

Telephoto Zoom lenses are the most versatile as they allow you to zoom and change your composition without moving around. They are best used for capturing subjects that are far away, like wildlife or sports games, or when you want to compress and blur the foreground and background of your image.

When it comes to telephoto zooms, you need to be aware of two types of focal lengths: variable and fixed. Variable focal length means that the lens can zoom in and out, allowing you to vary the focal length as needed.

Typically, these lenses will range anywhere from 50mm to 200mm. Fixed focal length means that the lens can only focus at one specific focal length. Most of these lenses will be anywhere between 200-400mm.

  • Offer the convenience of being able to zoom in and out to frame your shot.
  • Compress the distance between objects and make them seem closer together.
  • Allow you to photograph subjects from a distance without disturbing them.
  • Can fill the frame with distant issues that would otherwise be too small.

Telephoto Prime Lenses

Telephoto prime lenses are excellent for sports and wildlife photography; they’re also suitable for portraiture. Their narrow field of view compresses the background and makes it seem further away from the subject.

For example, if you shoot with a wide-angle lens at f/2.8, you’ll have a very shallow depth of field. However, if you hit a headshot at f/8 or f/11 with a telephoto lens, you might get everything from the tip of the nose to the back of the head in focus.

Telephoto prime lenses are designed for portability and sharpness; they are a good choice for sports, wildlife, and travel photography. Their focal length is usually longer than the standard zoom lens. This means that even though they have no zoom capability, they provide you with a closer view of your subject.

  • Relatively small and lightweight
  • Fast aperture can be used for shallow depth of field photography
  • Affordable way to get into telephoto photography.

Full-Range Zoom Lenses

The most popular type of DSLR lens is the full-range zoom, with the most frequent focal lengths being 18-55mm and 18-135mm. The first two digits describe the lens’ focal length range, while the third (55mm and 135mm) denotes the widest angle setting’s maximum aperture.

A full-range zoom lens covers an extensive range of focal lengths. These lenses are sometimes called “vacation” or “walking around” lenses because they allow you to capture an entire trip without carrying a bag full of extra lenses. A good, consumer-grade full-range zoom lens might be in the 18mm-200mm range.

Full-range zoom lenses are hard to match for flexibility. Popular versions vary from wide-angle (about 18mm) to telephoto (200mm or more), with teleconverters available for further reach. When you’re short on time, they allow you to get close to the action without changing lenses.

An image of telephoto lens
  • One Lens: If you purchase an 18-135mm or similar lens, you’re buying one lens that will cover almost every photographic situation. You can take landscapes, portraits, close-ups, sports, and wildlife photos with this one lens without changing lenses. This saves time and provides more protection against dust on your camera sensor.
  • Convenience: Think about your camera bag when you go out shooting. With a full-range zoom lens on your camera, there’s no need to pack any other lenses, which means your load will be much lighter.

Super Telephoto Zoom Lens

Super telephoto zoom lenses typically have a large maximum aperture (i.e., low f/number), which means they perform well in low light situations and create a shallow depth of field — excellent for isolating your subject from the background. The world of super-telephoto zoom lenses is a quiet one.

These are the lenses you see on the sidelines of football games, shooting through chain-link fences to capture every moment of action. They’re also the lenses you see being used by people who want to get up close and personal with mountain lions in the wild or who want to take pictures of birds in flight.

A super-telephoto zoom lens will use a tripod because they are cumbersome, and the slightest movement can blur the image. Many super-telephoto lenses have image stabilization features that help prevent blurring from camera movement.

  • Most versatile telephoto lens for sports and wildlife photography.
  • Ideal for travel photography because of its zoom range.
  • Allows you to capture images from a far distance and things that are very small in size.

Super Prime Lenses

Super prime lenses are focal lengths between 24mm and 35mm. They are so-called because they are the fastest lenses around. The most negligible apertures of these lenses will be f/1.4 or f/2.

These lenses are usually prime lenses; you can also find zooms with a super-prime focal length (although those will be much more expensive). Prime lenses are often referred to as “portrait lenses” because they allow you to have both the subject and their surroundings in focus.

This is great for portrait photographers who want to be personal with their subjects. Super primes are popular among portrait photographers because they offer a slightly wider field of view than standard prime lenses, which means you can stand further back and still fit your subject in the frame.

  • Highest image quality of any lens type
  • Allow you to get significant depth-of-field effects
  • Typically have small sizes and weights; therefore are easy to carry around.

Choosing a DSLR Lens

The camera lens market is growing day by day and so is the demand for lenses. When selecting a lens for your DSLR, the choices can be overwhelming. There is a bewildering array of lenses on the market, ranging from ultra-wide angles to powerful telephoto.

When choosing a lens for your camera, you want to consider three main factors:

An image of DSLR lens
  • Focal length: The lens’s focal length is determined by what the lens is capable of capturing. For example, a 50mm lens will give you an angle of view close to what your eye sees, while a 300mm lens will allow you to zoom in on an object far away.
  • Aperture: Lenses with larger apertures are great for shooting in low-light situations. They also create a shallow depth of field — a wide aperture might blur everything except your subject.
  • Lens hoods: Lens hoods are helpful accessories to have. They can help you avoid lens flare when the light from a source, such as the sun, reflects off your lens and creates a haze over your images. Lens hoods help block unwanted light.

Related Questions

What Is a 30mm Lens Good For?

A 30mm lens on an aps-c camera has the same field of view as a 45mm lens on a full frame camera, which is ideal for environmental portraits and street photography. The problem with these lenses is that they don’t have very wide apertures.

What Is an ISO Camera?

The sensitivity of the image sensor is measured in ISO units. The higher the number, the more sensitive to light your camera sensor becomes. Most DSLR cameras let you change ISO settings, keep in mind that using higher ISO will increase grain in your photos.

Which Shutter Speed Is Faster?

Faster shutter speeds expose the image sensor to less light, while slower shutter speeds expose the picture sensor to more light. When photographing a moving subject, you’ll obtain different images using different shutter speeds.


DSLR camera users have many lens options; there are many brands and types of lenses available. There are also many features and focal lengths among these lenses. To choose the best lens, you should be looking for the right lens to suit your needs.