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I have an entry level DSLR ( Canon EOS 2000D). I would like to buy a lens for my camera to complement my current 18-55mm kit lens.

In particular, I am interested in landscape and portrait photography. However:

  • since the focal length of the kit lens is small, I couldn't take pictures of objects which are far away.
  • In portrait photography, the background is not that blurry.

I believe a lens with better focal length can resolve these issues.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Lenses are tools. You select a tool based on what kind of task you wish to do. You don't use a crosscut saw to drive a nail. You don't use a hammer to trim a 2x4 to a specific length. What lens you need is based entirely on what kind of photograph(s) you wish to take. The primary differentiators between lenses are focal length/angle of view and maximum aperture. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Apr 14, 2022 at 21:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've reopened this on the basis that there are some misunderstandings about focal length etc in the updated question which I think it would be valuable to explain/correct. Please try to keep answers targeted to the specific points in the question, rather than being over general explanations of lenses for which we already have multiple Q&As. Thanks, all. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Apr 16, 2022 at 9:26

3 Answers 3

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There is no "better focal length". Some focal lengths are good for some pictures, others are good for other pictures. About the only situation where "better focal length" might apply is if you have a zoom lens with a wide range of focal lengths. That might (or might not) be better than a narrower range. A narrow range on the other hand is easier to make sharp and have a wide aperture.

My heavy advice would be to buy a 50mm/1.8 "nifty fifty" first. It would be an ideal focal length for portraits, while at the same time blurring your background. Also for low-light photography it's great. It belongs to the 18-55mm focal length range you already have, so if you want to use it for landscape photography of objects far away, it doesn't help. But it solves the portrait background blur problem entirely.

For landscapes, if you want the ability to select your focal length from a longer range, an EF-S 18-135 zoom would give you extra range. But that's a far more expensive lens.

Some other considerations:

  • EF 85/1.8, if you can still find it, is good for some kinds of portraits and taking pictures of objects further away in low light. I believe it is or will be discontinued.
  • EF-S 55-250 zoom is very good value for money and can be used for landscape and wildlife photography. However, I believe it is or will be discontinued.
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For many landscapes (as opposed to outdoor pictures of a single subject) a focal length in the 18-35 range is what you want. This gives a nice wide angle to "normal" view to capture everything you see. To take pictures of single objects that are far away you want a longer focal length. That reduces the angle of view and brings the object closer. For reasonable sized objects with your sensor people find focal lengths up to 150 or 200 mm useful. Wildlife, which is even smaller and further away, usually demands longer lenses than that. You can test what you want by taking a range of photos at the 55mm end of your existing lens. Crop them the way you want, ignoring the fact that they may be blurry from an extreme crop. Measure what fraction of the frame you are keeping along each axis. If you are keeping 1/3 of the frame you could get that angle with a lens of 3*55=165mm.

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What you're looking for are probably two different lenses, particularly if your budget is limited. When selecting any lens, you need to consider the following factors:

  • What you need it for; this can help you determine the focal length and max. apertures you want.
  • How much you can spend; this will put a hard limit on the focal lengths and max. apertures you can get. Also whether or not professional "L" lenses are in the mix (i.e., if you have less than $1k to spend, they're not)
  • Any additional special features you may want: stabilization, focus motor type, macro capability, focus limit switches, etc.
  • Your willingness to go for older, used, and discontinued versions of a lens.
  • Your willingness to purchase 3rd party lenses.

... since the focal length of the kit lens is small, I couldn't take pictures of objects which are far away.

You could always get closer to your subjects. But what you probably want here is a telephoto lens (> 50mm focal length equivalence, and probably closer to 200mm or 300mm), probably a zoom. The typical budget recommendation here would be an EF-S 55-250 IS STM, but there are several options you can look at, depending on what you want to shoot and your budget. See:

In portrait photography, the background is not that blurry. I believe a lens with better focal length can resolve these issues.

There are actually multiple factors that come into play when it comes to getting a thinner depth of field and blurring a background:

  • The subject distance (i.e., it's why you can blur backgrounds with macro shots even with a phone camera). The closer you are, the thinner the depth of field gets.
  • Subject-to-background distance (the farther away they are from each other, the easier it is to get blur, but a background that's only inches away may be difficult to blur at all)
  • Aperture setting the bigger the aperture (smaller the f-number), the thinner the depth of field becomes.
  • Focal length of the lens (the longer the lens, the thinner the DoF becomes)

Focal length might help, but might be counter-productive, forcing you to be farther away from your subject than you want to get enough background blur to make you happy. Max. aperture may be the easiest thing to purchase a lens for if you want to blur backgrounds. The most common recommendation here will be to get a fast prime (non zooming lens with a max aperture of f/2.8 or faster). An EF 50mm f/1.8 STM, but you could also consider the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM or one of the f/1.4 and faster lenses, which are more expensive.

Getting something like an EF 85mm f/1.8 USM or EF 100mm f/2 USM would probably get you even more background blur than a 50/1.8, but might be too narrow on a crop body to do more than headshots at a comfortable working distance.

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