I am new to the more profession photography. Things that could be easily done with my old compact camera (Sony F717) are more complicated now. For instance: take close-ups at only 2-3cm distance while being able to zoom 5x. A professional photographer probably gets a bad feeling in the gut when thinking about this, but it was convenient.

Now, I want to go into the DSLM/MILC direction (Fuji X-E1). Most of the cameras come with the standard 18-55mm lens for starters. I would like to do "daily casual photography" (people, things around me), landscapes, close-ups (flowers, insects, rocks). What would be a minimum set of lenses to cover this? I don't want to carry heavy equipment with me when hiking though.

By reading some articles on the web, people always point to the famous (why? justified?) 35mm lens (fixed focal length). I was thinking about a "selection" like this:

  • 18-55mm
  • 35mm, f1.4
  • 55-200mm (tele)
  • close-up lens/filter

What is the use for a 60mm macro lens? What does macro actually mean? Does it refer to close-ups?

  • I don't want to discourage you in getting a higher grade camera, but are you sure that you don't want another compact? I think modern compacts are very capable of photographing the things you name and it definitely solves the heavy equipment problem. Concerning the macro question: if you do a search for "macro" on this site you will arrive at the explanation page of the macro tag. It links to questions about macro lenses and techniques. – Saaru Lindestøkke Mar 29 '13 at 18:51
  • The issue of the difference between how macro works on a P&S vs. a DSLR (or mirrorless) is covered at photo.stackexchange.com/q/27803/1943 – mattdm Mar 30 '13 at 15:09

There's no such thing as a "must have" lens or set of lenses. The selection you list will be fine, and cover a lot of different uses, but one could also do the same with a more quirky list (or even with a single lens). With the Fujifilm X cameras, you might consider skipping the zooms and getting two or three of the prime lenses which cover your interests.

However, if you're really interested in close-up photography, you should get a real macro lens. We have some other questions which cover what that means nicely. Converter lenses which attach to your other lenses can be okay as long as you're nt really picky, but they don't come close to the quality of a real macro lens. Reversing rings provide another budget choice — probably cheaper than the secondary lens and much better results.

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