... which one would it be?

I understand it depends on what kind of photography one is into. Wide lens for landscape, zoom lens for zoom'ers etc. I am not trying to get into that conversation here.

Considering I am a newbie getting my hands on photography.. I do not want to feel overwhelmed buying a lot of lenses and not learn much out of it.

Based on my other post's response - I am now thinking of getting body alone and then just one lens to get started.

My body is gonna be Canon 700D. And the lenses I have in my top 3 list are: 50mm 1.8 STM, 40mm 2.8 STM, 24mm 2.8 STM.

I plan to take casual pictures on the street, night life, kids (the ones that wont stay in one place) and miniature photography.

Or is there anything else do you have in mind besides these three I have in my list?

I am open to suggestions. Just trying to get one lens to begin with and then improvise on what I learn.

Please suggest. Thank you!

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    @Abdul all the lenses on his list are STM. – null Aug 27 '15 at 19:31
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    @BhavaniKannan, You should probably start with a kit lens, probably the 18-55mm. It won't open as much, but this way you will cover the various focal length you are interested in. – Olivier Aug 27 '15 at 19:34

Although, buying a first lens can be considered a subjective decision, you can make this decision easier by deciding on how far you wish to take your photography.

Are you buying a DSLR and Lens to improve your skills in composition along with the quality of your photos or are you looking for a camera with a lens that provides the versatility of not just higher quality images, but the flexibility of being able to zoom in and out quickly to capture a moment?

If you are serious about improving your photography skills, then go with any of the STM Prime lenses you have listed. 24mm being my favourite. The down side is, you only have one focal length, but you do get larger apertures for low light photography, along with possibly increased sharpness, less distortion and less vignetting and you definitely get, more opportunities for learning as you will forever be walking up and down, in and out of your subjects! The learning curve will definitely be steeper.

If versatility, convenience and flexibility is your primary concern, then go with the zoom lens. You will be ensured to capture most images at different focal lengths and most often from a distance, but it will come at the expense of slower apertures, making the zoom not as practical in low light conditions. You will also most likely be sacrificing a little on sharpness with increased pin cushioning and barrel distortion.

To summaries, if you are looking to increase your photography skills, go for a Prime, if you are you looking for convenience, go for a Zoom.

If I was in your shoes, I would go with the prime as you seem like someone serious about her photography, serious enough to post on here :)

  • Thank you! :) Based on your and @Nir 's replies I have made up my mind to go with two lenses - 1) 18-55mm (to learn / experience varied focal range) and 2) A prime lens. I am just curious why you said 24mm STM has larger aperture. It is f2.8 where as 50mm STM has f1.4. What am I missing here? – Bhavani Kannan Aug 27 '15 at 20:20
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    @BhavaniKannan - Hi Bhavani - Please click on this link and we can discuss it there - Comments clog up the system. Many thanks chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/27482/lens-discussion – Abdul Quraishi Aug 27 '15 at 20:25
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    Although the 50mm is faster at f/1.8, once the crop factor has been taken into account, the image produced is equal to that of an 80mm image from a full frame 35mm camera. Therefore, a 50mm on a crop sensor can be a very cumbersome all-round lens as you will always be struggling to find the distance between you and the subject to fit everything in. Whereas, with a 24mm, you will have a larger angle of view and as a result, you will manage to capture more in your frame, so a fast moving child, will not run out of your frame as quick as he or she would with a 50mm. – Abdul Quraishi Aug 27 '15 at 20:40
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    Thanks everyone! I have decided to go with 18-55mm STM and 24mm STM :) – Bhavani Kannan Aug 27 '15 at 20:47
  • 18-55mm can be nice, but if you want to take portraits of people a bit far away from you (typically, take a picture of individual persons in a group outside without asking people to pause), 55mm is not enough. OTOH, if you are in a situation where you can just get closer, 18-55 is enough. – Matthieu Moy Aug 27 '15 at 20:47

Basically you can divide lenses (or just about anything really) into 3 categories:

  1. Lenses that are really good for one thing and one thing only (or a small set of things)

  2. Lenses that are not great at anything but are ok for a lot of things

  3. Lenses that cost a fortune (and still can't do everything)

Now, since you are a newbie I assume option 3 is out of the question and since you wrote you want to try many different types of photography 1 is also out.

All the lenses you listed are from the first category, they are really good but too limited.

I suggest something like the EFS 18-135mm, it doesn't do macro (miniature) at all (but none of the lenses in your list does) it's too big for traditional street photography and isn't too good at low light - but:

  • Because it covers a large range it will let you experiment with different focal lengths to see what fits your style
  • It's really good for kids because it covers exactly the zoom range you need to take good pictures at typical parent-kid distance.
  • It's relatively inexpensive
  • It has OK picture quality

I know you wanted just one lens but, as a newbie, it will be perfect if you pair it with one of the lenses in your list (my personal preference - the 40mm) because with two lenses that are about opposite in the tradeoff they make you will quickly learn what fits your style better and what direction to go for your 3rd lens

Also, the other lens will let you do street and night photography.


Between those three you have listed, I would go with 50mm one. If I wanted to pick one myself, prime, non-zoom...I would pick 35mm. It is better for street photography. If I wanted to pick one, zoom and affordable range I would go with 24-85mm if Canon has it, for a higher price 24-70 f2.8 is a good walk around lens.

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