12 Different Types of Camera Lenses & Their Use

The flexibility of an interchangeable lens camera’s lens selection is its best benefit.

There are different types of camera lenses in the market.

So how do you make a decision?

That could be a bit perplexing. I’ll go into depth on each different type of camera lens and its use in this post.

Different Types of Camera Lenses

Different Types of Camera Lenses

Ultra-Wide Angle Lens

Less than 24mm is the focal length of a super-wide angle or ultra-wide angle lens.

Photographers that specialize in architecture and landscape use these types of lenses.

An ultra-wide-angle lens’ major benefit is that it enables you to approach closer to the subject more and capture both the subject and the backdrop.

You benefit from having a greater depth of field. More space will thus be in focus.

A few examples are the Sony 10-18mm F4 OSS lens, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 AT-X116 Pro DX II lens, and the Canon EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lens.

Wide Angle Lens

As its name indicates, a wide-angle lens offers a broad field of vision.

Any lens with a 24 to 35-mm focal length range may be categorized as a wide-angle lens.

A wide-angle lens will have a field of vision of at least 55 degrees.

Wide-angle lenses are used by landscape and architecture photographers.

With this kind of lens, you may acquire a wider depth of field and, therefore, a larger area in focus.

Canon’s EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens, Nikon’s AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G lens, and Sony’s FE 24mm 1.4 GM lens are a few examples of wide-angle lenses.

Read my article on different types of cameras for photography.

Standard Lens

These are often called portrait lenses.

These are lenses with a 35mm to 85mm focal length range. This is the best focal length for people photography.

Thus, attempt to include this focal length range lens in your camera equipment if you want to take family photos or a holiday camera.

Standard lenses include the Nikkor 85mm F/1.8G lens, the Canon RF 85mm F1.2 lens, and the Sony FE 85mm F1.4 GM lens.

Short Telephoto Lens

The beginning range of telephoto focal lengths are short lenses. The 85mm to 200mm focal length range is used here.

These lenses are used by portrait, wildlife, and landscape photographers.

A few examples are the Sony FE 100mm F2.8 STF GM OSS lens, Sony FE 100mm F2.8 GM lens, and Canon EF 200mm F/2.8L IS II USM lens.

Medium Telephoto lens

The following telephoto range, from 200mm to 300mm, is covered by these medium telephoto lenses. This range aids in creating a background blur.

Medium telephoto lenses are used by wildlife photographers. It is a second lens for both portrait and landscape shooters.

Canon’s 70-200mm f/4.0 L IS USM lens, Sony’s FE 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 G OSS, and Sony’s FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS are a few examples of telephoto lenses.

Read my article on best budget wildlife photography cameras.

Super Telephoto lens 

The incredibly narrow-angle of vision of super-telephoto lenses is 8 degrees or less. The backdrop is well-blurred thanks to the restricted field of vision. You will achieve your greatest reach. 300mm is the focal length’s starting point.

Super Telephoto lenses are used by photographers who specialize in wildlife, birds, and sports.

There are lenses in this category that are both prime and zoom. Comparatively speaking to other lenses, prime lenses will be much more expensive and heavy.

Canon 400mm f/2.8 IS III USM, Sony FE 600mm F4 GM OSS, and Sony FE 400mm F2.8 GM OSS are a few examples of super-telephoto lenses.

Macro Lens

Use a macro lens if you want to catch all the tiny features of a flower or an insect. For close-up photography, it is so.

Macro lenses are used by macro photographers who capture images of insects, frogs, snakes, and food and product photography.

A macro lens will have a smaller minimum focusing distance than regular lenses. So that you may learn more about the topic. A macro lens will have an image reproduction ratio of at least 1:1.

Just a small number of standard lenses are known to offer macro modes. But, you won’t obtain a macro lens’ level of quality.

Examples of these camera lenses include the Canon EF 100mm F2.8 L IS USM Macro lens, the Sony E 30mm f/3.5 Macro lens, and the Canon RF 35mm f1.8 Macro IS STM.

If you’re new to photography read my article on important parts of a camera every photographer knows.

Wide Angle Macro Lens

The popular camera lenses for macro photographers in 2020 are wide-angle macro lenses. It enables you to take some interesting macro pictures.

It is a blend of a wide-angle and a macro lens, as the name would imply. As a result, wide-angle macro photography now has new opportunities. This lens will have a shorter focal length and a magnification ratio of 1:1 or more.

By approaching near, it enables you to capture the subtle details of macro subjects. You may include the backdrop or environment in the frame thanks to the short focal length, which adds interest to the picture.

To take these photographs in the past, the macro photographer would place extension tubes between the camera body and the macro lens.

Laowa is the sole producer of this lens at the moment. It is produced with Sony, Canon, and Nikon mounts.

This type of camera lens includes the LAOWA 15mm f/4 1:1 Macro lens.

Tilt-Shift Lens

A specialty lens is a tilt-shift lens. It enables you to alter the glass’s orientation with respect to the image sensor. “Tilt and Shift” are the two different motions that are present.

With the Tilt function, you may reorient the focus plane to sharpen a specific area of the image.

Without having to go back, the Shift makes it easier to change the subject in the frame. This function helps prevent the distortion that wide-angle lenses often cause to structures and buildings.

Tilt-shift lenses are used by architects. Thus, the only focal lengths available in this class of lenses are wide-angle ones.

Samyang 24mm F3.5, Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II, and Canon TS-E 17mm f/4L are a few examples. Fixed focal length lenses are tilt-shift lenses.

Fisheye Lens

Wide-angle pictures captured using fisheye lenses are rectilinear. It gets its name from the way fish see the above picture while they are submerged in water.

You must have exceptional photographic abilities to use this lens to create stunning photographs because of the fish-eye effect.

Fish-eye lenses are used by photographers of people, landscapes, and buildings.

Some examples of these lens types are the Canon EF 15mm F/2.8 Fisheye lens, the Rokinon 8mm F/3.5 Fisheye lens, and the Nikon AF-S 8-15mm F/3.5-4.5 E ED Fisheye lens.

Prime Lens

A prime lens is one that has a fixed focal length. Thus, this lens does not have a zoom-in or zoom-out capability. Primes are renowned for their ability to create high-quality photographs and to take effective photos in dim circumstances.

The majority of prime lenses are expensive and heavy. That is because these lenses can accommodate a greater aperture. The exception is the Nifty Fifty lens. It is the least expensive prime lens available.

Since it has a fixed focal length, you will need to change your distance from the subject in order to get the ideal picture composition.

A prime lens is an example, such as the Canon EF 50mm F/1.8 (Nifty fifty from Canon). It features a fixed 50mm focal length. Such examples are the Sony FE 85mm F1.4 Gm lens and the Sony E 50mm f/1.8 OSS.

Zoom Lens

A lens with changing focal length is a zoom lens. By using the zoom ring, you may alter the focal length of the lens.

Most entry-level DSLR/mirrorless cameras come with a zoom lens as the kit lens when purchased with the kit lens option.

Both the wide-angle and portrait focal lengths are covered by this kit lens. This lens is enough for the task whether you’re a casual photographer or use a camera to capture your travel shots.

Moreover, greater focal range lenses will be available. hence, a greater zoom. Nevertheless, this results in a decrease in aperture and picture quality.

Your next thought is probably to wonder how the zoom is determined. It is advisable to provide an example while explaining it.

Take the Nikkor 200-500mm f/5.6 E ED VR lens as an example. Here, the lowest and maximum focal lengths are 200mm and 500mm, respectively. Hence, the zoom is 500/200, or 2.5 times.

The Sony FE 200-600mm F5,6-6.3 G OSS lens, the Sony E 18-135mm F3.5-5.6 OSS, and the Canon RF 24-240mm F4-6.3 are USM lens is a few examples of zoom lenses.


So now you are aware of the many DSLR and mirrorless camera lens types. Hence, depending on the type of photography, you may choose any.

Before making a purchase, read the Used Camera lens purchasing checklist if you’re seeking to buy a used camera lens. You may make a wise purchase by thoroughly inspecting the lens.