A big advantage of SLR cameras is that you can change the lenses. For every purpose there is finally an objective with which you can achieve the best results. With a compact camera you are stuck to the lens that comes with the camera and you can at most use a conversion lens edger to achieve a certain effect. On your SLR you change lenses in a few seconds, however. There are many different lenses available, here an overview of the different possibilities.
Zoom and prime lenses
In general there are two types of lenses, zoom lenses and lenses with a fixed focal length (also called primes). With the so-called prime lenses you can not zoom in and out. Because of this, you are more limited in use, if you want to get closer to the subject, you have to get a bit closer and to get more in the picture you have to put a few steps backwards. Despite this limitation, many professional photographers like to use lenses with a fixed focal length because the quality is often larger. After all, there are fewer moving parts in the lens and it is optimized for one specific focal point. Often such primes are also very bright, so you need little light to be able to take a photo with a usable shutter speed.
The zoom lenses are more practical, if your composition is not to your liking you can change it by zooming in or out. You can simply stay in the same place. Compared to primes, the quality is slightly less, the lens can not be optimized for one focal length, but it must do well over the entire zoom range. Especially when the range of a zoom lens is very large (more than 3x zoom) the quality deteriorates. There are also high quality zoom lenses, but these are usually very pricey and also have a limited zoom range (usually less than 3 times zoom). These professional zoom lenses are also often pretty bright.
Especially novice photographers often use the so-called super zoom lenses. These are lenses that go from a large wide angle to a long telephoto range (for example an 18 – 250 mm lens, 14 times zoom). The advantage is that these lenses are often practical, since you hardly ever have to switch. However, these lenses often qualify for zoom lenses with a smaller zoom range. During a holiday where you do not want to drag too much, these kinds of lenses can be very useful. In addition, the quality of these types of lenses is also getting better.
Canon 50mm f / 1.8 A standard lens is about the same as the image that the human eye sees. With a full-frame camera this comes down to about 50mm. For this range, there are often very affordable lenses for each brand with a fixed focal length. For example the 50 mm f / 1.8 from Canon or Nikon . For around 100, – euro you buy a sharp and very bright lens. Very handy when you are sitting in a restaurant in the evening and want to take a photo, you can then leave your flash and still get a usable shutter speed.