Does Your Lens Matter?

Arguably one of the most important aspects in Photography (other than the camera) is the lens. To many new photographers or those wanting to learn more about photography this topic can be quite daunting.

Today I will share with you a budget guide and lens comparison test to help get you started on photography! Choosing the right lens comes down to the right situation, and the look that you want to go for. Each lens is unique with different characteristics.

To keep this budget friendly for all new photographers I will keep this under $1000 for one camera body and one lens. The links to buy the gear will be at the end of the blog post!

In 100% Fairness I will be keeping all photos 50mm f/5.6 Take a look below. You can also click and zoom on each picture.

Rokinon Cine DS 50mm f/5.6

Canon Stock 18-55mm f/5.6

Sigma 18-250mm f/5.6

Vintage 49mm f/5.6

Hard to tell huh? I thought so when I was starting out too, but if you click on each image you will begin to see each lens has a subtle difference.

Painting Photo Taken With Rokinon Cine DS

We’ll start with the Rokinon, the most expensive lens on this list. Keep in mind these lenses are designed with video on the mind and I will be doing a lens test for video next month! This lens has a very sharp characteristic to whatever you want in focus, but the more shallow your depth of field, you can see a nice soft flow to the background. You may also notice that the edges have a bit of a sharpness falloff, which can be good for creating a softer look on your subjects face. I use this lens a lot for video, but also for artwork photography because it is one of the sharpest lenses that I own and can really capture the detail the artist wants you to see.

Going down the line we take a look at the Sigma. This lens is our workhorse lens. It has been to Africa, and on so many hikes, and because of its 18-250mm range, it is in my mind, the perfect travel lens if you are looking to travel light. The bokeh characteristics as you can see in the background are wonderfully swirly and can give quite a dreamy image if that is what you are going after. It has pretty good sharpness around the edges although you can notice some of that sharpness falloff around really jagged edges.

Photo Taken In Colorado with the Sigma 18-250mm

Photo Taken With Canon Stock Lens

The next lens we’ll look at is what will probably come with your T5i (or any Canon Rebel) and that what I lovingly refer to as the Canon stock lens. Now this lens has a very fine focus, although it can be hard to control if you are shooting manual (unlike the Sigma and Rokinon before which has a very smooth and easy focus to control). I will say this lens keeps its subjects very sharp, however, nothing particularly stands out other than that. It is a great lens to start out using, but the purpose of this blog post is for you to see that you can find some great characteristics if you experiment with new lenses. I haven’t used this lens in a professional setting so there isn’t a recent photo other than the test photo to show.

Photo Taken With The Vintage 49mm Lens

 Last but not least is one of my favorite photography lenses. I do not know the official name of this lens, but it is a lens that I found off of a Vivitar v4000s that I found at Goodwill. Finding these old lenses are super easy and honestly a ton of fun to shoot with, however you will need to get a lens adapter if you want to use any of these older lenses on modern cameras. This lens has quite a unique look to it, with its hexagon shaped bokeh, but it also has a nice soft quality to it, giving it quite a dreamy vibe. If you also look at this other image I took with this lens you can see that it has some interesting swirls with it’s bokeh in certain lighting situations.

 Overall, your lens does matter, but if you are just starting out there is no need to buy that $2,000 lens. Practice with more budget friendly lens solutions and learn to appreciate the characteristics. Don’t be afraid to use something other than your stock lens, photography is an art form, one that you can play around with and create some really interesting visuals with. Experiment, have fun, and learn to love your lens and go outside of the box. When you start to feel comfortable with what you have then you can start upgrading your gear and really seeing what the world has to offer in the world of photography. (I can’t wait to get my hands on some Zeiss lenses to try those out). The next lens test will be strictly for video, and we will be using the Canon C300 with the lenses listed down below!

‘Till next time!

 - Jesse


The gear I used in this test are:

Canon T5i - ON SALE Amazon $485 :

Rokinon 50mm Cine DS - ON SALE Amazon $499 :

Sigma 18-250mm - Amazon $269 :

Canon Stock Lens 18-55mm - Amazon $199 :

Vivitar v4000 Vintage Lens - Found At Goodwill