Most photographers are on a budget. Here is a list of gear for both Canon and Nikon users that you can’t go wrong with. This list will only consist of quality items for low prices. If you have a question about a lens or piece of equipment not on the list, please feel free to comment (we might have just forgotten it).
Specialized: This means the lens was created with an intended purpose. These lenses are usually pricier and directed at the semi-professional to professional market.
IS: Image Stabilization. The lens has Image Stabilization.
USM: Ultra Sonic Motor. This is the focusing motor in the lens. USM motors are silent and make virtually no noise. They are also faster at focusing.
Green: Anything highlighted in green, we definitely recommend buying.
10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 – Pricey, specialized, best wide angle for Canon users.
17-40mm f/4 – Pricey, specialized, not recommended for beginners.
18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS – Standard kit lens, great all around lens.
24mm f/2.8 – Wide aperture, affordable, good optics.
24mm f/1.8 USM – Wider aperture than previous 24mm, good optics, specialized.
28mm f/2.8 – Affordable.
35mm f/2 – Affordable, useful for majority of people.
50mm f/1.8 – Canon’s cheapest lens, amazing optics!
50mm f/1.4 – Still affordable, wide aperture.
55-250 f/4-5.6 IS – Cheap, decent all around, small problems at 250mm.
60mm f/2.8 USM Macro – Amazing optics, sturdy construction, affordable macro lens.
65mm MP-E f/2.8 1-5x Macro – Specialized, pricey, not for beginners!
85mm f/1.8 USM – Wide aperture, best used for portraiture.
100mm f/2.8 USM Macro – Affordable macro lens, great optics, sturdy feeling.
Keep away from the following:
18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM
Theses lenses all suffer from the same problem — a lack of sharpness. Since the lens is so versatile — going from a wide focal length to telephoto ranges — the optics inside the lens aren’t as sharp as more dedicated lenses tend to be.
50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro
This lens is a dedicated (specialized) macro lens; unfortunately, it needs a converter to get a reproduction ratio of 1:1. The converter costs basically as much as the lens itself.