Story and photography by Don Komarechka
One of the first limitations many photographers seem to notice after purchasing a camera with interchangeable lenses is the lack of “zoom” compared to the smaller and lighter point-and-shoot cameras. Let’s take a look at what’s in a lens, and what you should consider when looking to expand beyond the basic “kit lens” that came with your camera.
The kit lens
Most DSLR or equivalent mirrorless cameras come with a lens to get you started, usually allowing you to zoom from 18mm to 55mm. What does that actually mean? How do these numbers relate to anything you’ve seen before? The smaller the focal length number, the wider the field of view offered by the lens. 18mm is wider than 55mm, and most kit lenses of this configuration would have a 3x zoom if you’re comparing it to the numbers used on smaller compact cameras.
The focal range that these basic starter lenses cover is great for …