Lenses come in all shapes and sizes. Some come chock full of awesome features, some do interesting things to your images, and some are designed to keep costs low for those that don't have a fortune to spend. With so many lens choices, how are you supposed to know which one is right for your project?

In this video, Peter McKinnon explores the options that are out there for both photographers and filmmakers, and shows you how to figure out whether or not a certain lens is right for you.

Purchasing lenses can be a huge chore, especially if you have no idea what you're looking for. But McKinnon suggests asking yourself these three questions before you decide on a lens to buy:

  1. Am I shooting photo or video?
  2. What's my subject?
  3. What's my price range?

Assuming that your answer to the first question is "video," you really only need to figure out what your project calls for (what subject you're shooting) and how much money you can afford to drop on lenses.


If you're shooting a film, this gets a little complicated because you'll be capturing your subject(s) in many different ways, from wide shots to close ups. So, even before you ask yourself what your subject is, I'd suggest nailing down your budget—how much can you afford to spend on lenses alone?

Once you've got that nailed down, you can start to determine what you can afford to shoot. If you're shooting a short film and only have a few hundred bucks to spend on lenses, you might do just fine with a low-end zoom lens that can get you everything from wide to close up shots. If you've got a little bit of money to burn, somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000, you could potentially invest in a couple of mid-range primes that will give you better image quality, and may even include some added features, like autofocus and image stabilization.

In the end, the best thing you can do to start your search for the "right" lens is to educate yourself on what's out there. McKinnon does a great job of providing an overview, but there are plenty of other resources, blogs, YouTube channels, online communities, that will give you the information you need to make a sensible, informed choice. May we suggest you start your research right here?

Source: Peter McKinnon