TELEPHOTO AND MACRO LENSES
Telephoto lenses are probably the most popular of all lenses. They are perfect for portrait and wildlife photography as they offer a closer view to your subject and in doing so, keeps distortion low. Faster lenses, with some type of stabilization are best, look for stats such as F2.8 or similar with IS or OS.
Macro Lenses, often used for focussing on finite detail in very small objects, are usually high quality lenses, and well manufactured. Find a lens with a fast maximum aperture of F2.0 or F2.8 if possible. You’ll pay more for it, but your ability to experiment with selective focus will be much greater.
TILT SHIFT LENSES
Tilt Shift lenses are high end and ideal for correcting camera perspective, caused by angling upwards or downwards, which results in a “leaning in or leaning out” type distortion. The frontal lens element is shifted to oppose the tilt of the camera. Usually not wider than 90mm, expect to pay upwards of $2K per unit, but hell it’s worth it.
Tilt Shift lenses can also be used to create a miniature effect known by the Japanese as “Bokeh”. This effect mimics the extremely limited depth of field by fast, shallow depth of field lenses, and can be used to incredible effect.
WIDE ANGLE LENSES
Wide angle lenses, are identified by the bulbous shape to the glass front of the lens. They are loved by landscape photographers, the world over. A good lens should include high quality glass, have a low corner distortion rate, where a falloff in sharpness in the corners is minimal, and versatile features such as Image Stabilization (IS). Ideally they should also include a lens hood to minimize lens flare, when shooting into light or the sun. Generally the heavier a wide angle lens the higher quality of the glass used in manufacture, and the better the lens overall.
Fisheye lenses are amazing bits of glass, with the bulbous element protruding from the housing of the lens, they are quite fragile, and easy to scratch. they cant be protected by a UV filter, but instead use slip in gelatin filters in the rear of the lens. Find one thats fast, F2.8 or 3.5, like Sigma’s 8mm. Look for edge to edge sharpness as well, again price will dictate quality. These are great for fitting the whole world into one shot, almost literally, with most providing a full 180 degree view! Expect to pay between $1K and upwards of $3K for top end.