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CostHelper > Consumer Electronics  > Cameras > Camera Lens

Camera Lens Cost


How Much Does a Camera Lens Cost?

 
low costStandard Zoom or Wide Angle: $100-$2,000+average costPrime: $100-$5,000+high costTelephoto: $150-$5,000+

Some single-lens-reflex (SLR) cameras, whether 35mm film or digital, are sold without a lens, while serious photographers will want to purchase additional lenses for greater flexibility. Lenses designed for 35mm film cameras are usually compatible with the same manufacturer's digital SLRs (DSLRs), although in some cases they will perform slightly differently, depending on the size of the DSLR's sensor. While a Canon camera, for example, performs best with a Canon lens, lenses from third-party manufacturers are less expensive. It's important to note that when buying a lens from a third-party manufacturer, the lens mount must be compatible with the camera body.

Typical costs:

  • A lens with a long focal length has the effect of magnifying distant objects while a lens with a shorter focal length delivers a wider angle of view. As the name suggests, an all-in-one zoom lens offers a large range of focal lengths in order to handle various shooting situations.
  • The Tamron AF28-300mm F/3.5-6.3 XR Di VC is compatible with both DSLR and 35mm SLR cameras, comes with a Canon or Nikon mount and retails for about $600. Since some digital SLRs use a smaller APS-C (Advanced Photo System) sensor rather than a full-frame sensor, a 35mm or full-frame lens like this one will result in focal-length magnification. A standard zoom lens of 17mm to 70mm or 28mm to 90mm lens is ideal for shooting everything from landscapes to portraits. Since the focal range isn't as wide as an all-in-one lens, the optical quality tends to be better. Expect to pay $100 to $2,000 or more for a standard zoom lens. The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 EX DG[1] costs about $570 and is designed for use in both DSLRs and 35mm SLRs and includes mounts for Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony/Minolta and Pentax cameras.
  • Wide-angle lenses are good for taking panoramic photos of landscapes. Expect to pay $100 to $2,000 for a wide-angle zoom lens. The Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG ASPHERICAL HSM[2] sells for about $860 with mounts for Sigma, Canon, Nikon, Sony/Minolta and Pentax DSLR or 35mm cameras.
  • A telephoto lens zeroes in on a subject from afar, making it suitable for shooting wildlife or sporting events. Expect to pay $150 to $5,000 or more for a telephoto zoom lens. The Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM[3] is equipped with 2 image stabilizer modes and available for about $1,500, but is compatible with only Canon cameras.
  • A prime lens offers a fixed focal length, so while it lacks the flexibility of a zoom it features the highest quality optics and larger apertures. This makes a prime lens ideal for shooting portraits or for use in low light situations where a flash cannot be used. As a general rule of thumb, a prime lens manufactured by the same name-brand as the camera body will provide the best sharpness and lowest image distortion of any lens. Expect to pay $100 to $5,000 or more for a prime lens. The AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G[4] is ideal for general purpose photography such as travel or portraiture, and costs about $450.
  • Other specialty lenses include macro lenses for shooting extreme close-ups of small objects such as flowers or insects and fish-eye lenses that provide a distorted bubble effect and cost from $60 to $2,000 or more.
Related articles: Film Camera, Photo Printing, Digital Camera

What should be included:
  • Lens equipped with compatible mount.
Additional costs:
  • To protect and clean a camera lens, consider a lens cleaning kit, a lens cap and a lens pouch, which will add up to about $30.
  • Lens filters can add special effects to a photograph. Prices range from $5 to $60.
  • If using a large telephoto lens, a good tripod can help keep the setup still and avoid any unwanted camera shakes. These cost from less than $10 to several hundred dollars for professional grade equipment.
  • A teleconverter can be mounted between some lenses and the camera body to increase the focal length and cost from $60 to $1,200.
Discounts:
  • B&H Photo Video[5] offers discounts for Federal, educator and student buyers.
Shopping for a camera lens:
  • Digital Photo magazine[6] offers a buying guide for DSLR lenses.
  • Find competitive prices online at sites such as Amazon[7] then look for comparable or discounted prices at local electronics retailers such as Ritz Camera.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/viewall?id=3261&navigator=2
  2.  www.sigmaphoto.com/lenses/viewall?id=3236&navigator=1
  3.  www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_100_400mm_f_4_5...
  4.  www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/585343-USA/Nikon_2180_AF_S_Nikkor_50mm_f_1_4G.html#...
  5.  www.bhphotovideo.com/find/federal-gsa-contracts-gov-corporate-edu-sales.jsp
  6.  www.dpmag.com/gear/lenses/lens-buying-guide.html
  7.  www.amazon.com/Lenses-Accessories-Camera-Photo/b?ie=UTF8&node=499248
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