Evaluating a Lens
When purchasing a digital camera, many folks forget to consider an important component of the camera: the lens. Along with the image sensor, the lens is the part of the camera that will most critically affect the quality of your photographs. A high-quality lens will make a huge difference in the quality of the pictures, no matter how many megapixels the camera records.
A lens can be made of glass or plastic elements. Glass tends to provide higher optical quality and greater resistance to scratches. Lenses are coated to cut down on reflections that can occur on the surfaces of lens elements, causing a blurring of the image. Read reviews of lenses to determine which ones are of highest quality.
The following tips will help you judge the lens on the camera you're considering purchasing.
Who made the lens?If it is a manufacturer known for making high-quality optics, such as Nikon, Canon, or Olympus, this is an indication that your images will be crisp and colorful.
Does the lens use plastic or glass optics?Glass lenses are far superior to plastic lenses.
Can you attach filters to the lens?Even if you don't want to use filters, you may want to buy a clear one to protect your lens from scratches, so being able to attach a filter is important.
Test drive a zoom lens. Stand ten or twelve feet away from a group of people, look through the lens, and zoom all the way out to wide-angle. How many people are in the shot? Try out the telephoto end the same way. Remember to consider the types of shots you'll be taking. The goal is to get as much original image data into the camera as possible.
Is the zoom lens motor driven? Or can you zoom manually? If it's motor driven, you'll use up your batteries faster. You also will want to note how long it takes to zoom.