How to Choose the Right Lens for a Mirrorless Camera

Nowadays, there are numerous ways to change your photography and experiment with style. Smartphone apps are available for photo editing on the fly, for instance. From basic image correction to artistic filters, light leaks, and other effects, the best photo editor apps have it all. Some apps even have 200+ preset filters for users to choose from, while others bank on your creativity to tweak and adjust individual settings to get the exact aesthetic you’re after.

Of course, camera lenses are among the major tools professional photographers have in their arsenal. Recently, a lens designer company released three vintage lens adapters for mirrorless cameras that can recreate the look of older lenses, including the minor optical flaws that produce grain and light leaks. Designed to sit between any EF lens and the body of any mirrorless camera, these lens adapters offer your photos a unique, old look that otherwise looks inauthentic when done through digital post-production tools.

The retro look isn’t the be-all and end-all of photography. You can get various mirrorless camera lenses to achieve the specific look you’re after in your photography — whether as a hobby or professionally practiced. In this post, we’ll discuss how to choose lenses for your mirrorless camera.

Consider your lens mount

Before you start shopping around for lenses to add to your collection, you must first get to know your camera and its lens mount. A camera’s lens mount determines what lenses are compatible with it, so be wary about getting the wrong lens that won’t fit your mirrorless camera. Generally, sticking to the same brands is safe—a Nikon lens will work well for a Nikon mirrorless camera. However, while some enthusiasts and experts aren’t afraid to mix it up for better results, you need to be aware that some camera manufacturers are stricter about third-party lenses than others.

Previous attempts by companies such as Rokinon (also known as Samyang) and Viltrox to release autofocus lenses for Canon’s mirrorless cameras were met with legal action and eventually ceased production. However, Canon is slowly opening up to the idea. Meike’s new 85mm f/1.4 autofocus lens is set to be the first third-party manufacturer to sell an autofocus-equipped lens for Canon’s mirrorless cameras. As such, it’s crucial to stay aware of these trends. Lenses can be a pricey addition to your camera kit, so checking if the lens you want will be compatible with your camera is essential.

Collect interchangeable lenses

Unlike fixed lenses on point-and-shoot cameras, interchangeable lenses can be switched out for other lenses, allowing for more freedom and experimentation. Fortunately, most mirrorless lenses for cameras offer interchangeable lens capabilities. As noted above, while most mirrorless cameras support interchangeable lenses, it’s still important to familiarize yourself with the lens mount on your camera to ensure you get the right lens. For example, the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II lens offers a breathing compensation feature for video shooting exclusively on compatible Sony α series bodies. Although the lens is designed for use with Sony’s a7 line of cameras, it is still compatible — albeit with restrictions — with other Sony models such as a3000 and above or the NEX series.

Don’t worry, however, as most lens vendors will have a compatibility list for their lenses that you can check before buying. When changing lenses on your mirrorless camera, remember to keep your camera off and check if your camera has a lens release button that you need to press before removing your lens. This will ensure you don’t damage the lens or your camera body in the process.

Prioritize your use case

Finally, before you expand your lens collection, consider the style of photography you are focusing on or the typical use case for your camera. Most cameras come with a kit lens upon purchase, and these will work fine for general uses but may deliver mediocre-quality images in low-light situations. If you’re interested in portrait photography, a prime 50-85mm lens is best as it flatters the human face. If you work in advertising and are doing product photography, you might want a macro lens. On the other hand, a prime lens may not be helpful for landscape photography — you’ll want a wide-angle zoom instead.

Different photography styles will call for a specific lens if you want to draw great results and photograph efficiently. If you’re interested in wildlife photography, a good-quality fish-eye lens, a macro lens (for smaller animals), and a good zoom lens will be great for capturing potentially dangerous animals from a safe distance.

Reading up on different lens models and brands will definitely help you and your photography go a long way as you try on different camera lenses that suit your unique point-of-view.

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