Camera Lenses: Selection, Care and Lens Maintenance

For photography enthusiasts, there’s nothing like the experience of using a quality camera. Sure, the image quality coming from smartphones continues to improve, but discerning photographers want more control over the end product. Even on the lower end of the price spectrum, a standalone DSLR or mirrorless camera will run circles around the smartphone competition.
Are you new to the world of DSLR or mirrorless cameras? Perhaps you’ve recently picked up your first one, and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed? These technologies can deliver powerful, impressive photos, but there’s a lot to learn.
One category that takes some know-how is lenses. There are so many options available, and your budget isn’t infinite. How can you know which ones to purchase? What should you do to keep them functioning well for years to come?
Check out this guide to selecting, caring for, and protecting the right lenses for your new camera.

Selecting the Right Camera Lens

The first thing to know is that not every camera lens fits every camera. It would be nice if it were that simple, but it isn’t. First, you’ll need to account for the lens mount. Nikon makes great DSLRs, but they pretty much only accept Nikon lenses (plus third-party lenses with Nikon mounts). Canon is the same way. Some manufacturers have collaborated on a mount standard, but there is no universal system. Recently at CES, Sony announced an impressive new Sony FE 35mm F1.4G Master Lens. And, you guessed it, you’ll need a Sony camera to use it. So before you purchase a new camera, make sure it has a family of lenses you like (at prices you can handle). For more on the issues surrounding lens compatibility, check out this extensive guide.
Second, there are two entirely different camera technologies to consider, DSLR and mirrorless. DSLR is older and better established, and if you have any lenses already, they’re probably DSLR lenses. Here, too, the lenses aren’t interchangeable. You can’t use a mirrorless lens on a DSLR camera. You can use a DSLR lens on a mirrorless camera if you purchase the right lens adapter. Some brands have some minor compatibility issues or loss of features, though, so tread carefully.
Third, there’s an entire world’s worth of features, types and zoom levels to explore, including prime, zoom, macro and telephoto lenses, among others. To explore this topic in detail, check out an excellent article from MasterClass.

Caring For Your Lenses to Prolong Their Life

If well taken care of, lenses can last decades. Here are some pointers. First, make sure to keep both the front and rear lens caps on at all times when not in use. The front one protects the lens surface, of course. The rear one keeps dust and debris from entering from the rear, which is just as important. A UV filter on the front of your lens can offer photographic advantages, but it also doubles as almost a second lens cap. It’s much cheaper to replace a scratched UV filter than to repair a scratched lens.
Other than “capping,” make sure to keep a cleaning cloth and an appropriate cleaning solution, one made specifically for this purpose.

Protecting Your Lenses from Damage and Defect

Of course, there’s more to keeping your lenses working than good day-to-day maintenance. You also need to protect your lenses from all kinds of damage, including impact, water and drop damage. An effective case is the place to start. You already know that lenses are expensive, so you’ll want to keep them in a case that’s sufficiently padded, ideally with individual compartments for each.
There are many bags designed specifically for this. If you’re not sure where to start looking, here’s a respectable list of good camera and lens bags.
Even the best bag, however, can’t fully protect your lenses. Lenses are meant to be used, but using them includes risk. You could drop a lens while trying to swap them. If you’re straddling a stream for that perfect shot, you’re doubly in danger.
The second layer of protection you should get for all your valuable lenses is an extended camera lens warranty. Just like you can protect your camera, you can protect your additional lenses with two or three years of extended warranty and accidental damage protection.
Upsie offers impressive levels of coverage, including coverage for the following:
  • Cracked lens
  • Mechanical failure
  • Liquid damage (including from submersion)
  • Power or electrical failure
  • Zoom failure
For the price of the warranty you’ll gain unlimited repair claims up to the value of the device, and you can work with a local repair shop or ship it in using a prepaid shipping label – your choice.
Did you just preorder a shiny new lens like the Sony FE 35mm F1.4G Master Lens announced at CES? Don’t risk it. Get started with an Upsie extended warranty today.

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