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Features Automatic Pan Tilt Head is a fast and convenient tool for rotating your camera horizontally or vertically on a tripod. It allows you to gain speed, convenient and precision by rotating the camcorder (DV/Astronomical telescope/Burglarproof...

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$69.99 
$69.99 as at 06:23 UTC. (Details)
Digital Photography For Beginners: Simple Digital Photography Tips And Tricks To Help You Take Amazing Photographs (Entry Level Digital SLR Stock Photography ... Film Photography (DSLR Cameras Book 1)

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Decisions, decisions! How do you pick the right Canon digital SLR lens?

The first decision, the one that ended up in your choice of cameras, was probably one that involved research, seeking out the opinion of other camera owners, and lots of fretting. As you regard the challenge, you observe that there is a vast potpourri of lenses, literally hundreds of them. And you are not limited to just Canon lenses, there are others who create lenses for Canon EOS cameras as well.

So which one do you select?

It's possible to avoid this whole issue and go with the package deal that includes the kit lens. And there are even packages that include two or three kit lenses that cover a wide spectrum of focal lengths. That would curtail any decision making whatsoever.

But, if you are like most new digital SLR buyers, you will want to get the best lens available. After all, that's where some of the excitement comes from, the assembly of the camera bag and its contents.

There are those who make a science out of this piece of the selection process, taking long periods of time to gather data and evaluate. If you go online to some of the camera forums, you will see how totally involved some photographers are in lens selection. Sometimes it is a bit overboard.

The bottom line is that you want to get the best lens that will do what you want it to do with great results.

But, let's revisit this question, "Why not merely go for the kit lens?" It was alluded to above, and the answer is a simple one. Even though the kit lens is adequate as a beginner Canon camera lens, it is not the most fantastic lens they manufacture. Its purpose is to get a lens on that camera so you can get started taking pictures right out of the box. Perhaps you are thinking about what lots of people do. Get the camera body only, without the kit lens. Then you have the freedom to get a lens of your own choice separate from the kit lens.

As you go through the lens evaluation process, think about a number of questions that will assist you narrow the field.

1. What's in your wallet?

Possibly, you may not have to go past this question. If your money does not allow for any lens wiggle room, you just get the kit lens and start shooting. If that is not the case, and you are in a position to spend some of your budget on a lens or two, you are ready to move ahead with the questions. A limited budget of $500 or less will put you in one area, whereas $1000 will give you much more flexibility in your final decision.

2. What sort of photos will you be taking the majority of the time?

You likely have a penchant as to the types of images you choose to capture. Most photographers develop a favorite style even before they purchases to their first digital SLR. Generally, a zoom lens with a focal range of 18-70mm, give or take a few millimeters, will be just fine if you take lots of photos of family. But if nature, sports, or portraits are your favorite types of images, the ranges you consider are going to be much different.

3. Is your plan to begin with a number of lenses? Not just one?

Having a whole array of lens choices in your camera bag is actually one of the main reasons many folks move from a point and shoot camera to a digital SLR camera in the first place. With an additional lens or two in mind, start off with a zoom lens with a range of about 17-75mm. Then add to that range with a 70-200mm, or even a 70-300mm lens. There are several Canon lenses in these focal lengths to choose from.

4. Which Canon EOS camera did you buy (or will you be buying)?

Depending on your answer, you may not be able to get some of the Canon or third party lenses simply because they will not work on your camera. Oddly, there are more choices for the cheaper, entry level digital SLRs. All of the Canon lenses and third party lenses will fit on your camera. The more expensive, professional Canon models will not accept lenses that are made specifically for the entry level digital SLRs. These lenses have a designation code of EF-S.

Moving up to a digital SLR camera opens a new and exciting chapter in your life. But it is not a step that you want to take blindly. You really need to do your homework before making this buying decision.

The worse thing that can happen is that you end up with a lens that does not fulfill your needs, and you do not have the money to get a different one. You made the wrong choice.

The good news is that before you make a mistake, there are websites and resources to help you with your decision. Finding the right Canon digital SLR lens is just a matter of taking advantage of those resources.