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Setting the Standard: What's a Standard Zoom Lens?

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The standard zoom lens is the photographer's handy multitool—a variable lens capturing landscapes, groups, or architecture, and a telephoto to get closer to a distant subject or make a portrait.

Even if you love the sharpness and wide apertures of prime lenses, the standard zoom lens has a place in most kits. When you're shooting an event or wedding and can't switch lenses constantly, these standard zooms greatly simplify your day.

On full frame cameras, the standard zoom range is typically considered to be 24-70mm in focal length. For crop cameras, ("APS-C" for Canon, "DX" for Nikon) the crop factor means that the standard zoom lens is usually around 17-50mm. Even the typical "kit lens" (18-55mm) occupies this useful range.

Check out the lesson above to learn more about the advantages of limitations for the standard zoom lens and how it can fit into your lens lineup.

Standard Zoom lens exampleStandard Zoom lens exampleStandard Zoom lens example

Watch the Full Course

So, what should you look for when choosing a lens? The perfect complement to that advice is the course What Every Photographer Should Know About Lenses. Not all lenses are created equally, and I'll teach you what to look for as you begin to build out your own lens lineup.

Check out these other lessons that will help you learn to build out your lens lineup:

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