How many lenses to get for a mirrorless camera


When it comes to mirrorless cameras, one of the most common questions photographers have is how many lenses they should invest in. The versatility of mirrorless cameras allows for a wide range of shooting styles and subjects, making the choice of lenses crucial to achieving the desired results.

While the number of lenses you need will ultimately depend on your specific photography needs and budget, there are a few key factors to consider. Prime lenses are known for their sharpness and wide aperture, making them ideal for portrait and low-light photography. On the other hand, zoom lenses offer versatility and convenience, allowing you to cover a wide range of focal lengths without changing lenses.

Whether you’re a beginner looking to build your lens collection or a seasoned pro looking to expand your creative capabilities, understanding the different types of lenses available and how they can enhance your photography is essential. In this article, we’ll explore the various factors to consider when choosing lenses for your mirrorless camera and provide tips on how to build a well-rounded lens kit that meets your needs.

Benefits of mirrorless cameras

Mirrorless cameras offer several advantages over traditional DSLR cameras. One of the key benefits is their compact size and lightweight design, making them ideal for travel and everyday use. Mirrorless cameras also tend to have faster autofocus systems and silent shooting modes, making them great for capturing candid moments without drawing attention. Additionally, mirrorless cameras often feature electronic viewfinders that provide a live preview of the image, allowing for more accurate framing and exposure adjustments. Overall, mirrorless cameras offer a versatile and convenient shooting experience for photographers of all levels.

Compact and lightweight design

One of the key advantages of mirrorless cameras is their compact and lightweight design. Unlike traditional DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras do not have a mirror box and optical viewfinder, which allows them to be much smaller and lighter. This makes them ideal for travel photography, street photography, and any situation where you need to carry your camera for an extended period of time.

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When choosing lenses for your mirrorless camera, it’s important to consider the size and weight of the lenses. Opt for compact and lightweight lenses to maintain the portability of your camera setup. Many manufacturers offer a range of compact prime and zoom lenses that are specifically designed for mirrorless cameras, so you can easily find options that suit your needs without adding unnecessary bulk to your camera bag.

Electronic viewfinder technology

An electronic viewfinder (EVF) is a small display screen that shows you what the camera sensor sees in real-time. Unlike traditional optical viewfinders, EVFs use electronic technology to simulate the image. This allows you to preview exposure settings, white balance, and other crucial information before taking the shot.

EVFs have come a long way in recent years, offering high resolution, fast refresh rates, and customizable overlays. Some cameras even feature OLED EVFs, which provide exceptional color reproduction and contrast. Overall, EVFs are a valuable tool for photographers, especially in situations where the external lighting makes it difficult to see through an optical viewfinder.

Fast and accurate autofocus

One of the key advantages of mirrorless cameras is their advanced autofocus systems. They typically use contrast-detection or phase-detection autofocus technology to quickly and accurately lock onto subjects. This allows for sharp and in-focus images even in challenging lighting conditions or fast-moving subjects.

When selecting lenses for your mirrorless camera, consider the autofocus performance of each lens. Some lenses are designed with fast and silent autofocus motors, while others may be slower or noisier. Investing in lenses with high-performance autofocus capabilities can significantly improve your overall shooting experience and help you capture those decisive moments with precision.

Factors to consider when choosing lenses

When selecting lenses for your mirrorless camera, there are several factors to take into consideration to ensure you get the best performance and results:

1. Lens Mount Compatibility

Ensure that the lenses you are considering are compatible with the lens mount of your mirrorless camera. Different camera brands have different lens mounts, so it’s important to choose lenses that match your camera’s mount.

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2. Focal Length and Aperture

Consider the focal length and aperture of the lenses you are looking at. The focal length determines the field of view and magnification of the lens, while the aperture affects the amount of light that can pass through the lens. Choose lenses with focal lengths and apertures that suit your shooting style and preferences.

Focal length and aperture

When choosing lenses for your mirrorless camera, it’s important to consider the focal length and aperture of the lens. The focal length determines the angle of view and magnification of the lens, while the aperture controls the amount of light that enters the camera.

Lenses with shorter focal lengths are ideal for wide-angle shots, capturing more of the scene in the frame. On the other hand, lenses with longer focal lengths are better suited for telephoto shots, allowing you to zoom in on distant subjects.


The aperture of a lens is measured in f-stops, such as f/2.8 or f/4. A lower f-stop number indicates a larger aperture, which allows more light to enter the camera and is great for low-light conditions or creating a shallow depth of field. On the other hand, a higher f-stop number means a smaller aperture, resulting in less light but a greater depth of field.

Compatibility with camera body

When choosing lenses for your mirrorless camera, it is essential to consider the compatibility with your specific camera body. Different camera manufacturers have their own lens mounts, such as Sony E-mount, Canon RF mount, Nikon Z mount, etc. Make sure the lenses you are considering are compatible with your camera body’s lens mount.

Additionally, some third-party lens manufacturers produce lenses that are compatible with multiple camera mounts, offering more flexibility in your lens selection. Just be sure to double-check compatibility before making a purchase.

Specialized lenses for specific genres

When it comes to specific genres of photography, having specialized lenses can make a significant difference in the quality of your images. For portrait photography, a fast prime lens with a wide aperture, such as a 50mm f/1.8 or an 85mm f/1.4, can help you achieve beautiful bokeh and sharp subject isolation. Landscape photographers often opt for wide-angle lenses, like a 16-35mm or a 24mm prime, to capture expansive scenes with great depth of field. Macro photographers, on the other hand, rely on dedicated macro lenses with 1:1 magnification to capture intricate details of small subjects.

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How many lenses to get

When deciding how many lenses to get for your mirrorless camera, it’s important to consider your photography needs and budget. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • 1. Prime vs. Zoom: Determine if you prefer prime lenses (fixed focal length) or zoom lenses (variable focal length) based on your shooting style.
  • 2. Range of Focal Lengths: Consider the types of photography you do and the focal lengths you need (wide-angle, standard, telephoto).
  • 3. Specialized Lenses: Think about specialized lenses like macro, portrait, or fisheye if you have specific interests.
  • 4. Budget: Set a budget and prioritize lenses that will enhance your photography without breaking the bank.
  • 5. Versatility: Aim for a well-rounded lens collection that covers a range of focal lengths and shooting scenarios.
  • 6. Quality: Invest in quality lenses that will last and produce sharp images for years to come.

Start with a versatile zoom lens

When starting out with a mirrorless camera, it’s a good idea to invest in a versatile zoom lens. A zoom lens offers flexibility in framing your shots without the need to change lenses frequently.

Look for a zoom lens with a wide focal range, such as 24-70mm or 18-200mm, which can cover a variety of shooting scenarios from wide-angle landscapes to portrait shots. This type of lens is great for beginners as it allows you to experiment with different focal lengths and styles of photography without the need to carry multiple lenses.

Add prime lenses for better image quality

Prime lenses, also known as fixed focal length lenses, offer superior image quality compared to zoom lenses. They are designed with a single focal length, which allows for sharper images, better low-light performance, and improved bokeh effects. Investing in prime lenses for your mirrorless camera can elevate your photography to the next level.

Prime lenses come in various focal lengths, such as 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, each serving different purposes. A 35mm prime lens is great for capturing wide-angle shots, while a 50mm lens is ideal for portraits and everyday photography. An 85mm prime lens is perfect for shooting portraits with beautiful background blur.

Carmen J. Moore
Carmen J. Moore

Carmen J. Moore is an expert in the field of photography and videography, blending a passion for art with technical expertise. With over a decade of experience in the industry, she is recognized as a sought-after photographer and videographer capable of capturing moments and crafting unique visual narratives.

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