Lenses Are Everything
The lenses that come bundled with most DSLR cameras aren't alway the best. In fact, they are some of the most inexpensive lenses that the manufacturer produces so that the price of the bundle can be kept to a minimum. These lenses aren't bad, but they're not good either. If you're going to purchase a DSLR camera, you might as well spend a little extra money on a quality lens. A quality lens will not only give you sharp photos with wonderful contrast, but they'll also help you achieve that highly sought after blur effect that you see in professional photography. You can see an article on that here: Aperture and Bokeh
High Quality Prime Lenses For Paper Crafters
A "prime" lens is one that does not zoom. It has a fixed focal length and requires that you move towards or away from your subject instead of using a zoom. These are the types of lenses that I recommend for shooting photos of your paper crafts since you can easily move closer or further away from your paper project as necessary. You'll get an amazing lens for less money since the manufacturer doesn't have to include the zoom feature. Many professional photographers also use prime lenses for portraits since the subjects are usually still (they can move toward or away from the subjects a.k.a. the photos are staged).
- Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens - Available on Amazon - Click Here
- Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX Lens - Available on Amazon - Click Here
- Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II - Available on Amazon - Click Here
Good Quality Zoom Lenses
Good quality zoom lenses are great for everyday use, portraits, landscapes and everyday photos. The image quality won't be as good as the prime lenses above or the high quality zoom lenses below, so if you're strictly looking for a lens to shoot your paper projects with, stick with the prime lenses above, but if you want a versatile lens for paper project photography as well as a lens that you can take with you for family photos or landscape photography, one of these will do. Note: These are slightly better than the types of lenses that are usually bundled with the camera bodies.
- Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II - Available on Amazon - Click Here
- Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED - Available on Amazon - Click Here
- Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS II SLR Lens - Available on Amazon - Click Here
- Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM Standard Zoom Lens - Available on Amazon - Click Here
High Quality Zoom Lenses
If you have money to burn, these are the zoom lenses I recommend. These lenses are great for shooting your paper projects as well as portraits, landscapes and everyday photos. Warning, sticker shock ahead!
- AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED - Available on Amazon - Click Here
- Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Standard Zoom Lens - Available on Amazon - Click Here
I'm not going to recommend telephoto lenses for paper crafting solely due to the cost. The only telephoto lens that I would recommend for taking photos of paper projects or any product photography for that matter starts at $2400.00. If you have the money and want the ultimate lens for photographing your paper projects, check out the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S or the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM
It's important to keep in mind that this article is focused 90% on taking photos of your paper projects and 10% on taking photos of everything else. Lenses come in all shapes and sizes and each one (prime, zoom, telephoto, macro) is used for specific applications. In a nutshell, to get the best possible photos of your paper projects under $200 dollars, you'll want to stick with the lenses in the "High Quality Prime Lenses For Paper Crafters" section at the top of this post. While the lenses in the "Good Quality Zoom Lenses" section will get the job done and give you more versatility so you can shoot portraits, landscapes and everyday family photos, the results won't be as good as the "High Quality Prime Lenses" when it comes to paper crafts. The "High Quality Zoom Lenses" are the holy grail for shooting paper projects as well as everyday photos, but they come with a cost. And finally, the Telephoto lenses (in my opinion based on experience) are THE best lenses for product photography as well as sports photography (or anything else that requires that you be able to zoom in close from a distance).