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Photographing with Third-Party Camera Lenses

Digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras have come a long way, and the advancement in optical technology has seen a huge improvement in lens quality and availability. As a result, some electronics manufacturers, such as Rokinon, are solely dedicated to creating lenses, and not camera bodies, which are compatible with the big-name global camera brands. Third-party camera lenses have significantly increased the options available to photographers, whether shooting with professional full frame DSLRs or cropped sensor (APS-C) models.

What Is a Third-Party Camera Lens?

Third-party lenses are those for camera bodies made by different manufacturers and, unlike first-party lenses, they are not restricted to a single brand.

  • You can attach the same third-party lens to cameras from different manufacturers, provided the lens mount is compatible. You can always find the compatibility with particular branded camera bodies and models clearly indicated in the product description or on the packaging of the lens.
  • Third-party lenses generally offer many of the same features as first-party lenses. Before making a purchase, determine the strengths of third-party lenses and how they compare to their first-party counterparts.

Should You Buy a Third-Party Camera Lens?

Many photographers use first-party lenses, such as those made by Canon, because of their build quality and reliability, as well as the fact that they are compatible with the brand's camera bodies. But as most camera manufacturers don't make a lens to suit every need, third-party lenses by Rokinon often fill in the gaps.

  • Many third-party lens manufacturers only produce lenses, not camera bodies, so all of their energies go into creating high-end optics and good image quality that rival those of their big-brand competitors.
  • They also compete with the big brands by offering more lenses for less, much like the generic brands you would find when shopping at a supermarket.

Which Third-Party Camera Lenses Are Available?

Just like branded lenses, you can find third-party options in a vast range of forms, including fixed aperture prime and zoom lenses with both autofocus and manual focus capabilities.

  • You can find third-party wide angle lenses, telephoto, and fixed focal lengths with wide apertures for portraiture, as well as those with aspherical elements to minimize optical imperfections.
  • Always check the compatibility of the lens with your camera's lens mount, such as Canon EF or similar, to make sure it fits and all of the automated features work.
  • When buying wide angle or fixed focal length lenses, always double check how this relates to a full frame or cropped sensor (APS-C) camera, depending on which one you own.