If you’ve recently made the purchase of a digital SLR or a changeable lens mirrorless camera, it’s important you understand that to shine the light better on your subject and photography that you need to change the lens. When you want to ensure your photography is the best, it’s important you know your equipment and what it can do.
Bear in mind that there’re no hard and fast rules when it comes to aperture and focal length, but there are some helpful tips for you to keep in mind. There are five commonly used photo lenses you should consider choosing. Each one has a particular time and place, and why they are so useful.
What You Should Understand First
Before going any further, you need to understand about what makes lenses different from each other. After all, their differences can make or break your photography – or just affect how your pictures turn out.
The most basic difference is the focal length, which has measurements in millimeters and can range from 50mm to 200mm. What is the focal length? It’s the lens’ zoom level. If you have a 300mm lens, far-away subjects will appear much closer than if you had a 24mm lens. Zoom lens have a range of 18 to 55mm and are generally seen on newbie photography cameras.
While not a precise calculation, the human eye can see about 50mm on a full-frame camera. For the Nikon APS-C, that’s 27mm. Basically, what you see through the lens is roughly what you’d see if you looked at the scene in another way.
Your camera’s sensor size is going to play a huge part in the actual focal length. Some lenses have an adjusted focal length, but some don’t so keep that in mind. If yours doesn’t, you can go to Dignified.net to use the lens multiplication factor calculator to determine this.
Wide Angle Lens
This is a “far zoomed out” lens that will capture a large area of the scene than anybody can really focus on. The typical wide-angle lens can be found with a 24 to 35mm focal length. And, an ultra-wide-angle lens tends to have even shorter focal lengths – 24mm or less. These lenses will capture an even larger scene.
It’s not uncommon, due to the wide viewing angle, that the picture’s edges will look curved. In order to keep this from happening, you need to use rectilinear lenses. With this kind of lenses, though, you could have some interesting perspective shifts such as objects at the sides looking bigger than those that are further away.
With fisheye lenses, you can boost the curve of the straights lines, giving way to unique photos.
What’s the goal behind the wide angle lens? It’s to bring focus to the largeness of the scene by making it appear the horizon is further away than it actually is. This type of lens is used by landscape photographers when they want to create a sense of wonder for the scene. In order to create the best possible effect, it’s better for something to be in the foreground to give the picture an anchor and provide folks something to put their attention on.
Wide angle lenses to provide cool effects on smaller, closer objects. For instance, you’re taking pictures of a field of flowers. By using a wide-angle lens, you can highlight the flowers closer to you, making them bigger than the background flowers and still capture the whole field. And, with the rectilinear lens, you can keep the images from looking slanted at the edges.
It will take a bit of time to acclimate yourself to the straight-line distortion and perspective shifts, but if you choose the wide angle lens, begin practicing with it in various situations to see how it works for you.
Novice photographers often use an interchangeable-lens camera or DSLR, which generally comes with a standard “kit” lens. Why? They’re extremely versatile with focal lengths of 35mm to 70mm. It’s the easiest lens to use since it offers a viewing angle the human eye is used to.
It doesn’t matter what you’re taking pictures of – action photos, portraits urban shoots, etc. – the standard lens is going to be useful. Their usefulness is ideal for subjects who are at a medium-to-close range distance and not when you need to zoom in on something further away or need to be up close to see something tiny. They’re very versatile; a big reason they’re seen with the majority of cameras.
Standard lenses are ideal to use when you travel. It’s a well-rounded lens that can be used in all sorts of situations.
Superzoom and Telephoto Lens
Telephoto lenses come with 70mm or more focal length so that you can get as close as possible to a faraway object. Superzoom lenses are nearly identical to the telephoto lenses, but with an array of focal lengths ranges. Bear in mind that as you choose a wider range lens, the prices tends to go up.
These lens types are ideal for when you want a distant object to appear closer. It may be a face in a crowd of folks you want to put attention on or a building sitting among its amazing background.
And, the subjects doesn’t need to be distant to get people to focus in on them. You can use the superzoom or telephoto lens to have the subject take up the entire image, which makes the viewer feels close to the object. The shorter telephoto lenses are useful for portraits since they make the subject stand out from the photo’s background.
The macro lens is a specialized lens that outdoes itself with close-up photography, generating an image of 1:1. In layman’s terms, the subject is reproduced at a life-size setting with a plethora of detail being seen. Photographers will use macro lenses to take pictures of minute objects like insects or flowers.
It’s true the macro lens is used more in these cases, but getting a close up of anything can create amazing pictures. For instance, you can take pictures of wood, old mechanical parts, a glass of water or your keys to bring out their patterns and textures never even seen before. These lenses are ideal for producing images that come with a shallow field depth and ensuring on the foreground is in focus.
If your intention is to bring shine light on the ordinary, a macro lens is what you need. You can, however, take these kinds of pictures – ones that bring out patterns and textures of objects you’ve never thought about before – without a macro lens. However, the best results do come from the macro lens.
A prime lens has just one focal length, unlike the zoom lens. You can find them in any focal length – telephoto to ultra-wide angle lenses. It would appear that using a prime lens would be a step back in technology, especially with how useful the zoom lens is at any focal length. However, a prime lens does offer some benefits.
- Prime lenses don’t have a lot of moving parts, which means they generate higher-quality, crystal clear pictures. They are a great tool for taking portraits.
- They have a faster aperture, which means they take better pictures when the light quality is poor. They are useful when taking pictures at night or for sports photography.
- They are cheaper because they don’t have a lot of moving parts to them.
The drawback is your inability to zoom in on objects. However, many photographers feel people take better pictures if they “zoom with their feet,” meaning if you move to take the picture, it will come out better. You learn how to get in the best positions to get the shots you want.
When should a prime lens be used? If you want a high-quality picture, a prime lens will do the trick. Traditional uses of a prime lens include night-time photos, portraits or action shots. And, with focal lengths that range from 10mm to more than 300mm, it’s possible to get a prime lens for any photography you want to put your attention on.
- 50mm prime lenses are considered worthwhile all-around lenses.
- 85mm prime lenses are used more by professional photographers for portraits (not ideal for self-portraits).
You Can Break The Rules
The best thing about photography is that you can break the rules and add your own style to anything you’re focused on taking a picture of. While these lenses do have a purpose, which you can use, you don’t have to stick by them. You have the option to use a standard lens for family portraits or use the telephoto to play with perspective. You can also use the ultra-wide angle lens to capture the scene just to see what goes on.
All you have to do is a little experimentation and be imaginative. And, by doing this, you can create a unique style that’s all your own.