Photography Basics: Lenses (part 3)
In this finally third part of the three part series (part 1 | part 2) I will explain the differences in the primary three lens types, their uses, pros, and cons. Each of the lenses described here have their own unique purposes and primary uses, but just because these uses are listed here does not mean they are the only uses for these lenses. You should strive to try to keep a wide range of lenses to benefit you in any situation. Additionally, these are not the only types of lenses out there, just the most common. There are lenses such as Prime Lenses, Super-Telephoto, and more.
This is the most common type of lens out there, and some of the most used lenses. Since these lenses have a focal length above wide angle lenses but below telephoto lenses (approximately 35-85mm) they retain a medium range zoom and field of view, making these lenses some of the best for general photography and beginners. Many of the newest standard lenses also come with auto focus and image stabilization features with the lenses that make the even better starting lenses. Even professional photographers keep a good supply of standard lenses for any occasion. The main short coming of the standard lens is that it is a mid-range lens, preventing it from doing most extreme close ups or broad shots like the other two types of lenses. Many photographers agree however, that if you are able to accomplish a shot with a standard lens of most other lens types, it is the lens you should use, in order to avoid the issues presented with the other two images.
Example of a standard lens. Image by s58y
Wide Angle Lenses
Wide angle lenses are starting to make a strong comeback, especially among amateur photographers. Since the focal length of these lenses (approximately 28mm or less) is so short, leaving the a large field of view theses lenses are great for landscape photography and the like. Wide angle lenses to have a problem with distortion the closer your subject is to the lens, however. Portraits with these lenses tend to have a very distorted look. Ironically, this is why many amateur photographers have started using them, especially the well known Fish-eye lens.
Example of a wide angle lens. Image by s58y
Often called zoom lenses, these lenses are almost as common as standard lenses. This is because the longer focal length (approximately 100mm or greater) allows for a very intense magnification, though at the cost of a much smaller field of view. Another benefit of telephoto lenses is in how they are designed. It is possible to find a 300mm and 500mm telephoto lens that are the same length. This is because the lens arrangement in telephoto lenses allows for intense magnification without needing to extend the lens barrel. While these lenses allow for a good distance to be covered, they do have several issues. Telephoto lenses tend to distort perspective, making it had to distinguish between far away and close objects. Also, because of the magnification it can be hard to avoid blur when zooming in. This can be solved with a tripod or monopod, however.
Example of a telephoto lens. Image by s58y
In the next segment I will be covering ISO, what is does, and how to use it.