Photo Tip: “Tips on Digital Camera Lenses” pt2

by Sonya Murphy on December 15, 2009

Last week, the tip covered some information about camera lenses and this week I’ll go into more detail about lenses.

There are many factors to consider when purchasing a lens and each of these features and qualities play a big factor on the type of quality of images captured. I could go into a lot of detail on this, but my goal is to only share the basics with you. If you want to know more, then I encourage you to research it out and seek information from qualified experts.

One of the things that most people look at in the lens is the focal length. The focal length of the lens is determined by the amount of magnification and angle of view that the lens can see. Focal length is measured in “mm”. This focal length is what determines if the lens is a traditional lens, wide angle lens, or zoom lens. Many of the guidelines are based on the film camera’s focal length and so to get the approximate focal length for the DLSR then multiply the number by 1.6. This generally means you won’t get quite the wide angle as you would with the film type camera.

The information below is guidelines found for the film camera….so don’t forget to factor in the 1.6 conversion.

A lens that is less than 21mm is an extreme wide angle Lens made more for “Architectural use”. A wide angle lens has a small magnification and wide angle of view. They range from about 20-35mm and are used more for “landscape” type pictures.

A traditional lens is 50mm. However there is a range of about 35-70mm which is considered a normal lens that is used more for your “street & documentary” type pictures.

A zoom lens can change it’s focal length to zoom in. A zoom lenses typically fall between a 50mm to 150mm.

A telephoto lens has a high magnification and a narrow angle of view. The range is typically 105mm to 300mm. A 70-135mm Medium Telephoto lens is more for your “portraiture” type pictures.

A 135-300+mm lens is considered a telephoto lens that is used in Sports, birds, and wildlife type of pictures.

When you purchase a Macro lens, they are designed to be the sharpest at macro focus distances and are not quite as sharp at other focus distances. With these Macro lenses, there are different categories depending on the focal length. If you are doing product photography or needing pictures of small objects then a range of 50–60mm is recommended. If you were wanting to take pictures of insects, flowers, and small objects then the 90–105mm range is recommended. Now if you were working at a distance and needing to take pictures of small insects and animals then the 150–200mm range would work best.

Next week I’ll go over a few more tips on lenses.

Feel free to check out some of the lenses offered by Amazon or B & H Photo by clicking on the links below.

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