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What Kind Of Lens Do I Need For My Digital Camera?

By Yann, published on 14/07/2018 We Love Prof - IN > Arts and Hobbies > Photography > Photography: How To Choose A Camera Lens?

The best lens for landscape photography exists, the best lens for wildlife photography exists. No matter what you want to take pictures of, there is a lens that can support you to get better results.

In fact, there are so many lenses for so many different kinds of images that it can leave you feeling a little confused over where to start. Not least because the prime lenses are quite expensive, especially when you want to but an entire collection.

Today lets learn about what interchangeable lens you might need for your camera.

About Camera Lenses

Detachable camera lenses are used with the body of a digital SLR camera or SLR camera to create images. Generally, if you use SLRs, DSLRs or interchangeable lens cameras, you will be able to purchase a wide variety of lenses to accompany your digital cameras. But lenses are not only there for aesthetic purposes, but they also play an essential role in the kind of image you can create as a photographer.

All photography aims to create the most vivid and true to life photographic images possible. When you use the different lens, you give yourself the advantage to keep your images not just crisp and sharp but also the best that they can be.

There are lenses for close ups (Macro), Zoom lenses that give you some more flexibility over what you are shooting, There are lenses which work well in landscape environment’s like safaris  (Wide angle / telephoto), Panoramic lenses  which give wide but distorted views of reality (Fisheye) and general lenses (standard)

By adding the right lens to your camera equipment, you can take your photography to a whole new level.

What interchangeable lens you might need for your camera. Generally SLRs, DSLRs or mirrorless cameras use interchangeable lens. Photo Source: Unsplash

Where Will Your Lens Be Used?

Which digital camera lenses you use depends a lot on what it is that you plan to shoot, compatibility with your camera body and the effect that you are looking for in your images. All lens’ tend to have a purpose, and many of them can cross over into what is defined as a general lens range. Often when you purchase your camera if buying it as a bundle, you will get a general lens with the camera body.

Focal length is the best way to understand how to choose your lenses. Focal length is chosen by the millimetres (mm) of the lenses from the optical centre of the sensor in your camera. That sounds confusing so think about it like this. The small the mm of your lens the wider the field of view and the more that you will be able to see in your image, For example, an 8millimeter fisheye lens might give a view of 180 degrees. The larger the mm of your lens, the less that you will be able to see in your image, for example, a 120mm macro telephoto lens would be able to show an ant walking on a leaf in full size.

Let’s take a closer look at the different kinds of lenses and what they can do for your photography.

Fisheye Lens

A fisheye lens is one of the widest wide angle lens available. So wide in fact that it gives the impression of a 180-degree panoramic photo. Although it has quite a noticeable distortion in some images, it can look quite beautiful. A fisheye lens while interesting tends not to be used much in professional circles. But I feel that when used well it gives a truly unique and creative effect that can be quite breathtaking with a rotating effect.

The Benefits of a Fisheye Lens

  • Looks great when used with round shapes
  • They create really unique effects that can show old scenes in new ways
  • Works great to snap panoramic or hemispherical photos

The Disadvantage of a Fisheye Lens

  • Fisheye lenses curve straight lines if you don’t want a distortion this lens will not be right for you.

Focal Length

  • These lenses are usually 8mm – 10mm but can go up to 35mm as well

Different Kinds Of Lenses

  • Circular, Full frame, Zoom

Example Of A Fisheye Lens

  • Sigma 8mm f/3.5 EX DG Circular Fisheye Lens

Wide Angle Lenses

A wide-angle lens allows you to fit more into the frame of your image. Like Fisheye lens wide angle lens also have some distortion although not quite as dramatic. Such as things in the foreground of the photograph will appear somewhat larger and elongated than usual, and the background will look much smaller.

Benefits of a wide angle lens

  • Great for photographing different subjects at different locations within the image. This lens keeps all subject sharp.
  • With this lens, it is easy to get a significant depth of field
  • Can capture scenery, landscapes and vast scenes perfectly

Disadvantages of a wide angle lens

  • When shooting at low apertures the edges of the photo can become blurry. It is better to use central aperture ranges to keep the image sharp.
  • There can be a slight distortion of subject depending on how close they are to the lens

Focal length

  • Wide angle lens, are most commonly lens with a focal length of 24mm – 35mm

Different kinds of lenses

  • The fixed focal length and zoom lenses

Example of a wide angle lens

  • Nikon 35mm AF-S f/1.8G NIKKOR lens

Macro Photography Lenses

A macro lens allows you to photograph ultra close up images. If you want to get the details on a ring, see the pollen on a flower or see the detail on an insect and the macro lens is the one for you. How you plan to use your lens heavy decides which lens will be right for you. Distance from the subject also dictates which lens would be best.

For example for a lens with a focal range of 40mm- 60mm, you would need to be around 6 inches from your subject. This focal range would be best for inanimate objects that won’t get scared away by your presence. A lens with a focal range of 90mm – 105mm you would need to be roughly a foot away from your subject.

This focal range would be best for plants, insects and flowers. A lens with a focal range of 150mm- 200mm you could be much from your subject. This focal range would be best for capturing anything that might be scared away by your presence.

Benefits of a Macro lens

  • Perfect for incredibly sharp close up photography
  • Can capture the smallest details
  • You can buy a lens with optical image stabilization which will make shooting easier if you don’t have a steady hand
  • Works well for Portrait photography too

Disadvantages of a Macro lens

  • You need good lighting to get the best results
  • If the lens doesn’t have image stabilization built into the lens and you shake even the tiniest bit, you may notice blurring. You may need a tripod.
  • If you make a mistake, it will show up

Focal length

  • Marco lens, are most commonly lens with a focal length of 50mm – 160mm

Different kinds of lenses

  • Autofocus, manual focus, Zoom lenses

Example of a Macro lens

keep your images not just crisp and sharp All photography aims to create the most vivid and true to life photographic images possible. Photo Source: Unsplash

Standard Kit Lenses

This is the lens that you may get with your camera purchase. The standard lens tends to be a pretty good reflection of what the human eye is seeing. The most common standard lens focal length is a 50mm lens with a fixed focal length. A very popular standard lens is the 18mm – 55mm zoom lens and great for general purpose use.

Benefits of a Standard kit lens

  • Great for getting started and perfect for new photographers and the enthusiast
  • They usually come with the camera, so there is no added cost
  • Has a fair wide angle and ability to zoom in
  • Getting this with a camera body is cheaper than buying them separately

Disadvantages of a Standard kit lens

  • Sometimes the image quality on these lenses can suffer.
  • Doesn’t compare to a professional prime lens for clarity and speed

Focal length

  • Standard lens kit lenses, often have a focal length of 18mm – 55mm

Different kinds of lenses

  • The fixed focal length and zoom lenses

Example of a Standard lens kit

  • Sigma lenses – 18mm -50mm f/2.8-4.5 DC OS HSM and 17mm -50mmf/2.8 EX DC OS HSM

Telephoto Lenses

A telephoto lens is used for photographing distant subjects like wildlife, sporting events or street views. Generally, this lens is best for capturing photos of subjects at a mid to far distance away. Despite that, they can also create flattering portraits without the distortion often found in wide angle lenses.

Benefits of a Telephoto lens

  • You can photograph without being noticed
  • You can detail lots of information in the same image
  • You can shoot in tight spaces

Disadvantages of a Telephoto lens

  • The size and weight of the lens
  • You need to use faster shutter speed to avoid camera shake

Focal length

  • Telephoto lenses, are most commonly lens with a focal length of 135mm – 300mm +

Different kinds of lenses

  • The fixed focal length and zoom lenses

Example of a Telephoto lens

  • Nikon AF-S 200mm – 500mm f/5.6E ED VR

By adding the right lens you raise the game to a whole new level. Lenses that give you some more flexibility over what you are shooting. Photo Source: Unsplash

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to take amazing photos but having the right equipment definitely helps produce the highest quality results. While having the right camera is essential, it is the lens that allows the photograph to take shape.

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