When you own an SLR camera, there are many camera lens options. So, it may be a little overwhelming knowing what lens to use. In addition, different lenses are suitable for other purposes. Therefore, it can get confusing pretty fast. Here are a few tips to help you choose the best lenses for specific needs. Once you’re a little more clued up on your terminology, you’ll soon learn which lens best suits your current shoot.
The focal length of camera lenses
There are a few key things to consider when selecting a camera lens. Firstly, we have the focal length. The focal length dictates the angle of view covered by each particular lens. Some lenses will have one fixed focal length, for example, 70mm. Lenses with a single focal length are known as prime lenses. Other lenses may have a varied focal length, for instance, 24mm-70mm, known as zoom lenses. Zoom lenses provide a little more versatility in their use. For example, using the lens at 24mm is excellent for capturing wide angled scenes, ideal for landscapes. On the other hand, zooming in at 70mm will be better suited to portraits.
A wide-angle camera lens is traditionally defined as having a focal length of 50mm or less. It is usually used for landscape or interior photography as it allows a nice broad view. Standard lenses typically sit around the 50mm-60mm mark; these are good for use in portraiture, street photography or photojournalism as they have a similar perspective to the human eye. Finally, telephoto lenses are often made up of anything with over 700mm in focal length. Telephoto lenses are used for portraits, jewellery photography, and general use.
You must consider the aperture when choosing a camera lens. If you’re using your camera to shoot indoors or in low light conditions, such as at a wedding, having a wide aperture is crucial to ensure enough light is utilized. A low number is indicative of a large aperture, for example, F1.4 or F2.8; a high number is indicative of a small aperture, for example, F22. In addition, aperture determines the depth of field or how much sharp focus is present in your image. Small apertures are best used when photographing landscapes or when there is a lot of bright sunlight. Smaller apertures are great for creative effects like soft focus and bokeh. But also for shooting in low light conditions.
Camera lens brands
Many camera manufacturers will only support their brand of camera lenses. For example, a Canon camera body can only support a Canon lens, just as a Nikon will only support Nikon lenses. Hence, it isn’t usually possible to mix and match camera lenses & bodies. However, you can buy adaptors that will allow you to chop and change lenses on any camera body, although it is still advisable to use the same brand of lens for your particular camera body.
Consider the type of sensor within your camera body when choosing a camera lens. A full-frame sensor that every professional camera system has is the same size as a 35mm film. Smaller, more affordable models have a smaller sensor, commonly known as a crop sensor. A full-frame lens on a full-frame camera will produce the same results as a 35mm film camera, so a 50mm lens on a full-frame body will produce the same effect as a 35mm SLR film camera, whereas using the same lens on a crop sensor will cause some clipping on the image.
Hopefully, this blog has provided you with some of the answers you may have been looking for when choosing your camera lens. One essential thing to mention is that a camera lens will last a lot longer than a camera body. We live in a world where technology moves at an alarming rate, so camera bodies are being improved and developed all the time. Despite this, a good quality lens will last you for life, so wherever possible, it is worth investing in a few good quality lenses suitable for your particular style of photography.
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