One can take photos anytime and anywhere, thanks to technology as even mobile gadgets like smartphones and tablets have cameras. However, if one wants to take photography seriously, then its best to get a pro-level camera. It is also imperative to understand how the equipment works. For one to be good at taking photos, he or she must know the basics of the camera including understanding what is the purpose of the lenses in a camera as well as identifying the different types of camera lenses and their uses.
What Is the Purpose of the Lenses in a Camera?
A camera lens also popularly known as the photographic objective or photographic lens is an assembly of lenses. A camera lens is used along with a mechanism and camera body to produce images either on photographic film or other media that can store pictures electronically or chemically.
It is not enough to know what a camera lens is to take great photos. One also has to understand the different kinds of lenses to know which type is best to use for a particular purpose.
The Different Types of Camera Lenses
Camera lenses come in different types, namely, the Fisheye or ultra-wide, the wide angle, the standard prime, the zoom, the macro, and the telephoto.
Standard Prime Lenses
Standard prime lenses have a fixed focal length of either 35, 50, 85 or 135 mm. These lenses are great for portrait, architecture, wedding, street, and documentary photography.
Having fixed focal length means that the photographer will not be able to zoom in and out as choosing a particular lens will give the photographer only one perspective. For example, selecting a 50mm lens will only provide a 50 mm perspective. One can just shoot at a single length.
Using standard prime lenses have its advantages. For one, this lens type typically delivers sharper images than zoom lenses. They are also lightweight and performs better than other lenses in low light situations. This lens also works great for general photography.
However, standard prime lenses won’t be able to zoom, and thus, the photography will need different kinds of lenses.
Zoom lenses have a focal length of 55 to 200 mm and are preferred by many due to their versatility. This kind of lens allows the photographer to stay in just one place due to its multiple focal lengths rather than move in distances to get the perfect shot. It also has an auto-focus function, which allows for quick snapping at a maintained focus while the photographer changes the focal length.
The zoom lenses are perfect for portrait, wedding, and wildlife photography. However, they are also heavy and usually have a high aperture. These lenses also do not produce sharp images, unlike prime standard lenses.
Telephoto lenses are often used for taking photos of sceneries located from a far distance. The focal length of this kind is anywhere from 100 to 600 mm. Such a lens can zoom, which means it cannot fall under the prime standard category. These lenses are perfect for photography of the wildlife, nature, stars, and sports.
One can shoot in a single position with this lens. It also has a shallow depth of field, which makes it ideal for great blur in the background. Telephoto lenses, however, are usually heavy and requires the use of a tripod. Plus, this lens is pricey.
Wide Angle Lenses
Wide angle lenses, as the name suggests, allow photographers to take a picture with a broader field of view with the lens’ focal length of 24 to 35 mm. They are perfect for landscape photography. Wide angle lens is also versatile, lightweight and easy on the pocket. Plus, this kind of lens also has more depth of field, which means it can produce more focused images.
The downside of wide angle lenses is its poor ability to achieve compression or more popularly known as a blurry background. Wide angle lens can also produce distorted images.
Fisheye lenses have a focal length of eight to 24 mm and are often referred to as ultra-wide lenses. As its name suggests, the glasses look like fish eyes that can provide a panoramic view of between 100 to 180 degrees.
This kind of lens is mostly used in abstract photography as it allows one to take the most panoramic view than any other type of photography lenses due to its ability to distort lines to get a more convex appearance purposely. Fisheye lenses are the most commonly used lens in security cameras given their ability to provide the broadest view.
Fisheye lenses, however, are not for taking portraits as they have significant line distortion.
Macro lenses have 50 to 200 mm focal length and are excellent for extreme close up photos. Using this kind of glass will produce detailed images where even water droplets and fine hair, to name a few, will be highly visible. Using this kind of lens can reproduce a lifesize image of the photo’s subject. It has excellent magnification features of up to five times the actual size of the subject and provides the best-quality images.
Macro lenses have their downside, as they have limited use and are highly expensive. The lenses are also difficult to focus.
Taking Great Photos Can Be Easy
Those who are serious in becoming competent in photography should understand what is the purpose of the lenses in a camera and how a particular kind can affect the photo quality. Lenses, after all, come in different types, and it is best to understand the pros and cons of each kind.
For example, standard prime lenses are highly flexible and can be used for various kinds of photography. They are also lightweight and can take sharper images than the zoom lenses. It has a downside as the photographer cannot zoom and will need to walk around to take photos of subjects located from a distance.
In contrast, a zoom camera is great for taking photos of subjects located in some far distance. However, it does not produce sharp images, unlike the standard lens. Knowing the difference between the two will help a person choose which lens to buy or bring along depending on what they intend to shoot. Hence, it is essential for a photographer to know the pros and cons of a particular lens type.
Taking excellent images will require some patience and lots of practice. And being a great photographer starts by knowing about what a lens does and how it affects the reproduction of images.