Types Of DSLR Lenses And Their Uses
Photographic lenses can be incredibly confusing when you first get into photography.
The excitement of being able to use different lenses is often replaced with the confusion of which lens is right for the type of photography you want to do.
In some cases, the name of the lens gives away its usefulness without having to look deeper, but then again, some lenses say they are a certain type of lens when they clearly do not meet the requirements for that style of photography.
Let us look at the different types of lenses:
- Fisheye lenses were initially intended for scientific work and while they are still good at their job today, they have found a cult following in the realm of landscape photographers.
- Fisheye lenses are usually wide-angle lenses that distort the edges of the image to represent the natural curve of the earth.
- While I have personally never found a use for a fisheye lens, they can be used in many creative ways.
- One downside to fisheye lenses is that they are not flattering to people and as such should not be used for portraits unless it is all in good fun.
- Wide-angle lenses are great for taking pictures of landscapes, cityscapes, and for photography in cramped areas.
- A wide-angle lens will still cause distortion to subjects that are close to the lens, but the distortion is not as bad as the fisheye lens. Some creative work done with wide-angle lenses includes the Twisted-Whiskers Calendar line.
Normal Zoom Lens:
- Normal zoom ranges are roughly between 18-120mm and many “kit” lenses are an 18-55mm.
- These lenses are good for everyday photography such as family events.
- Telephoto Lenses stretch from the 200mm range through 1200mm. These lenses are great for wildlife, sports, and astrophotography as they bring the action to you.
- However, these types of lenses are the ones that will cost you the most, with some costing more than a small car.
- Macro lenses are the ones that most manufacturers will use to try to trick you. True macro lenses have a 1:1 ration, which means they produce life-size images of your item.
- Any lens claiming to be a macro lens, but does not meet this 1:1 ratio, are just glorified telephoto lenses. Macro lenses are used for taking pictures of bugs, flowers, and items too small for other lenses.
- Tilt-shift lenses are used in architecture and are the digital version of using a large-format camera. With a large-format camera, you could adjust the lens and the film in every direction to remove the appearance of tall objects getting smaller as they go up.
- Large-format cameras have had “digital back” capabilities for some time, but the purchase of digital back for a large format camera will cost you the same as the average consumer car (roughly $40,000.00). Tilt-shift lenses are the less expensive option to a digital back and work just as good in my opinion.
- A prime lens is any lens that is not a zoom lens. For example, many camera makers have a lens that is referred to as a “nifty fifty.” This reference is a nickname for a 50mm prime lens.
- Prime lenses are great for portrait photography and work inside the study. Prime lenses are also a good way to learn photography, as they require you to move your body instead of using your zoom.
- Many older photographers feel that prime lenses are the best to use in most situations.
Now that we have covered the most common Types Of DSLR Lenses And Their Uses, you should have a better idea of what you will need for different situations.
Keep in mind that your idea of photography will change many times over the course of your hobby/career.
I make a good example, as I started out 13 years ago in landscapes, transferred to portraits, then to pets, models, architecture, and finally events/photojournalism.
Types Of Filters and How To Use Them In Digital Photography
Filters have been a big part of photography since the invention of the modern camera.
Digital photography picked up the filter “banner” and continues to grow in the market. There are more filters available than any one person could ever need, but there are a number of necessary filters for the everyday digital photographer.
It is important to state at this point, that the quality of the filter will affect the quality of your image. Some of the best filters are made by Schneider and Tiffen.
As with all photography products, cost usually dictates quality. Below are some of the standard filters that everyone should carry:
- This is one of the more expensive filters you should purchase but the cost is well worth it.
- Circular polarizers help you create dramatic blue colors in photos that contain the sky, but they also reduce glare from windows and water, which allows you to see through the reflection to the action on the other side.
- Circular polarizers are two pieces of glass that are fitted together. You turn the outside piece of the glass to change how much the filter helps you.
- With a cheap circular polarizer, you will barely notice any effect, but a more expensive filter will give you dramatic effects.
Neutral Density Filter Set:
- These filters essentially allow you to lower your exposure, in a specific part of the image, without changing the color balance of the scene.
- The result is a better-looking digital photograph that represents what you see, not what the camera sees. To master this type of filter takes a bit of practice as the different filters cover a different amount of the image.
- These types of filters are used more as a lens protector than anything else. They can help in removing blue hues that might reduce detail in distant objects, but they are used by most photographers as a lens protector.
- I have heard photographers say that putting a cheap piece of glass in front of an expensive lens is counter-intuitive, but on the other end of the argument, would you rather break a relatively inexpensive filter, or a very expensive lens?
- Star filters are used primarily at night when taking pictures of an area with a lot of streetlights or specular lights.
- These filters are special effects filters and will make specular lights look like they have points coming off them. The number of spikes depends on the filter being used and the density of the lines on the lens.
There are many more lens filters that you can purchase ranging from color correction filters to special effects filters, but the ones listed above are the most common and are found in the average photographers bag.
As Schneider filters are very expensive (around $1500.00 on bhphotovideo.com), I would recommend going with Tiffen filters.
They are not as expensive, but they still provide excellent results. The biggest purchase would be the circular polarizer filter ($890.00 on bhphotovideo.com).