Sample Tips on Camera Lenses from Our Private Members Section
Time and time again I get emails from people or read forum posts where someone is becoming more and more frustrated with their images and ask “should they change their camera” or “am I doing something wrong”?
Nine times out of ten, it is the lens, nothing else.
You see, you can have the most expensive, up to date DSLR there is and still get poor results by placing poor glass on the front of it. You are more likely to get a great looking shot by placing a top quality lens on a cheap, consumer DSLR than you are by placing a cheap, plastic kit lens on a professional grade camera.
Here is a short excerpt from the Absolute Beginners section on equipment and lenses at ATP Members with an accompanying video (Video is approximately 30 minutes long. For best results, press play, then pause and allow video to fully load before watching).
Quality! To save time and frustration later on, please, get the best lenses you can afford if you are serious about, or think you will become serious about photography. You may read many times that people say “it isn’t the equipment that makes a good photo, it is the person shooting” but that isn’t always the case. If it was, why do most pros use nothing but the best?
Good lenses last a lifetime and will greatly affect and improve the light quality hitting the sensor, it will affect the colour saturation, edge sharpness, “bokeh” (quality of the background blur) as well as giving you the confidence that you have the best available to you leaving you to concentrate on the subject and composition etc.
The general lens range, bearing in mind that 50mm is approximately what the eye sees, is this…
- 16mm to 40mm is considered wide angle (more in the picture)
- 50mm is a standard lens (what the eye sees)
- 70mm-135mm is short telephoto (zooms in on your subject)
- 200, 300, 500, 600mm is long telephoto (focuses in on distant subject, fixed (no zoom) and expensive)
- 17-40mm, 17-55mm, 17-85mm – Wide angle zoom
- 28-85mm, 28-135mm, 24-70mm, 24-105mm, 35-135mm – Wide angle to short telephoto zoom
- 50-250mm, 50-500mm, 70-200mm, 70-300mm, 80-200mm, 100-400mm – Telephoto zoom
Fixed Focal Length (No zoom)
- 14mm, 15mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm – Wide angle (good for landscapes/architecture)
- 50mm – Standard (always have one of these “general” lenses in your kit!)
- 85mm, 100mm, 135mm – Short telephoto (perfect for portraits)
- 200mm, 300mm, 400mm, 500mm, 600mm etc – Long Telephoto (Sports, nature, wildlife etc)
50mm Macro, 85mm macro, 100mm macro, 105mm macro – Most quality macro lenses are fixed, some cheaper lenses have macro features but are nowhere near as good as a purpose built macro!
Macro lenses are for close up subjects such as flowers, insects, detailed objects and up to 1:1 closeness. These are quite specialist and I would wait until you know what you will be shooting before buying one. Go for a good general “walk around” lens first such as the 17-85mm which has macro “features” to give you an idea before splashing out on a macro lens. 17-85mm is good for a variety of general, everyday subjects.
For more information on our membership site, go to ATP Members. ATP Members has a ton of information and a further 16 hours of video tutorials including stock photography, wedding photography and DSLR training…and all for free!
I hope you enjoyed this quick tutorial on lenses, watch out for our next email on camera settings in the next couple of days!
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