Focusing and Lenses

A short guide to potential focusing issues

Focusing and Lenses Parrot Eye Close

Focusing and lenses: If you are using poor quality, cheap lenses, the chances are that you occasionally become a bit despondent with your photography. You may find that the sharpness is sporadic and generally poor whilst struggling during edit to get a decent image.

The edges may appear blurred and you mistakenly think that you used the wrong shutter speed or aperture. You may have what is known as "purple fringing" and see a halo around your subject. Again, mistakenly think that maybe you used the wrong white balance or some other incorrect setting.

The autofocus may be poor and might occasionally "back focus", meaning that it misses the subject entirely.

It all boils down to the quality of the lens and actual glass in particular as to the quality of your finished images. The camera is mostly irrelevant in taking great pictures, they just have more durability, functions and capabilities the more expensive and professional they get.

Choose your camp

The biggest and most important piece of advice I can give to anyone if you are serious about photography is this. Choose which manufacturer you think you will stick with (Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus etc), and build yourself an arsenal of decent quality lenses. A range that covers a wide spectrum of focal lengths that have fast, accurate focusing systems.

Don't be swayed into spending too much on the camera in the beginning. Spend your money wisely and invest in quality glass. Most modern, high quality lenses should last you a lifetime and with care, the quality should never deteriorate. You will find that you upgrade your camera, especially if digital, much more often.

As I mentioned earlier, most quality lenses allow you to manually "tweak" the focus even in autofocus mode.

Types of Lenses

In order to cover the focal distance of 16mm to 200mm, do you buy just 3 decent zoom lenses. Glass such as:

  • 16-35mm
  • 24-70mm
  • 70-200mm

Or a multitude of quality fixed focal length lenses such as 15mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 100mm, 135mm and 200mm?

The choice is entirely down to what you shoot and I shall discuss the pros and cons of each of these in the next chapter. However, for now, one important factor to remember is that you will generally get sharper, better quality images from a quality fixed focal length lens.

Sure, most of the high quality and expensive zooms are exceptional but when you have used the best fixed lenses you will always see a difference. Personally, I have a selection of both.

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