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Lenses GuideLenses Guide

Lenses Guide

Lenses Guide 1st Edition

This guide starts with tech basics of today's lenses – the varying mounts and formats, image stabilisation and focusing systems, image sensor size – and their impact on lens performance. It covers why and when to use prime lenses, standard kit lenses, telephoto kit lenses, and 'all-in-one' extended zoom lenses. Lenses Guide advises the best types of lenses for different types of photography – landscapes, portraiture, sports and wildlife, and macro photography – along with techniques to improve your picture-taking. It also covers the essential and 'nice-to-have' lens accessories. With lenses at anything from $300 to $3000 and beyond, this guide might be the best lens investment you ever make!

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chapter 1 lens buying guide

When purchasing a lens for your interchangeable-lens camera consider the following factors.A typical camera body with a M4/3 lens mount. Note the gold-plated electronic contacts just inside the metal mounting plate. The image sensor is just above them. (Source: Olympus.)1. The Lens MountEach camera manufacturer has its own lens mount with proprietary physical and electronic connections. Consequently, one company’s lenses won’t work on another’s cameras, with the following exceptions:The Four Thirds System, which is now mainly seen as Micro Four Thirds (M4/3), is based on a ‘universal’ mount adopted primarily by Olympus and Panasonic.Third-party lens manufacturers, like Tamron, Sigma, Tokina, Voigtländer and Samyang produce lenses with mounts to suit different camera brands. Some third-party lenses can match (or better) camera manufacturers’ equivalent lenses, often at a lower price.Lens ChoicesCheck out…

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chapter 2 crop factors explained

The illustration above shows how smaller sensor sizes ‘crop’ the image area and provide a narrower angle of view than the same lens on a 35mm camera, which is represented by the entire frame.The term ‘crop factor’ arose from a need to help 35mm film SLR photographers understand how their existing lenses would perform on cameras with smaller image sensors than traditional 35mm film. It’s still relevant for translating the listed focal lengths of lenses into 35mm equivalents, with respect to the camera’s sensor.‘Crop’ is a useful term because for a given lens and subject distance, subjects will be imaged at the same size on the sensor plane. The smaller the sensor, however, the larger the proportion of the frame the subject occupies, as shown in the illustration on this…

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chapter 3 standard kit zoom lenses

Developers of M4/3 cameras have set out to make them small, light and capable of all the functions serious photographers required. The latest kit lenses for these cameras are very compact to complement the camera bodies. (Source: Olympus.)Most people buying an interchangeablelens camera for the first time will opt for the ‘kit’ lens bundled with the camera. When you’re buying an entry- or midlevel camera, it’s a convenient way to get a lens (or two) that suits the camera. Professional and pro-sumer cameras are usually sold in body-only configurations, although some manufacturers may bundle suitable lenses with them.Bundled lenses are usually affordably priced and they generally cover popular focal length ranges for everyday photography. The most popular kit lenses have zoom ranges that extend from a moderately wide angle of…

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chapter 4 telephoto zoom lenses

The second lens in a twin-lens kit is usually a telephoto zoom lens that picks up where the range of the standard zoom lens (which we covered in the previous chapter) ends. These lenses take in focal lengths that are ideal for portraiture, sports and wildlife photography.Like standard lenses, kit telephoto zooms are usually built to a price and typically cover 35mm equivalent focal lengths of 55-200mm. They also tend to be relatively compact and portable and make a versatile addition to a basic kit of camera plus standard zoom.A telephoto zoom lens covering focal lengths equivalent to 55-200mm enables you to tackle portraiture, sports and wildlife photography. (Source: Tamron.)The use of a 200mm focal length reduces the sense of depth in this scene making the subjects in the foreground…

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chapter 5 all-in-one zoom lenses

This illustration shows the zoom range of a typical 18-200mm zoom lens, which provides just over 11x magnification. (Source: Tamron.)There are many reasons to buy a camera with just one lens – and not all of them are economic. It’s very convenient to have an ‘all-in-one’ zoom lens that covers most, if not all of the angles of view you’re likely to require, particularly when you’re travelling.For travelling photographers the socalled ‘convenience ‘ zooms provide a camera-plus-lens combination that is compact and easy to carry, yet versatile enough for most situations. It’s also less likely to attract thieves in crowded areas.Today almost all lens manufacturers have at least one convenience zoom lens in their ranges. And many of them cover a wider zoom range than the 7.1x offered by the…

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chapter 6 lenses for landscapes

Although just about any lens can be used for photographing landscapes, most photographers prefer using wide-angle lenses because they better encompass scenic panoramas. But that doesn’t mean they’re the only option.Your choice of focal length will depend on how you want to interpret a particular scene – and this can vary with the type of scene, how much of it you wish to record and the presence (or absence) of objects in the foreground. There’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ approach.You may prefer using an ultra-wide angle lens and moving in closer, or fit a more conservative focal length and step back. And it can pay to change your shooting position to see how the scene in the frame changes, regardless of the lens you use.Popular focal lengths range from 10mm…