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Lenses 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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Media Publishing Pty Limited

in this issue

6 min
chapter 3 standard kit zoom lenses

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 view to a modest telephoto (typically 28mm to around 85mm in 35mm format). Kit lenses are relatively small and light, so they are a popular starting point for building a camera kit since they enable you to sample…

7 min
chapter 1 lens buying guide

When purchasing a lens for your interchangeable-lens camera consider the following factors. 1. The Lens Mount Each 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 Choices Check out the range of lenses available for the camera you own (or plan to buy) when deciding which ones to invest in. Currently, manufacturers of DSLR cameras offer the…

6 min
chapter 2 crop factors explained

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 page. The actual resolution of the image sensor is irrelevant; what matters is the relationship between the sensor size and lens focal length. The smaller the sensor format, the shorter the focal length must…

7 min
chapter 10 lens accessories

The main accessories for lenses are hoods, filters and adapters and all have benefits and drawbacks. Some manufacturers supply lens hoods with lenses; others offer them as options. Filters and adapters are always sold separately. Lens Hoods Lens hoods help block stray light from entering the lens. They vary in size and shape and are usually short and rectangular or petal-shaped for wide angle lenses. Longer lenses normally use cylindrical hoods. Hoods for zoom lenses are often petal-shaped, with cut-out sections to cater for the wider field of view covered by shorter focal lengths. To be effective, the internal surface of a lens hood should be non-reflective. Most hoods have matte surfaces, sometimes achieved by flocking. Hoods for zoom lenses must be correctly orientated in order to block stray light without interfering with…

6 min
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…

7 min
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. Telephoto Zoom Characteristics Telephoto lenses narrow the photographer’s field of view and, in doing so, make distant subjects appear closer. Nearby objects also appear to be closer in size to more distant objects of the same size because the angle of view…