Camera Lens Differences | Photo Tip Tuesday | Dublin, Ohio Photographer
For today’s photo tip, I will discuss a few different types of lenses and what they are used for. I will use my lenses for examples.
Basic lens information:
What does the “mm” part of a lens name mean? It refers to the focal length, which is measured in millimeters. It is the distance between the lens and the back of the camera where the image is formed (the image sensor). What does that mean for me as a photographer? Basically, if you want to photograph something close, you want a smaller number like 18 mm. If you want to photograph something far away, you would look for a number closer to 200 mm or greater. What about the “f/(some numerical value)”? A lens that says “f/2.8” for example, has a maximum aperture of 2.8. O.K., but what is aperture? Aperture is simply the opening through which light passes on it’s way to the image sensor. The smaller the number, the larger the opening, and the more light that can pass through.
Standard or “all-purpose” lens
My standard lens is a Tamron 24-70 mm f/2.8. I use it for almost everything I do. It is also considered a zoom lens because of it’s ability to change focal distances.
My macro lens is a Tamron SP AF 90 mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1. I primarily use my macro lens for wedding ring shots. I love macro ring shots! I also use it for close-ups of little baby features such as their nose, lips, and eye lashes. Macro lenses have many other uses such as insect and flower photography. These lenses do not change focal distances, so you as the photographer must position yourself at the appropriate distance, based on your specific lens.
Telephoto zoom lens
Essentially, any lens that has a range of numbers (i.e. 18-55 mm) is a zoom lens. As I mentioned before, technically my “standard lens” is a zoom lens because you can change the focal distance. However, lower numbers mean less relative magnification, so true zoom lenses typically exceed 150 mm. I use a 70-200 mm zoom lens (made by Tamron) which is great for wedding ceremonies as well as portrait photography. Other uses for a large zoom lens are wildlife and sports photography.
A lens that does not change lengths is called a prime lens and the only way to zoom in or out is to move your feet. Prime lenses are commonly used for portrait photography because of their excellent bokeh, reduced weight and image clarity.