Read about the types of DSLR Lenses and their uses before buying any lens!
“I want to buy a lens…which lens then?” This question bothers you more often. There are different types of DSLR lenses and their uses vary the results. There was a time when lensless photos were possible to develop. Surprisingly, Chemists used the silver nitrate to get the imprints of the objects. Then Degaurreotype was invented in 1839. This first camera was designed with a 380mm lens and f/15. Microscopes were already invented till the time of Degaurretype. And, It was easy to design lenses imitating the human eye.
Human eye can select the things with in a scene. It has the power to see the things selectively. Lens does the same job for photographers. You have to make selection in a scene. Camera helps to make photos of such selection. Interestingly, No teacher or guide can tell you what to select and what to leave with in a scene. It is your own choice and selection. Your selection in the scene becomes the powerful image and draws attention. Stories are told with the help of selections in images. Such powerful images are the reflection of your perception. You showcase your perception to the world through your images.
You should know the scientific limitations of the camera lenses. Every lens has the power to produce great results. Creative limitations are endless. But scientific limitations of a camera lens help you to understand its full potential.
That is why, there is no thumb rule to buy the perfect lens for satisfying the need of your perception. Every lens of the camera is just an another tool. These lenses have specific scientific qualities. These qualities of a lens help to create better pictures. That’s it!
Now, If you ask me that which lens I should buy? This question can not be answered by anyone with period. If it is answered, It will always be confusing for you. Can anybody tell you that how you can use your eye selectively to see the things around you? You learn it by yourself, Right? First, explore yourself and know your style of photography. Your style is a reflection of who you are as an individual. What kind of human personality you own? It gets easy to choose camera lens, once you completely know yourself. Once you know yourself, you can develop your own style of photography.
Second, you should know the scientific limitations of the camera lenses. Every lens has the power to produce great results. Creative limitations are endless. But scientific limitations of a camera lens help you to understand its full potential. Don’t always blame the lens for not getting the great images. May be, your perception is not broader enough. If it is broader then get the right kind of lens. Your choice of lens will help you to portray your imagination. You have to choose the lens which can meet your imagination. You need to enhance your perception by observing the life around you. Once you do it, camera and lenses become just a tool. And, your endless job of finding the best camera and best lens ends forever.
These are the types of DSLR lenses and their uses based on their angle of view and limitations.
1. Fish eye or Ultra Wide Angle Lens:
The focal length of these lenses are between 8mm to 16mm. The front glass of the lens bulges out. This bulging shape gives a distortion around the corner of the image. The distortion is like a curved in the image. Photographers get beautiful panoramic view with fish eye/ultra wide angle lenses.
Use of Fish eye lens/ultra wide angle:
To get panoramic view of landscape, Architecture and under water photography.
What do you see?
You get a field of view close to 180˚ diagonally with 8mm fish eye lens.
How to get best out of fish eye lens?
Many photographers do not like fish eye or ultra wide angle lens. The distortion or curved in the image is one reason for their dislike. But, there are other photographers who love playing with this lens. If you want to create stunning images with this lens, you have to study the rule of photography. Practice the rule of leading lines and the rule of shape in photography. Start playing with the shapes by merging the leading lines. Once you apply these two specific rules, your pictures will carry interest element. This interest element will tell a story about the images. Your pictures will draw attention every time with great composition.
2. Wide angle lenses:
Any focal length starting from 16mm to 35mm gives a wider view with less distortion. There is no thumb rule to choose lenses as I mentioned above. You have to consider your style of photography. Accordingly, you can use the greatest potential of any lens. Wide angle lens is a must have lens in professional photographers’ kit.
You can almost cover every branch of photography with wide angle lenses. Many photographers shoot sports, wildlife, landscapes, weddings, architecture and street with this lens. You get very less distortion and a wide view of a scene. This is the beauty of wide angle lenses. The wider view shows the ambiance and lots of happenings within one image. The different happenings create a mood and interest in the photos. Synch these happenings in one story and you will create stunning images.
Use of wide angle lens:
To capture the ambiance with wider view; To shoot Landscape, Architecture, Cinematography
What do you see?
With 16mm – 35mm, the field of view is 96˚ to 54˚ diagonally.
How to get best out of wide angle lenses?
You have to be close enough to the targeted subject. Wide angle lenses give distortion sometimes. To avoid distortion, you need to frame and re-frame the scene for best composition. Keep moving around the subject and look for the best angle of view.
3. Fixed/Prime lenses:
The focal length of these lenses is fixed. There is no option to zoom in or out. There is focus ring only in fixed lenses. There are fixed lenses for wide angle of view like 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm. Then there are fixed lenses like 50mm, 85mm to photograph portraits.
Use of fixed/prime lenses:
Street and Portrait photography
What do you see?
With 50mm the angle of view is 39˚ and 23˚ is with 85mm diagonally.
How to get best out of fixed/prime lenses?
The lower aperture value is the real beauty of prime lenses. The advantage to use the lower f/stop value makes it a beast among all the lenses. Moreover, you get more light with lower aperture value in low light situations.
Many photographers face problem in using these lenses at start. You have to understand a fact. It is not like a zoom lens. Zoom lenses give you the advantage to frame or re-frame the scene without moving. The focal length is fixed. You have to move around the subject to get the best frame. You can explore the full potential of the prime lenses by applying the compositional rules of photography. Once you fit your subject with great composition in a scene, your pictures wow the viewers.
4. Telephoto/Zoom lenses:
As its name suggests, you can zoom in on the subject with these lenses. The focal length starts from 70mm and goes beyond 800mm. There are several piece of lenses stacked back to back in a zoom lens. That is why, it has the power to magnify the subject. You get the advantage to stand far away from the subject. It brings the distant object more closer. That is why, there is no bulging or distortion in comparison to ultra wide angle lenses.
It is a must have lens for sports, wildlife and portrait photographers. Telephoto lenses are heavy to carry and more expensive with lower number of aperture.
Use of telephoto lenses:
Wildlife, Sports and Portrait photography
What do you see?
With 200mm the angle of view is near to 10˚
How to get best out of telephoto/zoom lenses?
You get longer focal length and narrow angle of view. It means, you can cut the whole wider ambiance around your subject. The amateur photographers face difficulty to get sharp images with telephoto sometimes. Telephoto lenses have a magnifying effect. You need to have steady hands to work with such magnifying results. Slightest of the movement in the targeted subject or in your hand causes blur effect in images. These lenses are heavy to hold for longer than usual. Keep a tripod or monopod handy or use fast shutter speed to avoid blur images.
Don’t forget that the angle of view is very narrow with telephoto lenses. With narrow view, you avoid ambiance and make tight or close up shots. You can show the ambience around your subject. For that matter, you will have to create good amount of distance between you and your subject.
5. Macro Lenses:
Macro lens is designed to capture tiny details of the small scene selection. As its name connotes, it helps to see the things at macro level. Human eye can not see such macro level details in objects. Macro lenses are designed between 50mm to 180mm.
Use of macro lenses:
You can use 50mm or 60mm macro lens for Jewelry, E-commerce, Product and Nature photography.
How to get best out of macro lenses?
Macro lenses are used for product, wildlife and nature photography. The large focal length like 100mm or 105mm is good to photograph flies or insects. You can enjoy the good amount of distance between you and subject. It helps to photograph the flies and insects without disturbing them. If you are into product photography, you can have a macro lens below 100mm focal length. Photographers achieve best results of macro lenses with the help of monopod/tripod. The targeted selection in the scene should be sharp with details.