types of camera lenses

You’ve already bought a camera body and you’re looking for the right lens/lenses for your line of work. This is a breakdown of all the types of camera lenses that you can find and what each one of them is good for.

As a photographer, you’ll always need to upgrade your gear in order to improve your skills. The kit lens that came with the camera might be enough for a while. However, you’ll eventually you will need to invest in a better lens to improve your work.

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What is a Camera Lens?

A camera lens focuses light from what you see through the view finder, to a small, (normally) 35mm spot at the back of your DSLR, mirrorless, or film camera.

In digital cameras (DSLR & Mirrorless), the lens is used to direct light to a digital sensor. In Film cameras, the lens directs light to the film strip. Lenses are made up of a series of glass plates that are curved inwards (concave), or curved outwards (convex).

Characteristics of Camera Lenses

Basically, all lenses filter and focus light so that it correctly hits the film or sensor. However, there are other factors that determine how a lens affects the quality and look of the final image. Let’s look at camera lenses characteristics;

  • Aperture – Expressed in f-stops, this is how big the opening that let’s light in, is. The higher the number of f-stops, the tinier the opening. The smaller the opening, the more the image is in focus.
  • Depth of Field – The photographer can draw the viewer’s eye where he wants it by controlling the amount of photo that is in focus. The depth varies because of maximum aperture.
  • Focal Length – This is the distance (usually in mm), between the sensor recording the image, and the point of convergence of your lens. The focal length determines how much of a scene your camera can capture.The smaller the number, the wider the angle of view, hence more scenery. On the other hand, the larger the number, the smaller the angle of view, hence less scenery.
  • Maximum Aperture – This is the maximum width the lens aperture can open. This is listed on the lens’s barrel. Lenses with a wide maximum aperture are good for night photography as they perform well in low light.
Types of Camera Lenses
Standard Lenses

Types of camera lenses

Standard lenses are the closest to the angle of view of the human eye. Sometimes they are called portrait lenses. Typically, they have a focal length of between 35mm and 85mm.

These lenses are mostly used in portrait photography and travel photography.

Some good examples include;

Ultra-Wide Angle lens (10mm-24mm)

Also known as Supe-wide angle lenses, the Ultra-Wide Lenses have a focal length of less than 24mm. Architecture and Landscape photographers mostly use this type of lens.

An Ultra-wide angle lens gives you a larger depth of field, meaning a bigger area will be in focus.

Wide Angle Lenses (14mm – 35mm)

This type of lens also has a wide angle of view. It means you can capture a larger scene with a single exposure. This makes them very popular in the Architecture and Landscape photography.

Fisheye Lenses

types of camera lenses

These are Ultra-wide lenses with a focal length  of between 4mm-14mm.

They produce images that are corrected as much as possible, so that straight lines in the subject appear straight in the image. These are also known as rectilinear images.

They are also common with landscape and architecture photographers. They can take images that provide a 180° view

Some good examples include;

Short Telephoto Lenses

types of camera lenses

These are lenses with a focal length of 85mm to 200mm. They are the entry range for telephoto focal length. They are mainly used for landscape, wildlife and portrait photography.

Medium Telephoto Lenses

These are lenses with a focal length of 200mm to 300mm. This focal length range helps to produce blurred backgrounds.

They can be used by wildlife, portrait and landscape photographers alike.

Some good examples include;

Super Telephoto Lenses

Super telephoto lenses have a focal length of 300mm+. They have a narrow angle of view of 8° or less which helps produce a nicely blurred background.

Sports, Wildlife and Bird photographers use these kinds of lenses.

Some good examples include;

Macro Lenses

types of camera lenses

If you’re looking to take close-up photos with sharp detail, accuracy, and contrast, you will need a macro lens. The focal length of this types of lenses is usually 35mm-200mm.

In most cases, they’re used by to capture beautiful nature photos, product photos, and fine art. They allow a 1:1 Ratio image production.

Some good examples include;

Tilt-Shift Lenses

The tilt-and-shift feature makes this a specialist lens. Tilt allows you to make a certain part of sharp by manipulating the focus plane orientation. Shift allows you to adjust the subject in the frame without having to move.

This is an important feature as it eliminates the distortion in structures like with Wide-Angle lenses. Mostly, it used in Architecture photography.

Some good Examples include;

Zoom Lenses

A zoom lens allows you change the focal length by rotating the zoom ring. Meaning, a zoom lens covers both the portrait and the wide angle focal lengths. This lens is most suitable for beginners or hobbyists.

Some good examples include;

Conclusion

That’s it for now. Now you know the different types of camera lenses that are out there. Therefore, You can make an informed decision next time you’re shopping for a lens.

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levismoke
Gizmophile, coz geeks and nerds are just too mainstream

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2 Comments

  1. […] Those are the main types of cameras for photography and video. You can also check out the Different types of Camera Lenses. […]

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