The real magic of photography is and will always reside in the “eye” of the camera or “Lens” as we know it. Choosing the perfect lens according to your niche is the first step to becoming a pro. If you are a beginner in photography, trying to expand your knowledge about different types of lenses, this is the perfect spot for you. We recommend to test your skills with the kit lens at first and gather the specifications about other types of lenses. This will prove beneficial when you are ready to step into the pro photography realm.
Understanding the Different Types of Lenses
Before we start discussing different types of lenses based on focal lengths, let’s get comfortable with a few terms. The first debate when it comes to lenses is between Prime vs Zoom lenses. A prime lens has no zoom ring, hence, it has a fixed focal length. This allows it to shoot in better optical quality. However, the main disadvantage is that you have to physically move to get nearer or further away from the subject. Unlike Prime Lens, zoom lenses have no such restriction and you get a range of focal lengths. But this added functionality comes at a much steeper price than the Prime lens.
Another thing that is debated upon is the Fast vs Slow lens. Basically, it is defined by the aperture of the lens. Lenses having a wider aperture of about f/2.8 and up are dubbed as fast lenses. Whereas, lenses with an aperture up to f/4 are referred to as slow lenses. Fast lenses work much better in low light conditions and also, to produce that great depth of field.
Photo edited in Lightroom.
To understand different types of lenses, let’s discuss the kit lens first. These lenses come with the camera itself and usually, have a focal length of range 18-55mm. Since these lenses come with the camera, they are not capable of much. However, if you are just starting, we recommend that you practice with the kit lens. After you have got the hang of basic compositions and understand what kind of lenses you want, you can move onto other types of lenses. You can also experiment with combining it with different accessories.
Standard lenses got their name because out of all different types of lenses, their angle is the most similar to a human eye. For this reason, the images taken with them also resonate most with how a human eye perceives the environment. Generally, they have a focal length between 35-85mm. That’s why you can also use them as a general-purpose lens. Standard lenses are considered a staple for professional photographers. These lenses are also great for portrait photography
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Telephoto Lens - Different Types of Lenses
Telephoto lenses are a must-have for portrait, landscape as well as wildlife photographers. These lenses let you capture faraway subjects without you having to go near them. The telephoto category also has a few different types of lenses. Namely, short, medium, and super-telephoto lens. The short ones can have a focal length between 85-145mm, whereas, the medium goes to 135mm+. Super ones can start from 400mm and some lenses can go to 2000mm. That is a high value of zoom but you can rest assured that the quality will not degrade. However, the bigger the number you want on this lens, the more expensive it will be. As the zoom increases, the weight of the lens also increases.
Wide or Ultra-Wide Lens
As the name suggests, these lenses can capture more of the scene in a single frame. For this reason, these are most popular among landscape and even architecture photographers. To achieve this functionality, the focal length is kept shorter. It usually ranges between 14-35mm. Shorter focal lengths in this range capture more of the scene. These types of lenses are also capable to add a sense of scale also called depth of field in images.
However, the short focal length can produce some distortions in the image. You can remove distortions by using editing software, so not to worry. Photoshop is the best software to use for this purpose. Master Photoshop with our Photoshop Masterclass and become a professional.
Fisheye Lens - Different Types of Lenses
Fisheye lenses are a very specific type of lenses. They are ultra-wide lenses but with a focal length between 4-14mm. Generally, their use is inclined towards abstract as well as creative photography. If you like to experiment with different shapes, you will love this lens. These lenses also have a great aperture giving them the ability to shoot fantastically in low light.
Photo edited in Lightroom.
Macro lenses are genuinely one of the most unique types of lenses. The special design enables them to photograph objects from a very short distance without losing detail and clarity. Their focal length ranges between 35-200mm. In general, Macro lenses are extremely popular in product photography as well as to capture insects and nature photography.
As the name suggests, these types of lenses can “tilt and shift”. By doing this, they can manipulate the focal point as well as the dimensions of the subject. They are most commonly used in architecture or fine photography because of their ability to make objects appear smaller. Their focal length ranges between 17-35mm.
Conclusion - Different Types of Lenses
Of course, the final output will be the result of your skill. A photographer’s skills matter more than the equipment itself. However, at a certain point, every photographer needs to invest in different types of lenses to make their images even better. Yet, you must not start showering money on every lens. You must identify your photography style first, and then choose the lenses that best suit your needs.
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