I’m back again folks to chat more about my favourite topic: photography! Everybody love to take photos, whether it be on their smartphone or with the latest digital camera! It’s just so easy with the latest technology and your photos can be shared on social media inside seconds. Who could have envisioned the connectivity that we enjoy today just a decade ago? I know I certainly couldn’t have.
Anyway, today I am going to focus (no pun intended) on the subject of camera lenses. If you want to start taking your photography even remotely seriously (that means putting more time, pride and effort into your images than just a simple selfie or snapshot) you are going to have to seriously think about investing in some decent “glass” as it is referred to in photographic circles.
Choosing Camera Equipment
The first piece of equipment most would-be photographers think about is the camera or camera body. Of course, this is an important and essential piece of kit (no photos are going to get created without one in all fairness) but the real long-term investment in equipment and image quality comes in the form of what lenses you buy. Digital camera bodies have a limited life span as the internal sensors eventually deteriorate to a point where image quality compromised to an unacceptable level necessitating a camera replacement. So the camera itself is a short to medium term investment. The lenses, however, have a much longer lifespan and if cared for properly will last for the length of your photography journey! They do not become obsolete and will still operate with the latest incarnation of your chosen camera brand. Unlike camera bodies which devalue relatively quickly, lenses hold their value as a result of their longevity.
Why Your choice of lens is so Important
But there is another reason that the lenses you chose are some important. Although the camera bodies come in a variety of shape, sizes and prices (some for amateurs, some for pros, some for enthusiasts etc) the sensors inside each of these different cameras are pretty much of the same size and quality. So by spending more money on a camera body, you are not actually purchasing increased image quality, but increased functionality instead. The image quality is ultimately dictated by the quality of your lenses. And that is why it is so important to spend the right amount of money and choose the right ones for your equipment inventory! You can check out some pretty decent used second hand camera lenses here!
The lenses that produce the best quality are without a doubt the prime lens variety. They have a fixed focal length and less working or moving parts within the lens as a result, allowing for better quality optics to be employed and a larger maximum aperture to be achieved. However, the fixed focal length of these lenses can prove a little unversatile, necessitating a lens change every time a longer or shorter focal length is required.
These are much more versatile and allow the photographer to “zoom” through the focal length range afforded by the lens. This could be 18-55mm or 80-200mm for example. Due to the additional internal moving parts required in these lenses the quality of the optics and maximum aperture are marginally compromised, resulting in some loss of image quality. Although the maximum aperture of these type of lenses is not as great as that of a prime lens, as long as it is fixed throughout the focal length range (normally at f/2.8) this signifies that it is a quality zoom lens.
Kit lenses are cheap zoom lenses that normally come as part of a kit with the non-professional, consumer type cameras. They are small, of lesser build quality than the professional zoom lenses and with compromised optics and a variable maximum aperture (normally f/3.2 - f/5.6) which signifies the overall lack of image quality they will provide. If you want to take your photography seriously, these lenses should be avoided or used only to supplement your quality lens collection.
The focal length of prime lenses and zoom lenses can be broken down into 3 main categories. A standard lens or focal length most closely resembles the angle of view of the human eye. A wide angle lens or focal length incorporates a wider angle of view allowing for more of the scene in front of the photographer and camera to be captured in a single image. A telephoto lens or focal length employs a narrower angle of view and magnifies the scene in front allowing the photographer and camera to enlarge subjects in the mid-ground and far-ground in the frame. Zoom lenses can incorporate normally incorporate two of these three general focal lengths.
Check out this magazine to learn more about some of the lenses made by one the worlds top camera brands: http://www.nikonusa.com/en/learn-and-explore/nikon-world/index.page
I hope this all made sense. Until next time!