understanding camera lenses


This can harm corner sharpness a bit, and change your composition slightly, but that’s a small price to pay. This includes everything from the position of the zoom ring to the smoothness of the focus ring, and how seamless it is to use the lens. So don’t be afraid to spend a little extra for a quality lens. The three main types of distortion are pincushion, barrel, and mustache. That’s why we wanted to write up this quick guide on what these numbers mean and other camera lens characteristics. Instead, look to other features of the lens, too, to see if it’s a good fit for you. Understanding Camera Lenses. This video teaches how to understand everything about camera lenses, which can be very difficult starting out. The sun doesn’t actually need to be in your photo in order to introduce flare. If you are new to photography, you might find yourself wondering what all of the different numbers, letters and symbols on your camera lens mean. I get that the ads help fund the site, but when they change to the degree where the text of the article gets shifted up and down, it’s incredibly annoying. In that case, the third party lens is usually (though not always) less expensive. You can calculate the exact amount simply by multiplying your lens focal length by your crop factor. - James Brandon. Understanding focal length is key to understanding how your camera works. Another component of image quality is sample variation – the idea that all copies of a particular lens fall within a similar range of image quality. That is, on a full frame camera, a 50mm lens behaves like a 50mm lens. Performance & security by Cloudflare, Please complete the security check to access. First: size and weight. That’s why we wanted to write up this quick guide on what these numbers mean and other camera lens characteristics. F inding the right lens for your camera can vastly improve your images and overall production, but learning about video and photo camera lenses can be expensive and time-consuming.. Using the correct tools and AF Fine Tune, it is possible to adjust for these differences. Each company labels its lenses in a different way, with potentially dozens of abbreviations per manufacturer – too many to fit in this article. My photos have been displayed in galleries worldwide, including the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and exhibitions in London, Malta, Siena, and Beijing. In short, aperture describes the “pupil” of your lens. You are right, that is very annoying. You still need to do your research. It’s good for you to know a few lens basics such as the different lens types, and just a few lens specifications. You’ll find variations in the presentation—sometimes f/2.8 is shown as “ 1:2.… The aperture on a camera lens functions much like your pupils, opening in accordance with how much light you want to hit the camera’s sensor. If you are on a personal connection, like at home, you can run an anti-virus scan on your device to make sure it is not infected with malware. I’m willing to give up some image quality – as well as things like zoom range and maximum aperture – to get a lighter weight lens. There are dozens of image quality factors that make some lenses better than others. Selecting a new camera lens requires time and research because you have to consider several factors; desired focal length, lens speed, compatibility with your camera, and budget. A discussion about internal focusing lenses will be nice, as would a brief foray into construction (metal vs. “plastic”). Zoom Lenses. On top of that is autofocus. 3m 55s Animating a one-node camera . In truth, this is usually more a function of sample variation AND people not taping into the camera’s capacity to address these issues – AF Fine Tuning. Other lenses are zoom lenses, meaning that they cover a range of focal lengths. A lens is a tool used to bring light to a fixed focal point. Metal lenses may be more durable in certain situations, but generally there is nothing wrong with plastic lenses in this regard. Say what?! Personally, my primary concern with sharpness for landscape photography is that the lens remains sharp in the corners at f/8 to f/11, my most common aperture range. If we are to give focal length a technical definition, it would be this: the distance from the camera sensor to the center of the lens when the lens is focused at infinity. Why are some camera lenses so much better than others? Because of three, things can be very off, so that without AF Fine Tune, AND without manual focus, it can be challenging to get really sharp images. I was hoping that someone might be able to put into simple terms what an "AL" Lens is ? While at each distance – turn AF off and manual focus using your best technique. Lenses serve as the camera’s “eye.” They determine what and how your camera will see your subject and how well that view is transmitted to the camera… As mentioned earlier, a prime lens's focal length is fixed. You have to specify 28mm equivalent. Today, every new lens is sharp at f/8 in the center. Some zoom lenses have a different maximum aperture at their wide angle and telephoto ends. Nikon and Sony crop sensor cameras are usually 1.5x. Oversimplified, lets say that a combo mis-focuses only front to back (not the only dimension of faults). Back in the days of film and manual focus lenses, the shutter speed was set on the camera and the aperture was set on the lens. Choosing the right lens for the task can become a complex trade-off between cost, size, weight, lens speed and image quality. Brand name, lens type, focal length (in mm), maximum aperture, other lens features/abbreviations.For example, the official name for one of Nikon’s professional zooms is the “Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 E ED VR” lens. But, they’re usually some of the most inexpensive starter lenses available. Just like the pupil in our eyes, the aperture in a lens will let in more or less light. First, if you are unfamiliar with the concept of aperture, I recommend reading our beginner’s guide to aperture. If you are new to photography, you might find yourself wondering what all of the different numbers, letters and symbols on your camera lens mean. It’s especially visible if you use a wide angle lens, since you need to get much closer to your subjects than with a telephoto: This is why most portrait photographers prefer an 85mm lens rather than a 24mm lens for headshots. This might be the most useful way to understand different camera lens types, but also can be a little deceiving because of overlapping uses. If you use extremely small apertures, especially f/22 and beyond, you start to add blur throughout your photos and darken them more than you’d normally want. Understanding optical lens geometries helps anyone, from novice to expert, choose the best optical lens in any optical design. by David Peterson 6 comments. Most of the time, the user has failed to evaluate the combo and make the correct AF Fine Tune adjustment. Kelly, has recorded a FREE Lens Guide workshop, with the help of the Canon Collective, to help you further your understanding of camera lenses. All but the simplest cameras contain lenses which are actually comprised of several \"lens elements.\" Each of these elements directs the path of light rays to recreate the image as accurately as possible on the digital sensor. If you own a dSLR, you can change lenses to get wide-angle, telephoto, or macro abilitites. (At focal lengths in between, your maximum aperture gradually changes from f/3.5 to f/5.6.). There is a wide gamut of lens use for specific situations. The same is true for lenses which are weather sealed; it’s worth paying more for a lens that will last longer. Minimum aperture isn’t nearly as important as maximum aperture, though. That is, on a full frame camera, a 50mm lens behaves like a 50mm lens. Although you pay a bit of a price for better construction lenses (both in dollars and in weight), it’s worthwhile in the end, since you may save yourself from needing to buy a replacement. Digital cameras aimed at beginners and intermediate users typically only offer a built-in lens. These numbers are the most directly related to the types of photos you will be able to capture with the lens. This one is not an image quality issue; it has to do with stretched-out proportions in your subject that can happen if you get too close. We report them, they get banned, and a couple months later the cycle tends to repeat. However, on an APS-C camera, a 50mm lens might behave like a 75mm lens or an 80mm lens, depending on the size of the camera's sensor. These are called “variable aperture” lenses. Julie Powell ; 0 ; Share with your friends: Let’s look at how focal lengths affect your subjects and the background of your images. by Scott Karcich. Of course, even though a lens name will include its maximum aperture, you aren’t restricted to using that aperture alone. This opening can be made smaller or larger, and the different settings are called f/stops. The lens aperture refers to that part of the camera lens through which light passes to reach the image sensor. Understanding Camera Lenses. My question is; how much testing goes on by the manufacturers to ensure that their lenses meet their published specifications. Understanding camera lenses: Zoom ring. Title: Microsoft PowerPoint - DD Lecture -- Camera Part 1 Author: whisnantdm Created Date: 1/4/2007 2:20:19 PM I’ll go through the most important below. In general, third party lenses have a bit more potential for autofocus issues than name-brand lenses. However, the more you concern yourself with incidental image quality differences between lenses, the farther you move from real, practical concerns. 03 of 03. Your IP: As a result of this cropped look, APS-C cameras impact the effective focal length of the lens used. They’re arguably the most important piece of equipment a photographer can buy – even more important than the camera itself. You might not notice lenses with good ergonomics, but you’ll certainly notice bad ones. Although compromise can take many forms, it usually means lenses with lower image quality or a higher size/weight/price. You can always change the aperture to be smaller if you want. Some assume that there are “good” and “bad” teleconverters. A popular example is the 50mm lens – a very common first prime lens for photographers, thanks to its high usefulness and low price. Understanding Camera Lenses. I’ll also mention the distinction between metal vs plastic lens construction. A depiction of each is below: Although it’s not great to have a high-distortion lens (aside from fisheyes), this is hardly the most concerning image quality issue out there. Artur, thank you for letting me know. If it is up to the consumer perhaps a future article on how to verify your new lens performance? We strongly encourage you to make time to watch it. Wide-Angle Lenses For example, most digital camera lenses have a tough time taking a close-up shot when set for a wide angle. The world looks different from behind a camera lens. You can use EF lenses on all Canon EOS DSLR bodies, and you can also use these on Canon’s range EOS M series of mirrorless cameras via the EF-EOS M adapter. If you shoot at 55mm, you can use an aperture as wide as f/5.6. So a 28-70 lens that you would use on a film camera or a full frame digital camera becomes a 42-105 lens. This is very common to see in portraiture and still life photography. 5m 11s 4. Depth of field is also influenced by the lens’s focal length. In this article, we explain photo and video camera lenses so that you can not only understand how your lens and camera work together but also which lens, or set of lenses, is the best option for you moving forward. This camera lens type has typically a higher maximum aperture, meaning many of these lenses won’t go below f/2.8 (creating less compression/bokeh). But those lenses also get progressively more and more expensive. Understanding lens compression. And, should retailers be offering their own confirmation that your brand new expensive lens does indeed perform as advertised. This is hardly relevant to most photographers. As with focal length, here’s a general guide to aperture: The other reason why maximum aperture is so important is that it impacts your depth of field. Some lenses and interchangeable, while others are built into the construction of the camera body. The focal length of a lens determines what your camera can focus on, and how your images are going to turn out. 2. Not all lenses have autofocus, and not all autofocus lenses are equally fast and accurate. However, we’ve covered all the various terms for many lens manufacturers the following guides: The most important specification for most lenses is their focal length – in generic terms, how far “zoomed in” the lens is. You can fill the frame with your subject in either case, but you need to get far closer to your subject with the 24mm. White Balance Depth Of Field Lens Flare Camera Lens Photography Tips Lenses Underwater Study Eye. There are tons of other lens features that matter in photography. DX cameras like the D40x have a cropped sensor. Those of you who are just starting their journey in capturing photography with professional level cameras – moving away from the phones or point and shoots – make sure you read up on our When shopping for a DSLR camera, people often overlook or skimp on lenses. In a film camera, the lens sends the light to the film strip, while in a digital camera (like DSLRs or mirrorless cameras), the lens directs light to a digital sensor.Camera lenses are made up of a series of glass plates that are convex (curved outward) or concave (curved inward). Right or wrong, the top feature on everyone’s mind when a new lens comes out is sharpness. Camera lenses come in all shapes and sizes and are designed for different shooting scenarios. It doesn’t matter as much to some genres as others, but if you’re a sports photographer, chances are good you’re willing to pay for top-notch autofocus performance. It doesn’t apply to every photo, but it’s a big deal when you’re working in a backlit environment. Some lenses have better bokeh than others. A camera lens is a combination of different types of glasses (Concave, Convex, Concavo-convex, etc), arranged in different groups to give the sharpness of content across the image. If there is a big difference between the focus distance between AF and MF, that combo could likely benefit from AF Fine Tune IF you primarily use AF when you use that lens/camera combo. The most obvious example is a fisheye lens, which has dramatic levels of distortion (specifically barrel distortion). Are these ever worthwhile choices? They weigh less, deal better with bumps, and don’t get as cold in bad weather. Vasiliki Varvaki/E+/Getty Images Optical Zoom . It’s packed with information and practical demonstrations of various lenses, along with a discussion about the best use for each of the lenses. DSLR Lens guide. Typically, metal lenses are seen as higher-end and may command a higher price because of it. My favorite wide angle zoom is a Tamron lens (the 15-30mm f/2.8), and my sharpest lens is a Sigma (the 50mm f/1.4 A). When you point your lens at the sun, it has the potential to create internal reflections or flare that shows up as blobs in the photo. On some cameras, it is more like a medium lens, and on others it’s even a moderate telephoto. The overall ergonomics of the lens also matter quite a bit. Many photographers don’t realize that aperture is written as a fraction. In much simpler terms, it's the measurement (in millimeters) of how long your lens is. If you divide the lens’s longer focal length by its wider focal length (like 55/18), then you get the lens’s zoom ratio (like 3x). The most important terms are focal length and maximum aperture. Understanding Camera Lens Characteristics. Focal length is written in millimeters. Some lenses only have a single focal length. The good news is that modern lenses are sharper than ever. Most photography software will have some tools to help minimize it, however. By checking this box I consent to the use of my information, as detailed in the Privacy Policy. The technical definition of focal length is a bit messy, and beyond the scope of this article. Hopefully this article gave you a good understanding of lenses – how they work and what to look for when you buy one. The other critical term in a lens name is the “f/number” term, which stands for the lens’s maximum aperture. Most lenses today are named in a relatively standard way: 1. I ask because I seem to read a lot of articles on how a certain lens may have a high failure rate with say focusing and needs to be re-calibrated or returned to the manufacturer. I have an older Praktica MTL-5 35mm with 3 M42 Mount lenses and would like to bring them over to A DSLR camera body with the aid of a Bayonet to M42 converter adaptor. Choosing the right lens for the task can become a complex trade-off between cost, size, weight, lens speed and image quality. As a result, crop sensor cameras give lenses a longer effective focal length, much like I described my 50mm lens acting like an 80mm lens when I use it on my crop sensor camera body. Different camera manufacturers have different focal length multipliers. Depth of Field. Canon offers a wide range of EF lenses and lens accessories. Check out the full range of Canon’s lenses here. PL provides various digital photography news, reviews, articles, tips, tutorials and guides to photographers of all levels, By Spencer Cox 8 CommentsLast Updated On May 25, 2019. Nevertheless, you may want to check out our full article on the subject. Specifically, they get greener behind the subject and purpler in front of it: It is easy to correct lateral chromatic aberration (the first one) and harder to correct longitudinal chromatic aberration. So, an 18-55mm lens used on a Nikon DX sensor – which has a 1.55x crop factor – is equivalent to a 28-85mm lens on a larger full frame camera sensor. Put the same lens on both, and the lens will appear more zoomed in on the small sensor. This really gets messy when one starts using teleconverters. We also have full articles introducing wide angle lenses and telephotos. Lens mount: Understanding camera lenses. As a photographer, a practical understanding of camera lenses is essential, whether choosing a new lens to purchase or simply picking the best option from your existing kit.Once you understand the attributes which make up a lens, you’ll be a step closer to achieving your vision, with the right tools. Or if two lenses are equal in weight, but one goes with a lighter camera system, it’s still got the advantage. All of these are rough figures, though. See our articles on what to do when you get a new lens and on lens decentering. Next to the camera body, camera lenses are the second most important part of your camera. They still matter, denoting the extra features offered by each lens. A lens’ focal length is defined as the distance between the lens’ optical center and the camera’s image sensor (or film plane) when focused at infinity. This camera lens is GREAT for weddings, portraits and wildlife photography. • The camera lens is a vital part of the camera. But I’ll go ahead and say that the average, new third-party lens is no better or worse than its equivalent name-brand lens. Usually, It can operate through mechanical or electrical means, depending on your camera. In other words, the “mm” and the “f/number” terms. One type of distortion you’ll hear about is called perspective distortion, but it’s not the same as the distortion above. Another way to prevent getting this page in the future is to use Privacy Pass. Spencer great article, wish I had the information you provided when I started buying lenses, I can think of several that would not have made the grade. As nice as the Zeiss Otus lenses might look to you, it’s probably more reasonable to go with a Nikon or Canon lens that fits the same focal length. As a landscape photographer, this is definitely one of my main concerns when considering a new lens. The goal is to minimize aberrations, while still utilizing the fewest and least expensive elements.Optical aberrations occur when points in the image do not translate back onto single points after passing through … Does either choice – name brand or third party – have poor sharpness, flare, distortion, or other issues? Quality of a lens isn’t just a matter of the lens itself. But all lens designs have trade-offs, and variable aperture is hardly the worst compromise out there. Camera lenses will be a good investments because lenses usually last longer than camera bodies and are less likely to become obsolete.

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