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Through The Looking Glass

Updated: May 24, 2019

Canon EF Zoom Lens | Focal Range: 17-40mm | Aperture: F/4

So, you just read A Photographer's first camera (under $1000) and, then you bought your first camera. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Now, you are ready to take amazing photos that will blow your clients away and keep some change in your pockets.

The only thing you don't know is...Which LENS will make your photos stand out without breaking your wallet?

Well, DON'T BE SCARED! This article will quickly help you learn the FUNCTION and PURPOSE of camera lenses and, ultimately, choose the one right for you!

(This is a small guide for those looking for a starting place)

FOCAL LENGTH is the most important factor when buying a lens. The focal length determines how far or close you need to be to your subject when taking a picture.

(Keep in Mind - If a FULL FRAME lens is on a CROP FRAME camera, the focal length would change. Basically, you would see a tighter shot.)

There are two types of lenses, PRIME lenses and ZOOM lenses. A prime lens has one FOCAL LENGTH (fixed). All that means is, instead of adjusting the camera lens, you have to adjust your distance to the subject(s) to get different angles. A zoom lens has a FOCAL RANGE/ZOOM RANGE (a range of focal lengths), which means you can expand the lens to get a tighter shot or detract the lens to get a wider shot. Primes are usually sharper, but Zooms allow for more flexibility. Focal lengths under 50mm are usually considered WIDE ANGLE lenses, while lenses over 50mm are usually considered TELEPHOTO. Standard or Medium length lenses are usually 40mm-60mm. Lenses with a 50mm Focal Length are meant to imitate the human eye.

The second most important factor is the APERTURE (F stop or IRIS). The aperture of a lens determines how much LIGHT can pass through the lens. Basically, the wider the aperture (the more light that passes through the lens) the more the subject will stand out from the background. This is when you typically see a blurred background. With a small or narrow aperture, the subject will be in focus, but so will the background. With the narrowest aperture, the subject and the entire image will be in focus. This is referred to as DEPTH-OF-FIELD. Depth of Field is the distance between the closest and the farthest objects. Depth of Field = distance between camera, subject, and background.

Aperture | F stop | Iris

Each of the 4 camera manufactures (CANON, FUJI, NIKON and, SONY) I listed in A Photographer's first camera (under $1000) have their own brand of lenses, NATIVE LENSES. If you use a Canon camera you can still use a Sony lens with an ADAPTER. You can also use third party lens manufacturers, like TAMRON or TOKINA.

Depending on the type of photography you're doing and what you are trying to capture will determine what lens you need. If you can't be near your subject, but need a tight shot, a TELEPHOTO lens is the way to go. If you're shooting high fashion portrait photography, that typically allows the flexibility to shoot at your own pace and be as far from or close to the subject as you want, so, maybe a medium wide prime (like 35mm) might be your go to. At the end of the day, it also comes down to the almighty DOLLAR DOLLAR BILL y'all. I am a big supporter of USED LENSES. As long as everything functions properly and, the lens still has VALUE, I would much rather purchase a really good used lens, than a fairly decent brand new one.

Thanks for reading! Keep creating VISUALS.FROM.THE.SOUL

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