Choosing the Right Lens

One of the questions I get asked a lot is what lens is best? And there is no easy answer. First of all, it depends on what you intend to photograph. Understanding the basics will help you choose the best lens for you. Lenses come in all shapes and sizes and can be for a very specific purpose or a good all rounder. For general purpose use, the ‘kit lens’ that comes with most camera’s will do the trick.

So what do the numbers on a lens mean.

Focal Length – Focal length will be depicted in mm, so for example, your lens may be an 18-55mm, or a 70-200mm if it is a zoom lens, a prime lens is a fixed focal length so you may see just one number like 50mm on your lens. The smaller the number the wider the FOV (field of view) will be. So a 20mm lens will be very wide, and would be ideal for say landscape shots, on the other hand, a 200mm lens is a telephoto lens and would be typically used when you cant get close to your subject, good for taking photo’s of animals with big teeth! Ideally, you want your lens collection to cover from wide to telephoto, there are alot of single zoom lenses that do this very well. Nikon for example have an 18 – 200mm VR lens that will suit most general purpose uses.

f-number – This is the other number you will find on a lens, and the f-number will tell you what the maximum, and minimum aperture of the lens is. You will find the lower the f-number on a lens the ‘faster’ it is said to be, and usually, it will be a more expensive lens due to the costs of the optics and design to make it a ‘faster’ lens, the same is true if the lens has a constant maximum aperture. Usually a zoom lens with a constant maximum aperture will increase in diameter closer to the face of the lens and this makes them heavier, so unless you’re a pro or very keen hobbyist, then you won’t need one of these more expensive heavy lenses.

In summary, a lens that is light and flexible will mean you will get the camera out more often, to me, this is the right lens. When I want to take my camera out just ‘in case’ I see something to shoot, I go with my 50mm f1.4 lens as it is light! If I was to attach any of my other lenses it is too heavy to just carry around ‘in case’ I find something interesting to photograph… Hopefully that helps you work out what lens is right for you.

The Daily Pic – Building Art

This was a pic I took back on the google+ walk in March. I found this mural on the side of a building on cockatoo island very engaging, I thought it was clever the way the artist had been able to create such eye contact… enjoy!

Building Art on Cockatoo Island

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