Depending on the focal length, lenses have various designations, but what type of lens do I need? In general, lens types fall under two categories- a very wide field of view and a narrow field of view, exaggerating depth and flattening depth respectively. One can also achieve different effects in their photos by simply changing the focal length or alternating between primes. Here are some of the common lens types and their exact purpose.
Fisheye Lens: These are the widest lens one can buy. In fact, they are so wide that sometimes, they even capture the inner side of the lens barrel along with the picture that looks like a circle. Fish eye lenses are generally used when you want to exaggerate on the depth of the image or if you want to fit everything into a single frame. A practical example of this lens type is the image you see when you look through a peephole in your door.
Wide Angle: They too exaggerate depth, but not to the extent of the fisheye lens. When you want to capture a group photo in a confined space for example, you will need to take a wider approach. The downside however is that it causes some distortion in the image due to the wide angle in which it is shot. Some expensive lenses try to cover this distortion. Photoshop can also be used for this purpose. When you opt for this lens type, remember that depth will exaggerate and distortion is also part of the image.
Standard: If a natural shot is what you are looking for, the standard lenses are the ones for you. They generally range from 35mm to 85mm. A 50mm is considered to be the closest how human beings see, while 85mm lenses are used for capturing portraits since it flattens the depth of the image further. Standard lenses are a must for every professional with a camera.
Telephoto: In some cases you might want to get closer to the object without physically approaching the subject. This is when the telephoto lenses ranging from 100mm to 300mm come in handy. Let’s take a small example. If two people are walking towards you, but a good distance behind each other, the telephoto lens will be able to make them look like they are walking together. The drawback is the motion blur it causes when not handled with stability.
Special Types of Lenses: There are some lenses that offer extra effects in addition to their focal length range. Tilt-shift lenses can create a miniatureizing effect of the surroundings you are focusing on and a macro lens helps focusing on nearby objects with high clarity and precision.
The above are the basic lens types used by professionals depending on the type of photography they are interested in. If you are an aspiring young photographer, the best place to start your career is with the right camera and the perfect lens to suit your style of photography.
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