It is certainly that every photographer (whether beginner or professional) must handle this subject to obtain the best results in their portraits. It can be confusing to hear about prime or zoom, bright, wide angle, telephoto. However, these are relatively easy terms to handle once you have learned a little about photography lenses.
Many say that the most important tool for a photographer should be the lens that he will use. We must remember that manufacturers release cameras almost every 2 years, whether they are updates to cameras already released or totally new models. Unlike cameras, we can store lenses for years and decades in our everyday gear. For example, Nikon’s F-mount system was created in 1958 and it wasn’t until the launch of the new Z-mount mirrorless cameras that Nikon introduced a new lenses and mount system.
Fixed Lenses or Zoom Lenses?
Photographic lenses can be classified into fixed or zoom. Fixed lenses are those that maintain the same focal length. Now, the focal length is the basic description of a photographic objective and it gives us a very real idea of the angle of view of our camera to be able to take the picture. To put it more simply, a 14mm focal length lens will cover a lot of space and objects in a photograph than a 50mm lens. Thus, the smaller the unit in millimeters (mm), the larger our photographic space. I explain more about focal length and depth of field in my blog “Our Two Allies: Focal Length and Depth of Field”.
On the other hand, zoom or variable lenses are the ones that we can modify the focal length. For example, we have lenses whose focal length starts at 24mm and a specific object can be zoomed up to 200mm, such as the Nikor Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR lens or the Canon RF 70-200mm F2.8 L IS USM. They are called “all terrain” by photographer, they can be used for most types of photography. The only problem or difficulty that we can find is its size and ease of transport, especially for travelers.
Wide Angle or Telephoto Lenses?
Now, we can categorize lenses as angular or wide angle. The wide angles can vary from 10mm to 20mm or 24mm, whether they are fixed or variable. Furthermore, there are others with a focal length of 8mm or less for example, however I prefer to categorize these into fisheye lenses.
Telephoto lenses can have a focal length range between 55mm and up, they can have focal lengths of up to 800mm or more. We have a good example with the Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM telephoto lens.
What does the "F" stand for?
Perfect! Now that we have a better idea of fixed and telephoto lens, we must clarify the brightness of them. The brightest lenses are between F1.2, F1.8 and F2.8. The “F” is the unit of light measurement we use to identify the amount of light the lens can get through. This means that the smaller the F number, the more light will enter to the lens and consequently to the sensor of the camera. I review this topic even more in depth in my post What that “F” ! Unit of measurement in photography. To simplify, the smaller the number” F “is, the more aperture the diaphragm of our lens has and the more light enters for our photography.
In short, there are many types of lenses on the market and they take great importance when choosing the system with which they are going to work. Canon, Nikon, and most manufacturers have different versions of lenses and mounts, however, it can be said that they are one of the most important and durable parts of our equipment. Just as there are several lenses, there are also a variety of prices. More important is that you get an idea of how to choose your next lens and find your photography style and from there know what type of lens would be best for you. I will analyze the different lenses and their qualities for a certain photograph or style in future publications. I hope this article has helped you further expand your knowledge of photographic lenses.