As the name suggests, this is a lens particular suited to portraiture by virtue of its focal length and a fast maximum aperture. In portrait photography, you get better facial perspective if you stand back a little from the subject. This means you need to use a slightly longer focal length than usual to fill […]
Perspective control lenses have special tilt and shift movements for correcting converging lines (shift movement) in architectural images, for example, and adjusting the plane of sharp focus (tilt movements) for objects at an angle to the camera. By applying a vertical shift you can bring the top of a tall building into the frame without […]
A lens with a fixed focal length, as opposed to a zoom lens. Prime lenses are more restrictive, but they tend to produce better optical quality with fewer aberrations and offer a wider maximum aperture. They also tend to be lighter and smaller, and many photographers find that having to change position to get the […]
A lens which can be adjusted to give a range of different focal lengths. Most lenses in use today are zooms because they’re so much more versatile than fixed focal length (prime) lenses – you can adjust the framing without having to change the camera position. The disadvantages of zoom lenses are increased distortion and […]
A lens that takes in a wider than usual angle of view. Wideangle lenses have an effective focal length of 28mm or shorter. The shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view.
A specialised type of lens which can be tilted relative to the camera body. This changes the plane of sharp focus and can be used to extend or contract the available depth of field. It can also be simulated digitally using tools which leave a central strip of the photo in sharp focus but progressively […]
A lens which gives a magnified view of the scene. The magnification is proportional to the focal length of the lens, so a 100mm telephoto gives 2x the magnification of a 50mm standard lens.
A special magnifier lens that fits between a telephoto lens and the camera body to increase its focal length. Teleconverters are often matched to specific lenses to ensure optical quality and performance. They typically come in 1.4x, 1.7x and 2x magnifications.
A lens with a much wider angle of view than your camera’s kit lens. In 35mm camera terms, a super-wideangle lens is one with a focal length of around 20mm or less. Super-wideangle lenses are quite expensive and characterised by large, bulbous front lens elements.
A fixed focal length (‘prime’) lens designed to be as slim as possible so that the camera/lens combination is lighter, more compact and more unobtrusive. Their only real concession compared to a regular prime lens is maximum aperture – typically f/2.8 for a pancake lens.
A relatively inexpensive general purpose lens sold with a camera body as a kit. Buying both at the same time is much cheaper than buying them individually. Most DSLRs and mirrorless cameras are also sold ‘body only’ for those who already have lenses.
A fisheye is an ultra-wideangle lens that no longer attempts to render straight lines as straight and instead produces images with strongly curved edges and a characteristically surreal look. It’s a striking effect, though one to be used occasionally.