Do you know that one of the most important components of your camera is the lens? With so many choices, how will you know which one you need?
What Is a Zoom Lens?
Zoom lenses are capable of covering a range of focal lengths. But first of all, let’s explore what focal length is in photography. The angle of view of the camera is the focal length. This refers to the extent of the scene being captured by your camera. Generally, it is measured in millimeters (mm). The range of focal lengths is usually between 8mm to 300 mm or even more.
Are these the only distances that can be captured by the camera? No, it does not work that way. You should consider that these are shorter distances! These numbers only represent the distance between the sensor and the center of the lens. So, it does not conform to how much of the area can be captured by the camera.
For instance, it is estimated that a 50mm focal length will give you the angle of view of the human eye. If the photo is taken using a 50mm lens, then it will look pretty much the same as how you view it without the camera.
With shorter focal lengths, it can expand the angle of view. This means that you can see a wider frame in the camera than what you see in your own eyes. On the other hand, longer focal lengths provide us with a narrow-angle view. This means that only a smaller area of the scene will be captured in the frame. With zoom lenses, you will be able to make some adjustments to the focal length of the lens. You can choose the specific range that you want. This means that you can change the angle of view to make it broader or narrower.
What Are the Benefits of a Zoom Lens?
One of the greatest benefits of a zoom lens is that you are allowed to adjust the angle of view instantly without the need to change lenses. This is perfect for event photography or photojournalism. You can easily change the focal length of the event in front of you without the hassle of changing a lens.
Another great benefit of a zoom lens is that there is no need for you to bring a lot of prime lenses, so it allows you to travel lighter. This is perfect, most especially, if you are on the road and you are planning to take various pictures.
What Are the Disadvantages of a Zoom Lens?
Despite having great benefits, zoom lenses also have some disadvantages which you need to consider. Zoom lenses are not actually as sharp compared to prime lenses. Also, they are slower. Since the maximum aperture of a zoom lens is restricted, less light is allowed to pass into the camera. In order to solve this, you have to change the settings to a lower shutter speed, particularly, in situations where there is less light such as indoor events. Another option is to purchase a fast zoom lens, which is a bit expensive.
What are the Different Types of Zoom Lenses?
There are various types of zoom lenses out there and each of them has its own particular characteristics. To learn more about the specific characteristics of a camera zoom lens, it is important that you should familiarize yourself with the markings on it.
The range of the focal length and the optimum aperture can be seen on the front and on the base of zoom lenses. The inscription is quite brief and abbreviated. For instance, “18-140mm f/3.5” tells us that the range of the focal length is 18-140mm while the utmost aperture of the zoom lens is f/3.5.
Fast and Slow Lenses
This category will depend on the utmost aperture value of the zoom lens. The maximum aperture of a fast lens is a low f value. These lenses allow you to utilize faster shutter speed since more light will enter into the camera sensor. That is why they are known as fast lenses. The maximum aperture is usually below f/4. They are perfect for capturing good image quality, especially in poor light conditions. But keep in mind that they are more expensive.
On the other hand, the maximum aperture of slow lenses is higher than f/4. They do not permit more light into the sensor. However, by using a slower shutter speed, you will be able to get the same exposure.
Variable or Constant Aperture
Again, by checking its markings, you will be able to identify if the lens has a variable or constant aperture. For instance, 55-200mm 1:4-5.6G is the marking of a zoom lens that has a variable aperture. This means that at the smaller focal length of 55mm, the first aperture number (f/4) conforms to the utmost aperture. While, at the highest focal length of 200mm, the next aperture number (f/5.6) conforms to the best aperture. This means that your camera will gradually change its utmost aperture. The more you zoom in, the slower it gets as less light is allowed to enter.
Since there is a range of focal lengths in zoom lenses, then they are capable of covering multiple focal lengths within the same type. You can use a telephoto zoom lens that covers between 200 to 500mm, a zoom wide-angle that covers between 10 and 24mm. Other zoom lenses provide coverage from wide-angle to telephoto which is between 16 and 300mm. Zoom lenses can be classified based on their focal length:
With a short focal length of 35mm or shorter, these lenses can cover a large part of the scene. Ultra-wide lenses have a focal length of 24mm or shorter, which is perfect for landscapes.
Standard or Normal
These lenses have an estimated focal length of 50mm, which is the same as human vision. They are very useful in various situations including candid shots, street photography, and portraits.
Most photographers argue about the threshold focal length for this type of lens. Some think that a telephoto lens should have a focal length longer than 60mm. While others only consider a lens as tele lens if its focal length is more than 85mm. Still, other photographers believe that the threshold should be set at 135mm.
Generally, telephoto lenses can only cover a small portion of the scene, making it great for taking high-quality shots where the subjects are far. Because of this, tele lenses are commonly used for sports events and wildlife photography.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Type of Zoom Lens
There are a lot of zoom lenses in the market right now, that is why choosing the best one can be somewhat confusing. The following are some steps that can help you in making your decision.
Determine the Range of Focal Length You Require
The range of the focal point will greatly depend on the kind of photography that you want. For instance, portrait photographers should use between 35mm and 200mm range, while a range between 14mm and 35mm is great for landscape photographers. Telephoto lenses with a range of 300mm or more are usually used by wildlife photographers. Use this as your guide in choosing yours.
However, there are some exceptions. There are some portrait photographers who like to shoot with a wide angle. That is why it is greatly recommended that you examine the photos in your library along with the focal length that you use. Are you satisfied with these angles and want to continue using them? If so, then you can choose a lens that is within your typical range. Or are you the kind of photographer who loves to try new angles of view? Then, it’s time to use new focal lengths for your zoom range.
Verify If Your Camera Features a Full-Frame or Cropped Sensor
If your camera includes a full-frame sensor, then the angle of view of a focal length will just be similar to the final image. If your camera has a cropped sensor, then it will have a smaller angle of view for a certain focal length.
Choose an Aperture
The next thing to consider is the aperture. Do you want a fast or a slow lens? Keep in mind that fast lenses are great for low light conditions since they permit more light to enter the camera. These are also excellent if you want to blur the backgrounds. Low aperture numbers mean that you can obtain narrow depths of field. However, these are typically more expensive. If you are not fond of blurring backgrounds or taking images in low light conditions, then a slow lens will do just fine.
Your Decision Will Depend on Your Budget
After knowing the focal length, aperture, and zoom range, the next thing to do is to check what is available in the market right now. It is also important to check your budget. Photographers can easily be tempted by lenses and sometimes they can be expensive.
Whether you are looking for new or used zoom lenses, you can find them at Enhanced View Services, Inc. Aside from lenses, we are also selling various types of audio and video products. For your inquiries, you may call us at 305-971-2916 or send us an email at [email protected].