Monday, 17 March 2014

Types of Lenses and How They Are Used

Types of Lenses and How They Are Used

Link to PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Types of Lenses and How They Are Used

Posted: 16 Mar 2014 09:46 PM PDT

Lenses are one of the most important considerations in photography. The lens you choose for each shot can dramatically change your results; its best to know how all the types work so you can make more informed decisions as a photographer in various situations.

Wide Angle Lenses

Wide angle lenses, are identified by the bulbous shape to the glass front of the lens. They are loved by landscape photographers the world over. A good lens should include high quality glass, have a low corner distortion rate, where a falloff in sharpness in the corners is minimal, and versatile features such as Image Stabilization (IS). Ideally they should also include a lens hood to minimize lens flare, when shooting into light or the sun. Generally the heavier a wide angle lens the higher quality of the glass used in manufacture, and the better the lens overall.

wide-angle landscape photography

“Granite Shower” captured by Debra Vanderlaan using a wide-angle lens (Click image to see more from Vanderlaan.)

Fisheye Lenses

Fisheye lenses are amazing bits of glass. With the bulbous element protruding from the housing of the lens, they are quite fragile and easy to scratch. They can’t be protected by a UV filter; instead, use slip in gelatin filters in the rear of the lens. Find one thats fast–f/2.8 or f/3.5–like Sigma’s 8mm. Look for edge to edge sharpness, as well. Again, price will dictate quality. These are great for fitting the whole world into one shot–almost literally–with most providing a full 180 degree view! Expect to pay between $1K and upwards of $3K for top end fisheye lenses.

fish-eye architectural photography

“Union Station Grand Hall 1″ captured by Fritz McCorkle using a fish-eye lens (Click image to see more from McCorkle.)

Telephoto Lenses

Telephoto lenses are probably the most popular of all lenses. They are perfect for portrait and wildlife photography, as they offer a closer view to your subject, and in doing so, keep distortion low. Faster lenses with some type of stabilization are best. Look for stats such as f/2.8 or similar with IS or OS.

telephoto wildlife photography

“Proud” captured by Lynn Gibbons using a telephoto lens (Click image to see more from Gibbons.)

 Macro Lenses

Macro lenses, often used for focussing on finite detail in very small objects, are usually high quality lenses that are well manufactured. Find a lens with a fast maximum aperture of f/2.0 or f/2.8, if possible. You’ll pay more, but your ability to experiment with selective focus will be much greater.

macro flower photography

“Pink Flower” captured by Judith Hutcheson using a macro lens (Click image to see more from Hutcheson.)

Tilt Shift Lenses

Tilt Shift lenses are high end and ideal for correcting camera perspective caused by angling upwards or downwards, which results in a “leaning in or leaning out” type distortion. The frontal lens element is shifted to oppose the tilt of the camera. Usually not wider than 90mm, expect to pay upwards of $2K per unit, but it’s well worth it.

Tilt Shift lenses can also be used to create a miniature effect This effect mimics the extremely limited depth of field by fast, shallow depth of field lenses and can be used to incredible effect.

tilt-shift landscape photography

“Gibraltar Tilt Shift Landscape” captured by Cedric Ramirez using a tilt-shift lens (Click image to see more from Ramirez.)

Glossary of Lens Technical Terms

Aperture: The front opening of a lens through which light enters.

Aperture f-stops: The unit of measure that controls both of field and the amount of light entering the camera. Settings are f/1, f/1.4, f/2, f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32, f/45, f/64.

Back focus: Lens focus error where focus lands behind the intended subject.

Bokeh: Out of focus blur effect that helps separate your subject from background. Often used to create a miniature effect.

Chromatic aberration: The failure of a lens to focus all lightwaves to a single point. Often results in a purple or violet edge along objects in high contrast situations.

Constant aperture: Zoom lenses that have the same maximum aperture at all focal lengths.

Crop factor: Created by the use of sensors smaller than 35mm film where only the center of the image is captured. Example: a 100mm lens on a 1.5x crop camera will have a field of view equivalent to 150mm.

Depth of field: The measure of focus where the front edge of focus through to the back edge or final focus point lands.

Deep: Little/no background blur achieved through small apertures (f/16, 22, etc.) common for shooting landscapes.

Diffraction limit: The point where lenses get soft at extremely small apertures.

Digital specific lenses: Lenses designed specifically for the smaller sensors of digital cameras. Often identified by DC (Digital Cropped) on the lens.

F-stop: Refers to aperture and ISO adjustments that halve or double the required time of exposure.

Fast: A general term used for a large aperture lens, fast lenses are ideal for shooting quick action. Often f/2.8 or f/2.

Focal length: The physical length, in millimeters, a lens requires to bring the light to a focus point. Identified in mm on the lens, such as 18-200mm.

Focal ratio: The relationship between aperture and lens focal length. It is found by dividing the focal length by the aperture. Commonly referred to as the “f-number”. Example: f/2.8.

Front focus: Lens focus error where focus lands in front of the intended subject.

Full frame lenses: Lenses suited to cameras with full frame sensor (the same size as 35mm film). Often identified by DG on the lens.

Full time manual focus: Seen in sonic motor lenses, the ability that allows the photographer to manually focus the lens while still having the lens in autofocus mode.

Image stabilization: Compensates for camera shake commonly seen with slow shutter speeds, it can be either lens or camera body based and is ideal for stationary subjects.

ISO speeds: Controls the sensitivity of your camera and its ability to see in the dark. the higher the number, the more sensitive to light, therefore the more your camera can see in the dark. Speeds are 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400, 12,800, 25,600.

Micro focus adjust: A recent innovation that allows the photographer to fine tune focusing of the camera to compensate for a front or back focusing lens.

Micro-motor: A tiny motor inside utilizing gears inside a lens used for autofocus purposes that is not capable of full time manual focus.

Motion blur: Seen at slow shutter speeds, blur caused by the motion of photographic subjects.

Prime lens: A fixed focal length lens.

prime lens photography

“Drop Delight” captured by Linda L. using a prime lens (Click image to see more from Linda.)

Shallow: Much background blur achieved through large apertures (F4, 5.6 etc), common in portraits.

Sharp: The term for a lens that produces extremely clear pictures with much fine detail.

Slow: A general term for small aperture lenses Often F4.5-F5.6 of F5.6-F8.

Soft: Refers to a lens where images look slightly blurry because of optical issues. All but the highest quality lenses tend to be a little soft at maximum aperture.

Stopping down: The term for closing down the aperture of a lens.

Telephoto: Long photographic lenses used for capturing distant subjects.

Ultra Sonic Motor: Autofocus motors characterized by fast, silent operation that is also capable of full time manual focus.

Variable aperture: A lens where maximum aperture changes throughout the focal length, always getting slower at longer focal lengths.

Wide open: The term for a lens being used at maximum aperture.

Zoom lens: A lens with a varying focal length.

Zoom ratio: The relationship between a zoom lens’s minimum and maximum focal length. Most pro-grade lenses have a 4x ratio or less. Example: a 12-24mm lens has a 2x zoom ratio.

About the Author:
Steve Rutherford ( is a photographer with a publication based in Australia.

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

Life in North Korea Photographed with a Smartphone (Album)

Posted: 16 Mar 2014 03:08 PM PDT

The world is rarely offered a glimpse into what it is like to live in North Korea. What images are released from the state tend to walk the line of being propaganda . Thanks to photojournalist David Guttenfelder, whose story and photography we’ve featured in the past, you can take a peek at mysterious North Korea through the eyes of an AP photographer. Here are more intriguing shots captured with his phone camera:

(for those of you reading this by email, the photo album can be seen here)

Guttenfelder spends 100 days a year, broken up between about 30 trips, in North Korea. The opportunity arose when the president of the Associated Press had the idea to open a North Korean bureau in 2011. They must put in requests to photograph different places, many which are denied. Guttenfelder must use low profile film cameras that make minimal noise. He began documenting life with his phone as soon as the North Korean government began permitting mobile phones in February 2013.

“Photography is a very powerful tool despite the restrictions there. Photography carries a point of view and a mood and a sense of place that I don’t think you can say in any other way, in other language than with your camera.”

Go to full article: Life in North Korea Photographed with a Smartphone (Album)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

How to Get Your Photography Into Galleries (Video)

Posted: 16 Mar 2014 11:51 AM PDT

Getting your photography into a gallery can be difficult without knowing how the entire process works. Experienced photographers Lois Youmans and Sandra Carrion share their insights and advice on how to get your work out there and seen by galleries in this helpful seminar:

(for those of you reading this by email, the video seminar can be seen here)

Getting Recognition

To do well in photo competitions and increase your chances of getting seen by a gallery, you have to think ahead and consider what the judges and gallery curators are looking for.

  • Submit a cohesive gallery of images. Choose a theme and stick with it.
  • You don’t need expensive equipment to take great photos, you have to have an eye.
  • Don’t expect to be found, you have to make an effort to be seen.
  • Build a professional resume/curriculum vitae. Include an artists statement.

Among some of the other tidbits of advice, and the seminar is packed with helpful hints. The presenters instruct viewers on how to build a personal brand and utilize social media to build buzz around their artwork.


One of the most important things discussed in the presentation is to keep in mind that a gallery will spend money to have an opening for your work. They will, or should be, spending money on advertising and promotions to get people to come see your work, so it’s important to know what each specific gallery is looking for beforehand. Make the effort to learn about the galleries before you make an appointment to review your portfolio. No one likes their time to be wasted!

Go to full article: How to Get Your Photography Into Galleries (Video)

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Article from: PictureCorrect Photography Tips

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