ZOOM LENS, OR SEVERAL LENSES?

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

Zoom lens vs. several lenses has been a question a lot of photographers go through. For example, should you buy a 75-300 Zoom lens, OR 100mm Macro lens, a 85mm F1.2 lens, and a 300mm F2.8? When you look at the combinations there, it’s a matter of numbers and what they all mean. Let’s go through them:

WHAT DO ALL THOSE NUMBERS MEAN?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MM OF THE LENS?

First, we are going to go through each set of numbers on a lens and tell you what the meaning of each is. Seems that these numbers mean something. And the first number we will talk about is the millimeter of the lens. Let’s start with a reference number:

The first number we need to know is the “normal lens millimeter”. In today’s digital camera lenses, a 28mm is about the closest thing to a normal lens. What is a normal lens? It’s about the same thing as what your eye sees. So, if you had a normal 28mm lens on your camera, you picked it up and looked through the camera lens, what you see looks about the same whether you look through the camera, or view the subject without a camera and lens. There seems to be no change in strength or wide angle. With that being a normal lens, then something that is double the magnification would be a 56mm lens. So, now the subject is closer by double, or 2X closer.

Telephoto lenses:

Telephoto lens and also a zoom lens

There is a couple of things to notice as you use a telephoto lens. 1- Your angle of view in the lens also decreases by half, the bigger the lens. For example: if you go to a 56mm lens, the amount of area you see in your lens vs. the normal lens is now cut in half. But, the advantage, of course, when you use a telephoto lens, is that the subject is closer to you by 2X.

If you went to a 112mm lens (although they don’t make a lens with that mm), you double the magnification again by 2X from the 56mm, or 4X closer than your normal lens.

Now, you can see what happens when you go to a lens that is 300mm. That is a little over 10X stronger than your normal lens or what you see with the naked eye.

And lenses get bigger than that, of course. And guess what the next problem is with a big lens? It is hard to hand hold a lens that has that kind of magnification. So, most lenses that are around 300mm or bigger, have a tripod mount, right on the lens.

As you can see on this big lens, there is a tripod mount on the bottom of the lens. That is a balance point for the weight of the lens and the camera. That is the place that is usually makes it balanced well.

WIDE ANGLE LENSES:

Back to our reference point of 28mm: if we go the other direction, say 28mm and go to a 14mm lens, you do the opposite of the telephoto lens. It tends to look like the image in the camera has been pushed way back away from you. It is 1/2X power. But, the reason people pick up wide angle lenses is that it shows more area in the lens. You see twice as much angle in this wide angle as you do with the normal lens. Ideal for scenery and landscape photos.

ZOOM LENSES:

A zoom lens is a lens that is configured to give you a variety of lenses, all in one lens.

An 18-300mm zoom lens

If you look closely at this zoom lens, you will see a ring that goes from 18mm to 300mm. That means this one lens, has an 18mm lens in it. A wide angle lens. 28mm can be dialed in as well, so you have a normal lens. And now it goes up to 300mm, which is a powerful telephoto lens. All of this in one lens. One lens takes care of almost all of your photographic needs.

OR DOES IT?

Let’s take a look at our model lens again:

This model lens here is also a zoom lens, but, it covers only the area in the wide angle area: a 10 -18mm lens. That is super wide. Let’s look at the other number we need to be aware of: It says: 1: 4.5 – 5.6! If you remember how your aperture works in a lens, they will sometimes go from 3.5 – 5.6 for your kit lens. That is the maximum the aperture will range from at the biggest opening. The aperture is what lets in so much light. The lower the number, the more light gets through the lens. That is the number they put on the lens so you can see that it doesn’t really let in much light, but, not bad.

That is the problem with a zoom lens. It has this moving lens system within the barrel of the lens, that takes away the amount of light getting through the lens. If you could buy a zoom lens with a smaller F number, like a 2.8, you would also have double the amount of actual glass, or more. And the cost goes way up.

LENSES WITH LOW APERTURE NUMBERS:

The above lens here is a Canon 100mm F2.8 macro lens. List price on this lens is: $1399.00 US dollars.

The above lens here is a zoom lens that goes from 75mm – 300mm, and it’s low aperture capability is F 4.5 -5.6, meaning that at 75mm the aperture is at F4.5, and at 300mm it is 5.6. It does have a 100mm in this lens, but at 100mm it has an aperture capability of around 4.7. The list price of this lens is: $249.95US dollars.

WHY SO MANY CAMERA LENSES?

HERE IS THE COMPLETE LENS SELECTION FROM CANON. ALL OTHER MANUFACTURES HAVE ABOUT THE SAME NUMBER OF LENSES.

Every lens the manufacture makes is done for a specific purpose. That 100mm f2.8 macro lens’ purpose is to do extreme close-ups that not any other lens can do, plus, with a maximum aperture of 2.8, it is capable of doing it in lower light than any other lens that Canon makes.

SO HOW DO I CHOOSE WHAT LENS I NEED?

When you finally get to a point of getting a new lens, then it will be easily decided by what type of photography you are going to do. If you need help in getting the right lens, then get with someone who can help you. This is a service that 123PhotoGo can provide.

If you ever have a personal question about what lens you should buy, or even what camera you want to buy, I have set up a personal email hotline to ask questions. Email me to ask any technical questions you have by going to: question.123photogo@gmail.com

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