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

AS A PHOTOGRAPHER, THIS IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD HAVE:

If you are the type of photographer that likes to just plan on a “Photo Day” to go out and just take pictures in the beautiful landscape around you, then there is one thing that you should always take with you. And that would be a set of close-up filters.

If you are going out to take photos of wildlife, then this set of close-up filters should be part of your camera equipment.

If you are going out to take some portraits, or wedding photos, then you should take a set of close-up filters with you.

Close-up filters are amazingly good quality now. I have found I use a set quite often. It certainly is less expensive than a whole new macro lens. To but a set, like you see above, all you need is the filter size when you order them.

WHY SHOULD I CARRY THESE WITH ME ALWAYS?

The world of close-ups is beautiful. And to miss some of the opportunities that are around you would be devastating. It’s part of “LEARNING TO SEE” a photo. But, also, what if you go to take some photos of wildlife, and the opportunities just don’t come. Now is when you pull out the close-up filters and become a “flower Photographer” instead of a wildlife photographer. And the same thing is for the “landscape photographer”. Look around and see the beauty around you in the close-up world.


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WHAT CAN I DO WITH CLOSE-UPS AT A WEDDING OR A PORTRAIT SESSION?

Here is some great ideas for people photos and close-ups:

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WHAT SHOULD BE YOUR NEXT LENS TO PURCHASE?

shallow focus photography of brown mushrooms
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

I recently saw an article that talked about the 5 best lenses to have as a photographer. I read through the article and totally think the author missed the point of what you should buy next. Let’s take a look at what I think, and then you may make comments below.

Chances are you may have your favorite camera, and you bought it in a kit. So, you have something like an 18-55mm lens to start off with. This particular lens is a great lens to start off with. It encompasses wide angle, normal, and small telephoto all in one lens.

Then you start learning your camera, you start shooting a variety of things. Then you realize that one thing, whether it be portraits, macro, landscape, pets, or whatever, you really seem to be good at and you start taking more of those types of photos. That is how you develop into a photographer with a talent for shooting your favorite subject.

EVOLVING INTO THE NEED FOR MORE:

As you learn the subject you like to take pictures of, you will find that you need another lens. Let’s take a look at what would be your next lens with certain subjects.

1- Close up photography:

If you find that you like close-up photography, and find the close-up world fascinating, you will wish that you could get even closer. The first lens you should consider buying then, would be the MACRO LENS! This lens will allow you to get even closer to your subjects, and do amazing photos like this:

blade of grass blur bright close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Look at the lens choices for macro lenses from your camera manufacture. You may see 4 different macro lenses for your camera. What is the difference?

  • 35mm Ff2.8 macro lens – This is an all around good macro lens, and will work great. The nice thing about this particular lens is that it is probably the cheapest lens.
  • 35mm F1.8 macro lens – This one is the same as the above lens, but, it will let in more light (F1.8). In fact, looking at the two lenses side by side, this lens has almost twice the amount of glass, to let you take photos in lower light.
  • 85mm F2 Macro lens – A significant jump in millimeter. And it will let you take close-ups of bugs, flowers, without getting so close.
  • 100mm F2.8 macro – This is like the 85mm, only you get to move back even further to get your subject. This is the ideal bug lens. You won’t scare too many bugs away if that’s what you want to take pictures of.
2- PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY:

Some people have a talent for taking great portraits. And you will find out that the “kit lens” is not cutting it. You want to take great portraits, but, don’t want to be in the person’s face. You will be looking at the following lenses:

portrait of a handsome man with muscular body
Photo by emre keshavarz on Pexels.com
  • The usual one that most portrait photographers will get is the 85mm lens. And that could come with a variety of F numbers, or aperture openings. But, 2.8 I think would be sufficient.
  • The next one you might try, is a zoom lens, or a variable millimeter lens. Say the 70-200mm lens might be a good one. This will let you get a variety of photos from different angles, without being in their face.
3- LANDSCAPE OR SCENERY PHOTOGRAPHY:

Here again, the kit lens you have you will feel it is not enough. How do you get those wide vistas, the complete scenery that you see? With a wide angle lens. Sure you have a bit of a wide angle to your kit lens, but, a real wide angle lens will get you what you need.

  • Almost all camera manufactures have something like a 14-24mm lens which will do the best job. Looking through your wide angle lens could give you goose-bumps once you see what it will do for you.
There’s a lot of subjects we could cover, but for the majority of photographers, these 4 subjects should help you the most in deciding what lenses to look for first.
SPORTS PHOTOGRAPHY:

The one thing that sports photographers want is a big lens that will get them a close-up of the action shots. You will often see sports photographers along the sidelines, with their cameras on a tripod, or monopod, and the lens looks HUGE!

A typical outfit for a Sports Photographer

Nothing is more exciting than to be down on the sidelines with the other sports photographers, and your huge lens, and camera with a high speed motor drive.

  • The lens you see in the photo above is a lot of money. But, if that’s what you want to do, then you will find a way to get this lens. Let’s look at a few:

So be prepared when you go for these special sports lenses. This is the Sony 200-600mm lens, that is used a lot. Tried to find the lowest price, and Amazon’s price is: $2099.00 for this lens outfit.

This 800 mm F5.6 lens from Canon is just the key. And you can purchase this lens on a payment plan of $1016.67 for 12 months or one time purchase of $12,200.00 US Dollars.

So, if this is a field of photography you want to get in, see if you can get a sponsor who has money to help you out with this. And don’t get a cheap tripod for this either (notice the tripod mount on the lens, not the camera body).

CONCLUSION:

Your next lens purchase will be the lens that is desired by the subject of photography you want to specialize in. If you can get in to a real camera store that has these lenses you can look through, this might just make more sense.

WHEN NOT TO USE A POLARIZING FILTER, Part 2

Wow! Look how nice a polarizing filter works on faces.

WHAT DOES A POLARIZING FILTER DO?

Circular Polarizer Comparison
A polarizer reduces reflected light before it enters your lens.

Now we have the definition and ideas of what a great job a Polarizing filter will do, we find out that there are times when you don’t want to use a polarizing filter:

WHEN THE REFLECTED LIGHT HAS COLOR:

When NOT to use a Polarizer for landscape photography sunset image

Looking at this beautiful photo, you can see the beautiful reflections on the rocks, and the water. A polarizing filter would have eliminated those reflections. So, before you use a polarizing filter, make sure you really want to eliminate something that could be worth keeping.

WHEN YOU REALLY WANT THAT SUPER WET LOOK:

When not to use circular polarizers waterfalls on rock

In this photo, if the photographer would have used a polarizing filter, he would have eliminated the glare on the rocks, which actually in this case, makes it look wet. Just an added plus to have it in there.

WHEN THE LIGHT HAS GONE DOWN, OR IN A COMPLETE SHADED AREA:

Waterfall in the rainforest

This photo was actually taken after the sun went down, very slow shutter speed, and there is no reflections. You might as well remove the lens then.

The same would be for night photography. If there was a full moon, and you were taking pictures, there might be some reflection from the moon.

WHEN YOU ACTUALLY WANT REFLECTIONS IN THE WATER:

Waterfall at Silver Falls State Park

Here’s where you want the best of both worlds.

Let’s say you like the look of your image with the polarizer on. Your colors are nicely saturated and all of the glare has been reduced from the surfaces, but you’re annoyed to see that the lovely reflections in the water have either vanished or diminished.

What do you do?

The simple answer is to take two shots – one with the polarizer engaged and another without the polarizer.

Then you can blend the two exposures in Photoshop and take the best elements from each.

WHEN YOU WANT TO SHOOT RAINBOWS:

landscape photography of field with wind mill with rainbow
Photo by Paweł Fijałkowski on Pexels.com

I’m sure I’ll be corrected by our more well-educated readers, but from a polarizer’s standpoint, a rainbow is reflected light.

So if your polarizer is engaged, the rainbow will perform a disappearing act in your photo.

Disengage or remove the polarizer and – presto! – the rainbow will be back in your photograph.

CONCLUSION:

Yesterday we did the blog on the pros of using a polarizing filter, and then today, we talked about situations where it would be good not to use the polarizer.

This just shows me that when you look at a scene, look at it carefully and see if you need to make necessary changes to make it look it’s best. Always study it out before you press the button.

NOTE: for obvious reasons, a polarizing filter is something you can use on lenses that are interchangeable. They do not make polarizing filters for cell phones.


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PHOTOGRAPHIC INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OF THE DAY:

The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it!

Ansel Adams

USING “POLARIZING FILTERS” pt. 1

Polarizing filter: without, and with.

Today’s subject is “why you should use a polarizing filter for all your scenery shots”, and part 2 tomorrow is: “When you shouldn’t use a polarizing filter”.

I have checked with a lot of professional photographers who take pictures of landscapes and scenery pictures. And I think almost all of them use a “circular polarizing filter”. And here is a list of the reasons why you should use a “circular polarizing filter”:

  1. The filter eliminates reflections off anything that reflects.
  2. The dust in the air reflects light, and causes a washed out look. Using the polarizing filter eliminates all the reflections of dust in the air, giving you bluer skies.
  3. Removes reflection even on glass
  4. All plants and mountains and grass all do a certain amount of reflections. Using a polarizing filter will make all growing things have a richer natural color.
  5. They also increase contrast in the sky by removing the reflections from dust and unknown particles in the sky.
TOMORROW, I WILL GO OVER THE REASONS WHEN YOU SHOULD NOT USE A POLARIZING FILTER.
Notice how reflections are cut off dramatically when using a polarizing filter.
Our own eyes see the photo on the left, with the reflections. Many fisherman buy Polarizing sunglasses so they can see the fish in the water. But, look at the photo on the right and see how the colors are enhanced, especially the sky.

The polarizing filter is a screw on filter that would just use the threads on the front of your lens. Once you have the right size circular polarizing filter on your lens, you will notice, that it can rotate. This is the part where you actually “Polarize the light” coming through your lens. And because you can see it through the camera, you just turn the filter until it gives you the perfect colors, and contrast that is really there for you to enjoy.

Imagine what a polarizing filter will do for your flower photos too!

Are there differences in polarizing filters? Yes, between brands, there is a difference and you should get a good name brand filter. If you don’t know what is a good brand, then contact me on my email at: contact.123photogo@gmail.com.

I have one photo, that I have taken with a polarizing filter. Hope you can see how beautiful a photo will turn out using this filter in your landscape photos:

Photo by Lanny Cottrell —- using a polarizing filter.