PART 2: UNDERSTANDING THE NUMBERS ON LENSES:

HERE WE GO! UNDERSTANDING ALL THOSE NUMBERS

You have your new camera, and so far you like it. Now it’s time to look at adding more lenses to your equipment. Not sure what all those numbers mean? That is what we are here for!

WHAT DOES THE FIRST SET OF NUMBERS MEAN?

As you look at the top of your lens, or the front of your lens, the very first set of numbers, or number, tells you what the focal length of your lens is. For example the photo above show the focal length of your lens to be: 24-105mm. How does that equate to anything? Here is your reference point:

A normal lens is one who’s focal-length is equal to the diagonal of the sensor or film. This is said to give a natural perspective similar to that of a single human eye.

On a full-frame DSLR, it is usually a 50mm lens. On a cropped-sensor (APS-C) DSLR, a normal lens falls around 35mm but from 30 to 55mm, it would still be considered normal. For Four-Thirds and Micro Four-Thirds, you would use a 25mm. Usually most manufacturers make sure to have one bright prime that corresponds to the normal focal-length for the sensor-size.

Then going back to the lens above, let’s suppose your camera is a DSLR camera. The normal lens would then be about 30mm. If you were to look through the lens, it would appear that the image is the same size as what you see, without the camera. Then, if you go below the number 30mm you enter the range of wide angle lenses. Which means that the lens pushing the image back further to get more into the picture.

Definition of “WIDE ANGLE LENS”

(Photography) a lens system on a camera that can cover an angle of view of 60° or more and therefore has a fairly small focal length. Any number that is less than 30 is therefore a wide angle lens.

Definition of “telephoto” lens:

A telephoto lens is a lens that appears to magnify distant objects. To do that, they need to have a focal length longer than that of a normal lens, or a lens that approximates the optical qualities of the human eye. A normal lens has a focal length of 30mm on a full frame camera so any lens with a focal length longer than 30mm can be considered a telephoto lens. The longer the focal length, the more magnification there is.

WHAT IS THE PROPER USE OF WIDE ANGLE AND TELEPHOTO LENSES:

Generally, a normal lens (around 30mm) is used for…. normal everyday use. Photos of the family, the dog, the cat, the things around the house.

A wide angle lens is most popular for landscape or scenic photos, to get the whole picture into the frame.

And the telephoto is generally used to bring objects in closer to you. The most common use is for wildlife, sports, and things from afar.

NEXT SET OF NUMBERS:

CANON ZOOM LENS WITH ALL THE NUMBERS.

THE “APERTURE RANGE”

Every lens has an aperture in it. It controls the amount of light getting through the lens. This has another major function that photographers really use and that is the “depth of field”. That has been discussed before in a previous blog. JUST : CLICK HERE

It is usually expressed in f-stops such as f/1.4 and stated on the name of the lens. For example, the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G lens has a maximum aperture of f/1.4, whereas the Nikon 50mm f/1.8G has a maximum aperture of f/1.8.

One lens, and several different aperture openings:

Here is where it can get interesting and you can see why the price of a lens goes up. Listed below is a list of Nikon lenses. And they are all 50mm lenses. You can see the Nikkor lens 50mm F1.8 lens lists for only $134.95. Now go to the second lone on the list: Nikkor 50mm 1.4D lens. It sells for $369.95. And go to the top one: the 50mm f1.2 lens sells for $724.95.

50mmf/1.2NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2FXM$724.95Get a quick view for the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2
50mmf/1.4AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4DFXAF$369.95Get a quick view for the AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D
50mmf/1.4AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4GFXAF-S$449.95Get a quick view for the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm F1.4G
50mmf/1.4NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4FXM$469.95Get a quick view for the NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4
50mmf/1.8AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8DFXAF$134.95

The difference between each 50 mm lens is that the f1.4 lens lets in almost twice the amount of light through it than the f1.8 lens. I don’t know how many actual lens elements are in each lens, but, say they have 14 elements in the lens. That would mean the f1.4 lens elements, all 14 of them have to be made larger than the f1.8 lens. But if you are a person who wants the lens to be able to shoot in lower light, then the f1.4 lens is a better choice. Better still, the f1.2 which doubles the amount of light transmission would even be better. But you would end up paying for all those elements in the lens housing to be bigger than the previous version.

So, in summary on this number, the lens with the smallest number, let’s a lot more light through the lens than a lens with a bigger number. And that allows you to also have a depth of field even smaller, but, the usual case for having a lens with a lower aperture number is usually to allow you to shoot in lower light.

THE LAST IMPORTANT NUMBER:

Most lenses have this important number on it. It is a 2 digit number with a circle and a line through that circle.

THE FINAL IMPORTANT NUMBER TO KNOW IS THE FILTER SIZE THE LENS TAKES.

On this photo above, all lenses (at least I think almost all lenses) have a number to tell you what size filter this lens takes or the size of the lens cap. If you are a photographer who uses filters (and I think all photographers should use filters), you will appreciate knowing what size filters you would need to enhance your photography. On this lens above, the filter size is a 72mm. That is a big filter, but certainly good to know. If you would like to learn more about using filters, CLICK HERE AND one more link: CLICK THIS ONE TOO

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NIKON TO OFFER 50 NEW “Z” LENSES BY 2025

Nikkor lenses are some of the best and have a huge variety of lenses

We are going to see a huge new surge in lenses within the next few years. All because so many of the brands of cameras changed their lens mount. Why? Because they changed from a DSLR camera, which uses lenses that are about the same size as the older 35mm film cameras, to the smaller mirrorless cameras which made it so the lenses mount, and the lenses went smaller. And that means what was good with one type of lens mount, they will now need to do the same thing to the smaller lens mounts, such as the new NIKON Z camera series.

NIKON Z LENSES NOW

As of this writing, Nikon makes about 27 lenses already for their Z camera series. So, that means they will release about 23 more lenses in the next few years. It is amazing how many lenses need to be created to accomplish all the different types of photography there is (Hmmm, that might be a good blog subject).

7 New lenses are about to be released soon:

With that being said, it is obvious that they have some already announced or rumored to be releases soon:

  • A 12-28mm DX zoom
  • A 200-600mm super-telephoto zoom
  • A 24mm DX lens
  • A 26mm lens
  • An 85mm S-line lens
  • A 400mm S-line lens
  • A 600mm S-line lens

Of course, that leaves many future lenses unaccounted for, though I’d certainly wager that we’ll get a 70-200mm f/4 lens, designed as a low-cost 70-200mm f/2.8 alternative. Look for a 500mm f/4 S-line lens, designed for bird and wildlife photographers, and several wider primes (including, perhaps, a 14mm f/2.8 and/or a 35mm f/1.4).

Once Nikon has covered all its more “conventional” bases, keep an eye out for the specialty lenses: fisheye lenses and zoom lenses, additional macro prime lenses, and tilt shift lenses. In the meantime, Nikon mirrorless shooters can still gain access to basic and specialty models via the FTZ adapters.

HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO THEIR COMPETITORS: CANON AND SONY?

CANON; Canon currently has 25 lenses in their RF series of lenses. The RF lenses are the lenses Canon makes for their smaller mirrorless cameras. And they are planning on releasing about 30 more in the next 5 years. That should complete their lineup.

SONY: Well, Sony has had a head start on their lens lineup for about the last 7 years. So they already have about 70 lenses for their mirrorless cameras. Sony hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, either, so for now – and for the foreseeable future – Sony will continue to lead the pack.

Sony is already ahead of the game with close to 70 lenses in their lineup.

HOW TO PICK AND CHOOSE A LENS:

I was looking through my arsenal of information I have available, but the best one is in my professional course, that describes how lenses can be used, what millimeter lenses are the best, etc. Go to my professional course titled “BASIC PHOTO COURSE”, and it is here at this link. Click here.

NOW WHAT WILL YOU DO TO

If you are serious about photography, you will want to get some extra lenses for your tools. It is amazing how your photography can be enhanced with a variety of lenses. You can choose a lens for the following reasons:

  • A wide angle lens for taking breathtaking landscapes
  • A macro lens for taking pictures close-up
  • A telephoto lens to get photos of wildlife
  • A fast lens to be able to shoot in low light
  • A fisheye lens to get almost a 180 degree view
  • A lens to take the perfect portrait
  • And so many other types of subjects.

Coming next blog: learn why there are so many different lenses, what makes a lens cost more than others, what are the different uses of lenses? Complete instruction on lenses and their uses.

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NEW OLYMPUS CO. INTRODUCES FIRST LENS:

The new Olympus OM System Company introduces a new 20mm 1.4 lens

It’s officially time to stop calling it “Olympus” kit – the first ever product to be launched under the new OM System brand is the M.Zuiko 20mm f/1.4 Pro lens. 

First announced in September, the Olympus OM System M.Zuiko 20mm f/1.4 Pro is the manufacturer’s first ever f/1.4 lens, bridging the gap between its ultra-compact line of f/1.8 Premium primes and the ultra-fast line of f/1.2 Pro glass. 

And just a perfect lens to introduce. A 20mm 1.4 lens is the perfect lens for those who want to shoot in low light. And a wide angle to boot, this is going to be a good one.

TECHNICAL DETAILS:

At 63.4 x 61.7mm and 247g, the OM System M.Zuiko 20mm f/1.4 Pro is considerably smaller and lighter than the 17mm f/1.2 and 25mm f/1.2 Pro lenses – and it’s even smaller than the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-45mm f/4 Pro (which the manufacturer infamously pointed out weighs about as much as a large apple), and shares the same 58mm filter thread.  

A 40mm equivalent lens in full-frame / 35mm terms, the 20mm f/1.4 sits comfortably between existing the 17mm (35mm equivalent) and 25mm (50mm) options in the M.Zuiko lineup. 

With a closest focusing distance of 0.25m, it’s a great all-purpose optic for travel, street photography, landscapes and everyday shooting – especially with its IPX1 weather sealing.

AMAZING LENSES INSTALLED, THIS ONE IS SHARP!

Its optical formula features 11 high-quality elements in 10 groups including 1 Super ED (extra-low dispersion) lens, 3 ED lenses, 2 Super HR (high refractive) lenses and 2 Aspherical lenses). 

And to make it even more exciting to see it in action, they have provided us with a video. CHECK IT OUT:

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Want to learn about a particular subject in photography? Try out this amazing new search system. Just type in your subject, and watch the links appear. I have close to 1500 blogs done, and none are the same. You may find several blogs on the subject you want to know about. Try it:

HOW TO TAKE PICTURES OF STRANGERS

Photo by Max Nayman on Unsplash

I thought this subject was interesting. I am going to put this under the title:

HOW TO DO “STREET PHOTOGRAPHY”

There are a few tips that you need to do, to be a good “street photographer”, or take pictures of Strangers. Let’s get to it:

First of all, I have a very good friend in France who is a master of Street Photography. She has won awards for her work, and I am always amazed when I see her photos. She is really, really good. Her name is Elisabeth Engels, and I will use mostly her photos.

First of all, I want to point out that taking pictures of strangers faces is against the law, unless you get permission from the stranger to do so.

We will go into the techniques photographers use to take facial pictures of strangers. But first, let’s get into the tips of taking pictures on the street, or where strangers usually are.

  1. Use a wide angle lens to get a picture of a very wide area. That way when you do post processing, you can crop into the area that you want in your photo:
The big goal in doing street photography, is to see people in their environment. What are their lives like. Can you put in to words what it’s like to be downtown in a busy city if you have never been there. Show the environment of the people you photograph.

2- Use a small aperture, say F16 or higher. This way you get more in to your depth of focus. Generally you would take these kind of pictures during the day. Street photography is something you can do at night, but using F16 or F22 at night is not easy to do to capture people in action.

Notice that this photo was shot with a high aperture….. everything seems to be well focused.

3- Use a high ISO setting to get the fast speed you may want from someone in action:

A high ISO setting will allow you to freeze action on subjects that are moving.

4- This is a trick that is very fun to try, but, don’t expect perfect results all the time. But, Focus your lens (manually of course) to about 5 to 10 meters away from you, so if you want to do closer photos, you can snap the photo without anyone knowing, and keep the camera about waist level if possible.

The perfect distance to get a good photo of people, and to fill your frame.

5- Walk towards places of photographic interest. When you see an interesting scene turn the camera towards it and take your photo. Avoid tilting the camera too much, as this will mean more work in post processing.

There’s a perfect distance to be if you just want to quickly snap a photo. Try the 5 to 10 meter rule on this.

The Undercover Photographer

The next approach involves the use of a longer focal length lens. In this case you are counting on the stranger not noticing you, as you are a little distance away. However, any photographer with a large lens will eventually begin to attract attention. This means you will need to see your photo, take it as quickly as you can, and then move on.
What if you get noticed taking the photo? This can go two ways. They may either just carry on what their doing, or you could be faced with a confrontation. If you are faced with a confrontation the best thing to do is be polite, and withdraw as quickly as you can.

Taking photos of people or things from a distance will get you photos that are just that much more amazing. If you have a big lens, try getting things you wouldn’t normally get.

All the above photos are courtesy of Elisabeth Engels. Copyright permission granted by photographer.

The Photographer Who Blends In

A final approach is to attempt to blend in, and become part of the scenery. The type of lens you us is up to you, though as you are likely to still be some distance away from your main subject, a longer focal length might be better. In this case you just want to find a quiet corner, near to the place you wish to photograph.
Now sit down, read a book, drink a coffee, and just disappear from people’s awareness. After a while nobody will be paying attention to you, and at this point it’s time to take some photos. Take a few photos, and then get back to your book, then take a few more. Once you have blended in, you don’t want to be taking so many photos that people begin to notice you again.

All the photos below were courtesy of Simon Bond, and his text is also used. This comes from the article he wrote: https://expertphotography.com/street-photography-how-to-take-pictures-of-strangers/

fish market scene, a man sits between train tracks with a basket of fish in front of him. street photography
Other elements in the frame can give context to the photo. Here you can see this is a market on a train track, and the tracks frame the person nicely.

When the Stranger Knows Their Portrait Is Being Taken

Allowing the subject of your street photo to know their photo is taken will often mean asking permission. This takes confidence. You also have the problem that the photo is now staged, even if you tell the stranger to “act natural”.  So what possible solutions are there to these problems? Well it’s best to take a step by step approach to this.

Gaining the Confidence to Ask

Building up the confidence for photographing strangers isn’t easy, especially if you’re new to street photography. There are a number of sensible steps you can take that will help you though, so let’s run through these.

  • Technique – Being totally confident in your portrait taking technique will give you more confidence to photograph a stranger. Try practising some portraits with a friend. When you feel ready, begin approaching strangers.
  • Gentle approach – Build a friendship with the people you wish to photograph. This might mean leaving the camera at home the first few times. When you feel confident around the people you wish to photograph, bring your camera and broach the subject.
  • Stay local – You’ll always be more confident in an area you know. So start photographing strangers in an area that isn’t strange to you!
  • Experience – If you know someone who is good at street photography, ask if you can come with them the next time they take photos. Watch what they do, the techniques they employ. This should make it easier for you, as you will have seen how to approach someone successfully. You can then try those ideas yourself!
Street photography portrait of a man in a dark peaked capped and yellow scarf, looking at the camera
In this photo I like the gentleman’s hat. I told him this when he asked why I wanted to take his photo, and then he agreed to let me take this image.

Building a Rapport With Your Stranger

Once you have agreement from a stranger to take their photo the next step is to get that image. The best way to begin this is to find out a bit about them. This serves two purposes, it makes them more relaxed, and it will inform you about the style of photo that will best fit their personality.


How about when you are in a country where you don’t speak the language? Admittedly, you’re unlikely to find out too much about them, but non-verbal cues can go a long way. You might be able to use your finger as a place for them to look, as this may lead to better light on their face.


If you smile, they’ll likely respond with a smile, and you can use this non-verbal communication to build a good rapport.

Close up street photography portrait of a man with white beard and hat in a market
Getting permission is not always easy, especially in foreign countries. A smile and being polite can go a long way.

Conclusion:

As a street photographer, or one who wants to take pictures of strangers, make sure you never take their privacy away. Ask a person, if you have any of their face in the picture. Try taking photos that show the scenery they are in. You will have less problem with copyright or anything that could get you into legal trouble. But, have fun.