Skip to main content

Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 8 of 58

Field of View


Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 8 of 58

Field of View


Lesson Info

Field of View

Hey everyone, I'm John Greengo. I've been a photographer for 25 years, and one of the things I love most about photography is cameras that can change lenses, because when you change the lens, you change the camera, and there's lots of different lenses, and each lens has its own unique characteristics, traits, its own little quirks, its own personality, and so you use them for different types of purposes. And I like teaching about photography, and showing what they do, but a lot of times it's in the classroom, and I wanted to come out into the real world, and showcase what these lenses do, and the implications of using them in different types of ways. All right folks, let me introduce you to our cast of characters here. I have carefully selected nine lenses to represent the entire range that are available on the market today. There are many ones in between, but I think these are good representative models of the different things that you can do in photography. We're gonna start with a n...

ormal lens. We're gonna explore the world of wide angle. We're gonna go into the world of telephoto, and kind of the plan for what we're gonna do, is we're gonna have a camera mounted right at home plate, and we're gonna take these lenses, mounted on the camera, pointed into the outfield, and really layout what you can see with the lenses, and some of the characteristics and features of each of these lenses, as we go through the range. All right, let's start with the 50 millimeter lens. Let's take it over to home plate. Okay, let's take a look at what we see with a 50 millimeter lens. All right, I'm gonna start recording on my camera, so you can see exactly from my camera's position, as well as other camera positions, the distance I am from my camera here. You can see I'm a fairly normal distance, and the 50 really mimics the way we see with our own eyes. The size relationship of the subject, versus the background, versus other subjects in there, and so good 50 millimeter is a good simple, basic standard lens. Now before we go too far into this, one thing I need to remind everyone of, is that we are filming this in HD format, which is this really wide format. When we shoot pictures with our camera, we have a little bit more squarish format, and so when we take still photos, it's gonna be a little bit bigger in the frame, and our wide angle is gonna be the same, but what we're doing is from side to side, so that is gonna be the same, so be aware that there's different frame sizes with different types of cameras. All right, it's time to show you what we can actually see with these lenses. We got the 50 millimeter lens on here. I've got my two helpers out here, and I need to get them exactly on the frame, so we got John over here. John, let's have you come in a little bit. A step. Okay, right about there, stop, that's good. All right, let's roll them out. Take them out. Is this gonna work? I hope this works, look at this. So this is what you see with a 50 millimeter lens. Look at this. You can see the angle of view. Exactly with a 50 millimeter lens. Sweet. So there we go. There's your 50 millimeter lens. You know exactly what it's sees. You can actually mimic what a 50 millimeter lens sees like, if you just put your hands in I call them movie hands. Bend your elbows a little bit, kind of point around. That's exactly what you see with a 50 millimeter lens. Sweet, nice job guys. All right, now we have the 24 millimeter lens on here. This is straight in the middle of wide angle. It's one of my personal favorite focal lengths. I love it for landscape, travel photography, and one thing you need to know about these wide angle lenses, when you start getting pretty wide, you start getting a little distortion. Let me show you what distortion is. All right, so let's take a look in the camera. You'll notice this ball looks pretty round in the middle of the frame, but when I move off to the side, it's gonna look a little oblong, or if I come over here, and I hold it up high in the corner, it doesn't look necessarily quite as round. So, that's some of the distortion. We have this stretching effect that we get with the wide angles. So let's get our paper rollers in here, and let's roll out the 24s. Okay, let's roll. So there you go. Now you can clearly see 50, 35, 24. How much do you see? They're just different steps along the scale. One of the aspects that we're just gonna touch on in this little demonstration of lenses, is the aperture of the lens. Now this lens is a 24 f1.4 lens, which is a very wide opening, that lets in a lot of light. Something serious photographers really like to do, is have shallow depth of field. So they like getting a lens with 1.4, shooting it at 1.4, having their subject in focus, and their background out of focus. And with this lens, the wide angles, kind of everything is in focus, so I got Jen out here, I'm gonna take a photo of her, and I'm gonna have the camera set on f1.4. So let's, Jen, all right, there we go. And so we'll do a couple of shots. All right. Now, I'm gonna change the aperture down to f8. All right, this is kind of middle of the aperture range, and I'm gonna shoot some more photos here. Here we go Jen. Looks good. And you can see our lines going off to the edge, right where that's 24. Now there's not that much difference. If we compare these shots, the 1.4 versus the f8, there's not that much difference in depth of field, because this is a wide angle lens, and wide angle lenses tend to keep everything in focus, and so if you get a wide angle lens, the reason to get one with a really fast aperture, is it allows you to use a very fast shutter speed. So this is a great lens for shooting action close up. This is something that a wedding photographer would love. Think of a wedding ceremony, or the reception, and the dance in a dark hall. This would be a great lens for something like that. All right, we've moved up to the 100 millimeter lens, and one of the things that's different about this particular lens, is that it has a tripod mount, and this gives us a better center of gravity, and so I'm gonna put it in on our tripod right here, and it's a little bit better balanced now, and you're gonna see this on more of the medium to higher end telephoto lenses. Now we have Jen out here, and we're gonna get a portrait shot, and one of the things about the 100 millimeter lens, and when I say 100, I'm also talking about the 85, the 105s, the 135s, everything in that neighborhood, if you will. This is a really great place for shooting portraits, so Jen let's go ahead and get some portraits of you. Make sure we're up and rolling here. And get the right aperture. And let's get your focus set. Let me grab my loop, so I can make sure this is in focus. And there we go, pulling Jen into focus there. You can see how she's in focus, and the background is out of focus, and this is why we like a lot of our portraits. Now another thing about this particular lens, is that this is a macro lens, and there's a number of macro lenses, which means it's really good at closeup capability. Sometimes they're called micro lenses. And so Jen, come on up really close. We're gonna go in for the extreme closeup, and we're gonna move this lens up to closeup, and watch how close can get up. In fact, there is Jen's eye, and so this lens can get up super close. Look how close she is to the front of the camera. Just ridiculously close. So if you wanna shoot flowers, or something like that, thanks Jen, you can do that with a macro lens. Now these do come in different focal lengths, but one of the most popular is 100 millimeter. So, that's some of the great things about this lens, so I think it's time for us to roll out the paper. So let's get the rollers out, and let's get this 100 millimeter marked out on the field. There we go, now we're getting some real color in here. Getting to be a narrower angle of view, that's what teleophotos are. They're narrower than our standard angle of view. Nice job guys. Looks good. All right, it's time for another portrait shot of Jen here, with the 100 millimeter. This is one of my favorite areas to shoot portraits with. Very nice focal length. Not that far, I can talk to Jen, I can give her some direction, if I want her to move a little bit forward, or a little bit further away. Not in her bubble space, but I have this nice, soft out of focus background, and I'm shooting at 2.8, and there's a lot of portrait lenses that go down to f2, and f1.4, and that can really throw the background out of focus, but even at 2.8, it's still looking really nice. All right, we're finally up to the big 800 here. Now this, yes, it is as heavy as it looks. There's a lot of very high quality glass in here. This is not a lens you wanna handhold, and I know there's a few people out there who's really burly, and like yeah, I shoot with this handheld all the time, and yeah you could rip off a few shots like that, but you really wanna have this on a monopod, or a really good steady tripod, because this thing is heavy, and it's gonna wear your arms out in no time flat, and so monopods are really good, if you need to be moving around and very mobile, but a tripod is a great way to work. Now, the type of people that buy an 800 millimeter lens are obviously serious photographers. Usually they're into either two things I think of, bird photography, kind of in that whole wildlife genre, and surfing photography, where you're shooting from the shoreline, and you got people way out there, because this thing is a very narrow angle of view, and so, how narrow is it? Well, let's get those rolls out, and let's show you how narrow this is. This is for shooting people in the outfield. We are way too close with the pitcher on the mound, or second base, so let's get those rolls, come on out, and let's get this going. Okay. Okay, let's roll. Go ahead and walk on the paper, you're fine. There we go. All right. All right, we got the 800 on here, and we've got Jen positioned all the way out on second base for her tight portrait. And so when I'm shooting this portrait, it's head and shoulders, but she is all the way out on second base, and so this would be too long a lens for somebody on second base. I would need them to be way in the outfield.

Class Description

Working with interchangeable lenses can be both exciting and daunting to all levels of photographers. Canon® Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will prepare you to select the right lens and get the most out of all of your lens investments.

John Greengo is the master of making complex photography concepts easy to understand and in this class, he’ll bring all of your Canon EOS DSLR lens options and operations into focus. 

You’ll learn about: 

  • Focal length and aperture
  • Canon zoom lenses
  • Which lens accessories to buy
  • Third-party lenses
  • Maintaining a lens system

John will cover the full range of Canon lenses, from ultra-wide to super-telephoto, zooms to primes, fisheye to perspective control. You’ll learn how to match the right lens to your needs and get insights on the best ways to use it.

Whether you are thinking about buying a new lens or just want to get the most out of what you already have, Canon Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will help you out.


  1. Class Introduction
  2. Canon Lens Basics

    John Greengo gets you up-to-speed on the basics of working with interchangeable Canon® lenses.

  3. Focal Length: Angle of View
  4. Focal Length: Normal Lenses
  5. Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses
  6. Focal Length: Telephoto Lens
  7. Focal Length Rule of Thumb
  8. Field of View
  9. Aperture Basics
  10. Aperture: Maximum Aperture
  11. Aperture: Equivalent Focal Length
  12. Aperture: Depth of Field
  13. Aperture: Maximum Sharpness
  14. Aperture: Starburst Effect
  15. Aperture: Flare
  16. Aperture: Hyperfocal Distance
  17. Camera Mount System
  18. Canon Lens Compatibility
  19. Canon Lens Design
  20. Canon Lens Composition
  21. Canon Lens Shape
  22. Canon Lens Coating
  23. Canon Lens Focusing
  24. Lens Autofocus
  25. Canon Lens Image Stabilization
  26. Canon L Lenses
  27. Image Quality
  28. Canon Zoom Lenses: Standard
  29. Canon Super Zooms
  30. Canon Wide Zooms
  31. Canon Telephoto Zooms
  32. Prime Lens: Normal Lenses
  33. Prime Lens: Moderate Wide
  34. Prime Lens: Wide Angle
  35. Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide
  36. Prime Lens: Short Telephoto
  37. Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto
  38. Prime Lens: Super Telephoto
  39. 3rd Party Lenses Overview
  40. 3rd Party Prime Lenses
  41. 3rd Party Zoom Lenses
  42. Lens Accessories: Filters
  43. Lens Accessories: Lens Hoods
  44. Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount
  45. Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes
  46. Lens Accessories: Extenders
  47. Macro Lens: Reproduction Ratio
  48. Macro Lens: Technique and Choices
  49. Fisheye: Technique and Choices
  50. Tilt Shift: Techniques and Choices
  51. Make a Lens System Choice
  52. Choosing A Portrait Lens
  53. Choosing A Sports Lens
  54. Choosing A Landscape Lens
  55. Best Lenses for You
  56. Lens Maintenance
  57. Buying and Selling Lens
  58. What is John Greengo's Favorite Lens?



I so appreciate what a good teacher John is. I wish I would have known this much about lenses when I first started out buying my lenses. It was hard finding information about lenses. I didn't want to spend money on a lens I wouldn't use. The better understanding we have about our gear the better photographers we will be. I have never seen a class like this. Invaluable...yes I bought the class! I am really impressed with the high quality photography classes available on Creative Live!

a Creativelive Student

Have loved the other John Greengo classes I've watched & purchased - and this is another winner! Having been a high school/college science teacher, it is refreshing to take a course with someone who not only is extremely experienced, seems to be a computer having stored so much knowledge, but is equally concerned about making the information truly understandable to different levels. And he shares the information using every tool he can: slides, video, interactive presentations, and great quizzes. I learned so much about my Canon lenses - and lenses in general with their many components. I am excited about testing each of mine to see what macro ratio they handle, and especially appreciated the tutorial on testing each for their specific quirk that affects super sharpness. This class is great whether you own Canon lenses or not. Thanks John Greengo!


This was a great class not just about the lenses that Canon offers but also how each lens works. As usual, John's slides are alway informative and entertaining. There is a phrase: John has a slide for that! I am not even a Canon user and found this class to have great information for the use of each specific lens. Great work John! Thank you Creative Live for another great class!