Choosing the Right Camera Lens

Lesson 16/35 - Lens Technology


Choosing the Right Camera Lens


Lesson Info

Lens Technology

Alright, let's get back to Canon now. Canon has a lot of different letters that they use for describing what particular feature their lens has. And I think, what happens at these manufacturers is they come up with a new thing to solve a problem on a lens and then there's a team of people that works on it and they present it to the design chief and then, what they're hopin' for is that it gets accepted and they get a letter that they get to add to the name of the lens. Because if it's a letter that they add to the name of the lens, that's a very important attribute of that particular lens. So, Canon has full frame lenses known as EF lenses. They have the 1.6 crop factors, which is EFs. Their pro lenses are L lenses. And so I'm not gonna go through each and every one of these. But you may wanna look up this information if you are more interested in it. And there is actually more things on here. Their ultrasonic motor is a fast and silent motor. Their stepping motor is very good for shoot...

ing video. We talked about the diffractive optics in their smaller lenses. And then they have a special category of macro lenses as well. Now, the most letter-happy company is definitely Nikon. They have more different letters that they have used for everything else. So they have letter for full frame, for crop frame, for all the different types of motors that they use in their lenses. They'll even describe whether it's used in internal focusing, or what type of glass is used in there. None of this information is critical when you're actually using the lens, but it just helps identify what features they have added to that particular. It kind of adds to help selling the lens, oh, it's got the nano crystal coating on this lens, that's gonna make it easier to clean with, for instance. The ones that are really important, are the letters that deal with lens communication and compatibility with lenses. And so, whether you have an AFD, or a G lens, or an E lens, that's gonna be important so that you can get your lens connected up with the correct body. So, there is that information out there, I gave you, in the previous section. But you wanna make sure that you get the right lenses for the right body with Nikon, because they have an evolutionary change that is slowly changing. Anytime you have a body and lens within about 10 years of each other, you're good. But once things start stretching 30 years, things are probably not gonna work in 100% compatibility. Sony has a lot of their own names that are kind of similar. They're gonna have a full frame, and a crop frame. Sony has also worked with a German company called Zeiss. And there are Sony lenses. There are Sony lenses that have some Zeiss influence to them. And then there are Zeiss lenses that Zeiss makes on their own, according to their own needs, that fit and work perfectly well on the Sonys. We're not gonna be talking about the Zeiss lenses, but we will be talking about the Sony lenses that have the kind of, the Zeiss blood, circulating throughout it. They have their Gold Series, their G Master Series. They have their own letters for steady shot, for instance. And then they have all of their different letters for the different types of coatings and motors that they use on the lens. As I say, we don't have time to go through all of these, but these do describe the different types of features that are in each lens. Fuji has a relatively fresh and new system. And so, they don't have quite as many letters as everybody else. They have a very simple lens system in the sense that all of the X cameras, fir all of the X lenses and vice versa. It's very, very simple. There's been no major changes. Because all of this is within the last eight years roughly, that they've been making all of this. And so, they do have their own similar letters like ED, for extra-low dispersion glass. Their linear motors are very quick in focusing, image stabilization, like a lot of manufacturers have. The R means there's an aperture ring, which is nice for that tactile feel. And they are introducing a lot of weather resistant lenses as well. The apodizing filter, apodization filter, allows you to change the look of the bouquet or the out-of-focus area. That's on only one special lens there. Olympus probably has the fewest special letters out there. But don't hold that against them. They're just trying to keep things nice and simple. They have been adding pro to a lot of their top-end lenses as well. And they do use a few letters here and there to indicate particular features that they might have, and electronic zoom, for instance, or what type of motor is in it. Panasonic will have their own features, and Panasonic does a lot of work with Leica. And so, they will kind of, co-build a lens with some Leica technology and ideas and standards, quality standards in them, as well. And so you might see the word Leica on there, as well. And it's not that Leica's building the lenses, but it meets certain Leica standards in quality and they do tend to be very good lenses. And so once again you'll see a lot of these different lens elements. Now, I do have all of this listed in the PDF that comes with the class, and so, if you wanna copy that all down, you don't have to scribble notes right now, you can just download the PDF and there is basically, a page that has all of those on it at the same time.

Class Description

Once you’ve chosen the camera of your dreams, how do you know which lens will maximize your camera’s capabilities? Join camera expert John Greengo as he explains what the best lenses are to add to your camera bag. He’ll explain:

  • Which lens is best for specific areas of photography
  • The technology behind lenses
  • How to use specialty lenses including macro and fisheye
  • Tips on operating and maintaining your lenses

John will also talk about lens accessories including hoods, mounts, filters, and teleconverters. By the end of this class, you’ll understand exactly what lens you’ll need to take your best photos!


Boris Dimitrov

Excellent class packed with incredibly useful knowledge. John is an amazing lecturer. He has also developed really great materials to help explain all the concepts and technologies that are explored in the class. Looking forward to my next class with him!

a Creativelive Student

Great class. So informative. John Greengo is such a fantastic tutor and explains everything in such and easy-to-understand way. I would highly recommend this class. Prior to doing this class, I was so confused about which lenses are best for various photography. Now I understand lenses completely. Thanks John!

Lettie Turner

Another great JG class, my 4th. He gives a lot of individual attention to several popular lens brands. I really think after seeing this video series you could pick out three lenses that would fit your needs and your pocketbook. The class handout is spot on for what is covered in the video. Great job!! Thank you