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Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

Lesson 4 of 57

Focal Length: Normal Lenses

John Greengo

Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

4. Focal Length: Normal Lenses
John Greengo goes in-depth on the difference focal lengths make when shooting with a Nikon® lens.


  Class Trailer
Now Playing
2 Nikon Lens Basics Duration:14:05
3 Focal Length: Angle of View Duration:11:44
4 Focal Length: Normal Lenses Duration:06:41
6 Focal Length: Telephoto Lens Duration:16:22
7 Focal Length Rule of Thumb Duration:15:59
8 Field of View Duration:10:06
9 Aperture Basics Duration:15:35
10 Equivalent Aperture Duration:07:17
11 Depth of Field Duration:12:58
12 Maximum Sharpness Duration:09:50
13 Starburst Duration:06:48
14 Hyper Focal Distance Duration:18:42
15 Nikon Mount Systems Duration:26:41
16 Nikon Cine Lenses Duration:07:06
17 Nikon Lens Design Duration:20:56
19 Nikon Lens Vibration Reduction Duration:06:28
20 Image Quality Duration:04:44
22 Nikon Standard Zoom Lenses Duration:21:56
23 Nikon Super Zoom Lenses Duration:06:07
24 Nikon Wide Angle Lenses Duration:08:28
25 Nikon Telephoto Zoom Lenses Duration:16:48
26 3rd Party Zooms Overview Duration:06:06
27 3rd Party Zooms: Sigma Duration:16:02
28 3rd Party Zooms: Tamron Duration:07:31
29 3rd Party Zooms: Tokina Duration:03:50
  Class Trailer
Now Playing
1 Nikon Prime Lens: Normal Duration:13:50
2 Nikon Prime Lens: Wide Angle Duration:14:17
3 Nikon Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide Duration:09:29
7 3rd Party Primes: Sigma Duration:07:19
8 3rd Party Primes: Zeiss Duration:03:25
9 3rd Party Primes: Samyang Duration:05:34
10 Lens Accessories: Filters Duration:30:44
11 Lens Accessories: Lens Hood Duration:13:40
12 Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount Duration:04:41
15 Macro Photography Duration:19:11
16 Nikon Micro Lens Selection Duration:18:29
17 Fisheye Lenses Duration:17:59
19 Tilt Shift Lenses Duration:06:00
20 Building a Nikon System Duration:05:16
24 Nikon Lens Systems Duration:11:18
25 Lens Maintenance Duration:10:54
26 Buying and Selling Lenses Duration:17:36
27 Final Q&A Duration:12:08
28 What's in the Frame Duration:03:29

Lesson Info

Focal Length: Normal Lenses

So let's first talk about normal lenses. And so, in this case, we're talking about the 50 millimeter lens. For the most part. When we're talking about a full frame sensor, we're talking about a 35 millimeter lens for the crop frame. Users sees 40 degrees from side to side, and it could be a very useful lens for a wide variety of purposes. I think it's a great lens toe have when you have a lot of subject working area. If you have a subject that you can get closer to, let's say I just want to take a picture of this table and I could walk over here or I can walk up here. Well, if I want a certain point of view, I can decide where I want to be. I'm not just gonna stand here and zoom the lens back and forth if I decide. Oh, you know what? This would really look better from this point of view, and I have the working space, the 50 millimeters nice to have. So in this case I have a doorway and it's just, you know, big open paved area, and I can walk up closer and I could walk further back, dep...

ending on what type of shot I want. And so I think if you have interesting and good content, the 50 millimeter is kind of the default position to start with and then you decide well, either I need wide angle or more telephoto, but I think a 50 millimeter lens is a great way to learn photography. That's one of the things that I had to do when I was in college. Is the first assignment was okay, You're gonna go out and shoot photos, but all you could use is a millimeter lance. All right means you really gotta look for good content now one of the other nice side benefits of a 50 millimeter lens, because the fact that it's fairly normal is that it's relatively easy to make, and they can make it very fast where it lets in a lot of light, and we get this very shallow depth of field look and so you can get into a 50 millimeter lands that allows you to shoot really shallow depth of field for not much money. So if you're on a budget, this is the place to get a shallow depth of field. Let's because there's so many nice options. It works really nicely for street photography. So travel photography just walking down the street. You see something you want to take a picture of. It often works well, depending on the size of subject you're looking at because they're relatively simple to make. They can let in a lot of light that shell it up. The field allows you to shoot under very low lighting conditions. So if you work in a very dark environment, 50 millimeters a great place to be. Traditionally, we're gonna talk a lot about portrait photography, in which lenses are best. 50 millimeter makes a very nice portrait. Lance now depends on what you consider a portrait as far as a head and shoulders or a photograph of a person. I think it's the perfect lands for doing a head to toe shot of somebody, but it works very nicely, even in a little bit closer. They say that you shouldn't shoot head and shoulder portrait's with the 50 millimeter lens, but the reality I do a lot of travel photography is Sometimes you don't have the right lens on your camera and you got to make work what you have there. And so I think in this case, 50 does it perfectly suitable. Suitable job. Could it possibly be better? Yes, but the moment would be gone, and I would have to be on a bus on to somewhere else. And so it can work very well in those regards. So still in the normal range, 35 millimeter lands slightly wide angle. Yeah, a little bit. This is something that I kind of think of is a journalistic. Let's And so we're including a little bit more of our environment around us toe. Let us let the viewers see a little bit more about what's going on with our subject. It very much mimics the way we see with our own eyes, and so it's gonna play into all the same characteristics of the 50 millimeter lens. For the most part, when you have good content, you can use a 35 millimeter lens. You don't need to play any optical games with your subject works very good for travel in street photography, documenting the landscape around you a little bit very good for what is known as Environmental Portrait's. There's a subject, but you get to see the environment that they live. One of the things about this these lenses, is that you're probably not going to get any one commenting on your photos with a comment that says, Wow, what lens did you use? Because this is a very common ordinary lens. This is the lens that, I would say has taken more photos than all the other lenses combined. And if simply for the last fact of the last four years, all the selfie shots that were taken with phones, which are using a slightly wide angle 35 millimeter equivalent lands. And so this is what all the phones have on them for the most part, give or take a few millimeters. And so it's a very, very standard, normal but slightly wide angle last. But as I said, if you've got good content, you don't need a fancy lance, And so having great content is always a nice thing to have. Besides, I would rather have great content in the great lands. That would be my preference, but I would take both. Both are nice. All right, so some thoughts with working with the normal lands 35 to 50 range. So this is gonna have a similar angle of view to your own I. So if it just looks good to you, naturally, that's probably a good place to start natural or normal perspective. As far as the relationship between the foreground and the background, we're gonna talk more about this as we get into a wide angle and the distortion and the compression effect and telephoto. And so once again working with subjects that have a good working space. So if you're just working with the subject that you can approach and move back on, it's really nice to be able to have that 50 millimeter lens. I know sometimes you're on a boardwalk and you can't get closer. There's a fence or there's a cliff and you can't get closer. And that's when it's really nice to have that zoom lens so that you can kind of reach out and get a different angle of you. But if you can walk right up to something, consider using one of these normal lenses really emphasizes the subject and not the process, and it's it's really fun playing games and using a fisheye telephoto or some crazy type lens to create a look that most people don't have in their photographs. But as I say, this is a great type of lens to have. When you have a really good subject and you just want to showcase the subject and the subject is doing all the talking, you might say you don't need to do anything other than just let their greatness show through in your photo.

Class Description

The world of interchangeable lenses can be both exciting and confusing to all levels of photographers. Nikon® Lenses: The Complete Guide with John Greengo will help you choose 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 Nikon DSLR lens options and operations into focus. 

You’ll learn about:

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

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

Whether you are looking to buy a new lens or just want to get the most out of what you already have, John Greengo will help you to become a master of the Nikon® lens.



Outstanding class! This is a must own. You will refer back to this class many times during your photog career. John has put a ton of work into this class and it shows. Being able to download the slides and other Nikon glass info is wonderful. Even if you're not a Nikon shooter you will still gleam tons of information from this class, John covers in great detail the strength and weaknesses of each lens and when you might consider using it. I was expecting a good class, but this turned into an epic class. I watched multiple videos several times. The only bad thing I can say is I "had" to order a few more lenses! Thank you John Greengo for making a truly amazing class.


Wow! What a course! Very in depth, lots of valuable information. John instructs with great knowledge and integrity. I have taken other online courses, NOT from Creative Live (my bad!) and was left feeling like a monkey who had learned tricks without understanding or knowledge. Now I feel I have the confidence to move forward on my photographic journey securely knowing how lenses function, what to look for and what price range I can expect. Bravo John! I'd love to see a 2020 update video as an addendum.

Fusako Hara

Finally I have some sense of what lens do, know what I have, what I would like to have, what lens to use, and how I can get images that I see. Best part of this session is it was made so clear, simple, logical, and practical. I am glad that I purchased this product. Now, I am going to look for more from John Greengo so I can take better understanding and take better images. Thank You.