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The Lens

Lesson 5 from: The Photography Starter Kit for Beginners

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

5. The Lens

Lesson Info

The Lens

Now it's time to talk about the lands, which is one of my favorite aspects of photography. Cameras air nice, but lenses are where a lot of the quality and a lot of the fun is as well. And so there's two important criteria. When you are looking at lenses. First is the focal length of the lens, in this case 18 to millimeter lens, or perhaps a 50 millimeter lens that is the focal length of the lands. The next aspect that we're gonna talk about in a few minutes is the aperture of the lens and what's listed on the lenses technology. The maximum aperture of the lens 3.5 to 5.6, which means it varies a little bit according to where the lenses zoom. Teoh, too, or 1.4, which is just a single number. You will be able to adjust the aperture. This is just the maximum opening of the lands. It's kind of like the top speed of the car. How fast can it go? First off, we want to talk about focal length, and when we talk about focal length, we're gonna be talking about the angle of view that you see thr...

ough your camera. Now I'm a very visual person, and I'm thinking about standing above my camera and what I see from side to side. And if you were to put a 50 millimeter lands, which is known as a normal lands on a full frame camera. So if you have full frame 50 millimeter lens. But I know a lot of our viewers out there have cropped frame cameras, and 1.5 is the most popular crop frame camera out there. So if you want to get the same angle of view, you need a 35 millimeter lance. And if you remember, we had a slightly different angle of view with those sensor different size sensor examples that we had earlier. You need a different size length, so if you have a full frame camera, pay attention to the top part of the screen. If you have a crop frame camera, you want to pay attention to the bottom half of the screen. So when you Seymour from side to side, that is, a wide angle lands, and so they kind of come in different flavors, you might say slightly wide angle. We're gonna hit to a pretty good wide angle. I really like a 24 millimeter lens. I think most people are gonna want something that gets about his white. It's a 24 or 16 millimeter lands. No. I know a lot of the kit lenses that are out on the market are 18 millimeter lenses, and that's pretty close. I wish it was but eighteens close enough and you can go even wider to a super wide angle lands. And so, if you were doing architectural photography, interior photography and trying to photograph a tiny room and you weren't trying to get it all in one shot a 16 millimeter lands or with the crop frame cameras go all the way down to a 10 millimeter lands. When we have a narrower angle of you, we have a telephoto lens, and these could be broken up into short, medium and long 8500 and five. Something in there is gonna be a short telephoto lens, and pretty much everyone in photography is gonna wanna have a medium telephoto lens just very, very violent. A valuable tool for a photographer is something that goes out to around 200 millimeters only be about 1 35 with the crop frame sensors. If you shoot a lot of wildlife or sports, you might need a super telephoto lens or one of the longer telephoto lenses that goes out to 400 millimeters. And this is actually not that big a lens at a millimeter for the crop frame users. They do go out beyond this, but I list 400 is the largest, because that's the largest lens that most people would feel comfortable hand holding because of the physical size and weight of it. So let's take a closer look at some of the examples that we get, and we're going to start off with a really wide angle land. So think about 100 degrees from side to side. This would be either a 16 millimeter lands or a 10 millimeter lens. When would you use this? Well, when there's no room to back up, you were trying to photograph an environment inside and you're trying to show is much as possible in here. Does a very good job for that interior architectural photography also very good for landscape photography, and so in this case, I'm in Jordan. I'm trying to show this giant archway here, and 10 millimeter lens allows me to show it as well as the environment behind it. All right, let's go toe a moderate wide angle and I think pretty much everyone is going to want a moderate, wide angle. Lance. And so something around this degrees, which is a 24 millimeter lands or a 16 millimeter lens for the crop to users. And I've found that my eyes just really match up with the 24 millimeter lands. What I like about this is, you know, I love these extremes. I love the super wides in the super tele photos, but this really kind of mimics the way I see the world. It's great for travel. Photography really is a great way of showcasing things that are in front of you, things that are behind you. Very good documentary lens. Next up is the 35 millimeter lands, and this I'm gonna take a chance, and I might offend some people. But I think this is one of the most boring lenses of the whole bunch. Now the reason I call this boring is because this is what all your IPhones have. This is what all the disposable cameras had back in the film days. This is the lens that every camera has when you get it. It's the very standard lens that you shoot with. Now, while I may say that it's boring, it's also one of the most valuable lenses that you could have for straight documentary work. And so, if you were gonna be a photojournalist, probably be the first lens that you wanna have, because it's a very normal looking image. It doesn't look like you're playing around with the distortions. You're not playing games with your subject when you have a good subject and you don't need to mess it up with something photographically, you just want to document it. Ah, 35 millimeter lens will do the job. No one's gonna look at this photo and go Wow, John, what lens did you use? Because it very much mimics the way we see the world. So it's It's kind of the wide normal the next lands. The is kind of traditionally known as the normal lens. It's a slight telephoto, lads normal or a standard lens for the crop frame users that would be somewhere around 30 to 35 millimeters for the 4/3 users. That would be a 25 millimeter lens because they have a two times crop factor. And so this is also a very good documentary. Lands photo, journalistic type lands. I like it for street photography. It's great way of photographing things as I travel around. It's a very nice lens for photographing a person if you want to photograph them in their entirety from head to toe. Normal perspective. You're not too far away. You're not too close up right in front of them. It's a nice perspective for that. Moving into the tele photos a short telephoto, very, very valuable lens around 100. This might be in for a 105 or even a 1 35 for the crop frame. Users look at 50 millimeter lenses in 85 millimeter lenses. Very nice for shooting things that are just a little bit further away. We have that little bit narrower angle of view. What the's lenses are known more for than anything else is for portrait photography. And so if you want to do great portrait photography. You want to have something around that 85 105 1 35 area. Or if you have a crop frame camera, I would look at the fifties or the 85 millimeter lenses. It's going to do a couple of things. It's gonna first off render the characteristics and features of your subject very normally. It's also gonna put you at a very nice distance. And as you can see in these photographs, the background starts going this nice, soft, out of focus manner, which has to do with depth of field, which is a subject coming up in just a moment. But we're going to start getting those with these telephoto lenses. But chances are you're also gonna want something in the medium telephoto range. And so this is going to be about a 10 degree angle of view. And this is gonna be really good, because if you have an eye for details, you're gonna be able to crop out all that other junk that you're looking at and hone in on the details that are important to you. And so I think we live in a very cluttered world at times and your eye goes to certain little objects, and this lens is gonna help you really hone in on that. It's also very good when you need to be a little bit further away from your subject, so you don't want to interfere with your subject, but you wanna have them fill the frame, use a medium telephoto lens. Many cases. So on the big end, the large long telephoto something around 400 millimeters, you only need around 250 which is still a fairly small lens, and you're gonna be using these for subjects that you really just can't get closer to. And so the Blue Angels nice to have a big telephoto lens if you're gonna be shooting wildlife. It's nice to have these big telephoto lenses so that you can capture them without disturbing the animals and without them being scared and flying or running away from you. And so that's gonna be something that be very important for sports and wildlife photography. Now, one of the options you'll encounter is primes versus zooms, and there's always a lot of questions, and there's a lot of debate as to what's better and my thinking is that you should start with zooms and as you figure out specific things that you need to dio, then you start buying primes to fit those very specific needs. So if you were doing food photography, you might find that you often prepare a certain size dish and you're always photographing it in the same place and that a single prime Linz would do a better job than the zoom lens zoom lenses air. Very nice, because they're extremely versatile. The Primes air really nice because in general they're sharper now there they're kind of always sharper. They keep on saying this zoom is as sharp as primes were of yesterday. Well, they've been saying that for 30 years. They keep on making him all better, but it's easier to make a lens that does one thing really well. So they're sharper there faster, and what I mean by faster is they let in more light. They allow you to use a faster shutter speed and their smaller in size. But the zooms are versatile, and if you don't know what you're doing, start with a zoom lens and start figuring out what you use. And for some people you stick with zoom lenses because they just work for the versatility. For instance, if you do nature photography Well, yes, it might be ideal if you had 100 and 35 millimeter lens to do the shot, but in order to do that, you can't back up because there's a tree there and you need 100 millimeter lens. And that's the versatility that helps you out quite a bit in this in the with the zooms. And so what? Oh, I own Well, I got a few zooms and I got a few primes, and it depends on if I know exactly what I'm doing. If I know that, I'm gonna go photograph a particular type of thing. I'll take the exact prime that I need if I'm in a situation where I'm gonna do a little this and a little of that and I need to be prepared for everything, Then I'm gonna bring the zoom. And I'm more than happy with the quality because the zooms are very good quality. They're a little bit better quality here, but they're all good enough, I think, for most day to day uses. So that is my little get you started on the lenses That sort of see what sort of questions we might have in here. Yes, when using the prime ones is what do you usually use it for? It's like the main reason I use a prime lands is usually because they let in a lot more light than the zoom lenses. It depends on which lens you compare, but many prime lenses will let in 4 to 10 times as much light as a zoom lands. And so when somebody called up and said that they were photographing in a nightclub or a rock concert or something like that, I would probably want to have a prime lands. Now granted, that musician could be moving all around the stage, but I would really like the light gathering ability of a prime lance. In that case, another question in class. This may just be me being confused about terminology, but where does the Mac? Roland's fit in this macro wins is can fit in a number of different focal links, but it's just the lens that allows you to focus very closely, and that's what's different. And so most lenses. I'm gonna throw out a number that's wrong, in many cases, have a minimum distance of around three or four feet, and a macro lens will be able to focus down in many cases to about five or six inches. And so it kind of depends on what size subjects you're shooting. Were you shooting food photography? Okay, so if you prepare a plate of food like a normal okay, that's an American normal play. Okay, like world world that big. Okay, we won't get into that issue, but if you prepare a normal plate of food, you probably don't need a macro lens. But if you're starting to photograph smaller things, you know little cookies and details of the food. That's where you would want the macro lens. The macro lens would also be sharper than the zoom lens. And so if you're finding that you're kind of reaching the limits of the sharpness of your particular zoom lens, that might be another reason as well. The prime will get you sharper. The macro will get you closer. See online for questioners. John. There's so many questions about what is the best lens to take pictures of this, and what is the best lens to take picture that's really hard to what is the best lens To take a picture of the Grand Canyon was a question by Christie, so I know it's just This is such a loaded question is it's hard because first off, so many different photographers will have a different vision of what they want to see. And frankly, if I was gonna go to the Grand Canyon, I would want to have everything from a fish eye, which we didn't get into super wide angle to super telephoto, because I'm thinking I'd love to get a shot of these flowers in the foreground, the canyon walls all the way to the sunset, going in the background. But then I want to pull out the telephoto lens, and I want to get this ridge after Ridge after Ridge with fog coming over it or something, and so you could shoot with everything in that case. And so that's why it's very handy to have a range of lenses and the range that most people are gonna wanna have full frame equivalent would be 24 to Now. Most of the cameras kind of started 28 but I like 24 that's just a me thing. But that's the That's kind of the heart and soul of the range. You don't need to go out and buy a 600 millimeter lands, all right, unless you're doing something very particular for that. But that's the core range of tools that most photographers need.

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The Photography Starter Kit Course Outline

Ratings and Reviews


I'm not sure my first review posted. But I LOVE this class! John Greengo is a great, engaging teacher who is really adept at representing the concepts visually and excellent at explaining them verbally. I love how he goes through examples with photographs he has taken. Even though I only have a Nikon Coolpix digital camera, it does have Manual, Shutter priority, and Aperture priority modes. Through his class I've gotten a really good sense of how to balance ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. It's a great overview for me especially since I am new to photography, I can play around with some of these settings, and I have a greater understanding of what I might need in a higher level camera in the future. Money well spend! (For $29, this is an absolute steal). John Greengo is an awesome teacher and I hope to take more of his classes in the future!

Megan Wagner

John is extremely articulate and is a great teacher with lots of visual aids and metaphors to help understand photography. I have been doing photography for a few years now and this class was a tremendous help in boosting my knowledge and refreshing my memory in multiple aspects of photography. The graphics that John uses are helpful and he even goes through images and asks which settings would be best to use and will go through the why. He makes things easy to understand and is very clear about the information he provides. I am so glad I took this course and I would highly recommend it even to an experienced photographer. Thank you John Greengo!

a Creativelive Student

I am a semi retired hair stylist who is finally following her passion of photography. I have taken a class here and there and stumbled on Creative Live and realized the potential of learning is endless. Love love love the way John Greengo teaches. I am finally beginning to understand and retain so much. Thank you John, your the best. I hope one day I can meet you up close and personal. Thank you!

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