Lens Classification Based on Focal Length
Wide Angle (28mm or lower)
Wide angle lenses can capture almost everything the eye sees, this makes it perfect to be used for landscape photography. They are also useful during indoor events where there is limited space in the area you’re shooting on.
When shooting at the widest focal length, photos become susceptible to distortion which causes the edges of the photos to be distorted. Lens distortion is obvious in wide angle lenses.
|Alpine Meadow - Image: Michal Marcol / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Standard (35mm to 85mm)
Standard lenses are less susceptible to distortion which makes it good for taking portraits, as they provide natural looking portraits.
|Portrait - Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Telephoto (100mm to 300mm)
Telephoto lenses are great for subjects that are far away, this range allows you to bring them in closer to the frame. They are mostly used for sports and sometimes portraits.
|Kite Surfing - Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Super-Telephoto (300mm or higher)
These are the type of lenses wildlife photographers use, as it provides them great distance from their subjects.
|Wild life photographer - Image: Patou / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
|Stalking Tiger - Image: Michael Elliott / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
Types of Lenses
Basically, there are two types of lenses mainly: Zoom and Prime lenses. Here are their differences:
– Flexible. Have the ability to use different focal lengths.
– Most zoom lenses have smaller aperture opening (larger aperture-value)
– In some zoom lenses, the aperture changes depending on the zoom setting. For example, in 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 lens. The largest aperture setting for 18mm is f3.5 and at 55mm the largest aperture can only be at f5.6.
– Expensive. Construction of zoom lenses is more complicated than prime lenses. The moving parts of zoom lenses take its toll on image quality. Zoom lenses usually have high quality glass to get an image quality equal to that of a prime lens.
|18-55mm Zoom Lens - Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
– Fixed focal length. The photographer has to move to zoom in and out.
– Prime lenses have larger aperture opening (smaller aperture-value). This is great for low light shooting, and shallow depth of field. Giving that blur background effect. The aperture value doesn't change unless the photography decided to change it.
– Less cost. Since it doesn’t have a lot of moving parts, the glass inside a prime lens is very precise.
|50mm f1.8 Prime Lens - Image: Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net|