Different types of lenses
Prime, zoom, tilt and shift, standard, close, up, macro, fisheye, kit lenses, fast lenses, lens babies, fixed, wide angle, telephoto, I am sure you have heard all about them, but you may not understand the lingo.
A prime lens has a fixed focal length, to for example there is no zoom, you need to use for feet to move yourself closer or further away to achieve the desired composition, the advantages of these lenses is that they are very affordable, are fast, and as they have less glass than a zoom, give excellent quality photo. 50mm, 35mm, 85mm, 200mm are prime lenses.
Zoom lens is the type of lens that has a variety of focal lengths. They range from 55-200mm, 70-300mm, and of course there are different focal lengths. They are excellent for those you require more distance between the camera and their subject, for example for animal/wildlife photography,, some zoom lens are excellent for portrait photography. You have a variety of different focal lengths without moving yourself.
Tilt and shift lens: Architectural photographers use tilt-shift lenses to eliminate the perspective distortions that sometimes give buildings the appearance of falling over. Aerial photographers use them to make large cities look like toy models. Art and portrait photographers use them to control exactly where the focus falls. They are expensive for the majority of us common people.
Standard lens: this is usually referred as a 50mm lens, although this term is not as widely used as before, see prime lens (above) for further explanation.
Close up lens: Close-up lenses are special lenses that screw onto the front of your lens like an ordinary camera lens filter. They’re basically just a sophisticated magnifying glass that’s placed between your lens and the subject. It’s for this reason that they’re also often called “close-up filters.”
Macro Lens: this is a dedicated lens to photograph 1:1 ratio. They produce images that are life sized, you will find some zoom lenses have a “macro “ setting but these are not true 1:1 magnification. Used for bugs, flowers and other small objects.
Fisheye. Where the lens does not attempt to draw the light in a rectilinear fashion, but rather a curved one. It has a high amount of distortion, but also brings in a larger field of view than a rectilinear lens with the same focal length. You might find the camera will give you an option to convert a photo and create a pseudo fisheye photo.
Kit lenses: Is generally a lens included with a body of a camera, a starter lens. It is generally an inexpensive lens priced at the lowest end of the manufacturer’s range so as to not add much to a camera kit’s price. Most kit lenses that will suit the average amateur photographer but if you are interested in selling or improving your photography a better lens will be required.
Fast lenses: these lenses have wider apertures, for example a 55-200mm f/2.8. The prime lenses, mentioned above are fast lenses, some of them with apertures of f/1.4.
Lens babies:a simple lens with a bellows or ball and socket mechanism for use in special-effect photography. The lenses are popular with photographers for the creative possibilities of the selective focus and bokeh effects.
Fixed: see prime lenses above.
Wide angle: They allow photos with a very wide perspective, useful for landscapes
Telephoto lenses: see zoom, above
wide angle (~17-35mm)
normal or standard (~30-50mm, depending on crop factor of sensor)
I am sure that at some point you have looked at your lens and said to yourself “I wonder what all the numbers and letters mean?”, so I decided to write a little about each letter or number for the most common lens makes.
So for example: AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm 3.5-5.6 G ED
AF-S: Autofocus Silent: Focusing is driven by a “Silent Wave” motor in the lens instead of the focus drive motor in the camera. AF-S lenses focus faster than standard AF-Nikkors and almost completely silently. AF-S lenses with a “II” designation weigh less and are generally smaller than their equivalent predecessors.
18-105 mm is the focal length, you will find a variety of different zooms, for example 18-55,mm or 55.200mm etc., there are lenses that are zoom and some are prime lenses, prime lenses will only have one number before the mm, for example 50 mm. This is for all lens makes.
3.5-5.6: this will also depend on the lens, but it refers to aperture, so at 18mm the widest aperture is 3.5 and at 105 mm the widest aperture is 5.6, there are lenses that have a widest aperture of 2.8 throughout the zoom, these are expensive lenses. This is for all lens makes.
G: The lens has no aperture control ring and is designed to be used with cameras that allow setting the aperture from the camera body. G lenses also provide Distance information to the camera.
ED: Extra-Low Dispersion glass: High-quality glass that corrects for chromatic aberration, a type of image and color distortion that occurs when light rays of varying wavelengths pass through optical glass and don’t converge or focus at the same point. Nikkor lenses with ED glass deliver superior sharpness and contrast, even at maximum aperture. Super ED glass is a new type that is used together with ED glass in some lenses to achieve an even higher degree of freedom from chromatic aberration.
VR – “Vibration reduction”
DX: The lens is specifically designed for use on Nikon digital SLR cameras. It produces a smaller image circle for more efficient coverage of the imaging sensor in these cameras, which is smaller than the 35mm film frame.
M/A: A focusing mode on some AF-Nikkor lenses which allows switching from automatic to manual focusing with virtually no lag time by simply turning the focusing ring on the lens.
A Canon EF-S lens is designed for EOS digital SLRs with an APS-C sized sensor. EF-S lenses are a subset of the Canon EF mount. The S in EF-S stands for ‘short back focus’, referring to the distance between the rear element of the lens and the sensor is shorter. EF-S allows lighter, smaller lens designs that cost less to be produced. EF-S lenses are not suitable for full-frame EOS digital SLRs and mounting the lens may cause serious damage to the camera.
Canon L-series lenses are top-end, professional Canon lenses. L-series lenses are sometimes dubbed ‘Luxury’ lenses. The ‘L’ moniker is reserved for professional Canon lenses, which tend to have extra weather sealing, a constant maximum aperture and superior optical performance. You can spot many L-series lenses thanks to the distinctive red ring around the lens barrel. L-series lenses include a lens hood (to reduce the chance of unwanted flare and protect the front element) and a lens pouch.
The USM label means the lens features an Ultrasonic Motor Drive. Canon USM lenses allow quick, accurate autofocus, which also produces less noise than traditional autofocus systems. There are two types of USM found in Canon lenses: Ring-type USM (premium) and micro-motor USM (value). Ring-type USM has the advantage of full-time manual focus, which allows you to adjust the focus manually without switching between AF and MF modes.
DO stands for diffractive optics, a special glass designed to reduce chromatic aberration and allow a shorter lens design. You can spot a Canon DO lens thanks to the thin green ring around the lens barrel.
Sigma DC lenses are designed for digital SLRs with ‘cropped’ sensors. Cropped sensors are smaller than traditional 35mm film or full-frame sensors. Sigma DC lenses are suitable for cameras with APS-C size or cropped sensors that need a smaller image circle to cover the sensor, compared to conventional lenses.
OS designates the lens has Optical Stabilisation built-in. Sigma OS lenses compensate for camera shake which can blur images at slow shutter speeds or whilst hand-holding telephoto lenses.
HSM stands for Hyper-Sonic Motor, a type of autofocus motor that provides fast, accurate autofocus whilst making less noise than traditional autofocus.
Sigma EX denotes greater optical quality and superior build quality. Sigma EX lenses used to have a distinctive crinkle finish, but this has recently been replaced with a matte black finish.
Tamron VC lenses are designed reduce image blur from camera shake. The Tamron Vibration Control (VC) technology corrects for camera shake at 4000 times per second, for a smooth stabilized view in both the viewfinder and your image. The VC system also allows you to pan without changing any settings.
Tamron PZD stands for Piezo Drive, a form of ultrasonic autofocus. Tamron PZD lenses offer you fast but silent autofocus, in a more compact lens size than traditional ultrasonic autofocus motors.
Tamron USD stands for ultrasonic drive, used for fast and smooth autofocus. Tamron USD lenses use deflective traveling waves to drive a rotor, moving elements within the lens to focus your image.
Tamron XR denotes the lens has extra-refractive glass, allowing Tamron to make the lens barrel shorter whilst retaining the same optical quality.
Tamron Di II lenses are designed for digital SLRs with ‘cropped’ sensors. Tamron Di II lenses are specifically designed for cameras with APS-C size sensors, whereas the Tamron Di series (without ‘II’) are compatible with full frame and APC-S digital SLRs.
HDR. High Dynamic Range
It is post processing a series or one photo in an editing program, combining them and then adjusting the setting in the program to achieve your desired effect.
This method of editing is useful when there are extreme light levels, (high dynamic range) when there is very dark and very light in the same scene, the camera has a very hard time capturing this, unlike our eyes, so there is the option to take various shots to expose for each different light and combine them later. You can get much more detail in photography with this technique.
But, when to use this technique? Lets say you are in the living room and outside the light is very bright and inside it is dark, the camera can´t take just one photo of both lights, so you can bracket for both lights and then combine the photos later one. A bright sky, with a dark subject in the foreground is another, although people and moving subjects are not the best for HDR.
You can shoot in bracketing mode or use the RAW option on your camera. Although the best method is to bracket, take three or more photos (depending on the options on your camera, my D90 only allows for three).
Bracketing is sometimes called auto bracketing, exposure bracketing or look for the -2, 0 +2 on the camera menus. The bracketing button on a Nikon looks like this BKT and on a D90 is on the left, very close to where it says D90. If you don´t have a bracketing mode but you do have manual options you can still take various photos with different exposures manually. I recommend aperture value, and then adjust the settings to the -2, 0, +2.
Chose the bracketing mode, -2, 0 +2, if you have the option to take 5 photos then do so but 3 are normally enough.
Shoot in Raw if you can as this contains more light information, but jpg is also fine.
The most important part is to use a tripod, the programs to a fairly good job with aligning the photos but a tripod is best.
The best program for HDR is Photomatix. I won´t go into a full tutorial for this just follow this link.
(Trey Radcliff is considered one of the masters on HDR, some of his photo are amazing and he has also had the chance to photograph some amazing places and sights. )
If you only take one RAW file and then want to post process it, open it in Photomatix and use tone mapped option. But whenever you can, take 3 or more photos.
Photoshop also has an HDR merge. Follow these instructions. Open the files in PS. Click on File-Automate-Merge to HDR. A window will open. Choose Add open Files-OK.
Wait for the program to do its job, then it will show you a preview of the finished job. An on the right a bunch of options-play around with these until you are happy with the result. Click OK. The finished result will open in PS. Here you can also play around as much as you like. Then save, remember to use a different name for the file and also to remember where you save it.
I have been asked by Jo to write a blog about something very personal to me as well as many others. I agreed to do so, in hopes that some one may
read this blog and realize that there is so much joy and beauty to be seen in this world.
My name is Linda. I am 48 years old and suffer with deep depression, Psychosis, as well as Agoraphobia. I will explain a little about each one as it effects me.
I am not a Dr. and don’t have the answers and may not know the right lingo, but will do my best.
Deep Depression: There are times when all of us feel blue, or a little down. Maybe something didn’t go as planned, or a loved one is sick and we feel bad for them.
Having deep depression (to me) is lower then the lowest you’ve ever felt. When every bone in your body aches. You can’t brush your hair, either because you just don’t care or because it even hurts to touch your head. When you visit a doctor for depression they will ask you a group of questions and you have to rate on a scale from 1-10
on where you are. For all the questions I have never scored any higher then 3. You are also asked from 1-10 were are your moods most of the time. My mood at a high would be at 3. So to crash into a low mean that I’m even below 1. When this happens, I don’t shower. If I do, it’s only because I have really forced myself into doing this. I’m not able to take care of my children the way they need to be taken care of. I have a boyfriend who is amazing. He drives in every morning to take my little ones to day care or school.
With out him doing this, my children would never make it. My home is a constant mess. Oh sure a 5 and 4 year old can do a lot to a home, but most days I don’t even have the ambition to pick up a piece of paper that has sat of the floor for 4 days. With deep depression every day is a chore. A chore to exist. The thoughts of dying are a constant wish. I suppose that is why I like to stay up late. The rooms are dark, and everyone is sleeping. I don’t have to force myself into doing anything. I can just sit and think. Deep depression makes a person think a lot, the only problem with that is that our thought are not in the right frame. All passed memories are relived over and over again. Each time thinking of different ways to solve the situation. At times this is all consuming.
Psychosis: Remember, I’m speaking of only myself. For many others who suffer from this, their symptoms can be quite different. Since I was a young girl I have been able to see and speak with spirits. Some times they were family members other times not. Some times even bad spirits would make them self known. This was the norm for me and never thought to much about it. Then one day I was sitting at my dining room table ( in my mid 20’s) and heard my name being called. It was a different voice and a different way of speaking. I looked around the house and saw no one. Even checked out side, no one was around. This continued for quite a few years. Never once did I think I had something wrong with me. Then a new voice yelled out one day “Mom!!”. I looked around and no one. Then about 8 years ago, while walking down the street I felt some one tap my shoulder and say “ how you doing?” I turned and no one was around me.
Now I was starting to get scared. It was happening more often. While crossing busy city streets. While sitting on a bench at a park. Once a young girl walked passed me. I could have sworn she called my name and asked me how I was doing. I looked up at her and of course she didn’t even notice I was sitting there. Then I became paranoid, and eventually went to my dr.’s. He quickly put me on meds. The voices are still there, but not as often as before. I should also add that this is different then having Schizophrenia. So like I said I became very paranoid and soon became a shut in.
Agoraphobia: Plain and simple…the fear of leaving your home. I’ve come a long way since first having it 5 years ago. Back then I lived in Hamilton Ontario, in an apartment building. I couldn’t even leave my apartment to check my mail. My sisters had to do all my shopping. I couldn’t even leave to go with them. Now I had just been given full custody of my Grand daughter. She was born a very sick baby and needed medical treatments constantly. This meant that either I had her die in my arms or I fought my illness and looked after her. I chose to look after her and began to bring her to the hospitals for treatments. Now 5 years later, I find myself able to leave the house, do my shopping, check the mail and even go out for outings…As long as there is some one with me. A couple of weeks ago I was bent and determined that I was going to step out my door and go for a walk by myself. I woke up that morning in such a panic that I bald and bald. Needless to say I didn’t go for my walk. But I’m okay with where I am with this illness. One day I will make it out on my own.
How my illness’ came to happen: I was in an awful marriage for quite a few years. To be honest I can’t remember how many years. I can’t even remember the date we got married. I remember the day I left and the day I arrived in Hamilton. After that life for me became a blur. I ended up in a hospital on the phsyc ward for 3 months. Left and began to see a physiatrist 3 times a week. The Dr’s nurse would call me a cab I would take the cab to the hospital, and the meter didn’t change. I was less then 5 minutes from the hospital and couldn’t walk it. I remember sitting in the nurses office one day waiting for the Dr’ to show. There was a student Dr. there. She asked me how long I have been coming for visits. I said “ I think 6 months”. The nurse looked down at my chart and said “ Linda, it’s been 3 years.” I had absolutely no memory of the 3 years that had passed. It scared me so bad that I went home and attempted to kill myself. While in the hospital on the phsyc ward again I found out that my daughter was expecting her first child. Joy was back in my life, the first time in a long time. Things happened, found out my daughter was a junkie and living a very bad life style and CAS was now involved. CAS in Canada is an organization that looks after the welfare of children. I knew I had to get out of the hell I was in and became determined to become healthy for my grand daughter. About 6 months before she was born, CAS came to me and asked if I would like to raise her. I jumped at the opportunity and said I would of course. By now my life was consumed with Dr appointments for my daughter and her and babies well being. My depression and all the other mess was put behind me…so I thought. About a month before the baby was born another bout of deep depression hit me again.
With out thinking of what would happen, I took as many of my pills as I could in hopes of dying. I can’t tell you what happened or who showed up. I just remember waking up in the hospital and my daughter standing over top of me. I made a promise to her and to the Lord that I would never try this again if He could some how erase what happened and allowed me to go home and raise my grand daughter. By some miracle that is exactly what happened. A doctor came in, asked how I was feeling. I said okay. He said I could leave. For me I will always think of my grand daughter as my saviour. Some say that she is lucky to have me in her life, but the truth be told. I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for her.
Now the years have passed…5 1/2 years have passed. I am blessed to be able to raise two of my grand children. Something else they gave me, besides the will to live is the love of photography. Of course like every grand parent we are out there taking picture after picture of our babies. Something about children that I just love is their excitement over everything, no matter how small. Watching them and listening to what they had to say opened my eyes to the world again. I began to look at the world in a whole new way. They taught me to see, not just look. To go out and take pictures of something anything…everything, come home and upload them and see all that I was able to capture makes me realize just how blessed I truly am. Some one else who I owe a great deal of thanks to is Rick. He will take me for miles to take a picture of a flower or a tree that I’ve been thinking about. He’s an amazing man and I love him for his constant encouragement and strength. Life is good. Oh sure I still have my weeks. But at least now I have 2 good days out of 7 instead of 7 bad days. And who knows maybe next month I’ll have 3 good days. I could never imagine not being able to take pictures now. It has become a huge part of my life. It has filled an emptiness in me, it has made me want to be out there, and experience life again.
My advice to others who suffer with depression or deep depression is…that one hour or one day that all seems to be right with the world, think about what makes you happy. Go with it, and just do it. Oh sure, it may take you a while before it becomes a big part of who you are, but in time it will help. And use sticky notes!! Post them every where. Write on them…” I am good” “ I am smart” “I’m going to be okay” “ I am the best me that I can be”. When you see these notes around your house, say the statements out loud. In time you will grow to believe what is true…You are good. You are smart..you are funny…you are beautiful..you do have a reason for being here…you are loved…you can love.
Thank you Jo for giving me the chance to speak, and thank you for taking the time to read this blog.
Linda you are more than welcome, and for anyone wishing to get in touch with Linda-Tiger Lilies Photography CLICK HERE
Night photography & long exposure.
Just because the sun goes down doesn’t mean you should put camera away, there are so many opportunities to photograph after dark that you should really give it a go. It will also help you understand light.
First of all you´ll need to understand your camera, whether it is a DSLR or a bridge camera or a simple point & shoot you should understand the limitations and how to use it properly to get the most out of it.
Can you control it manually, (manual, aperture, shutter speed settings), if not find an option for night photography in the presets.
Can you change the ISO?
Can you use a remote release, if not there is always a setting for TIMER, this allows the camera to settle down before taking the photo therefore eliminating camera shake.
When you are taking the photo you will need to determine the amount of light there is and set the camera to the correct settings (for p&s shooters choose night mode in the presets and click away).
The light meter does a great job at this, so press the shutter button halfway down and on the screen or thought the view finder you´ll see a little chart.
Make sure you point the camera at the darkest part of the scene, or something midway towards the darkest part. If the lines are too far away from the center line you´ll need to adjust slightly the settings on the camera, but sometimes try the photo, see what comes out. It may be way to dark or black or way to light or white even, so change the setting appropriately and take another photo.
Do your very best to only use the lowest ISO you have available to you. I have 200, but there are also a couple of lower settings on my D90 L1.0, L0.7 and L0.3, you may want to use this is you have the option.
Aperture, this determines how much of your subject in actually in focus. So it mainly depends on your subject, so think about what are you taking and how much you want in focus.
Remember: smaller f numbers = less in focus = more light is let onto the sensor
larger f number = more in focus = less light is let onto the sensor
Shutter speed. As you are taking the photo after dark the chance is you´ll need a longer shutter speed than normal, right, so remember a tripod, or if you don´t have one, make sure you find something solid, like a trashcan, or even the roof of the car to get a steady shot. One thing I took across Africa with me as a tripod was out of the question was a bean bag. Think about making one of these, with some left over material, beans, rice or anything similar. When you half press the shutter button you´ll see the meter on screen (if you don’t see this you may need to change you camera settings) As you have already chosen your aperture then you´ll need to change the shutter speed to be close to the center of the meter. Take a photo and see if you like it. If not change the setting and try again.
Flash: this is entirely depend on your subject, are you taking a photo of some people, for example? If you are you´ll need to use the fill in flash to illuminate them. The flash also will illuminate a few meters; this depends on the flash and the camera. (You can read the manual to find out this).
Remote shutter release, cable release or self-timer. As the camera is on a tripod or any of the other options mentioned, there will also be camera shake if you just press the shutter button, so use the shutter release or if you don´t have one use the self-timer. I remember this from years ago, my dad, also a photographer, used to take family photo by pressing the button and running into the shot, I am sure loads of you will also have these memories, well they still work today and as far as I know every camera, even the cheapest little, simple p&s have them so put it to good use. The symbol looks like a little clock.
the best time is when there is still a little blue left in the sky, this will create the best shots.
Do you need ideas as what to take, because it´s not just architecture and landscapes, try taking the kids out and having some fun with sparklers, for example, or why not try taking the car out and taking a photo using the headlights, fireworks is always a good one if you have some nearby, and we all have a church close by, if not take a photo of your own home, turn on all the lights, go out and take a photo, take a torch and write something in front of the camera during a long shutter speed.
Depth of Field / Aperture
Depth of field refers to the range of distance that appears acceptably sharp. It varies depending on camera type, aperture and focusing distance.
On DSLR cameras and some more advanced point and shoot camera you can have full control over the aperture. While the shutter speed controls the duration of light hitting the sensor the aperture controls the amount of light hitting the sensor. The aperture is the part of a lens that dictates how much light is let through to the sensor – if it’s wide open, lots of light gets through. If it’s closed down, not much light gets through. In essence, it performs the same as the pupil of an eye. If you are in a dark room, the pupil is open; sunlight, the pupil is small.
Depth of Field always extends 1/3 in front of and 2/3s behind the point of focus. No matter whether the DOF is deep or shallow, it always follows this formula. This fact becomes more valuable when you do macro photography.
Depth of Field decreases as the distance between the subject and film plane decreases. You have VERY little DOF to work with when doing macro photography and are focused just a couple of centimeters away, but you have extreme DOF when focused at a point near infinity.
Different lenses can have different apertures – for example, a cheaper lens may only open to f4.0, not letting in as much light as a more expensive lens that will open to f1.6 or more.
The depth of field does not abruptly change from sharp to unsharp, but instead occurs as a gradual transition.
All lenses have a Hyperfocal Distance (hyperfocal distance is a distance beyond which all objects can be brought into an ?acceptable? focus) for a given f/stop. If, for example, the Hyperfocal Distance happens to be 16 feet for a particular lens/aperture combination, everything from one-half that distance (8 feet) to infinity appears to be in focus. If your lens has a DOF scale, line up the infinity symbol with the f/stop you are using and you have just set your lens to its Hyperfocal Distance for that f/stop.
Less in focus A little more in focus Even more in focus
Depth of Field sounds like a good thing and usually it is—but not always. If you want to produce dramatic portraits you’ll want to limit.
Bokeh. In Japanese is means ?fuzzy? and in photography it’s used to describe the parts of a photograph that are not in focus. Anyway, some lenses are optimized to produce attractive bokeh. It is acheavied by using a wide aperture.
There are also various ways of calculating DOF online. http://www.dofmaster.com/
Here you will find a variety of charts, downloads and online resources for DOF or hyperfocal distance.
Practice for DSLR users and bridge camera users (with manual options). Read on for those with point and shoots.
Practice: I would like you all to try this. Put your camera into Aperture mode. This varies depending on the camera. Nikon is A and Canon is Av.
-Choose the largest aperture (the largest aperture is the smallest number).
The aperture will depend on the lens you use. Those you with DSLR will have a bunch of numbers on the lens. For example AF-S NIKKOR 18-105 mm f3.5 – 5.6 G ED. Note the numbers that are underlined. These are the limits of aperture or f stop on your lens. f3.5 is the max aperture at the widest zoom (in this case 18mm) and f5.6 is the max aperture on the long end of the zoom (in this case 105mm). Some lenses can go to f1.4 and usually the macro lenses are fixed f2.8 for example.
-Find a subject, could be a person, flower, see above picture. What you are going to take is a subject with plenty of background. It´s better if you can do this on a bright day or somewhere with plenty of light.
Take the photo with the different apertures. One with the widest, one with a middle aperture and one with the smallest aperture. Compare the differences on the computer screen.
You will see in the photo with the widest aperture the background will be blurred.
The middle aperture with be less blurred and the smallest aperture will have a sharper background.
When to use each aperture:
I am sure you have seen plenty of photos of people/portraits and the background is blurred. A wide aperture has been used.
A landscape will be an example of a small aperture. You have elements in the photo from close to far away and you want it all sharp. Here you need to use a small aperture.
You can use any lens that doesn´t have a fixed f/stop. You will get different results depending on the distance from your subject. I recommend you practice, go out there with your camera and play.
Point and Shoot users.
The cameras usually have presets. (sometimes called scene) These will help you learn the basics. Place the camera on the portrait preset, then take a photo of someone/ flower as described above. Then place the camera on landscape preset and take the same photo.
The portrait preset should give you a setting with wide aperture and the landscape with a small aperture, review the exif data (camera settings) in the camera or on the computer to compare as above.
A SMALL NUMBER IS A WIDE APERTURE. Normally used for portraits.
A LARGE NUMBER IS A SMALL APERTURE. Normally used for landscapes