10 different types of lenses used in photography

Are you an amateur photographer taking baby steps in photography? Whether it is out of passion or profession, if you dream of capturing great photos, knowing the different camera lenses is quite important. To attempt a specific type of photography like abstraction, street, food, scenery, etc. you need to choose the right lens, otherwise the photo will not do the subject justice. However, a beginner may find it difficult to understand the differences between each lens and its functions. This is not the case ! Choosing the wrong lens can cost you a lot of money and time!

That’s why we’ve put together a basic guide to 20 different types of camera lenses. By the end of the article, you will understand why we have so many lenses and how each of them will help you capture winning photos.

10 different types of camera lenses in photography:

Here are the 10 varieties of camera lenses that vary in terms of zoom options, focal length, field views, and more. to adapt to different circumstances:

1. Zoom lens:

The zoom lens is the most preferred type of camera lens for its ability to support different focal lengths without changing the lens. By manually adjusting the focal length, you can easily zoom in or out to create focused images of objects spread over a wide range of distances. The zoom lens also magnifies an object by cropping the existing image and keeping only the focal point. An important factor to know before buying a zoom lens is its zoom ratio, which is the ratio of the longest focal length to the shortest focal length, which expresses the overall range as 3X, 5X, 10X etc. Depending on budget, focal length and required depth of field, you can choose from different types of zoom lens like parfocal lens, varifocal lens, telescopic lens, wide angle zoom lens, etc.

2. Main objective:

The main lens does not allow zooming in or our feature as they have a fixed focal range. Photographers prefer this lens when they want to produce high quality images that focus on a single focal length. The main advantages of the primary lens are its ability to maximize available light, sharpen details in photographs, and seamlessly separate the foreground from the background to create a sense of depth. This is why fixed focal length lenses are highly preferred for taking portraits or close-ups. The most popular primary lens is the 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm, which vary in aperture speed and build quality. The best uses for the primary lens are newborn photography, wedding photography, travel photography, etc.

NOTE: The 50mm prime lens is a popular type of lens in photography and cinematography for capturing objects and people in a natural setting.

3. Telephoto:

A normal zoom lens has a limited zoom range and may not work well for taking pictures of very distant objects like stars, planets, wildlife, etc. This is where a telephoto lens comes in handy for you. With a zoom range of 100mm to 600mm, the telephoto lens can capture detailed photographs of extremely distant objects like the moon or even players in a huge sports field for example. However, these lenses are quite heavy and you will need a tripod to support them. They are also quite expensive and are not suitable for hobbyists. So if you need a specialized lens for bird or astronomy photography, the telephoto lens is a must in your kit.

4. Wide angle lens:

If you plan to capture a large area like a landscape or an entire street, a normal lens will not suffice. You will need a wide angle lens which allows a greater capture of the subject in the photo. The lens will allow you to focus everything in the scene without having to move too far to capture the entire frame. The wide-angle lens is also handy when you want to exaggerate the size of foreground objects on a wide background. The focal length of a wide angle lens is typically 35mm, 28mm, 24mm, 21mm, 17mm, 14mm, and even up to 6mm, which creates ultra-wide photographs.

5. Normal lens:

A normal lens or a standard lens makes the photograph appear exactly as the human eye sees it. It is available in a focal length between 40mm and 58mm. For example, in a 35mm image, a focal length of 50mm creates a perspective that represents sight with the naked eye. Photographers use this lens to create an accurate image of real life objects as best as possible with the camera. The normal lens is easy to use and is also suitable for beginners. However, these lenses do not support creativity and only take mundane photos that can get too boring. They also cannot justify larger objects like landscapes or distant objects like sports, wildlife etc.

6. Macro lens:

Have you ever wondered how nature photographers take extremely close and detailed photos of insects, leaves and other small objects? With the help of the Macro lens! As the name suggests, the macro lens takes magnified photos of very small objects that are otherwise difficult to notice with the naked eye. They have a very short MSD or minimum focus distances compared to a normal lens, which will allow you to capture objects at a very close angle without getting blurry photos. However, the lesser known aspect of macro lenses is that they can allow for close-ups of landscapes, portraits, and other large objects if you know how to use them. The main uses of the macro lens are food photography, insect photography, etc.

7. Fish-eye lens:

The fish-eye lens is one of the types of specialized lenses that is commonly used to take bubble-shaped photos of a sports stadium. The ultra-wide lens captures scenes 180 degrees around it, so the final shot appears like a giant hemispherical bubble. This unique feature comes from the lens’s ability to distort an image’s field of view and render a convex shape using a special mapping technique. Fish Eye lenses are also widely used for space photography for their very wide field of view and great depth of field, which captures all objects in space without missing a thing.

8. Tilt lens:

Tilt Shift lenses are widely used in fields that require miniature photographs of life-size objects. These lenses distort the perspective of the image to make them appear several times smaller than their actual size. The Tilt-shit lens comes with two knobs, one for tilt control and the other for offset control which perform different functions. The tilt control button allows you to focus on two objects at different distances from the camera and create a tremendous feeling of depth. The Shift control button, on the other hand, lets you create panoramic shots without moving the camera body. These lenses are widely used in architectural and fine art photography.

9. Infrared lens:

Infrared lenses are used in black and white or color infrared photography to capture certain light rays that we cannot see with the naked eye. These lenses focus more on light than perspective or depth. Unlike ordinary lenses which are made of glass, infrared lenses are coated with special materials like geranium which can be transparent in the infrared spectrum. They are available in different types like 35mm, 50mm and 80mm to suit different levels of photography. Unfortunately, this lens cannot be used for any purpose other than infrared photography. They are also quite expensive and require some learning before using them.

10. Purpose of the kit:

The kit lens is the standard type of lens that is built into the camera. They are suitable for beginners and inexpensive. The kit lens is usually available in a focal length greater than 18mm-55mm, which works well enough for taking normal photos. They’re also lightweight and have moderate wide-angle capabilities to capture landscapes or buildings in a decent size. You can use them for different types of photography like portraits, events, and normal image captures that don’t require excessive detail. However, the kit lens cannot support specialized photography like sports, wildlife etc. due to the limited focal length.

These are the 10 different types of camera lenses used in photography. If you dream of becoming an elite photographer who is more than just a viewfinder, knowledge of these lenses is very important. Behind a winning photograph is a lot of effort on the part of the photographer and of course, the use of the right equipment.


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