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Photography Basics – Lenses and Accessories

Updated on September 3, 2012

Welcome to Photography Basics.

In this final lesson we will take a quick look on the different camera lenses and accessories.

There are many different lenses and accessories, but we will just talk about the most common. Some lenses are great for close up shots, while others are better for long distance. When buying a new lens, you should always ask yourself how you want to make use of it.

If you haven't checked the other lessons, click here to get back to the beginning.

You can build your own collection over time
You can build your own collection over time | Source

Lenses

It is very important to understand the difference between lenses types, because some are better for specific situations.

Prime lenses

This is a type of lenses where the focal distance if fixed, meaning that you can't zoom in and out with it. Compared to the zoom lenses, the prime ones can have wider apertures (sometimes f-1.8 or even f-1.2), are cheaper than zoom lenses and might provide you with sharper images.

Zoom lenses

Zoom lenses are more versatile than the prime version, allowing you to zoom in and out, according to the focal distance that you may want. Compared to the prime version, zoom lenses are heavier, more expensive, and bigger. Zoom lenses that allow you to zoom in great distances are called telephoto lenses and some can come with a tripod mount system to provide you with more stability.

The more you zoom in with your lenses, the harder it is to keep the image focused.

Standard lenses

A standard or normal lens is a type of lenses that represents an image with a field of view similar with the human eye, creating a more realistic picture.

Wide-angle lenses

These kinds of lenses have a focal length smaller than standard lenses, allowing you to include more of the scene in the picture. They can be very useful when shooting landscapes, building or interior.

One of the big disadvantages of these lenses is that they can distort your image, so be careful when using them, although you may want a purposely distorted photo.

Extremely wide-angle lenses are called fish-eye lenses. You can get very interesting images if you know how to shoot with this kind of lenses.

Telephoto lenses

When shooting subjects that are really far from you, these are the kind of lenses you'll want. Although they have the advantage of zooming in to very far distances, these lenses are heavier and harder to keep focus than other kinds. The most expensive ones might bring a image stabilizer feature, to prevent motion blur.

Macro lenses allow you to shoot nature's small details
Macro lenses allow you to shoot nature's small details

Macro lenses

These are the lenses that allow you to shoot extreme close-up photography, like insects or small object details. Most of these lenses have fixed focal distance, so when choosing what macro lens to buy, one of the most important decisions is what focal length to go for.

Also, when shooting macro photos, you will be usually very close to your subject, so be careful not to cast a shadow over it.

Accessories

Photography accessories can help you improve your photos in many different ways. Let's check them out:

External flash

Although most cameras come with a flash unit directly on the body, they tend to lack power. If you shoot a lot of indoor photos, like in parties or weddings, you will probably want an external flash unit. Not only they have a stronger light (reaching longer distances), they also come with a variety of options to help you get enough light on the scene.

The bag should have enough space for your camera and accessories
The bag should have enough space for your camera and accessories | Source

Filters

There are many many kinds of filters for photography. The most common ones are mounted directly in front of your lenses.

While most filters have some kind of effect on your pictures, the UV filters have the purpose of protecting your lenses from dust and other particles. It can also protect your lenses glass if you accidently drop your camera.

A polarizing filter is a widely used filter that you can use to bring more contrast into your photos. It can also help you get rid of unwanted reflections on water or window glasses, that otherwise you would have to clean on post editing software.

Tripod

This is an essential accessory for anyone who wants to take photography a serious business. A tripod will help you a lot on night photography, long exposure, macro or when using a telephoto lenses.

The most common tripods are made of aluminum and are quite cheap, but might not be very stronger. The sturdier and stronger tripods are more expensive and don't come an integrated head, allowing the photographer to change it according to his needs.

Camera bag

The camera bag is where you keep your camera, lenses, and other accessories. When buying one, think about the future and if you will be buying more accessories. You don't want to buy a bag and six months later buy another because the first one is too small.

Remote control

The remote control or remote shutter trigger is an accessory that lets you shoot photography without having to press the shutter button on your camera. You can either get a wired remote or a wireless one (this allows you to shoot better self-portraits).

Camera grip

You can connect a camera grip on your camera's battery compartment to make your camera power last much longer. It's great for big trips or for those people who easily forget to recharge their batteries.

These are the most common accessories, but there are much more, like extension tubes, photography lights, flash rings, etc...

This concludes the last lesson of Photography Basics guide. I hope you learned some new things here and that you got more interested in photography.

Photography is a very fun experiment and sometimes it allows you to express your feelings in an artistic point of view.

Have fun and never stop experimenting new stuff.

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    • photostudiosupply profile image

      photostudiosupply 5 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Great hub with a lot of informative and innovative ideas regarding photography.