Camera Lens Fundamentals

Photography is an exciting hobby and profession, though it can be frustrating trying to figure out the best lens for the job. This course will help you better understand camera lenses and their use cases.
Course info
Rating
(28)
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 12, 2017
Duration
57m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Rating
(28)
Level
Beginner
Updated
May 12, 2017
Duration
57m
Description

Have you ever been frustrated with your photography not getting the right look, or wondered what lens you should be using? If so, Camera Lense Fundamentals is the perfect course for you because you will learn what lens to use for different situations allowing you to take your photos to the next level. First, you will break down the basics of lens functionality and components. Next, you will explore specific examples of how a lens effects an image from wide angle to specialty lenses. Finally, you will get an in-depth review of specific lenses so you can make the best choice for your needs. When you're finished with this camera lens course, you will not only understand how different lenses effect an image, but also how to dramatically improve your photographic vision in the future.

About the author
About the author

Having an obsession with photography for over a decade now, Phill had the opportunity to visit and photograph some incredible places, and share his knowledge with several groups and individuals. While he enjoys many forms of photography, nothing captures his attention like landscape imagery.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Course Overview
Hello. My name is Phil Monson, and welcome to my course, Camera Lens Fundamentals. Whether you're new to photography or have been into this as a hobby or profession, we'll be covering some in-depth reviews over a wide range of camera lenses so you can better make decisions on how to better improve your images and make decisions on what lenses to add to your proverbial toolbox. By the end of this course, you will have learned how different lenses affect an image, what lenses to use for specific situations to better your photography, and a healthy dose of gear envy as you will want to add several of these lenses to your arsenal. This course will be a mix of video demonstration and review, as well as showing specific photo examples made with the various lenses to better illustrate the discussion points. During this course, I'll be referring a lot to Canon lenses as that's what I primarily shoot with. To that point, this is by no means an endorsement of Canon or a statement that they are better than other brands. I'll be mentioning some great alternatives to more expensive namebrands and equivalent lenses to the Canon lenses that I demonstrate. let's get started.

Mid-range Lenses
In this module, we'll be getting into the middle of it with midrange lenses. Midrange lenses are for everyday situations and are a great go-to lens when you're traveling or just want some nice options without going to the extreme of the focal perspectives on either end. Midrange zooms could also be considered your standard lenses. Focal lengths like 24-70 or 24-105 give a wide enough view with some zoom to capture just about anything you'd like. Nearly every photographer will have one midrange zoom in their back. In this example from a classic spot in Amsterdam, I had been walking around with a 24-105 mm lens. I set up here and shot at about 35 mm, enough to get the composition but also avoid any extreme distortion from a wide angle or not being able to capture enough of the scene with a telephoto. In a final example here, I've used a midrange zoom to, again, not cause any noticeable distortion but also give me some flexibility as I needed to stand a bit back from this sparks yet capture the entire scene. There's really nothing sexy about a midrange lens other than that they are a great workhorse for when you need to get a simple clean image.

Telephoto Lenses
For this module, we'll be discussing telephoto lenses at length. A telephoto lens is best used when you need to zoom in or pull a subject closer. Its primary purpose is to create magnification and a narrow view of a subject. Before we get into the lecture portion of this module, let's walk through a few examples of properly using a telephoto lens. This is clearly not a telephoto lens, but I'm going to use it to demonstrate the point I'm making. This was taken with a 16-35 mm. You'll notice that the foreground is accentuated, and that the background to foreground ratio is highly exaggerated to show great depth of the scene. But there are also some interesting subjects way out in the background, but the wide-angle distortion leaves them so small and not the main focus. Now let's look at this same image and the same spot but with a 70-200 mm lens. Now, here's the same scene from the last shot but at 200 mm. As you can see, there is some great magnification distortion going on as the main rock formations are made much larger, and the background feels much closer as well. Now, this is one of my favorite images taken in Ireland. Looking at this scene, one would think that the trees are planted right next to each other. But this is, again, depth of view distortion made possible by the 200 mm focal length. If this was taken with a wide-angle lens, you'd see much more space between the trees, which is in reality about 10 to 15 feet, and the image wouldn't be as impactful. For a final example, let's look at these sand dunes shot at 300 mm. I had mentioned earlier that a wide-angle lens is very tempting to try and take it all in, but many times a telephoto is a much better option. If this was taken with a wide angle, the focus, subject, and composition would be completely lost.

Specialty Lenses
For this module, we'll get into specifics about specialty lenses. Specialty lenses are lenses that have a very specific use case and characteristics outside of what we have previously covered. And, like extended family, can be great in small doses. The lenses and examples we will be covering here are macro, tilt shift, and fish eyes specifically. Let's take a look to see what I mean. Here's a macro lens example taken of a mushroom detail. You may have seen other shots of a dragonfly with water droplets on them and so on. Macro lenses can be a fun addition, but to get effects like this, you'll also need some additional equipment, such as extension tubes, for the maximum result. A macro lens is defined as a lens that can get abnormally close to a subject with incredible magnification, typically a one-to-one ratio or "life-size details. " A tilt shift lens allows you to force a different perspective by tilting and shifting the plane of focus for interesting depth-of-field perspectives. In this example from a shot from Paris, the city takes on an almost miniature set appearance. This is one of the fun things you can do with a tilt shift. Tilt shift lenses are also a powerful tool to help with architectural photography and help avoid distortion and converging verticals with a typical wide-angle lens. In this cityscape scene, try saying that three times fast, we see that the edges appear to all converge and wrap around the entire image, almost giving off this Inception-type feel with bending reality. This is caused by a special type of ultra wide-angle lens that offers extreme distortion, especially around the edges. It gets its name as it resembles a fisheye in both its shape and field of view.