Types of lenses

Standard lenses

Standard lenses are those with a mid-range focal length, typically around 50mm. They have an angle of view which is roughly the same as the angle that the human eye can comfortably view, meaning that they produce images which appear “natural” to the viewer. They usually have a fixed focal length and wide aperture, giving them excellent performance in low light. They are popular for a wide range of photography subjects, including landscapes, portraits, and candid shots.

Macro lenses

Macro lenses are designed especially for close-up photography. They have a different internal construction from normal lenses which gives them very good sharpness and contrast. They produce some really eye-catching photos. Macro lenses are useful for photographing any subject at very close range. Typical subjects include insects, animals, and plants, but they are also popular for taking extremely detailed photos of everyday objects.

Telephoto lenses

Telephoto lenses have a long focal length and provide a high level of magnification, allowing to photograph subjects at a moderate to far distance. They are usually bigger and heavier than other types of lens. Telephoto lenses are popular for any type of photography where you can’t get near to the subject, including wildlife and sports events. They are also commonly used in portrait photography, where a moderate telephoto lens will provide a natural, undistorted perspective.

Wide angle lenses

Wide angle lenses are thosee with a short focal length. They provide an angle of view beyond that of a standard lens, allowing them to capture more of the scene in a single shot. Extreme wide angle lenses are known as fisheye lens; these can capture around 180 degrees, making for some intriguing, almost abstract photos. Wide angle lenses are useful for photographing landscapes, cramped interiors, and other subjects which won’t fit into a normal lens’s field of view. Fisheye lenses take this even further, and are popular for photographing action sports like skateboarding and surfing, where their inherent distortion gives photos a dynamic feel.

Specialist lenses

There are a number of specialist camera lenses which cater for less common photography needs like tilt and shift lenses for perspective control, soft-focus lenses for portrait photography, and infrared lenses for capturing light outside the normal spectrum. They are used to produce some sort of special or creative effect, and so they have limited use in general photography. However, they can be very useful if you need to photograph a particular subject in a particular way.