Buy Wide Maximum Aperture Lenses
There are many examples where manufacturers have two or more lenses with the same focal length range but one is much more expensive. This is usually because the maximum aperture is wider. There are several advantages to wider maximum apertures. First, the ability to shoot handheld in lower light levels without raising the ISO (so enabling better quality images, or shots you couldn’t otherwise take). Second, the ability to create very shallow depth of field for creative effect. And third, the fact that you’ll get a brighter viewfinder (which also often results in faster AF). So in short, if you can afford a wider maximum aperture, go for it.
Use Primes For Best Quality
Zoom lenses are deservedly popular for their convenience, but prime lenses, which offer only a single focal length, have many advantages. First, the optical quality is usually superior, because it has been optimised to be master of a single focal length, rather than a jack of many. Second, prime lenses are smaller and lighter than zooms. Even though two or three primes may be heavier than one zoom that covers all their ranges, you’ve only got one on your camera at a time. Third, the maximum apertures are usually wider. Finally, prime lenses can often be inexpensive, especially the 50mm standard lens.
Tips For Telephotos
Shoot sports and wildlife
Make distant subjects seem closer
Fill the frame
Shoot candids without being seen
Beware of camera shake
As well as magnifying the scene, telephoto lenses also magnify any shaking in your hand – as you’ll know if you’ve ever tried to hold a pair of binoculars steady. This means you’ll need to use faster shutter speeds than you would with shorter lenses if you want to avoid camera shake. A rule of thumb is to not shoot at shutter speeds lower than the focal length you’re shooting at, so stay above 1/300th sec if using a 300mm lens. When shopping for a telephoto or tele-zoom it’s well worth investing in one with optical imagestabilisation built in, if you’re a Canon or Nikon user – though if you use Pentax, Sony or Olympus this feature is built into the camera.
Isolate the subject
Tips for Wideangles
Get more in
Wideangles let you get more in shot without having to step back. They’re great for group shots in confined spaces, or large buildings without having to walk such a long way back.
Increase the sense of distance
Wideangles increase the perception of relative distance between objects within the scene, making distant objects seem much further away, and much further from elements closer to the lens. So they’re ideal for ‘elongating’ a scene.
Wideangles can distort straight lines
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