Use of Lens


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Use of lens.

The theme of the photo is using the qualities of various types of lenses to make the photo creative.

Wide Angle Lens

WA Lenses are normally between 20mm and 35mm. This gives you the maximum angle of view and covers as much stuff as possible. Needless to say, such lenses are mainly used for landscape pictures, where you need to capture as much as possible - like rolling hills, distant mountains, etc. In almost all such cases, the subject is generally far away from the photographer - normally 100ft and beyond.

One of the things that one has to take into consideration in a photograph is perspective. Typically, if the subject is pretty far away, the perspective will be relatively flat because all the points (those near to you and those far from you) are almost at the same distance. This is because, if you are standing 100ft away from a sphere that is 2 ft in diameter, the sphere will look like a flat circle to you as difference between the nearest point (100 - 2 = 98) and the farthest point (100 + 2 = 102) is more or less the same from where you stand.

However, when you get closer, the spherical nature of the object becomes more and more prominent because the difference between the nearest and farthest points is significant.

You can use this perspective phenomenon to selectively make parts of your subject bigger. For example, if you have a person holding his hand straight (indicating you to stop), to emphasize the 'stop' nature of the picture, you can take a wide angle lens, get extremely close to the hand, and take a picture. This will make the picture almost comic in that the hand will be 3-4 times bigger than the subject's head. (Same principle as how you can block the sun with your finger).

This effect has been used in this picture to kind of elongate the legs of the fallen guy, to give a feeling of total surrender and helplessness.

Fish Eye lens

This is a more expensive lens and is in the range 16mm - 20mm. These lenses have an angle of view > 180 deg. and hence the picture will look contorted. The effect will be very similar to Escher's self-portrait or seeing your reflection on the surface of a soap bubble.

Perspective lens

This is also a special lens where you can correct the perspective nature of your picture. This is generally very useful when you are taking vertical objects, like tall buildings. Due to perspective phenomenon, the sides of the building will seem to converge from bottom to top. Using a perspective lens will correct this and you will see your vertical lines parallel and not converging. Normal lens

These are lenses that fall between 35mm - 70mm. Human vision is equivalent of a 50mm lens and hence this is called the 'normal lens'. This will typically give you a WYSIWYG picture.

Telephoto lens.

These lenses start from 70mm and can go till 1500mm or more. The shorter range, between 70mm and 120mm is most useful for portrait pictures as that will tend to picture the human shape without any distortion. The longer range - beyond 120mm - is normally used for action photography or animal photography, where one cannot be near the point of action.

Zoom Lenses

As we all know, these have variable focal length and kind of simulate the behavior of the wide, normal, and telephoto lenses.


These are 'extenders' to your existing lens. They just multiply your focal length (on the low, as well as on the high side) by a pre-defined factor. Hence a 2x teleconverter applied to a 24mm-200mm lens will give you 48mm-400mm.

Macro Lenses

These are special lenses devised for close-range photography. Normally the focal length will be in the order of cm, typically between 1cm and 15-30cm. These lenses are used to get extreme close-ups of subjects like flowers, insects, etc. Many photographers say that if they don't have a productive day, they simply switch to a macro lens and look for ordinary objects around them to give a totally different perspective.

About the Photographer

Tomm Hansen