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Types of Camera Lenses You Can Buy

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Type of camera lenses on the basis of angle of view

There are broadly three types of camera lenses classified on the basis of focal length: Wide-angle lens, Standard lens and Telephoto lens.

1) Standard lens

A standard camera lens has an angle of view similar to that of a human eye, thus it helps us capture photos with a similar viewing angle of what our eyes see. This is the reason that the focal length range of a standard camera lens is usually 35-85mm on a full-frame digital camera.

The standard lens is also known as ‘normal lens’ as the angle of view that you get is exactly what your eyes normally see.

Many photographers prefer these lenses for street and travel photography. Few examples of standard lenses are 35mm lens, 50mm lens etc.

2) Wide-angle lens

The focal length of a wide-angle camera lens is less than 35mm on a full-frame digital camera. This means that any lens with a focal length wider than 35mm (such as 30mm, 24mm, 18mm etc.) would be classified as a wide-angle lens.

However, the wide-angle lenses can further be classified into three categories: Wide, Ultra-wide, and Fish-eye lens. A wide lens would have a focal length ranging between 35mm and 20mm. The ultra-wide-angle lenses are much wider and have a focal length of 20mm or less. And the fish-eye lenses are much wider than the ultra-wide-angle lenses and produce photos with ‘fish-eye’ effect.




3) Telephoto lens

A telephoto camera lens has the focal length longer than 50mm on a full-frame digital camera, for example: 85mm, 100mm, 200mm, and so on.

One of the biggest advantages of using these lenses on your camera is that you get to capture distant objects without going physically closer. A telephoto lens also produces a comparatively shallower depth of field, thus eliminating your subject from the background.

These are the reasons why photographers use a telephoto lens widely for wildlife and candid photography as it lets you get closer to the subject optically.

Type of camera lenses on the basis of focal length range

Let’s now look at the type of camera lenses on the basis of focal length range: Zoom lens and Prime lens.

1) Zoom lens

A lens which has a variable focal length range is classified as a zoom lens. Camera lenses such as 24-70mm, 18-55mm, 55-250mm, 70-300mm, etc are all zoom lenses because each of these lenses have variable focal length range. For example, the 18-55mm lens can be used at any focal length between 18mm and 55mm, which means you can optically zoom-in or zoom-out.

A zoom lens comes handy when you want to optically get closer or achieve a wider perspective of your subjects using a single lens. Such a lens is majorly used by travel, wildlife, sports and event photographers.

2) Prime lens

A prime lens has a fixed focal length and cannot be changed optically, you have to physically move forward or away from the subject to capture a wider or narrower angle of view. Camera lenses such as 24mm, 50mm, 85mm, 135mm, etc are all prime lenses and can be used at the fixed mentioned focal length only.

Prime lenses are usually sharper and achieve more blur effect as compared to zoom lenses. Especially used by fashion, portrait, street and wedding photographers.

So these are five different types of digital camera lenses vastly used by photographers across the world.



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