Introduction What is photography? The history of photography What this site will do for you Light: The most important element Why light is important to a photograph The many types of light Controlling light in your pictures The camera The basic function Types of cameras Choosing the right camera Putting the image together: the Lens How the lens bends light: a tutorial A brief introduction to apertures The variety of lenses Choosing a lens Exposure: a film tutorial How film records an image Understanding film speed Print vs. Slide film Film recommendations Taking Pictures Depth-of-field Apertures and shutter speeds Composition and experimentation: the basics Metering: when you can't guess The many types of picture-taking Photography with a point-and-shoot Accessories Tripods: for when you can't stay still Lens filters Post-processing: after development Scanning photos The digital darkroom Photo and equipment storage
Finding a good lens is not easy and definitely not cheap. Below are some guidelines to follow when you are choosing a lens for your camera. If you are using a non-interchangeable lens camera, such as a point-and-shoot, you can skip this section and continue on to Exposure: A Film Tutorial. This section is only for users with an interchangeable lens camera. After reading this section, you should check out Choosing whatís Right for You, located in the Interact section. Now, let us continue.
Select a lens from a good brand
When choosing a lens, make sure you purchase a lens by a brand that you (or other photographers) have heard of. Canon and Nikon are the two best lens makers. Other good brands such as Pentax, Tokina, Minolta, Carl Zeiss, Schneider, Sigma, Phoenix, and Tamron, produce excellent lenses. Off-brand lenses may produce acceptable results, but may not be very reliable.
The faster, the better
When choosing a lens, try to find the fastest lens you can afford. Fast lenses will blur out any object that you do not want in your pictures, and can work in low-light fairly well. Be aware that faster lenses are more expensive than slower lenses of the same focal length.
Good lenses arenít inexpensive
Be aware that the best lenses can cost hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of dollars. Try starting out with a 50mm lens if you cannot afford expensive, professional lenses. 50mm lenses cost less than $100 and produce excellent results.
Find the focal length that is right for you
When looking for a lens, find one that suits the type of shooting you will be doing. For example, if you are doing landscape work, an investment in a wide-angle or normal lens would be wise.
Prime lenses can be better
Even though zooms are far more convenient in many situations, prime lenses, or fixed-focal length lenses can be faster, sharper, and have more contrast.
Zoom lenses can be better
If you are going to be in a situation where you cannot access your other lenses, zooms can be very handy. For example, if you are going on vacation, you most likely are not going to want to carry around 30 pounds worth of lenses. You will just want to carry your camera and one lens. This is where zooms can capture a moment that would of otherwise been lost.
Donít be overwhelmed when choosing a lens. Every photographer has a different opinion about which lenses are best. The best way to choose a lens, in our opinion, is to try out a couple lenses in the camera store, and find out which lens produces the best image to you.
Now that you know everything that you will need to know about the camera lens, let us continue on with learning about how film works in Exposure: A Film Tutorial.