Different Types of Lenses

Wide angle lens Telephoto lens Zoom lens

Wide Angle

Lenses that have focal lengths less than 50mm are considered wide angle. Because of the short focal length, photographs taken with wide angle lenses capture more of the scene within the frame. The smaller the focal length of a lens, the more the camera will be able to record of the sides of the photograph. Fisheye lenses, for example, cover a 180 degree view of any given scene.

In addition to capturing more data, wide angle lenses create an expanded or exaggerated perspective where subjects in the foreground look larger, and elements in the background look smaller and farther away. Wide angle lenses also give pictures an extensive depth of field and elongate subjects at the edges of the frame.

Telephoto Lenses

Lenses with focal lengths of 60mm or more are considered telephoto. Telephoto lenses are great for distant subjects that are impossible to get close to. Sporting events, for example, are perfect for telephoto lenses because the photographer can get a sharp, frame-filling image without intruding on the event.

Telephoto lenses also provide a narrow angle of view and a shallow depth of field so that the subject fills the frame and the background is blurred. Also, the perspective created by telephoto lenses is compressed, causing the subject to appear closer than it is.

Zoom Lenses

Zoom lenses are perfect for people who cherish convenience. They allow photographers to quickly shift the focal length, without going through the trouble of changing lenses. Zoom lenses are heavier and larger than other lenses, but at the same time, they can replace several other lenses with their wide range.

However, the maximum apertures on zoom lenses are considered slow, which means that they do not open as wide as some of the other single-focal-length lenses. Also, some of the more affordable zoom lenses are not up to professional-quality standards.