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101 the Camera part 2

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Posted 21-03-09 at 04:21 PM by kennykodak
Updated 07-04-09 at 09:34 AM by Stephen

i left you hanging with the use of three different lenses and the effect that they have in the relationship between the subject and it's surroundings. let's discuss one lens type for a while in a little more depth.

the Wide Angle

any lens whose focal length is shorter or less the effective diagonal of the film and sensor. for 35 mm film or a full frame sensor is lens than 50 mm. for a medium format camera such as a Hasselblad it less than 80 mm.

lens design is getting better than generally the wider the angle of view, the more curvature occurs around the edges of the images. a fisheye lens is on the extreme end of the spectrum can create either a round image or a traditional size one with extreme curvature in the subject content. (did you know that you can photograph a telephone pole in the direct center with a fisheye and it will appear straight? move off center either direction and the same pole will bow towards the center.)

wide angle lenses create greater depth of field (dof) as apposed to any other type of lens. also and more importantly when using a w/a lens, near objects project and far objects recede. now suppose you create a group shot and choose a w/a lens, if you are not careful and use one shorter than you need or are closer to the subject than required; the front row will become persons of girth whilst the back row will be populated with pin heads. before i forget it, when photographing people with a w/a, always keep the lens level and not tilt up or down on the subject unless you are going for a special effect. don't too close to someone's face either unless you are doing a study on romanese noses.

one of the rules of portrait photography:
in every group, there's a central lady who makes the purchasing decision. would we place her front row center and use a 24 mm lens to get everyone in? wrong answer, thanks for playing. i would bury her but in the back row center and slim her down.

the shorter the focal length, the longer (slower) the shutter speed becomes for safe hand held photography. using a 35 mm lens, 1/30 of a second could be done without body movement of your own unless you stopped at Starbucks along the way.

Review: W/A Lenses
(35 mm safest for people)
always used level with people
creates greater dof
shows near objects projecting and far objects receding.
can be hand held at a slower shutter speed.
creates curvature at the edges
the shorter the lens the more exaggerated all of the above become.
Total Comments 7

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    Thanks for this John, it's going to be very useful for me. I am looking at buying another portrait friendly lens so what should I be looking for? I use a Canon EOS 400D, 55-80mm (the kit lens) which I've used most of the time and am considering something like a 35-70mm. I've also got the 75-300mm but its not really much good for portrait work.
    Posted 23-03-09 at 02:33 AM by
  2. Old Comment
    kennykodak's Avatar
    well it depends on your budget. the lens that you mention sounds like a good range for small sensor. cameras change but good glass is an investment. i have a 85 f1.2 and a 135 f2 both of which are beautiful portrait lenses but if i have choose on one lens the 70-200 f2.8 IS stands above anything ever made.
    if i was only allowed to work with three lenses:
    1. 70-200L f2.8 IS
    2. 24-70L f2.8
    3. 15 f2.8 fisheye

    choosing a lenses with a fast aperture opening is important to me since most of my work is under low light. having a wider opening lets me shot in darker settings but more importantly is allows for faster more accurate focusing. auto focus depends on seeing contrast and in low light with a higher aperture
    sometimes the camera struggles to lock on. it could miss the decisive moment.

    tell more about the lens that you are considering.
    Posted 23-03-09 at 03:04 AM by kennykodak kennykodak is offline
  3. Old Comment
    Ian's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gina View Comment
    Thanks for this John, it's going to be very useful for me. I am looking at buying another portrait friendly lens so what should I be looking for? I use a Canon EOS 400D, 55-80mm (the kit lens) which I've used most of the time and am considering something like a 35-70mm. I've also got the 75-300mm but its not really much good for portrait work.
    55-80? Do you mean 18-55?
    Posted 23-03-09 at 10:52 AM by Ian Ian is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Yes Ian, my mistake it was late. John will get back to you and thanks for responding.
    Posted 23-03-09 at 11:26 AM by
  5. Old Comment
    Stephen's Avatar
    Gina, as you shoot mainly portrait, may I suggest you consider the Canon 50mm F1.8 It is tack sharp, will give you great depth of field control and can be bought for under 100. Infact if you get a copy of the latest Digital Photo magazine, there is a special feature on Portraiture and they are doing a group test on Portrait lenses
    Posted 23-03-09 at 02:05 PM by Stephen Stephen is offline
  6. Old Comment
    kennykodak's Avatar
    Gina, given the smaller sensor size of your camera and the new lens length, i agree with Stephen.
    Posted 23-03-09 at 02:31 PM by kennykodak kennykodak is offline
  7. Old Comment
    Thank you very much for your advice Stephen and John. I'm working on it!!
    Posted 30-03-09 at 10:03 PM by
 

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