Photography News Issue 41

Photography News | Issue 41 |

Technique 20


In associationwith Go long In this, the first part of PN ’s Ultimate Guide to Lenses, we look at telephoto lenses: what you need to know when buying, the techniques to improve results, and creative projects you can enjoy with your very own “long ’un”... Lenses are the lifeblood of creative photography, and the ability to change the lens you’re shooting with is one of the main reasons to buy a DSLR or CSC. So, if you want to improve your pictures, getting a new lens is often the place you should start. But you can also get better shots by improving the way you use the glass you have. In this new series we’ll look at how to choose and use different types of lenses, starting with telephoto models. Telephoto lenses are classified as any lens with a longer focal length than standard. Generally, full-frame standard lenses are agreed to be 50mm; with smaller formats that changes, so in APS-C it is 35mm and with Micro Four Thirds it is 25mm. Standard lenses give a field of view and perspective that’s similar to what the human eye sees, but because photography is often about changing the way we see the world, telephoto lenses are the first upgrade that many photographers make from the ‘kit zooms’ that come with most cameras. Taking an average 18-55mm, or 24-70mm standard zoom for example, you can already shoot fairly wide, but they don’t offer a lot of magnification at the other end, even though they’re technically, or bordering, telephoto. Switch to even an affordable 70-300mm, and you suddenly get a very different view on the world. Now you can fill the frame with far-off subjects, opening up the genres of sports and wildlife photography, as well as improving portraits and offering a different view of landscape scenes. In short, the telephoto is an immensely versatile and useful lens. Words Kingsley Singleton Pictures by Will Cheung and Kingsley Singleton

Pick the right lens Everything you need to know about finding and buying your next telephoto lens PART 1

When it comes to choosing a telephoto, there can seem a dizzying array of options. Models can cost anything from under £100, to well over £10,000. Then there are all the different focal lengths available, which govern how much you’ll be able to magnify the subject you’re shooting. Lenses can stick to just one focal length (primes) or offer a selection (zooms), and telephoto zoomlenses can either have constant apertures or variable ones. Size and weight also have a bearing on lens choice, so when, where, and howoften you’re going to use the lens needs to be considered. And there’s your camera body to consider; some lenses are designed for large sensors and some for cropped ones, so you need to make sure you’re buying the right one. Matching lens to subject The purpose of a telephoto lens is let you fill the frame with your subject,

providing lots of detail and impact, so the length of lens you need depends on the size of the subject you’re shooting and how close you’re able to get to it. For portraits, short to medium telephoto focal lengths, like 85mm, 105mm or 150mm are common. For sports and wildlife, where subject distance is greater, go longer. 300mmormore is common for these subjects, all the way up to 800mm, which will help you capture even very small, distant subjects. Prime or zoom? Whether to pick a prime or a zoom depends on how versatile you need your framing options to be, the image quality you require and how much you’re willing to spend. Zoom lenses, by definition, allow a range of focal lengths so you can adapt to different types of subject, or the distance they’re from you, without moving your feet.

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