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There are two basic categories of camera lenses:
Prime lenses. Primes have a fixed lens focal length, making them faster and sharper. While prime lenses are less flexible due to the fixed focal length, they are also fast and lightweight, making them easy to travel with
Zoom lenses. Zooms use a series of lenses to allow different focal lengths from a single lens, making them more flexible but not as fast. They contain more glass, which aids in their flexibility, but they also tend to be bigger and heavier than prime lenses.
Within both prime and zoom types of lenses, there are a variety of lenses, all with different focal lengths.
1. Macro Lenses
This type of camera lens is used to create very close-up, macro photographs. They have a unique design that allows them to produce sharp images at extremely close range. These lenses are great for nature photography, enabling you to capture an enormous amount of detail in one image.
2. Telephoto Lenses
Telephoto lenses are great for isolating a subject that is far away. However, such great magnification comes at the price of a narrower field of view. There are many different types of telephoto lenses, and some can be quite large and heavy, The focal lengths is normally considered anything above 85mm.
3. Wide Angle Lenses
Wide angle lenses are ideal for fitting a large area into your frame. This is especially useful for landscape photography or street photography. With wide angle lenses, it is easier to keep everything in focus, unless your subject is very close to the lens. Their focal length is normally less than 35mm.
4. Standard Lenses
Standard lenses can be used for a variety of different types of photography such as portraiture. Their focal lengths fall somewhere in the middle, usually between 35mm and 85mm. A zoom lens within this range will have a small enough focal length at the bottom end to take a wider angle, full-frame photo, and a large enough focal length at the top end to zoom in on subjects.
5. Specialty Lenses
Finally, there are some more specialised camera lenses that can impart a unique look and feel to your photographs. There are several types of specialty camera lenses, but a few of the most prominent examples are:
Fisheye lens. A fisheye lens is an ultra-wide-angle lens that can take in a full 180 degree radius around it. Fisheye lenses are so named because they distort an image’s field of view, making even a room in a house look like a bubble.
Tilt shift lens. By tilting the lens, you change the center of that imaging circle, which can straighten the lines that appear to converge in the distance. The camera body remains in the same position, but the tilt shift adjusts the lens' perspective. That makes tilt shift lenses a big help for architectural photography.
Infrared lens. These lenses play with light rather than perspective, filtering out all light waves except infrared for a unique visual effect.
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