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  1. #1

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    wide, standard and tele

    Hi all,

    I am writing for some simple questions:

    1. WHEN, in which situation you shot with wide, standard and tele lens?
    2. Which are your favourites focal lenghts (24x36 and/or Medium Format) and why?

    I am starting to purchase some lenses and I am curious on how to use different focal lenght...
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Paul Green's Avatar
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    Unless you have something specialised to do such as macro or nature photography a 28mm, 50mm and 85mm will serve you well.

  3. #3

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    There isn't a set formula for when one might use a wide angle vs a normal lens, vs a telephoto. It depends on the compostion you would like to make, and how much, or how little of the scene you want to show in the frame. Conversely it may also be helpful to think in terms of the image size you would like. Short focal length lenses (wide angles) make smaller images, longer FL lenses make bigger images.

    In various contexts, there are also other considerations, for example, in studio work when photographing objects, it is helpful if the camera is not too close to the subject, so that you can move around easier to set things up. For this, a longer FL lens is useful so that you fill the frame with the subject from a larger distance.

    For portraits, especially "head and shoulders" shots, short or normal FL lenses accentuate body parts closer to the camera, for example noses. The effect is certainly common enough in advertising and promotional photography, but a longer lens will avoid that and give a perspective that's closer to what your eyes capture.

    It depends on what you like, if you find that you do a lot of cropping when you make prints, then you may find that a longer lens will let you do less cropping and let you use more of the film area. OTH and if you can never get enough of what you'd like to in the shot, then a wide may be the ticket.

    Finally, don't be afraid to move around with your "normal" (or any) lens. Don't just stand in one place and switch lenses until you get what you want (unless you're at the edge of the grand canyon) .

  4. #4
    cjbecker's Avatar
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    I tried to do the wide normal and tele but it ended up just being wide and normal. Now i used the wide once because i forced my self and only took it to texas. After i hated all the images. I am a one lens type of shooter and that lens is a normal. I now have a 35mm mf and large format and I use the narmal lens for all of them. I have not yet sold the wide yet just becuse i fell there will be a time that I need it.

  5. #5
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    To me the main difference between telephoto,wide angle,and standard lenses besides the wider or narrower angle view they offer is the way they render the foreground of the picture in relation to the background, in that wide angles apparently push the background further away and emphasise the foreground and telephotos have the apposite effect.
    Ben

  6. #6

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    Thank you for the moment, this is helpful to understand how to move with lenses.... I started with a normal lenght and a Tele 135mm.... I saw that I used a lot the 50 and rarely the 135... Maybe is quite normal.... But thinking on the background effects, I am sure I can find more occasions for it.
    When I started shooting with a 35 mm I understood that maybe it's MY Focal lenght, I feel me more comfortable with that lens in many occasions...
    Now I am purchasiing a 28 mm and I am sure I would have to find a 85mm... But usually those are lenses not so cheap.... The reality is that I am on a experimental phase... Dangerous for my pocket but so exciting on discover the differences.
    Thanks to all
    Bye

  7. #7

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    if you plan to lug them around all day (like i do ) you may develop strange criteria to decide on "favourite" focal lengths... take the 28/2--i love the lens, i hate the focal length. i'd much rather use 24 and 35, but the 28 is half the weight. luckily, this particular 28 has the most pleasing rendering of all wide nikkors... or the 105/1.8--another optical gem in an annoyingly useless focal length. what if my favourite lengths, 85 and 180, weigh three times that much? i end up packing the 105 and getting great frames from it... hey, maybe that's it--favourite focal length is what you shoot you favourite pictures with! if so, 28-50-105 for this humble oinker



    ps. the "when" part is much easier--when it looks like it might look good a bit wider, i use the wide

  8. #8
    Newt_on_Swings's Avatar
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    Take a look at this, very simple explanations that are straight forward, and a good visual comparison between the lenses and their effects.

    http://www.photomatters.org/lens-matters

    Ultimately the availability of different lens choices allows the photographer to decide how to portray their subject, the more lenses available to you the more possibilities afforded in those taking situations. Everybody will have a particular feel about what they like in focal lengths. Ask yourself about the application and the goal you are seeking to obtain with your photographs, and the choice of lenses will be obvious. Also be wary about the lust for speed, it'll end up costing you an arm and a leg, and is a hard thing to give up when you have a taste of it.

  9. #9

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    I think 28/50/90 is a good recommendation, and what I started with, but I rarely use my 90, because I do like to get in close. Still, it's good to have.

    In general, a wide angle makes the picture look more like you are involved with the subject, surrounded by the picture and the subject, and really present in the situation. Wides tend to show background, both because their depth of focus is greater and because they take in a proportionally wider sweep of the background that can't be ignored in the picture, and so it needs to be somehow used as part of the picture. They exaggerate space and make a more exciting, but also more complex, picture:

    21mm:

    Bootjack Equestrians by Michael Darnton, on Flickr

    28mm:

    Art Institute by Michael Darnton, on Flickr

    Longer lenses feel like you are standing at a distance, uninvolved and watching. They can also be used isolate the subject by throwing the surroundings out of focus. If you're concerned about the environment of a picture, use a wide; for isolating details, a longer lens. They're often used for portraits, to isolate the face:

    85mm:

    Russell by Michael Darnton, on Flickr

    The normal lens, the 50, stands in the middle, neutral to some extent, though it tends more towards isolating than encompassing. Think of it as the way you'd normally see, with a bit of surroundings, but still concentration on the central subject.

    50mm:

    Liz, at home by Michael Darnton, on Flickr

  10. #10
    Mark Fisher's Avatar
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    I personally think a wide angle is the hardest to learn on. Personally, I don't shoot wide nearly as often as normal and a portrait lens. Some people are the other way around. I tend to prefer simpler images with fewer elements. As you can see in Micheal's first image, though, that can be done well with a very wide angle also. In 35mm I shoot only 35, 50 and 100 and it is plenty.

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