Focal lengths / Lenses

Focal Lengths

Objektive_Olympus [Abbildung: Olympus]What is the correct focal length? The answer to this question depends on personal preference as well as image subject. Over time, many photographers find their favourite focal length to work with. Henri Cartier Bresson used e.g. 50 mm. This focal length is about a human's range of vision. Many photojournalists during the Analog or even the Leica-M-era in contrast used 35 mm focal lengths. Sport journalists on the other hand use telephoto focal lengths. Various focal lengths are used depending on preference and emphasis. Most photographers today use lenses with variable focal lengths (zoom lens).

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Wide angle focal lengths

Wide angle lenses have a 35mm equivalent focal length of less than 45mm. Due to the crop factor on many digital cameras, the lens’s real focal length has to be shorter in order to achieve the respective 35mm equivalent focal length.

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Telephoto focal lengths

Telephoto lenses have a 35mm equivalent focal length longer than 60 mm. Due to the crop factor on many digital cameras; the 35mm equivalent focal length is usually greater than the indicated values on the lens.

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Fixed Focal Length and Zoom

When it comes to lenses irrespective of their focal lengths, you differentiate between fixed focal lengths and zoom lenses (lenses with variable focal lengths). 

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Light intensity (Lens speed) / Maximum diaphragm diameter

A lens’s quality is not only determined by its image performance. Another criterion for quality is lens speed. Lens speed is the largest diaphragm diameter that a lens can have.

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Image stabilisation

In analog photography, image stabilisation technology was only used by a few brands (e.g. Canon and Nikon) but in digital photography it is used by nearly every manufacturer.

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