How to Choose the Right Lens for a Certain Effect

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How to Choose the Right Lens for a Certain Effect

Photography is not just about capturing a scene or subject or recording an event. Many people get into photography because of the creative effects that can be produced, and the creative license it gives people to shoot photographs, which can be considered art, rather than just a documented scene. Using a compact camera, there is less leeway with the effects produced although many modern compact cameras now come with scene modes, which go some way to creating similar effects to using different lenses with a DSLR, for example. For amateur and professional photographers who own a DSLR with interchangeable lenses, however, there are many different effects that can be produced, depending on the setting used as well as the lenses.

Types of Lenses

There are different lenses available for different photography styles; for example, macro lenses for close up work and telephoto lenses for wildlife shots from a distance. The main types of lenses are generally classified as wide-angle, normal (or standard), telephoto, and zoom. Wide-angle lenses are usually lenses that have a focal length of 35mm or less. They allow a larger amount of the scene being photographed to appear in the resulting picture. They are good for landscapes or any picture where a wide viewing angle is needed. Normal, or standard lenses as they are often called, are lenses that generally have a focal length of between 35mm and 80mm. They are called normal lenses because they come close to depicting what the naked eye would see when looking at a scene as they are neither an over wide viewing angle, nor a close up view. Telephotos lenses are generally lenses that are 80mm and above, with some lenses going up to 600mm, for very close up views. They generally are used to make the scene or subject appear closer than it is and, as such, are good lenses for distance shots of wildlife and are also the choice of the paparazzi. A zoom lens is another common type of lens and is quite versatile. It will cover a range of focal lengths, enabling the photographer to zoom in and out to get the desired shot of the scene or subject. An example of a zoom lens is an 18-55mm lens, which is generally the type of lens that comes with a new DSLR unless the buyer has bought a DSLR body only.

Photographic Effects Using Lenses

There are a number of different effects that can be used

Extreme Close-ups

Extreme close-ups of certain subjects can make great photographs. Popular choices of subject for this type of photograph include already small objects or subjects, such as insects and plants, but anything can be used. Sometimes creative close-ups can be taken using just part of a subject, such as taking the picture at such an extreme close-up that only the insects wing is in the photograph for example. The detail is highly magnified in this type of picture.

A macro lens is the best choice of lens due to its ability to focus at very short distances. While a telephoto lens may be able to magnify or come close to the subject, it will not be able to focus properly at a short distance, and that is why a dedicated macro lens is a good purchase for this type of photography.


Star Effects


It is possible to get a star burst effect on a photograph with the use of a star filter, but it is also possible just using the right type of lens. A star effect is a starburst of light that gleams from one direct point of light source, such as a lamppost, or even the sun if it is partially hidden from view.

Use a wide-angle lens and a small aperture. This creates the best star burst; the smaller the aperture, generally, the greater the effect. Try using a lens at an aperture of about f16 to f32.
Telephoto lenses are less successful with creating this effect.


Zoom Abstractions

A fun way to create an abstract or creative photograph. A zoom abstraction shows streaks of colour and movement as the photographer zooms in or out of the scene while taking the photograph.

A zoom lens is necessary to take these kinds of photographs. The lens is used to create the effect by taking the photograph with a long shutter speed of at least a second. The photograph is focused, usually with the lens extended to telephoto position, and then as the shot is being taken, the photographer uses the zoom to retract back to wide-angle. This has the effect of creating an abstract photograph with streaks of blur, which is particularly effective if used at night, where any lights in the scene will streak in the picture and create a good effect.


Lens Flare

Most of the time photographers would want to avoid lens flare, which is a scattered, unwanted, glaring light that appears in photographs. However, some lens flare can be used to artistic effect, such as glinting sun through the trees.

Using a wide-angle lens without a lens hood will usually result in unwanted, unattractive lens flare in photographs if the picture is taken into the sun. However, using a telephoto lens the effect can be much more subtle and can actually be used to creative effect. Try using a telephoto lens and experimenting with different shots; the lens flare will be diffused and quite subtle when using a telephoto lens.


Light Painting and Light Trails

Trails of light in night photographs or pictures painted with torches or other light sources, including coloured lights, are becoming a very popular effect in photography. The advent of digital photography means that many experiments and different attempts can take place without worrying about wasting film. Trails of light can be taken of car headlights on roads, for example, or any other moving light source. Light painting is perormed by a person in front of the camera, at night or in a dark place, creating pictures by moving light sources such as torches in a particular pattern.

Any lens can be used for light painting. The key to this effect is a long shutter speed, and therefore a tripod and usually a remote shutter release will be required. Whether using a wide-angle or zoom lens, make sure that the lens is able to focus on a point in the picture, even when dark. When light painting, the trick is then to create a picture using torches or lights that are moved around in front of the camera, while the background is mostly dark. A good tip for doing this kind of photography is to wear dark clothing so that the picture does not show the person doing the light painting, just the resulting light patterns and shapes.


Find Camera Lenses on eBay

Camera lenses, including those for DSLRs, can be bought from different places, such as camera shops and high-street shops or department stores. Staff in specialist camera shops are often very knowledgeable and will be able to advise on the type of lens being bought. There is also a large range of camera lenses available for sale on eBay, including brand new lenses as well as second-hand lenses. To look for camera lenses on eBay, head to the eBay homepage. Begin by opening the All Categories tab and clicking on the link for Cameras & Photography,, followed by Lenses & Filters.. From there, click on Lenses and then use the left hand side filter to select the type of lens required, which will lead to an eBay page showing only that type of lens for sale. Alternatively, try entering specific terms into the search bar at the top of any eBay page.


Using the correct lens with a camera can be the difference between an average photograph and a great one. There are many different creative effects that can be used in photography to enhance or create a stunning photograph. Effects such as starburst effects, zoom abstractions, light painting, and extreme close-ups are possible, but it is important to use a lens that will lend itself best to these effects. For a photographer interested in close-up photography, a macro lens will be a good investment when deciding on a lens to buy. Macro lenses can be quite expensive, but looking on eBay will provide a range of options, both new and second-hand. Most photographers will have in their collection a wide-angle lens, zoom lens, and telephoto lens; all of these lenses can be used for differing photographic effects, and it can be useful to keep in mind the effects that can be created when shopping for new camera lenses.

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