The Difference a Lens Makes

The Difference a Lens Makes

Leela Cyd
Apr 6, 2012
coffee shop scene photographed with an 11-18 mm lens
Let's talk about lenses, shall we? I'm a big proponent of working with whatever lens you've got. But I thought it would be illuminating to show three different lenses shooting the same coffee shop scene.
coffee shop scene photographed with an 18-55 mm lens
Each specific lens will act differently depending on which camera body you mount it on. So if you are considering a new lens, it's important to know how this piece of equipment will fit the camera you have. My favorite way to test lenses is to go to the camera store with my camera body, laptop and sd/cf card and take some pictures in the store with my set up and look at the images on my screen; this way I know what I'm looking for and how it's going to work for me.
coffee shop scene photographed with a 60 mm lens

So here we have three images, shot from the exact same place, showing three very different scenes. Sure my subject (the blond woman) moved a little too, but you can see how much range each lens gets; we move from very wide (11-18mm) where you can see the ceiling and table in foreground to medium range (18-55mm) and finally to the close up of the couch with the woman leaning on it (60mm). Neat huh?

I think a whole lot of images can be achieved with just a kit lens to any entry level DSLR, or even a point and shoot. However, the wide angle shows a lot more content in the scene — which can be great — and the 60mm macro is working as a portrait type of lens in this case, showing almost none of the environment the woman is in.

So depending on what you shoot most often, this can help sway you one way or another. And comfort level is big too — are you going to be bogged down by a heavy lens and not want to photograph? Do you like the cropping of a fixed 50 mm or macro lens, which forces you to move your body all around your scene? Or do you like an all–purpose lens you don't have to worry about? These are all questions to consider and food for thought when thinking about lenses.

Leela the Photo Magician

(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)

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