New To Photography:Using different lenses

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This page is a chapter in the book New To Photography Book.
As your hobby grows, you will find yourself adding different lenses to your lens collection.
Once you have 5 or 6, take a selection with you wherever you go and remember that you have them and know what they can do.

Once you have got a good grasp of what lenses are used when, it is fun to go out with just one lens and try to
do a days photography with the restrictions that the lens has. It can teach you to see good subjects and how
to better compose shots.
We refer to normal lenses as being around the 50mm focal length as that gives a field of view similar to
what we as humans see (based on 35mm camera format).
Lenses with a focal length less than 'normal' are referred to as wide or super wide;
and lenses with a focal length greater than 'normal' as being telephoto.
Zoom lenses are lenses that can be varied across a range of focal lengths.
Macro lenses are used for close up work where subjects are magnified.

Typical lenses Focal lengths
Super wide angle (Fisheye) 10mm, 15mm
Wide angle 18mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm
Standard 50mm
Telephoto 85mm, 100mm, 135mm, 200mm, 300mm, 500mm, 800mm etc.
Zoom (Various: Super Wide, Wide, Mid Range, and Telephoto) 10-20mm, 16-35mm, 28-135mm, 70-200mm, 75-300mm, 100-400mm, 50-500mm
Macro 50mm macro, 100mm macro, 135mm macro

You can try different lens focal lengths via this simulator and this one for Depth of Field.

Test each lens that you buy methodically, learn about its aperture settings, zoom focal lengths and limitations.
Learn which lens is good for what, such as close ups (macro) or sports and wildlife.
Then when you come across a situation that demands a certain lens, you will know what to do and which one to use.

It is all too easy to become lazy and not get the shot because "It will take too long to change lenses".
Take your time and if you can, try and pre-empt what lens you will need and change the lens before you arrive or need to start shooting.
Again, when you go out, if you have a specific "Theme" in mind, you will know which lenses to take and which one you will need the most.

As a beginner, or newbie, I would suggest that your first lens should be a "Walk-around" lens.
Basically one that has a reasonable zoom, good quality and that covers focal lengths needed by everyday situations.
A lens that is reasonably wide, and has some zoom, something like an 18-135. or 18-200 makes a good 'walk around lens'.
You can get some nice wide landscape shots at the 18 end, and zoom to 200mm when you want to capture something closely.
The focal length is perfect and is a trusty, sturdy lens that produces nice sharp images for general use is invaluable.

One last, important note, is take care when changing lenses. Keep out of windy and/or dusty environments and try to change the lens inside a bag.
Dust on your mirror isn't so bad, but when it hits your sensor it can be a pain to remove it.
You either have to clean the sensor yourself (if you are comfortable doing so) or pay a professional camera clinic to do it for you.

See: Camera and Lens Care

Which Lens(es) to buy?

We answer that question in Appendix A - Explanations of Shutter, Aperture, ISO etc and explain the difference between a 'kit' lens and the better lenses.
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