Zoom Lens Explained

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A zoom lens is extremely important for photographers since it allows to shoot at different focal lengths without changing lens.

It’s important to know the features of a zoom lens and its pros and cons over prime lenses to make a more informed decision when buying new glass for your camera.

Read also: Best camera for beginners

Why is a Zoom Lens Important?

A zoom lens is extremely important for photographers. They give photographers multiple options for focal lengths. They are used as an alternative to a prime lens. Prime lenses are different, as they only offer one focal length for shooting. Re-framing scenes are simple with multiple focal lengths. There are numerous types of these lenses that can be used for achieving great photos.

Every zoom lens has its own unique features and benefits. Some lenses are better for certain types of photographers. There are many factors to consider when selecting the perfect lens, including price, specifications, size constraints and desired look.

When to Use a Zoom Lens Instead of a Prime Lens?

In order to know when to use one type of lens over the other, first you must understand the benefits/ disadvantages of both.

They give photographers the flexibility to change angles quickly without changing the lens. This enables them to be a more convenient option. They are easier to transport and great for travel. They are perfect for photo journalism, as the photographer only has to adjust the focal length instead of changing lens each time. However, there are some disadvantages when using this type of lens as well.

For example. they may not be as sharp and defined as a prime lens. They may be slower and allow less light in the camera. The lens aperture is more narrow, therefore not allowing as much light to pass into the camera. The only way to rectify this is to set the shutter speed lower. This is especially important for environments with poor lightening. Alternatively, a fast version of this lens can solve this issue, however they are expensive.

Therefore, when you must capture photos quickly and do not have time to change out lens, they are a better option over prime lens. Photojournalism and event photography are the two main scenarios where these lens are overall the best choice.

Constant Aperture vs. Variable Aperture

Lens can be checked for constant or variable aperture by locating its marking. The camera will allow less light in, the more you zoom. The markings and numbers let you know that the lens can be kept at a certain aperture. It is important to check these numbers and markings.

Focal Length

Focal length is a very important term used all the time in photography. You must first understand exactly what focal length means in order to create the best shots possible. Focal length chooses the angle of view. In simpler terms, this mean how much of the scene you are able to capture. Focal lengths are measured in millimeters. The range of focal lengths can be anything from 8mm to 300mm. These measurements pertain to the distance between the lens centre and sensor.

Multiple focal lengths can be covered within the same lens. Examples of zoom lens are wide-angle or telephoto. The focal length determines the type of lens, such as wide-angle, standard or telephoto.

Optical Stabilizer

An optical stabilizer is a type of floating lens that balances camera movement when the image is being taken. Optimal stabilizer lens all have the letters “OS” in their name to identify what they are. Optical stabilizers are used as invisible tripods. Optical stabilizers keep hand-held shots defined and sharp at slow shutter speeds.

Zoom Lens and Macro

Macro capture mode is offered on many of these lenses. Macro capture mode is used at the longest focal length. The magnification ratios are between 1/3 and 1/2 actual size. When a Sigma lens has “Macro” included in the name, the maximum ratio is 1/3 & up. Motion is increased with focusing distances. For example, when capturing an butterfly on a flower, any slight motions can cause you to loose focus of the butterfly. Using macro capture mode takes practice, and patience.

What Zoom Lens Should You Buy?

The answer to this questions varies depending upon the type of photographer you are and what you plan to use the lens for. A single zoom lens covers everything from wide angle to telephoto, which is versatile and convenient from Sigma. When looking for perfect telephoto performance, the Sigma is a great option. Sigma has a lens that is perfect for every type of photographer and their budget.

Read more about the importance of a zoom lens here.

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