Be­come fa­mil­iar with lens tech­nol­ogy and un­der­stand how to use yours for max­i­mum qual­ity and per­for­mance

Digital Photograper - - Techniques -

Modern cam­era lenses are ex­cep­tion­ally ad­vanced pieces of equip­ment, in­cor­po­rat­ing a plethora of op­ti­cal and elec­tri­cal tech­nolo­gies to cre­ate a pre­cise imag­ing tool. Gen­er­ally lenses are less com­pre­hen­sively un­der­stood by pho­tog­ra­phers than cam­eras, as many of the fea­tures can­not be eas­ily seen – lens coat­ings for ex­am­ple are not nec­es­sar­ily ob­serv­able to the naked eye, rather they con­sist of a mi­cro crys­talline struc­ture that ben­e­fits im­age sharp­ness and colour. The ef­fects can be mon­i­tored, but it is more chal­leng­ing to draw con­nec­tions be­tween spec­i­fi­ca­tion and re­sults. This lack of un­der­stand­ing of lens func­tion­al­ity and be­hav­iour can lead to mis­use and in turn, lower-qual­ity im­ages. It is vi­tal to recog­nise that, in­de­pen­dent of lens price and tar­get user, all op­tics ex­hibit strengths and weak­nesses. Only by iden­ti­fy­ing these is it pos­si­ble to make in­formed de­ci­sions about how best to use a lens and in which cir­cum­stances it is ide­ally equipped to de­liver de­sired im­ages. This be­comes more com­pli­cated when you put your lenses to work out­side of their ex­pected tar­get con­di­tions, which can oc­cur as you seeks new ways of fram­ing im­ages cre­atively.

Per­for­mance is in­flu­enced by many fac­tors, in­clud­ing aper­ture choice, fo­cal length, fo­cus dis­tance and light di­rec­tion, among many oth­ers. An­other crit­i­cal con­sid­er­a­tion is that these do not af­fect all lenses in the same way – there are vari­ances depend­ing on lens type, man­u­fac­turer (due in part to the cho­sen op­ti­cal de­sign) and even be­tween in­di­vid­ual units. Take the time to use your lenses in a range of sit­u­a­tions, which test its ca­pa­bil­i­ties at the full range of aper­ture set­tings and fo­cal lengths. Use them in mul­ti­ple light­ing sce­nar­ios to ex­am­ine re­sis­tance to flare. This will give you a good un­der­stand­ing of what to ex­pect from the op­tics you use most, how to im­prove their per­for­mance and how to get more use of each model.

In or­der to fur­ther ex­tend the ver­sa­til­ity of your lens col­lec­tion, adapters can be a use­ful and af­ford­able so­lu­tion. These en­able the mod­els you al­ready own to achieve pre­vi­ously un­reach­able im­ages, rais­ing the cre­ative pos­si­bil­i­ties of your kit­bag. Do be aware of the ex­pected com­pro­mise be­tween low cost and ab­so­lute qual­ity how­ever.

Lenses are usu­ally up­dated less of­ten, both by man­u­fac­tur­ers and by pho­tog­ra­phers, who up­grade their cam­eras more fre­quently. Op­tics are there­fore a great fo­cus in the quest for mak­ing the most of the max­i­mum po­ten­tial of our equip­ment in­ven­tory.

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