Different Types of Camera Lenses (Understanding Camera Lens Types and Uses)

If you are a filmmaker or photographer constantly looking for new methods to improve your photographs, you have considered the different type of lenses for camera.

You have heard on several occasions that the camera person, not the camera, is the key to taking excellent photographs. To some extent, this is true. Suppose you are creative (and lucky).

In that case, you may use your decades-old compact camera to shoot some beautiful images, distribute them on a photography website, and make a fortune selling your excellent work.

However, to keep growing your talents, you will always have to invest in a piece of professional equipment.

Regrettably, the lens that comes with the camera may serve for a while after purchasing it. Eventually, you will start thinking about bigger problems requiring new camera lenses.

“In short, there are different types of camera lenses, including standard, zoom, telephoto, macro, wide-angle, and ultra-wide lenses, which can help improve your photography career. You are in the right place if you are looking for the perfect camera lens for your shooting adventure.”


Which Lens is Best for Photography?

If you asked one hundred experts about the best camera lens for photography, you would get 100 different responses. There are several techniques and options available to capture things.

Any lens from 24mm to 200mm can be utilized for portrait photography. Nevertheless, popular lenses for portrait photography should have 50mm and 85mm lenses for close-ups.

In addition, if you want to take full-length shots, the ideal lens should be 24mm and 35mm.

Different Types of Camera Lenses and Uses

A lens in a film camera directs light to the film strip, whereas the lens in a digital camera focuses light on a digital sensor. Camera lenses comprise a sequence of concave glass plates (curved inward) or convex (curved outward).

A photographer’s camera is worthless without a lens. Remarkably, the lens is responsible for focusing light from the viewfinder to a small (usually) 35mm space on the DSLR, film back, or mirrorless camera.

When you disconnect the lens from the camera, the only image that can be produced is white light.

As a result, a high-quality lens can enable you to capture beautiful photographs even with a low-cost camera, whereas a low-quality lens can render even the best camera ordinary, resulting in poor image quality.

01. Standard Lenses

A normal lens does have a focal length ranging from 35mm to 85mm. They are known as normal or standard lenses since they provide a field of view identical to the human eye.

Looking through the camera viewfinder with a regular lens attached is like our normal eyesight. Standard prime and zoom lenses are both prevalent.

Moreover, the standard lens is a popular option for most photographers due to its natural field of vision.

Street photographers, photojournalists, and vacation photographers all use standard lenses.

These properties make them an excellent choice for portrait photography.

A standard lens can be used for intimate close-up portraits. You could also opt for full-body fashion photographs.

A 50mm prime lens is commonly referred to as a nifty-fifty.

Standard lenses got their moniker from becoming multipurpose and dependable lens that is popular in many photography fields. That is why they are one of the most found lenses.

Key Benefits

  • Appropriate for low-light photography
  • Greater quality image production
  • Lightweight device
  • Suitable for beginners

Best usage: Street, portrait, and documentary photography

02. Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens provides impressive magnification. They are made of several glass parts and function similarly to a telescope.

A telephoto lens enables photographers to get close shots from distant subjects. Telephoto lenses are divided into two kinds.

Short telephoto lenses have focal lengths ranging from 85mm to 135mm. Then there are typical telephoto lenses with focal lengths ranging from 135mm to 300mm.

A telephoto lens provides better magnification, enabling you to photograph distant things. However, the angle or field of view is minimal.

A telephoto zoom lens, on the other hand, will have a modest maximum aperture.

Telephoto lenses are popular among sports and animal photographers because of their high magnification. A sports photographer can get action images without having to enter the stadium.

And animal or nature photographers can capture intimate photographs of creatures in the environment without frightening them or putting themselves in danger.

Key benefits

  • Photographers do not have to move; they can snap photographs while remaining in the exact location.
  • Removes extraneous information by blurring the surrounding images in the background yet generates a high-quality clear image of the subject.
  • Reduces actual distance, making the image appear closer than the original image.
  • Lenses with optical viewfinders automatically minimize vibration and shake within the lens, reducing blurring.

Best Usage: Motorsports, action, portraiture, wildlife (animal and nature), and sport.

03. Zoom Lens

Zoom lenses are intended to provide a wide variety of focal lengths. Photographers who want to travel with their cameras frequently utilize these lenses.

Zoom lenses are often slower than prime lenses. They do, however, provide versatility.

Photographers may quickly switch among different focal lengths with a zoom lens. Therefore, allowing the photographer to capture subjects from a distance and up close.

Besides this, the zoom lens can utilize a short focal length to capture animals or people that are exceptionally too small when using a long focal length.

Furthermore, a zoom lens offers several possibilities. Lastly, photographers can configure the focal length before capturing to ensure all scenes are included in the focus.

Key Benefits

  • A photographer can capture images with various focus lengths while staying in the same working area.
  • When switching lenses is complex, this lens is ideal. For example, at a wedding, in sandy areas, or when traveling with limited luggage.
  • Reduces the tension of reconfiguring positions before shooting additional photos.

Best Usage: Reportage, Portrait, wedding, wildlife, and travel

04. Macro lenses

Macro lenses feature a distinct internal structure that enables them to shoot close-ups with accuracy, contrast, and sharpness. Furthermore, this lens shows subjects or objects at life-size (1:1) or greater.

They are typically used to capture magnificent nature photography, but they are also widely employed in industries including fine art and product photography.

Macro lenses typically have focal lengths ranging from 35mm to 200mm.

Many people prefer telephoto lengths because, despite standing from a far position from the individual or object, it makes it simpler to brighten the scene.

Macro lenses do not function well at long distances, regardless of how close the photographer is to their subject. In other words, a large frame will not allow you to get a clear focus.

Key Benefits

  • Also useful as portrait lenses.
  • Close focusing means that little subjects are portrayed with detail.
  • Ideal for product photography or small wildlife photos on location.
  • Image clarity and quality are exceptional.

Best Usage: For accurate photography (Wedding details, nature, and product shots)

05. Wide-Angle Lens

Cameras with this lens have a focal length of 14mm to 35mm. They have a wider range of vision and a wider sweep from sideways.

Moreover, it has a broader field of view than a conventional lens, akin to widescreen in filmmaking.

For serious landscape photographers, wide-angle lenses are required since the wide-angle lens captures wide and open spaces.

In addition, the wide-angle lens widens the horizon, enabling your camera to capture more of the scenery.

A wide-angle lens itself is essential for real estate and architecture photography. They allow you to catch the entire building without moving more and further away for exterior property photos.

Besides this, a wide-angle lens is also helpful for interior real-estate photos. From the inside, you can capture entire rooms.

Key Benefits

  • Because of the wider field of vision, photographs have greater depth and contextual information.
  • Excellent for a variety of subjects.
  • Possess a larger depth of field, resulting in clearer front-to-back images.
  • Lightweight lenses in compact packaging are easier to transport.

Best Usage: Interior, architectural, and landscape photography

06. Ultra-Wide-angle lens

Interior design, architecture photographers, and landscape photographers use ultra-wide lenses. Ultra-wide-angle lens is another different camera lens utilized by several photographers.

These lenses have a broader viewfinder than standard lenses on the marketplace currently.

Ultra-wide-angle lenses are excellent for landscape photography because they capture more of the environment than other lenses, providing a breathtaking image.

Ultra-wide lenses provide an excellent opportunity to expand your camera’s field of vision.

These lenses not only help you gather more information but also allow you to be more creative in how you frame your photographs.

They also have a distinct effect on your images, making them appear almost dreamlike or as if you are seeing the universe through somebody else’s eyes.

What is the best thing about ultra-wide lenses? You can photograph without adjusting your feet!

Key Benefits

  • It is beneficial for scientific photography, as it may be used to calculate solar radiation and monitor plant canopy geometry.
  • Their wide field of vision makes them ideal for landscape photography.
  • Ideal for abstract photography.
  • Appropriate for astrophotography

Best Usage: Architectural, landscape, sports, and advanced science photography

Focal length size guide of Camera Lenses

Do you intend to travel soon? If this is the case, you should be aware of the different types of video camera lenses for adventure photography.

It might be challenging to pack light while still having a wide range of lenses needed for various circumstances.

However, if you are unsure of the camera lens, here is a simple focal length size guide for your photography career.

Focal Length Lens types Purpose of uses
135mm+ Medium telephoto Action, wildlife, and sports
14mm – 35mm Wide-angle Architecture, landscape
35mm – 200mm Macro Close-ups
35mm – 85mm Standard Portrait, travel, and street
4mm – 14mm Fisheye Creative, abstract
85mm – 135mm Short telephoto Street, portraits
Undetermined Tilt-shift Fine art, architecture

What Are the Types of Canon Lenses?

Canon consumer adjustable lens cameras use different types of camera lenses: RF, RF-S, EF, EF-S, and EF-M.

When it comes to lens selection, you must guarantee that you pick a lens that is compatible with your camera.

01. RF Lenses

RF lenses, designed for R System cameras, provide improved quality, speed, and functionality due to superior design and optical technology.

Moreover, the EOS R System’s innovative 12-pin connection accentuates communication with the camera’s lens and body, allowing it to happen much faster.

However, the e 54mm wide RF lens mount has a shallow depth between the sensor and the mount.

Because of the architecture, lenses may be placed closer to the sensor, allowing for the construction of faster, clearer, higher-quality optics with unbeatable performance.

RF lenses feature increased video capabilities and nice touches, including the control ring and smaller size.

02. EF-S Lenses

EF-S lenses are explicitly built for EOS DSLR models with smaller sensor sizes, resulting in versatile, portable, and lightweight lenses.

Canon’s engineers used the APS-C sensor size to create lenses that are not only smaller and lighter and provide photographers a much wider selection of wide-angle options.

EF-S lenses have several focal lengths ranging from 10mm to 250mm.

03. EF-M Lenses

These lenses were released in 2012 with the initial EOS M camera line. They are developed exclusively for operation with EOS M model cameras and are even more compact than the EF-S and EF ranges.

They are portable enough to take everywhere and offer a range of lenses from ultra-wide to telephoto to macro.

They are an excellent alternative for individuals who want a more creative solution to everyday photography. Furthermore, the focal lengths of compact EF-M lenses range between 11mm to 200mm.

04. EF Lenses

EF is another Canon camera type. Unlike other cameras, the EOS system was launched in 1987, and the Canon EF lens mount was at its heart, connecting lenses to the camera body using a fully electronic method for the first time.

Except for the physical connection among these two components, all interaction is electronic, providing accurate and real-time data flow.

Rather than employing a motor in the camera body, Canon was the first to install the motor that controls the focus in each lens.

ME-E and TS-E professional lenses use EF mounts.

When used with the appropriate lens adapter, all EF-mount lenses are interoperable with each EOS camera ever created, including the EOS M model and the new EOS R System.

What Lenses and Cameras do National Geographic Photographers Use?

While there are no standard cameras and lenses for National Geographic photographers, you can opt for the Nikon D810 camera or Nikon D850.

Besides, there are other types of cameras to serve you well. Furthermore, with different types of lenses available on the market, it can be a daunting task.

However, if you have a limited budget, an EF 16-35mm f/2.8l lens is a good option as it offers the depth of field control and low-light performance.

Another option is an EF 24-70mm camera lens because of its versatility and image quality.

Top Questions[FAQs]

What are the things to consider when buying a camera lens?

Essential factors to consider are cost, compatibility, features, size, and lens weight. All of these can affect the operation of a camera when in use.

Is there any difference between slow and fast lenses?

A lens aperture determines its speed. Fast lenses have wide apertures, like f/2.8 and higher, whereas slow lenses typically only support f/4.

Notably, the bigger the aperture, the higher the lens performs in low-light circumstances and the smaller the field deepness you can produce.

What are the three types of lenses?

The types of lenses include convex, concave, and piano lenses.

Final Words

Understanding the different types of cameras and lenses is a step toward capturing the perfect scene or image. Today, there are numerous varieties of lenses accessible.

Each has advantages and disadvantages. To achieve the best results, you should try them all to find the optimal combination.