Types of Lenses on the basis of Focal Length

sigma photokina 2016

Buying a DSLR camera is just the starting of your passion or hobby of clicking photos, next comes the selection of apt lenses to suit your needs. There is a huge range of camera lenses available in the market, it is up to you to choose wisely as per your interests. Some of you might be fond of clicking wildlife, some might be in love with landscapes and some might want to explore a mix of all.

In this post, I would be introducing you to different types of lenses based on their focal length. At the end of the post, you might get familiar with different lenses and end up finalizing one which suits your requirements.

Standard Lens

A standard lens has an angle of view similar to that of the naked eye, thus resulting in photos which match what our eye sees. The focal length of a standard lens is 35-50mm on a 35mm film camera or a full frame DSLR camera. The standard lens is also known as ‘normal lens’ as the angle of view that you get through the viewfinder is normal to your eyes, as that is exactly what your eyes normally sees. These lenses are ideal for street and travel photography.

types of lenses

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 stm

Wide-angle Lens

A wide-angle lens has the focal length shorter than 35mm on a 35mm film camera or a full frame DSLR camera. The wide-angle lenses are further classified into three categories: Wide, Ultra-wide, and Fish-eye lens. As the name suggests, the ultra-wide angle lenses are much wider and have a focal length of 20mm or shorter, but have less distortion as compared to the fish-eye lenses. The fish-eye lenses are much wider than the ultra-wide angle lenses and produce photos with ‘fish-eye’ effect which creates a circular effect. Wide-angle lenses are ideal for landscape, cityscape and event photography.

types of lenses

Sigma 12-24mm F4 DG HSM Art

Telephoto Lens

A telephoto lens has the focal length longer than 50mm on a 35mm film camera or a full frame DSLR camera. These lenses help your camera to capture distant objects without going closer. A telephoto lens can help you achieve shallow depth of field, thus eliminating your subject from the background. The telephoto lenses can be used for wildlife and candid photography as it lets you get closer to the subject without moving much.

Further talking about the classification of camera lenses, the prime lenses, and zoom lenses are two categories of lenses to choose from. Let us get to know more about them.

types of lenses

Sigma 150-600mm

What is a Prime Lens?

In simple terms, a prime lens is a lens which has a fixed focal length. This means that if you want to get closer/away to the subject, you will have to walk towards/away from it. There is a wide range of prime lenses available in the market, ranging from wide-angle prime lenses to telephoto prime lenses. Be it 14mm lens, 50mm lens, or a 200mm lens, all of these would be categorized as primes lenses.

What is a Zoom Lens?

A zoom lens has a range of focal lengths available within one lens, all you need to do is rotate the zoom ring to shoot wide or telephoto. The zoom lens can let you shoot wide angles and closeups both standing stationary at one place. Lenses such as 18-55mm, 55-250mm, 70-300mm, etc would be categorized as zoom lenses.

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About Author

Kunal Malhotra
Kunal Malhotra, a photography enthusiast whose passion for photography started 6 years back during his college days. Kunal is also a photography blogger, based out of Delhi. He loves sharing his knowledge about photography with fellow aspiring photographers by writing regular posts on his blog: The Photography Blogger. Some of his favourite genres of photography are Product, Street, Fitness and Architecture.