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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Building The Ultimate Lens Kit

There are so many top-notch, high-tech, affordable lenses available for nature photography, it’s easy to assemble a collection that will give you the right tool for what you love to do

Labels: Lenses

This Article Features Photo Zoom

lens kit
Outdoor photography encompasses a lot of territory—from landscapes, wildlife and macro to tripod-mounted shots of static scenes and handheld shots of quick action. So the “best” lens(es) depend in large part on what you photograph outdoors and how you see the outdoor world. A basic three-lens kit is a good starting point, and it gives you a solid foundation from which to build. Expanding from the basic three is like constructing the structure on that foundation.

The Basic Three-Lens Set
A wide zoom, a midrange zoom and a tele-zoom will get you going. They’ll cover a wide range of outdoor shooting situations. Why zooms rather than prime lenses? Three main reasons: 1) You get a whole range of focal lengths in a single package for simpler travel; 2) When you can’t easily move closer or farther from a scene, you can control the angle of view by zooming (remember that zooming changes the cropping, but not the perspective; moving closer or farther away changes perspective); 3) A zoom means fewer lens changes, and that means less dust on the filter that covers your D-SLR’s image sensor—and that means fewer dust spots to clone out when you edit your images.

lens kit
Olympus 18-180mm
lens kit
Sigma 18-250mm
Wide Zoom: You’ll need a wide-angle zoom to capture those epic vistas and magnificent skies. You also can move close to a main subject with a wide lens to increase its size relative to background elements—the classic shot of a big foreground flower with the whole flower field beyond. If an animal will let you get that close, this technique is very effective with wildlife.

Medium Zoom: A medium zoom includes the format’s “normal” focal length, plus wider and narrower focal lengths, making it a good general-purpose outdoor lens. This focal-length range is good for images that look “normal” rather than providing a wider-than-the-eye-sees or compressed viewpoint.

Long Zoom: A long zoom—one that goes from beyond the format’s “normal” focal length into “telephoto” territory—has an obvious advantage for wildlife photography. These lenses let you get frame-filling shots of shy wildlife you can’t approach closely. But long zooms can be very effective landscape lenses, allowing you to zero in on interesting portions of a scene and to “flatten” perspective in distant vistas. Long zooms also offer compositional flexibility. Let’s look at the lenses you might want to add to your basic kit.


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