Wednesday, November 1, 2006
Going Tele: A Complete Guide
What you need to know about buying and shooting with long lenses
Long lenses are terrific tools when you can’t get close to your subject, providing dramatic frame-filling images of distant wildlife and sports subjects. Long lenses are also useful to isolate a subject from busy surroundings and for telephoto compression effects. There’s a variety from which to choose today—both prime (single-focal-length) lenses and tele-zooms. Following are some considerations when buying and using long lenses.
What’s A "Long Lens"?
Anything longer than a camera's "normal" lens is long, but it generally takes a lens of at least twice the camera's normal focal length to produce a noticeable long lens effect. For a 35mm camera, 50mm is considered normal, so anything from 100mm up is long. For a 6x7cm medium-format camera, 105mm is normal; 210mm and longer is long. For a 4x5-inch view camera, 180mm is normal, so anything from 360mm up is long for this format. For a typical digital SLR with an APS-C-sized image sensor, 32mm is normal and 64mm on up is long.
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