Lens Matters


Lens Matters
This section is about focal length: how a wide angle differs from a telephoto, and everything in between. This is one of THE essential topics to understand about photography.

lens catalog

The Lens Field of View Sequence
This  sequence seen in lens catalogs has a lot to teach us about focal length; as a bonus it will convince you that you need to buy more lenses.

Go shop.

chess sequence

The Chess Sequence
This is a look at how focal length changes how you see space. Use the sliders to watch the chess board "rise up" and "lie down."

Play chess.

lakeside sequence

The Lakeside Sequence
We keep Nicole's head the same size, but change focal length and distance. See how telephoto narrows our view of the background while the wide-angle shows lots of background.

Go there.


A sequence about how a change in angle to your subject is a whole different thing at 8mm than at 300mm.

Check it out.

fisheye lenses

The Fisheye
Exploring (and coming to the defense of) this much maligned lens. What it does and what to watch out for.

See like a fish.

wide-angle lenses

The Wide-Angle
For many photographers, the wide-angle is the one lens they would choose — if they had to choose. Find out what it does.

Go wide.


50mm: the "Normal" Lens
Find out why you might use this unglamorous focal length.

Go normal.

portrait lenses

Portrait Lenses: 100mm and Thereabouts
They don't distort features, and they give you a comfortable working distance from your subject.

See portraits.

telephoto lenses The Telephoto Lens
Besides getting closer, the telephoto has other magical properties.


zoom lenses

The Zoom Lens
Zooms are many lenses in one. We take a look at zoom effects which were hard to resist when zooms first became available.


macro lenses

The Macro Lens
Once you get lost in the world of close-up, you may never want to be without a macro.

Get closer.

high speed lenses

High-Speed Lenses
In the old (film) days fast lenses were critical for shooting in low light. With today's high ISO they are used more for the narrow focus look.

Go fast.

Lens Baby

The Lens Baby
The Lens Baby can teach you an important lesson: pure sharpness is not the only road to emotionally powerful images.

Look into the Lens Baby.

tilt-shift lenses

The Tilt-Shift Lens
This once obscure lens has become strangely popular for odd reasons.