Episode 16 Show Notes: All About Photography Lenses ft. Joe Fitzpatrick

Peggy Farren 2016-12-27

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Show Notes for Episode 16: All About Photography ft. Joe Fitzpatrick

Four Weeks to Proficiency in Photography - The next class begins January 17. Truly knowing photography is a great gift for yourself or someone in your life! For gift certificates, email us at info@understandphotography.com.


Upcoming Trips:

Everglades 4-Day Trip - 1 opening
Mt. Dora Ladies Trip
St. Augustine 4-Day Trip

Join our Understand Photography Facebook group to ask questions and get feedback!

For a thorough, self-paced course on photography lenses, sign up for The Comprehensive Guide to Photography Lenses.

For classes, private lessons, photography trips, and other events, check out our schedule on our Meetup website.

"Being a professional is all about solving problems, eliminating obstacles, trying to get a way so you can get the job done." - Joe Fitzpatrick


Generally, lenses available include extreme wide angle lenses and supertelephoto lenses.

A prime lens is a single-focal lense. Typically they have a wider aperture and are lighter that zoom lenses, but because it is only single-focal, you typically have to carry more, resulting in more glass and an all-around heavier load. A prime lens generally has better optical and is sharper.

A zoom lens has multiple focal lengths. A zoom lens is heaver than a prime lens, but you only need one or two of them typically to capture the shots you need. They are also expensive.

You can visit DPReview.com to see lens tests and reviews.

Typically, within a brand, the more expensive a lens, the better the lens and the wider the aperture - but this is not always the case. Just because a lens is 6x the cost does not mean the lens is 6x the quality.

For bird photography, you need a longer (prime) lens with more light. Sony offers some adapers, but we definitely recommend a Canon or Nikon!

When zooming in on your subject, always zoom with the camera, and don't "zoom with your feet." Zooming from a fixed point keeps the perspective, whereas zooming with your feet changes the perspective and causes distortion to the proportions. Be sure to check out our blog post regarding zooming with the camera versus zooming with your feet: Speedlite Tips & Tricks - Inverse Square Rule of Light

Full frame versus crop frame: When you put the same lens on a crop body camera, you can multiply whatever the focal length is by 1.5. For example, a 100mm lens (multiplied by 1.5) works like 150mm lens. Unless the advertiser says it's a full frame lens, then it's crop frame.

If you are a recreational photographer and you are only going to have one camera, for journalism, you will want a crop body camera, ASPC size. You can get a zoom to also do landscape. (For example, a 10- sigma.)

Can you use all lenses on both crop and full frame camera? You can use a full-frame lense on a crop camera without a problem. When you go other way, it won't necessarily fit, and if it does it will have a huge vignette around it; you will only see about 40% & will probably be disappointed, so it is not advised.

A stabilizer senses movement and stablizes the sensor. Some cameras have it in the camera body. When using a tripod, sometimes the sensor resets itself and the stabilizer can mess up photos. Fix this error by turning the stabilizer off.

For a standard/normal camera:
- Full-frame camea: Our view is comparable to about a 50mm lens, which is a great walk-around camera and matches our perspective.
- Zoom and crop lens: 18-55mm (which is the equivalent of 24-70mm)
- Zoom and full-frame lens: 24-70mm, or for Canon a 24-105mm; similarly for crop frame, a 15-85mm.
- Travel: A crop-frame 17-50mm Sigma 2.8 zoom; constant aperture, fast, can be used inside museums/cathedrals where flash isn't allowed, and at night and in restaurants.

Joe's go-to lens: 24-105mm; It has a nice range and good image quality.
Peggy's go-to lens: 24-70mm f2.8

For studio portraiture, an 85mm prime lens is ideal as it achieves a beautiful face by compressing facial features just enough.

Technically, a macro lens is capable of making a 1:1 reproduction, allowing the subject to fill the frame at physically the same size. Now, zoom lenses that say macro typically mean that they can get close enough (or closer than most other zoom lenses) to fill the frame (it could be 4:1).

Regarding the price variations for similar focal length, how do you know what lens to buy? First you need to know what kind of camera you have (crop frame or full frame). Then you need to know what you're using the camera for. The best lens to start with is the one that comes in the kit/with the camera. Then you practice getting the shots you want and you'll find out what you're missing for your desired shots. Then you'll know what you are lacking and need in a lens. Only you know what you need!

If you lose your lens cap, buy obeBay from an Asian seller. You need to specify the mount (brand) and mm (which is on the lens).

To buy a lens hood, get the model number from the manufacturer website, and purchase on Amazon or eBay.


Joe's top tips:

  1. Invest in good glass.
  2. Start simple. Every focal length needs a different style. Play with each focal length and get used to the types of photos each length takes.
  3. Protect your lens. Always use a lens hood, and always use dust caps (front and rear).
  4. Don't forget to clean the rear element. Use a lens pad or microfuber cloth (do both front and back).
  5. Don't be afraid to buy a lens from second tier manufacturers. They aren't lesser quality. Do research!
  6. Don't buy a lens based just on bench tests. What looks like a big difference in lab measurements could be inperceptible inperson. Go by actual photos, not specs.

What's next for Joe Fitzpatrick?

Cuba: Faces and Places Exhibit at The Brush and Lens Art Gallery
January 13, 14 and 15, 2017 – 11:00 am to 7:00 pm
3899 Mannix Drive, Suite 420, Naples, FL 34114


Florida Camera Club Council (FCCC) Conference & Trade Show on March 10, 11, and 12, 2017 at FGCU in Fort Myers, FL. The theme is Photography: The Art and The Science
Click here


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Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, instructor, writer and speaker.

With over 17 years as a full-time professional photographer, Peggy offers photography training through her training center, “Understand Photography”.

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