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The Lens

Book Description

Which lens should I buy for my camera?

It's such a simple question, but choosing the right lens or lenses is actually one of the most important photographic decisions you can make. Nothing affects the quality of a photo more than the lens. It's no longer just about the megapixels-it's the glass that makes all the difference!

Take in vast sweeping scenes with a wide angle lens. Capture faraway birds with a telephoto lens. Examine the tiniest detail of a flower with a macro lens. Record the perfect portrait with a prime lens. Anything is possible when you choose the right lens for the job!

In this book, author N.K. Guy gives you all the information you need to make smart buying decisions. Optical technology is demystified, arcane terminology is decoded, and practical tips are provided.

The Lens will help you build the perfect lens collection to suit your needs-now and in the future.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover Page
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Dedication
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Introduction
    1. Why interchangeable lenses?
    2. What can interchangeable lenses do for me?
    3. What’s covered in this book?
      1. SLRs
      2. Digital mirrorless
      3. Rangefinders
    4. What’s not covered in this book
  7. 1 A brief history of optics
    1. 1.1 The science of light
    2. 1.2 The path to the lens
      1. Optical theory
      2. Glassmaking
      3. The camera
      4. Photography
    3. 1.3 Geometrical optics
    4. 1.4 Waves and particles
  8. 2 Bending light
    1. 2.1 Putting glass to work
    2. 2.2 Refraction
    3. 2.3 What is a lens?
    4. 2.4 Lens elements
      1. Block diagrams
    5. 2.5 Field of view
    6. 2.6 Focal length
    7. 2.7 But what is focal length, really?
    8. 2.8 Prime or zoom: adjustable focal lengths
      1. Why primes?
      2. Lens choice and compromises
    9. 2.9 The 35mm focal length equivalent
    10. 2.10 Digital versus film: the cropping factor
      1. Focal length equivalence
      2. The cropping factor
    11. 2.11 APS-C
    12. 2.12 Medium format
    13. 2.13 Focal length examples
    14. 2.14 Image circles
    15. 2.15 All about apertures
    16. 2.16 F-stops
      1. A mathematical diversion
    17. 2.17 Maximum apertures
      1. Why lenses with large maximum apertures are desirable and expensive
      2. Constant versus variable aperture zooms
    18. 2.18 Fast and slow lenses
      1. Is that lens fast or slow?
    19. 2.19 Diaphragms
    20. 2.20 Adjusting the aperture
    21. 2.21 Wide-open metering
      1. Depth of field preview
    22. 2.22 Depth of field
      1. Aperture and depth of field
      2. Image area and depth of field
      3. Other factors determining depth of field
  9. 3 Lens mechanisms
    1. 3.1 What’s in a lens?
    2. 3.2 A lens that fits: lens mounts
    3. 3.3 Popular lens mounts
    4. 3.4 Motors and mechanisms
      1. Focus motors inside the camera
      2. Focus motors inside the lens
    5. 3.5 Ultrasonic focus motors
      1. Full-time manual focus
      2. Ultrasonic trademarks
    6. 3.6 Motion blur
    7. 3.7 The handheld rule
    8. 3.8 Stabilizers: a lens not shaken
      1. Optical image stabilizing
      2. In-camera stabilization
    9. 3.9 The user interface
      1. Zoom control
      2. Direction of focus and zoom
      3. Clutch focus mechanism
      4. Focus preset buttons
      5. Switches
      6. Focus and zoom extension
      7. Rotating ends
      8. Distance scale
      9. Depth of field scale
    10. 3.10 To infinity—and beyond!
    11. 3.11 Lens electronics
    12. 3.12 What’s in a name?
    13. 3.13 Alphabet soup
    14. 3.14 Decoding a lens name
    15. 3.15 Serial numbers
    16. 3.16 Build quality
    17. 3.17 Lens barrel construction
      1. Modern metal lenses
    18. 3.18 Lens marketing categories
      1. Professional
      2. Advanced amateur
      3. Consumer
    19. 3.19 Notable marketing categories
      1. Canon
        1. Canon L
        2. Canon advanced amateur
        3. Canon consumer
        4. Canon special case
      2. Nikon
      3. Sigma
      4. Sony
        1. Sony G
        2. Sony Carl Zeiss
        3. Sony Consumer
    20. 3.20 Colored rings
    21. 3.21 Kit lenses
    22. 3.22 White lenses
    23. 3.23 Safety
    24. 3.24 Cold weather
  10. 4 Choosing the right lens for a project
    1. 4.1 Choosing a lens
    2. 4.2 Portraits
      1. Focal length
      2. Traditional focal lengths
      3. Apertures
    3. 4.3 Landscapes
    4. 4.4 Kids
    5. 4.5 Closeup or macro photography
      1. True macro lenses
      2. Supermacro
      3. Macro focal lengths
      4. Stabilizing
      5. Macro without a macro lens
    6. 4.6 Sports
    7. 4.7 Traveling light
    8. 4.8 The reporter’s triumvirate
    9. 4.9 Low-light and night photography
    10. 4.10 Wildlife photography
  11. 5 Choosing a lens by focal length
    1. 5.1 Wide angle
    2. 5.2 Extreme wide angles
    3. 5.3 Fisheyes
      1. Full-frame fisheye
      2. Circular fisheye
      3. Fisheye zooms
      4. Defishing
    4. 5.4 Normal or the Nifty Fifty
    5. 5.5 Telephoto
    6. 5.6 Super telephoto
    7. 5.7 Megazooms
    8. 5.8 A matter of perspective
    9. 5.9 Perspective in portraits
    10. 5.10 Falling backwards: another take on perspective
    11. 5.11 Compressed perspective
  12. 6 Accessorize!
    1. 6.1 Filters
      1. Threaded filters
      2. Step rings
      3. Filter height
      4. Stacking
      5. Other filter types
      6. Drop-in filters
      7. Gel filters
      8. UV filters
      9. Protective and clear filters.
      10. Polarizing filters
      11. Linear versus circular
      12. Neutral density filters
      13. Graduated neutral density (GND) filters
      14. Color filters
      15. Color-correction filters
      16. Black-and-white filters
      17. Filter names
      18. Special-effects filters
    2. 6.2 Lens hoods
      1. Model-specific hoods
      2. Hood shapes
      3. Generic hoods
      4. Flocking
    3. 6.3 Teleconverters and extenders
    4. 6.4 Supplementary lens focal length adapters
    5. 6.5 Macro accessories
      1. Extension tubes
      2. Drawbacks of tubes
      3. Closeup filters
      4. Reversing rings
      5. Focusing rails
    6. 6.6 Caps
    7. 6.7 Bags
    8. 6.8 Tripod mounts
  13. 7 Buying lenses
    1. 7.1 Camera brand or third party?
    2. 7.2 Where to buy?
      1. Traditional local camera stores
      2. Large chains
      3. Pro stores
      4. Global superstores
      5. Specialist online retailers
      6. Generic online retailers
      7. General-purpose stores
      8. Auction sites
    3. 7.3 The dark side of camera retailing
    4. 7.4 Warranties
    5. 7.5 The gray market
    6. 7.6 Going used?
    7. 7.7 Rental options
  14. 8 Advanced topics
    1. 8.1 Learning more about optics
    2. 8.2 What is focal length?
      1. What focal length isn’t
      2. Focal length of a simple lens
      3. Focal length of a compound lens
      4. Telephoto lenses
      5. Retrofocus lenses
      6. Mirrorless cameras
      7. Varifocal and parfocal
      8. Are those numbers for real?
    3. 8.3 Lens element types
    4. 8.4 Optical properties
      1. Optical glass
      2. Types of glass
      3. Other materials
    5. 8.5 Manufacturing
    6. 8.6 Seeking the perfect lens
    7. 8.7 Optical flaws
    8. 8.8 Chromatic aberration: color fringing
      1. Low-dispersion glass
      2. Fluorite
      3. Digital correction
    9. 8.9 Spherical aberration
    10. 8.10 Aspheric lens elements
      1. Ground aspheric
      2. Molded aspheric
      3. Hybrid or replicated aspheric
    11. 8.11 Intentional spherical aberration
    12. 8.12 Distortion
    13. 8.13 Other aberrations
      1. Coma
      2. Astigmatism
      3. Curvature of field
    14. 8.14 Sharpness
    15. 8.15 Lens flare
      1. Reducing flare
      2. A flare for fashion
    16. 8.16 Antireflective lens coatings
    17. 8.17 Multicoatings
      1. Drawbacks of coatings
      2. “Digital” lens coatings
    18. 8.18 Bokeh
    19. 8.19 Vignetting
    20. 8.20 Close focus distance
    21. 8.21 The hyperfocal distance
      1. Circle of confusion
      2. Hyperfocal calculation
      3. Using the hyperfocal distance
    22. 8.22 The diffraction limit
    23. 8.23 Diffractive optic lenses
    24. 8.24 Tilt and shift
      1. Tilt
      2. Shift
      3. Perspective correction
      4. Avoiding reflections
      5. Tilt-shift lenses
    25. 8.25 Lenses for video
      1. Focus pulling
      2. Prime lenses
      3. PL, PV, and C mount lenses
      4. Focus breathing
    26. 8.26 Mirror lenses
    27. 8.27 “Digital” lenses
      1. Coatings
      2. Cropped sensors
      3. Digital-only mounts
    28. 8.28 Dust
    29. 8.29 Scratches
    30. 8.30 Cleaning lenses
    31. 8.31 Keeping out the weather
    32. 8.32 Fungus
    33. 8.33 Repairs
    34. 8.34 Infrared photography
      1. Infrared distance scales
    35. 8.35 The mystery of MTF charts
      1. Some points about MTF
    36. 8.36 A measurable obsession
    37. 8.37 Sample variation
    38. 8.38 Micro focus adjustment
    39. 8.39 Testing for focus errors
  15. 9 Creative options: beyond the standard lens
    1. 9.1 Manual-focus lenses
    2. 9.2 Adapting lenses to other camera systems
      1. Adapter rings
      2. Lens mount diameter
      3. Image circle coverage
      4. Lens registers
      5. Not all are created equal
      6. Obstructions
      7. Setting the aperture
      8. Short throw; long throw
      9. Automated systems
      10. Chips and focus confirmation
      11. Sony and Nikon camera override
      12. Autoexposure
      13. Is it worth it?
    3. 9.3 Focusing manually
      1. Focus screens
      2. Microprisms
      3. Split circles
      4. Adding custom viewfinder screens
      5. Live View
    4. 9.4 Modern manual-focus lenses
    5. 9.5 Toy cameras and lo-fi photography
    6. 9.6 Diana lenses
    7. 9.7 A flexible approach: the Lensbaby
    8. 9.8 Creative bokeh
    9. 9.9 Pinhole cameras
    10. 9.10 Detaching the lens
    11. 9.11 Fake anamorphic effects
    12. 9.12 Homemade lenses
  16. Conclusion
  17. Appendix A: Lens mount systems
    1. Arri PL
    2. C-mount and CS-mount
    3. Canon FL and Canon FD
    4. Canon EF
    5. Canon EF-S
    6. Contax G
    7. Four Thirds
    8. Fujifilm X
    9. Leica screw mount/L39/LTM
    10. L39 enlarger lenses
    11. M39
    12. Leica M
    13. Leica R
    14. M42/universal screw mount
    15. Micro Four Thirds
    16. Minolta SR, MC, MD
    17. Minolta AF
    18. Minolta V or Vectis
    19. Nikon F
    20. Nikon 1/CX
    21. Nikon DX
    22. Nikon FX
    23. Nikon IX
    24. Olympus OM
    25. Panavision PV
    26. Pentax K (PK)
    27. Pentax KAF
    28. Pentax Q
    29. Samsung NX
    30. Sigma SA
    31. Sony A-mount
    32. Sony E-mount
    33. T-mount
    34. Tamron Adaptall
  18. Appendix B: Manufacturer-specific lens terms
    1. Canon
    2. Fujifilm/Fujinon
    3. Leica
    4. Nikon/Nikkor
    5. Olympus Zuiko/MZuiko
    6. Pentax
    7. Sigma
    8. Sony, Minolta
    9. Tamron
    10. Tokina
    11. Zeiss
    12. Common across more than one maker
  19. Appendix C: Lens mount table
  20. Appendix D: Chapter Opening Images
  21. Appendix E: A simple focus test
  22. Acknowledgements
    1. Technical reviewers:
    2. Models:
    3. Special thanks to:
  23. Glossary
  24. Index
  25. Footnotes
    1. Chapter 2
    2. Chapter 5
    3. Chapter 9