Normal lens tips

Normal lenses give you the most natural representation of your subject and often become the workhorses of your glass lineup for day-to-day shooting. That said, you’ll want to keep in mind some general tips and techniques for making the most of a normal lens:

  • When possible, shoot with a shutter speed of at least 1/125 second if you’re handhold-ing the camera. This produces the sharpest images — especially given most lenses in this range do not use image stabilization. If necessary, use a tripod and lock up your mirror (see the sidebar on image stabilization later in this chapter for more).
  • If you don’t already, shoot a normal lens with both eyes open. You’ll see that in 1:1 focal ranges, what you see through the lens is what you see through your naked eye. This will help you compose images and will reduce eye strain.
  • Be very aware of your depth of field, especially with the fast 50mm lenses (f/1.2, f/1.4, and f/1.8). You can get wonderful results, but if you’re not careful, you may have significant areas of your image out of focus when that’s not what you set out to shoot.
  • Keep your images simple. With a 1:1 ratio, your image should have a very obvious subject without being busy. This is intuitive with a telephoto lens, but you might have to think about it when framing at 50mm.
  • Allow extra margin in your image, especially if shooting portraits. This way, you’ll be able to crop and adjust your image later to accommodate the aspect ratios of various print sizes (for example, 5 X 7, 8 X 10, and so on).
  • If you’re using a fast 50mm lens, or an f/2.8 zoom, use as low an ISO setting as possible to reduce noise. These apertures will let in lots of light, so your image quality will be much better with a lower ISO.

Category: Science of Lenses

Comments are closed.