The focal length of the lens you use can make a huge difference to the overall look of your images. Here, we take a look at the different focal lengths that are available and what they are useful for.
What Is Focal Length?
Focal length is the distance between the rear nodal point of the lens and the point where the image is focused.
When the lens is focussed to infinity, the focal length of the lens will be the distance it needs to be away from an object in order for it to be in focus.
Extend the distance between the node and the focus point, and you'll find that focal length increases, enabling you to zoom in to far away action.
What main different types of lenses are there?
Wide lens - A wide lens could have a focal length from 8mm to around 30mm. Tamron's 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di II is a good choice.
The lower the numbers, the wider the angle of view of the lens. Wide angle lenses allow you to fit lots of the scene in the image and as such are ideal for vast landscapes and cityscape shots. Wide angles can create quite a lot of distortion with close-up images as the angle of view is much wider than that of the human eye. So, a portrait image for example will be given a quirky twist if taken with a wide angle lens.
Standard lens - Lenses from around 50mm up to 100mm are known in the industry as medium or mid-range lenses as their focal length is not classed as short, or long. A 50mm focal length will allow you to view the world through the lens roughly how we see it with our eyes.
Tamron's 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is a good standard lens choice. It creates nice bokeh, and is ideal for portraits as well as photographing architecture and buildings.
Long Lens - A lens that's capable of a focal length of 150mm or more is generally seen as a long lens. Tamron makes a few lenses which are classed as super-zooms. Their latest lens, the 150-600mm f/5-6.3, has a brilliant zoom range, enabling you to get up-close images of subjects such as wildlife that are often quite far away.
Long lenses are ideal for pulling things that you can't get close to nearer to you. The wide zoom range on this lens gives you the versatility to use this lens for a wide variety of photography subjects.