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This is the manufacturers’ quoted focal length of the lens supplied with the camera. APS film and digital camera CCDs are smaller than conventional 35mm film so the indicated focal lengths are also smaller and should not be compared directly. For a direct comparison of APS and digital lenses look at the 35mm equivalent figures that are quoted.
This is the eye of the camera and is used to capture the image it sees onto the camera's light sensitive film, or CCD in digital camera. The size of lens is measured and indicated as a focal length. Cameras come with either a fixed lens or zoom lens with a range of focal lengths (see lens range) and on some SLR and rangefinder cameras the lens detaches so others can be attached to increase versatility. With a detachable lens camera it's often possible to buy just the body with a lens of your choice.The amount of light passing through the lens is controlled by an aperture, which is often quoted with its maximum aperture setting.Buying adviceSLRs: If you intend buying a specific lens in the future make sure that it's available in the same mount as the camera you are considering or own. Also if you're upgrading cameras, buy one with the same lens fitting or one that can be adapted to save the cost of replacing all the lenses you own.Digital and compact cameras: A fixed lens camera can often be much smaller so could be selected if you need to travel light. It's also less expensive if your budget is tight. It's better, though, to choose a camera with a zoom if you can afford to, rather than using a digital zoom or cropping the picture later. Go for one with a wider angle zoom if most of your pictures will be landscapes, interiors or family group shots.Choose a version with a longer telephoto setting if you want to shoot long distance subjects, portraits and wildlife.
A zoom lens offers a continuously variable focal length, normally without the need to refocus. A wide-angle zoom covers a range of focal lengths that include a wide angle setting. A standard zoom goes from a slight wide angle to telephoto and a telezoom covers a range of telephoto focal lengths. Some zoom lenses are called super zooms because they cover a larger range of focal lengths from wide angle to longer telephoto.
This is what you look through to help point the camera in the right direction when taking a photo. SLR cameras have accurate through the lens viewing so what you see is what the lens sees. Compact, rangefinder and digital cameras have a separate viewfinder that is often less accurate at close range. Some cameras have an adjustment to change the eyepiece to suit your vision. Some have an accessory slot where a small correction lens can be attached.
The action of adjusting the lens so that the subject appears sharp on the film or CCD. Most cameras now have automatic focus (AF), some have manual focus override (MF) and some have a fixed focus (F) lens that ensures things from about 1.5 meters to infinity are relatively sharp. A few cameras have a power focus (PF), which is a manual method but using a motorised focusing ring. Buying advice: Autofocus is essential if you want to use the camera effortlessly, but occasionally the system is fooled, so make sure the camera has a focus lock or infinity setting or, better still, full manual control. Also check what the closest range is. Some only go down to about one meter which is useless if you want to fill the frame with a small object such as a flower or piece of jewellery.
Large format is the bread and butter tool of the professional advertising and commercial photographer. Its a big beast that takes a massive 5x4inch or 10x8inch negative. This format is often demanded by clients for use on billboards or in calendars. This type of camera has a range of film and lens movements that increase flexibility of the system making them a perfect choice for architectural photographers.
A lens that can be adjusted from one focal length to another. Wide zooms cover a range of wide-angle focal lengths while tele zooms cover telephoto ranges and superzooms go from wide angle to a long telephoto.