Specialty Lenses

Every once in a while, you will find that a wide, normal or telephoto lens just won't do the job. That is when specialty lenses come into play. They are lenses that have a specific use and tend not to be used for anything other than their specific niche.

Video Transcript

Every once in a while, you will find that a wide, normal or telephoto lens just won't do the job. That is when specialty lenses come into play. They are lenses that have a specific use and tend not to be used for anything other than their specific niche.  Although, this could be a fun challenge to the creatives out there, and some have even made careers over their mastering of a certain type of niche shooting, specialty lenses tend to have a focused need they address.

A macro lens is designed for shooting small things up close, very close. They differ from normal lenses because they can focus much closer and allow you to fill the frame with your what your shooting and capture more detail.

Macro lenses are defined by a 1 to 1 size to image sensor ratio. Think of it this way, if you were to shoot a postage stamp that is 1 inch by one inch and you were filling the frame with it on a 1 by 1 inch sensor, their relationship would be 1 to 1. A macro lens is only macro if the relationship is 1:1 or greater.

Macro lenses come in different focal lengths like 100mm, 60mm and 50mm. The shorter focal length, the closer you can get to the subject. This means you have to get much closer to the subject. Situations where lighting is affected when the camera is too close and physically blocking the light causing shadows, a longer macro lens is required to not shade the subject.

 

Because macro lenses are so close to the subject being shot, there tends to be a very shallow depth of field. In fact, the depth of field is so shallow that the minimum aperture of that lens is very important. It might require a larger f stop to be able to get a usable amount of depth of field.

 

Lastly, because a 1:1 ratio is required to be a macro lens, zoom lenses that claim macro but aren’t 1:1 aren’t really macro.

 

A tilt shift lens is most common for architectural photography. They correct for perspective. Many times the perspective of the camera will work against the shooter, especially when shooting architecture the shift movement straightens converging vertical lines. Because of the relative distance from the lens,  buildings appear to be leaning backward, if shot from ground level, the shift movement corrects this.

 

The other part of a tilt shift lens is the tilt movement. It allows the operator to choose where the sharpest focus is located verses perpendicular to the axis of the lens. This is now a very widely known filter in instagram, adding blur to be added in post processing

 

As well, using the tilt movement will create video that appears to be miniatures, when it is in fact real life. This is due to the ability to change the location of the sharpest point in the field of view.

 

Because of the nature of specialty lenses, they typically aren't what you would use as a walking around lens. However, when the need arises, using a specialty lens for a creative purpose or for a technical need will offer no compromise in quality when used correctly and for the right situation.