When I first bought my camera, back in 2010, I had a vague idea what I was doing but I wish there was a straight forward post that could’ve helped me out. I read lots of posts by professional photographers however, there were all these words and abbreviations that was just too much for me to handle. I couldn’t find anything written by a blogger or a novice so I ended up having an hour long chat to the salesman who was probably the most useful person I met! So here’s my attempt at explaining what lenses I have, why I got them and the photos they produce.
I swear lens language is in a whole league of it’s own, hopefully this break down helps! I have two lenses; my first is AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 and my second is a AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G. Don’t freak out. Just break it down into 3 parts; the first bit, the number part and the “f” part.
The first bit “AF-S DX Nikkor” just means “autofocus-silent”, “digital” and Nikkor coz I have a Nikon camera. This is pretty standard for beginner lenses. Secondly, the number part (mm) is the focal length or how much you can zoom in and out. My first lens has a range (18-105mm) meaning I can take a wide shot or zoom in, it’s up to me. Another tip is that the smaller the number, the wider the shot, and the bigger the number the more zoom the lens has. However, my second lens is fixed so I can’t zoom in and out, I have to physically move further away from my subject if I want a wider shot.
Lastly, the “f” part tells you how much light is let into the camera. A smaller “f-value” means more light is let in whereas a larger “f-value” means less light is let in. The “f-value” impacts your depth of field. The more light that the lens lets in (low f-value) the greater the depth of field, meaning the background is more blurred. Whereas the less light the lens lets in the more that the entire image is in focus, therefore, less depth of field.
Lens 1: AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR
This was a great starter lense when I had literally no clue what I was doing. The zoom lens just made taking photos really easy! I use this lens if someone else is taking my photos for me or if I’m taking my own photos with a tripod. As shown below the entire image is in focus, there's no blurring of the background.
Lens 2: AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm f/1.8G
As I started to take more photos, I wanted to play around with depth of field more and so that was the reason I chose this lens. It has a low “f-value” so the images have a greater depth of field. It’s a fixed portrait lens so I usually use it if I’m taking photos at a family function (2-4 people because it isn’t the widest lens), or sometimes for food photos. Since I am usually behind the camera with this lens I tend to use manual focussing instead of auto.
The Blurred Background: I don’t know why but bloggers seem to want a blurred background, maybe it makes photos look more professional..? I’m not sure! What I’ve learnt so far is that to have a blurred background, it’s not only about the lens you purchase, you actually need a background, not a white wall. You need a more candid background to provide you with depth so that the focus can be in the foreground, therefore blurring the back ground.
Rent it before you buy it: I literally only just found out about this on the weekend when talking to Kimberly from The Style Side! You can rent camera’s and lenses, so if you are wanting a camera but are not sure yet, rent one and try out a few lenses so that you know what you’re buying. It’s actually quite affordable too and I always like to try before I buy!
Hopefully this helps any novice bloggers out there,