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Foundations of Photography: Lenses

Changing lenses


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Foundations of Photography: Lenses

with Ben Long

Video: Changing lenses

One of the great advantages of an SLR is that you can change the lens. This affords you a tremendous level of creative and technical flexibility. You can choose lenses that offer different fields of view, more or less magnification, better image quality, the ability to shoot at lower light, and on and on and on. Changing lens is fairly simple but there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. First, you don't want to drop anything and so I am going to show you some techniques to try and help you keep from doing that. Second, you want to move kind of quickly, because once you take the lens off, the image sensor in your camera is exposed and you don't want dust and stuff getting on there.

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Foundations of Photography: Lenses
2h 32m Beginner Feb 11, 2011

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Many of the creative options available to a photographer hinge on an in-depth understanding of lenses. In Foundations of Photography: Lenses, Ben Long shows how to choose lenses and take full advantage of their creative options. The course covers fundamental concepts that apply to any camera, such as focal length and camera position, and shows how to evaluate and shop for DSLR lenses. The second half of the course focuses on shooting techniques: controlling autofocus, working with different focal lengths, and managing distortion and flare. The course also examines various filters and contains tips on cleaning and maintaining lenses.

Topics include:
  • Understanding field of view and camera position
  • Depth of field and lens choice
  • How to choose a lens
  • Examining lens features
  • Using specialized lenses such as fisheye and tilt/shift lenses
  • Focusing techniques
  • Using filters
  • Camera maintenance
Subjects:
Photography Cameras + Gear Photography Foundations
Author:
Ben Long

Changing lenses

One of the great advantages of an SLR is that you can change the lens. This affords you a tremendous level of creative and technical flexibility. You can choose lenses that offer different fields of view, more or less magnification, better image quality, the ability to shoot at lower light, and on and on and on. Changing lens is fairly simple but there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind. First, you don't want to drop anything and so I am going to show you some techniques to try and help you keep from doing that. Second, you want to move kind of quickly, because once you take the lens off, the image sensor in your camera is exposed and you don't want dust and stuff getting on there.

So, here's a Canon SLR. All SLRs are going to have a lens release button on them of some kind. You can press and hold that while you twist the lens off. Before I do that though, I want to put my lens cap on, because as I take the lens off, I am going to be handling it. Odds are I am not going to scratch or break anything but I just don't want fingerprints on there or anything like that. So I am putting a lens cap on. Now, I will find myself changing lenses in a couple different ways. Sometimes I hold the camera with my left hand, so that I can press and hold the button here and then I can twist with my right hand and pull it off.

At other times, I'll hold the camera like this and then with one hand I can come in here and mash the button and twist, and take the lens off. So, once I get my lens off, I need somewhere to put it. It's great right here because I have got this table, but you don't always carry a table around with you. So, what I tend to do is put in the crook of my arm and make sure it's good and secure there. Then I grab my other lens. Your lens has a body cap on it or a cap on the body end of the lens, that needs to come off and you got to have somewhere to put that.

You can stick in your mouth. you can carry a table around with you and set it there. I am going to put it right here for now. There's a red dot on here. It lines up with a red dot on here and then I just twist. Nikon lenses twist the other direction to get them on and off. It's easy enough to figure out. If you twist in one direction and it doesn't go, you are twisting in the wrong direction. So, now I have got this body cap. What do I do with it? Right, I have got this lens in my armpit right now. I will put the body cap on my there and now I have changed lenses. So, like I said, you want to do that kind of quickly and the reason is when I take the lens off, you can see right in there is the mire. That's the reflex mirror that makes my viewfinder work and behind that is the image sensor.

Now, you don't have to just be panicked, because thinking at the moment you take lens off the sensor is going to fill up with dust. It's not that bad but you do want to be careful. And some things you can do, just to minimize the risk of sensor dust is make sure when you take the lens off, keep the camera pointed down while you do the other work. If you are standing somewhere really, really windy, may you want to think about not changing lenses. You probably don't want to just sit around talking, waving the lens and the camera around, like I am doing right now. Most importantly though the main way that sensor dust gets to your sensor is through the end of the lens.

So, be sure you always keep the body caps on your lenses. And when you're not using a body cap from the lens, don't put it in your pocket. Put it on other lens, because otherwise all you're doing is taking lint and dust from your pocket and transferring it directly to the lens and from there it gets into the camera. So, changing lenses is something you want to kind of be able to do with your eyes closed, because you need to be able to do it quickly sometimes. One thing that you might consider as you get more serious is a lot of photographers carry more than one camera body. That keeps them from having to change lenses.

If you tend to shoot things where you want access to different lenses very quickly, maybe a telephoto lens and a normal or wide-angle lens, carry two cameras with a lens on each one then you are not having to change lenses at all. So, do a little practice with your lens changes. Get where you can do them comfortably without dropping anything and without exposing your sensor for too long.

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