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Join photographer, author, and teacher Ben Long on location in San Francisco as he explores the creative options provided by the kinds of lenses and lens accessories that don't always make it into most camera bags.
The course begins with a look at several common and inexpensive lens attachments, from polarizers to neutral density filters. The course then explores ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses as well as ultra-long telephoto and macro lenses. The course concludes with a look at tilt-shift lenses, which are useful for architectural photography and special effects, and at offbeat lenses, such as Lensbaby and Holga attachments.
The course also contains Photoshop postproduction advice and examples that illustrate the creative possibilities that an expanded lens collection provides. And because some specialty lenses are extremely expensive, the course also contains advice on renting gear.
One of the problems with these really long lenses is they make you greedy. You zoom in a certain amount and you just want to go farther. And I've got an 800-millimeter lens and I still want to get closer, but to do that would be to go to a bigger lens, which is going to be even heavier and more unwieldy, and it's going to cost even more money. There is another option and that is to use a teleconverter. This is a small piece of hardware that's going to go between the lens and the camera. It's actually got some optics in it. It's going to add another optical element to my lens that's going to magnify it, in this case by 1.4. So that's going to get me from 800 to 1,120.
Now, there are other size tele-extenders. You can get a 2x extender, which would get me from 800 to 1600. So you might think, well, why don't you just leave that on all the time? There is a price to pay, as we'll see. First, let's put this on. Taking the caps off, it's just like any lens. Notice that I've sandwiched these together so that when they go in my pocket, they don't get full of dust. So now I need to take the camera off the lens because on this lens, you don't take the lens off the camera. I'm going to put that there. And this attaches just like any other lens. I line up the red dot and turn it and it locks.
Now, here's another red dot. I line that up with my lens and turn it and it locks. And now I am at 1,120. Here's the difference between 800 millimeters and the same lens with my tele-extender. So it has given me a little bit of extra reach. The problem is I've lost a stop. This is normally a 5.6 lens. With the tele-extender, with the 1.4x tele-extender that drops to eight. Now, that can be tricky if I'm aiming to shoot with smaller apertures because I'm losing shutter speed there.
If I had been shooting at, say, f/11 right now and it was saying that I had a 60th of a second, sticking the tele-extender on is going to drop me down to a 30th, and this is all way, way, way too slow for reliable shooting with this lens. So losing that extra stop can really be an issue. If you go to the 2x extender, you're going to lose two stops. So there's kind of no free lunch when it comes to this. You can't just get the longer lens by buying an expensive gizmo like this. Nevertheless, in this case one stop in bright daylight, I can work with that.
I can crank up the ISO to make up for it. And it is nice having that extra little bit of reach. This is not just something for the big 800-millimeter lens. If you've got a 200-millimeter lens, you can turn it into more of a super telephoto by sticking a tele-extender on. So that's something to consider. If you don't want to invest in another lens, if you don't want to carry a bigger lens, if you feel like you sometimes need a little more reach, but not that often, a tele- extender is a great way to go.
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