Join Ben Long for an in-depth discussion in this video Exploring lens mount options, part of Introduction to Photography.
- One of the great advantages of both SLR and mirrorless cameras is that you can take the lens off the camera and replace it with a different lens. This may sound strange, but shooting with different lenses will train your eye to see differently allowing you to see different kinds of subject matter. In other words, the ability to change lenses can greatly expand your creative repertoire. However, you can't take any old lens and stick it on any camera that you choose. Lenses and camera bodies typically fit together as a system. Obviously, it's a mechanical mechanism that allows the lens to attach to the camera body and different camera makers define their own proprietary mounting systems.
These mounts do more than just provide a mechanical coupling - they also include electronics which let the camera and lens communicate with each other. This is necessary for things like auto-focus, lens stabilization, and other features. There are a lot of camera mounts out there. Canon has its own proprietary mounts for its SLRs as does Nikon, and Sony, and Olympus, and Pentax, and Fuji, and all of the others, and each of those companies makes a range of lenses. One of the things you'll want to consider when shopping for an SLR or mirrorless camera is lens selection - what focal lengths are available, what level of quality and at what price.
If you're just starting out, you might not know what kind of lenses you might ultimately want. Perhaps the best choice, then, is to go with a system that offers the greatest variety. However, at the time of this shooting, most camera makers offer thorough, robust lens selections for their cameras, so don't spend too much time worrying about lens availability. If you're shopping for a mirrorless camera, then you should know that one mirrorless option is a standard called Micro Four Thirds. This is a camera mount and sensor specification that has been adopted by several companies including Panasonic and Olympus.
Any Micro Four Thirds lens will work on any Micro Four Thirds body, so when shopping for a Micro Four Thirds camera, remember that there are many more options than just the ones provided by your specific camera vendor. There are several third-party companies that make lenses for a variety of camera systems. Tamron and Sigma are the best known and they will specifically state that a particular lens is Canon mount, or Nikon mount, or Fuji mount. They may even make separate versions of a lens for each different mount.
Lenses are such a big topic that we have an entire foundations of photography course about them. Don't go there yet, but you will want to take a look at it later as you continue your studies.
Then it's time to take to the field and examine the rest of the factors that influence the quality of your photographs, including light metering, focus, composition, and flash. Ben also introduces techniques for shooting portraits and shows what you can do with an image editor in post. Last but not least, he'll provide a roadmap for learning more with the lynda.com extensive library of photography training. The path to becoming a better photographer begins with the first step. Start here!
- Exploring cameras and lenses
- Understanding media
- Controlling exposure
- Composing with autofocus
- Shooting portraits
- Understanding form and geometry
- Exporting and editing digital images