Photography Technology


Lens Construction

Lenses, and lens quality, are of major concern to a photographer. Lenses were originally ground by hand.  Today, lenses are machine ground and computer-designed.

The simplest way to form an image is by using a pinhole. This will form an image, but to get a sharper image, you need to use a smaller pinhole, which (greatly) increases exposure time. Pinholes are also subject to diffraction, or a bending of light, around the edges.


Compound Lenses

Contemporary lenses are invariably of the compound type. That is, they are made with multiple lens elements, combining to correct image aberrations.

The number of these elements, along with their inherent material quality (the quality of the glass) serve to create the quality of image. More elements mean that separate lenses are doing their own job, rather than combining multiple tasks into one piece of glass. Better glass simply means the glass is more optically pure, and does not introduce its own aberrations.

There are several different shapes of lenses, or elements. Without going into the physics used for each, the main shapes are: Plano convex, plano concave, converging meniscus, and diverging meniscus.

Focal Length

The biggest difference in lenses is their focal length. The focal length is measured from the center of the lens to the film, or the focus point, where the lens focuses light. A shorter focal length bends light at a sharper angle. Simply looking at the difference in the shape of the outer element of a 28mm lens compared to a 50mm lens will show the 28mm being more rounded:

 lens 2

Short lens (left) vs. longer lens.

Focal length determines both the magnification of and image, as well as the angle of view. Angle of view is the width of the image. A ‘normal’ lens is called normal because it best approximates human vision—both magnification and angle of view—for a particular film format. A short lens (shorter focal length than normal) will have an extended angle of view, but lower magnification, while a long lens will have the opposite, a compressed angle of view with a higher magnification.


Lens Types

Lenses are divided into types, by focal length. These types—normal, short, and long, are based on camera format, so the same length lens may be long for a 35mm camera, but normal for medium format. The focal lengths discussed below are for 35mm format.


Normal Lenses For 35mm format the standard normal lens is 50mm in focal length. The term ‘normal’ derives from the approximation of our vision. The angle of view of a 50mm lens is about 60º, close to our own (human) visions.
Short Lenses Short, or wide angle lenses, are anything shorter than 50mm, for 35mm format. Common focal lengths are 35mm and 28mm. Short lenses are available down to 14mm, referred to as a fisheye.
Long Lenses Long, or telephoto lenses, are (correspondingly) any lens with a focal length greater than normal, which is greater than 50mm for 35mm format. Common lengths are 85mm and 105mm. Much longer telephotos are available (600mm +), usually used by wildlife and sports photographers.
Zoom Lenses

Zoom, or multi-focal-length lenses, come ain a wide variety of sizes. Some standards are 28-80mm and 70-200mm, with many shorter, longer, and in-between. Zooms are a good compromise when more than a fixed standard lens is needed. Having the two sizes above pretty much covers most needs.

Macro/Micro Macro and micro lenses are lenses which have additional elements which allow closer focusing.


Classic Camera

A camera that captures the photo not on film,

The following are my Classic Nikon F2 AS and F3 Cameras and lens  :

  IMG_1111 IMG_1113  IMG_1115f3hp  50mmf12AIS 


Digital Camera

A camera that captures the photo not on film, but in an electronic imaging sensor that takes the place of film. The following is my Canon Power Shot Pro 1 digital camera.


This entry was posted in photography. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s