last week we chatted all about lenses + their focal lengths. hopefully you’ve had time to take a look at your lenses and are now feeling more familiar with the focal length and what it means with regard to your photography. there are two more important numbers that you’ll find on your lens that may be causing some confusion but no worries, by the end of this post, you’ll know exactly what they mean and you’ll be another step closer to taking the photos you desire!
on your lens, you’ll notice some decimal numbers i.e. 1:1.4. much like your focal length, there might be one decimal number or there may be a range i.e. 1:3.5-5.6. these numbers represent that maximum aperture that your lens allows. we already know that the aperture refers to the hole in the lens through which the light travels and that the higher the aperture, the more light comes in which yields softer images and a lower aperture allows less light in and yields an image with more of your subject in focus. each lens offers a different maximum aperture and it’s important to know your lens’s capabilities when setting up your shot.
if your lens shows a maximum aperture of 1:1.4, this means that your lens will allow a maximum aperture of f1.4 throughout the entire zoom range. if your lens shows a maximum aperture range of 1:3.5-5.6 this means that the more you zoom, the narrower your focus will go. for example, if your lens is zoomed out to 18mm, your maximum aperture will be f3.5, but as you zoom in, say to 55mm, your lens will only allow a maximum aperture of f5.6. when shooting indoors, i always suggest opening your lens up to its maximum aperture to allow the most light in and yield the softest image so pay close attention to those decimal numbers on your lens and when purchasing a new lens, i suggest purchasing the highest aperture that your budget allows.
the last, and final number on your lens that we’ll be discussing, is the one that starts with a symbol that looks like a circle with a line through it followed by a number listed in millimeters. this number is simply the diameter of the end of your lens. why is this number important? because it’s the size of your lens cap! should you happen to lose a lens cap (guilty!) then that number will tell you exactly what mm size you need to purchase to replace your lost one. in this instance, i’d need to purchase a 67mm lens cap.
WHEW! i know a lot of that information can be pretty technical, so as always, don’t be afraid to shoot me a message with further questions! take some time this week to dive into those numbers on your lens and explore your lens’s full capability! don’t forget to post your images to social media using the hashtag #ClubClickPic! i can’t wait to see your images!