Nikon lenses from A-Z: the ultimate photographer’s guide

Nikon lenses from A-Z: the ultimate photographer's guide

Nikon lenses from Fisheye to Joiner

Nikon lenses: fisheye lenses

Image: Neil Kremer

Fisheye lenses
Normal wide-angle lenses are designed to prevent distortion and keep straight lines straight, but fisheye lenses go wider still, abandoning this distortion correction completely.

They produce strong circular distortion that’s usually employed as a special effect, but if they’re used with care, fisheyes can be really effective for everyday photography too.

This terrific portrait shot uses the wide angle of view to emphasis the shape of the guitar and capture the sitter’s surroundings.


Nikon lenses: ground-level shooting

Image: Bruce Levick

Ground-level shooting
It’s really tempting to shoot everything from a standing position with the camera at head height, but you can introduce much more variety into your pictures by changing your shooting position. If you get right down to ground level, the world starts to look very different.

You can capture great natural history shots from an insect’s perspective, for example, or you can use your viewpoint to exaggerate perspective effects.

Normally in architectural photography you’d try to correct ‘converging verticals’, but here the photographer has turned them into a feature.

Converging verticals happen when you tilt the camera upwards to take the picture, and by shooting from ground level you tilt the camera further still.

A bean bag or a mini tripod is the ideal support, especially if the ground is uneven.

SEE MORE: DO or Di? Your lens markings explained

Nikon lenses: hyperfocal distance

Image: Bhuminan Kiama

Hyperfocal distance
In landscape photography you usually want everything in the picture to be sharp, right from rocks and plants in the foreground to distant details on the horizon.

This means you need maximum depth of field, which can mean some complicated calculations, because it depends on the lens focal length, the focus distance and the lens aperture.

But landscape photographers have found a clever solution – the ‘hyperfocal distance’. For any given focal length and lens aperture, this tells you the distance you need to focus at to put the horizon right at the far limit of the depth of field, and bring the near limit of depth of field as close to the camera is possible.

You can use a smartphone app to do the calculations for you, or just look up hyperfocal distances on a table. Here’s an example for a DX-format Nikon DSLR using a focal length of 18mm.


Nikon lenses: iris

Image: Chris George

The ‘iris’ is the mechanism inside the lens that produces the variable lens apertures used for exposure and depth of field control – it’s also called the ‘diaphragm’.

It consists of a series of thin, overlapping blades that slide across each other as the aperture is adjusted, producing a smaller or a larger hole for the light to pass through.

The shape of this hole has an impact on the appearance of out-of-focus highlights in your pictures, and defocused areas in general.

Older iris mechanisms use a smaller number of blades, and these produce an iris shape which is not completely circular – it may be hexagonal, for example.

These days, the fashion is for circular highlights, and so lens makers have increased the number of iris blades to produce a more circular aperture.

SEE MORE: 7 questions photographers must ask about their next piece of glass

Nikon lenses: joiner

Image: Rod Lawton

A ‘joiner’ is a picture stitched together from two or more separate frames, and it’s a great way of getting a super-wide-angle shot when you don’t have a super-wide-angle lens.

You need to set the camera to manual exposure and focus, so that the settings don’t change between shots, then take a series of pictures which overlap by around one-third.

Don’t take too many, because the wider the joiner becomes, the more unwieldy it is to view and print. This joiner was made from two overlapping pictures using Photoshop Elements.

We only had a regular wide-angle lens, but it’s given us a picture which otherwise would have needed an expensive super-wide lens.

PAGE 1 – Nikon lenses from Angle of view to Effective focal length
PAGE 2 – Nikon lenses from Fisheye to Joiner
PAGE 3 – Nikon lenses from Kit lens to Open wide
PAGE 4 – Nikon lenses from Pinhole to Tilt/shift
PAGE 5 – Nikon lenses from U/V filters to Zoom burst


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