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Lens Accessories

Lesson 57 from: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

Lens Accessories

Lesson 57 from: Fundamentals of Photography

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

57. Lens Accessories

Summary (Generated from Transcript)

The topic of this lesson is lens accessories, specifically UV filters, polarizing filters, neutral density filters, lens hoods, and teleconverters.


  1. Should I use a UV filter on my lens?

    Using a UV filter can protect the front element of your lens from damage, but it can also affect image quality. It is a personal preference and depends on the quality of the filter used.

  2. What is the purpose of a polarizing filter?

    A polarizing filter allows you to block certain wavelengths of light, reducing reflections and increasing saturation. It is especially useful for outdoor photography.

  3. Can a polarizing filter be replicated in post-production?

    The effects of a polarizing filter cannot be easily replicated in post-production, as it would require a lot of time and effort. It is best to use a polarizing filter while taking the photo.

  4. What is a neutral density filter used for?

    A neutral density filter darkens the image, allowing for longer shutter speeds, achieving a preferred aperture setting, or shooting with a shallower depth of field.

  5. When should a lens hood be used?

    A lens hood should be used in bright light situations to block unwanted light from entering the lens and causing lens flare. It is not necessary when using built-in flash.

  6. What is a teleconverter and how does it affect image quality?

    A teleconverter is an optical device that magnifies the view of the lens. It can lower image quality, but it is a useful tool when you need to enlarge the view in-camera.


Class Trailer

Class Introduction


Photographic Characteristics


Camera Types


Viewing System


Lens System


Shutter System


Shutter Speed Basics


Shutter Speed Effects


Camera & Lens Stabilization


Quiz: Shutter Speeds


Camera Settings Overview


Drive Mode & Buffer


Camera Settings - Details


Sensor Size: Basics


Sensor Sizes: Compared


The Sensor - Pixels


Sensor Size - ISO


Focal Length


Angle of View


Practicing Angle of View


Quiz: Focal Length


Fisheye Lens


Tilt & Shift Lens


Subject Zone


Lens Speed




Depth of Field (DOF)


Quiz: Apertures


Lens Quality


Light Meter Basics




Quiz: Histogram


Dynamic Range


Exposure Modes


Sunny 16 Rule


Exposure Bracketing


Exposure Values


Quiz: Exposure


Focusing Basics


Auto Focus (AF)


Focus Points


Focus Tracking


Focusing Q&A


Manual Focus


Digital Focus Assistance


Shutter Speeds & Depth of Field (DOF)


Quiz: Depth of Field


DOF Preview & Focusing Screens


Lens Sharpness


Camera Movement


Advanced Techniques


Quiz: Hyperfocal Distance


Auto Focus Calibration


Focus Stacking


Quiz: Focus Problems


Camera Accessories


Lens Accessories


Lens Adaptors & Cleaning




Flash & Lighting






Being a Photographer


Natural Light: Direct Sunlight


Natural Light: Indirect Sunlight


Natural Light: Mixed


Twilight: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Cloud & Color Pop: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Silhouette & Starburst: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Golden Hour: Sunrise & Sunset Light


Quiz: Lighting


Light Management


Flash Fundamentals




Built-In & Add-On Flash


Off-Camera Flash


Off-Camera Flash For Portraits


Advanced Flash Techniques


Editing Assessments & Goals


Editing Set-Up


Importing Images


Organizing Your Images


Culling Images


Categories of Development


Adjusting Exposure


Remove Distractions


Cropping Your Images


Composition Basics


Point of View


Angle of View


Subject Placement


Framing Your Shot


Foreground & Background & Scale


Rule of Odds


Bad Composition


Multi-Shot Techniques


Pixel Shift, Time Lapse, Selective Cloning & Noise Reduction


Human Vision vs The Camera


Visual Perception


Quiz: Visual Balance


Visual Drama


Elements of Design


Texture & Negative Space


Black & White & Color


The Photographic Process


Working the Shot


What Makes a Great Photograph?


Lesson Info

Lens Accessories

Alright, let's talk about lenses and some of the accessories that we can add onto the lenses to help them perform at their best. Alright, first thing we wanna talk about with lens accessories is the UV filter, which is another good way for stirring up a heated debate at a photography grouping. Should you use a UV filter or not? That is really the question that a lot of people have. It's essentially an insurance policy on the front of your lens. Obviously lenses are expensive and having something terrible happen to that front element would be very, very bad, and very expensive to fix. And so using an inexpensive UV filter on the front of it is a great way to protect it and one of the things that I hear most frequently among those who don't like UV filters is, why would I put a cheap piece of glass in front of this fantastically perfect optical lens? Who says you have to put a cheap piece of glass in front of it? You can put a very good quality piece of glass and in fact, a very good pie...

ce of glass that is just straight and thin is relatively inexpensive. It's not that much money so you can get a very high quality glass and I'm willing to do a test for anyone between UV on and UV off, and we'll see if you can tell the difference in image quality. I bet with a decent quality filter, practically nobody can tell that difference in there at all. And so I use UV filters 'cause I do a lot of traveling and the main reason I use UV filters, probably the main reason, is I hate lens caps. Lens cap are just the worst thing in the world. They prevent you from taking photos and so I don't wanna use a lens cap. I'll just use a lens filter and then I'll put my lens in my camera bag like that, and then I can clean that filter off over and over again. If I ever clean it too much I'll just replace that filter. So I think it's a good thing to have on there for a lot of lenses, different people are different so choose amongst yourself. So there is another type of filter that is very important beyond the UV filter, and that is the polarizing filter. And this is something that I think is very handy, mostly for people who shoot outside. Probably wouldn't be using this in the studio in most cases, there are exceptions to all rules of course, but the polarizing filter is something, is gonna do something you can't replicate in Photoshop or Lightroom, or any other program, at least very easily. You would have to spend a lot of time trying to do it because when you use this, it will allow in certain light, and it will block other wavelengths of light. And by turning the filter, you will be able to block the light coming from a certain direction. And so it has screw threads, you screw it onto the front of your lens and then you turn it according to how you want it to impact your photos. And you'll be able to see this looking right through your camera. So at minimum polarizing you can see into the pond and you can see a lot of reflections. You can see the trees and the sky reflecting it. Let's go ahead and turn this to maximum polarizing, and you can see it's reduced the reflections on this pond pretty much completely. And so we'll turn it back to minimum polarizing, and we can see the reflections, and then we can turn it back to maximum polarizing. And so this is very effective in this case, partly because I am positioned about a 45 degree angle as I shoot into that pond. If I was straight above it or I was at a lower angle, it wouldn't be as beneficial there. And so the angle that you are shooting something at is very important, and so shooting down into water, it can be extremely effective if you wanna see what's below the surface of the water. There are many different other areas where it will work. In this case, there is a lot of white reflecting off of this leaf. Let's add a polarizer to this and it reduces those reflections on the leaf, and it's very easy to see the difference between on and off. There's a great deal of difference in that case. Alright, let's look at a short video, and I am turning the polarizer on my camera. You can see it reducing the reflections and actually increasing the saturation in this shot, and so it's nice to be able to do that to get those slightly more vibrant colors out there on a bright, sunny day. Here in Seattle at Kerry Park, famous viewpoint, Mount Rainier in the background, and it's a whole lot easier to see with a polarizing filter attached, and what it's doing, is it's reducing the reflection off of some of the particles in the air between us and Mount Rainier, which is about 70 miles away. And so all of that kind of gets, causing a hazy day, but you can cut through a good portion of it with a polarizer. Now you're not gonna be able to cut through the pollution in all cases, but when the light's coming from the right angle, you are gonna be able to cut through it a bit. It can also do quite a number on blue skies. It adds a lot of saturation, makes 'em deeper and darker in color, as you can see in this video as well. I'm just turning the polarizer on my camera. And so there's lots of examples of not using the polarizer, adding the polarizer, where it is impacting the background but not necessarily the foreground. And so our subject really hasn't changed, doesn't look really any different, but that background does look significantly different. Want a little bit more blue sky? Add a polarizer and you can get some really nice, deep colors there. Now a lot of people have polarized sunglasses and so this is often how you are looking at the world yourself, 'cause that's a very common way of controlling the light in sunglasses. And there are a number of cases where it has a really big impact, and the cases where it's gonna have the biggest impact is when the sun is 90 degrees to your right or to your left. You'll notice this mountain here is side lit, the light's coming from the right-hand side, and so because of that angle, if we were to point our cameras right or left it would not have as great of an impact. Another one of these very impressive changes, and this is the type of thing where you need to pull the polarizer out and actually take a look at it with your own eyes to see how much of a difference that it makes, and this is not a Photoshop trick. This is just the polarizing filter and that was a huge difference in that particular case. The biggest difference I've ever seen was down in Monument Valley, it was just blown out white skies, but with the polarizer on it, it was unbelievable at how much it cleaned it up. And so obviously for your landscape photographer, very helpful for your travel photographer. Any time you are getting that side light, you can see the shadow of where the roof is, where the sun is, in general up in the sky. Let's add a polarizer in there and look at those nice, deep blue skies. We're able to see those clouds much more clearly there and so it's a very, very handy filter to have. And as I said, to use it to its maximum effect, locate the sun and then point 90 degrees to it. Now if it's a cloudy day, it's not gonna have the impact, 'cause you don't have the blue skies and you don't have a significant light source in that case. You can still use it on cloudy days in forests because light is streaming through the top of the trees and I've been working with polarizers for decades now, but I gotta tell ya, every once in a while I still gotta pull it out of the bag and look through it to see how much of an impact it's going to have, because it varies according to all the atmospheric conditions that you're going through. Now this is a bad use of a polarizer here. What I have done is I have polarized the left part of the image but not the right part of the image. The sun is just off the right hand side and it has very little impact when you are pointed essentially, basically straight at the sun. If I wanted an image with the arch and a lot of blue sky, I probably should have shot just a vertical image using only the left part of the screen there you might say, as far as an image with a good blue sky behind it. And so, can have a very good impact and help a lot of images outdoors, having that little extra blue in the sky. Can help out in the forest as well. And so it's gonna reduce reflections, increase saturation, and it's gonna increase the blue in the sky. And one word of warning is that it is going to steal two f-stops of light in general. It varies according to how you have it set. One other thing to know for people with ultra wide lenses is that there are kind of two different flavorings of polarizers, normal ones and slim ones, and if you have an ultra wide lens, like a 16 to 35 lens, it's probably wise to get the thinner one because sometimes those wide angles see so wide, they start seeing filters on the end. Now as I mentioned before, I do like using UV protection filters, but when I put a polarizer on I take the UV filter off and then I put the polarizer on. I don't like stacking filters unnecessarily. When this gets put on my camera, this is essentially my protection filter as well, but it's also doing something else. And so I don't wanna stack those two filters. A few of the longer lenses will have a special slot in the back end of the lens so that after you've spent all that money on a lens, the polarizers are much smaller and much more affordable. And so it's a nice system 'cause you just drop that in and then you can adjust the dial on it as you go through it. And so if you end up buying a lot of lenses, two lenses, you're gonna wanna pay attention to the filter size 'cause then you're gonna need different size polarizing filters. And I've collected enough lenses where I need a lot of different polarizers. Now one way is just to get one large filter and then you can get adapter rings so that it works on the smaller lenses, and then every time you attach it, you gotta attach the adapter ring, and then you put it on and it's a way of saving money 'cause the adapter rings are only about 10 bucks. But if you're gonna do it on a regular basis, you might just wanna have a polarizer for all of your main lenses, and so I'll usually be carrying a couple different polarizers depending on what size of lens that I have, that I'm carrying around at that time. And so this is one of the thin ones. And the thin ones, generally what they've done is they've taken off the threads in here, so you can't put a lens cap on here. At least a traditional lens cap, you can put a slip on cap that goes on the outside, but you can't use one of the ones on the pinch ones, that go right in the middle. So I don't like going out without my polarizers because if I'm shooting outdoors, there's a good chance that it's gonna have some benefit, somewhere along the line. Another type of filter that is hard to mimic in post production is the neutral density filter. Neutral means it doesn't have any color to it, density means it's just dark and lets in less light into the camera. We're gonna use this so that we can achieve slower shutter speeds, we can get to a preferred aperture setting, or so that we can shoot with shallower depth of field. The third item is often more for people shooting video but it can be useful for people shooting stills in some cases. Alright, so let's take a look at a river taken at a pretty normal shutter speed and aperture settings here, and you might say, well I wanna try that really slow shutter speed option. Well how do we do that? Well, let's stop our lens all the way down and see how low a shutter speed we can go. So we'll go from five six, down to 32, and then we'll make the appropriate change on the shutter speeds to get us down to a quarter of a second, and there we go, we got our shot. I wonder what it would like if we used an even slower shutter speed. Well I'm sorry, you can't go any further than that because that's as far as your lens stops down, and we'll assume our camera's set at ISO 100. Well if you do wanna go further than whatever the camera is limiting you here, you can use a neutral density filter. If you had a 3-stop neutral density filter and you put it on your camera, it's gonna get really dark, and one of the things I would think about is, well I do wanna get to my longer shutter speeds, but the diffraction is not the best at f32, and I don't need f32 in depth of field. I would much rather shoot this picture at f16. Alright, now I can come down to a half second. Alright, that changes the image a little bit, what if we had a 4-stop filter? Alright, now we can get down to one second, which was my goal for shooting water that's moving, but let's go a little bit further. We can go five stops, get down to two seconds. We'll go down to six stops and have four seconds. And so, is this that much different than a quarter of a second? Well, let's take a look, we'll go back and take a look at the no filter at a quarter of a second. This is pretty good and I'm, to be honest with you, I'm pretty happy with this shot, but I like options, and I like to be able to shoot with all these different in between settings. And so having an ND filter is gonna give you the opportunity to set some really long shutter speeds in situations that you just wouldn't normally get for that long. And so, these are some really long shutter speeds. This is a 30 second exposure done in the middle of the day. This is a five second exposure in this case and it's got definitely a different look than an image at a quarter of a second. Now normally one of my rules in the world of photography is don't shoot moving water in bright sunshine. It generally doesn't look right, but generally means that there's gonna be exceptions to the rule. And so this was a bright, sunny day and I wanted to shoot with a longer shutter speed. In this case it's just one second and it's very hard to use a long shutter speed in bright sunlight 'cause there's so much sunlight, but an ND filter will allow you to do that. And so if you remember this image from earlier in the class, that's how I got this image is with 30 second exposure using a neutral density filter. One of my favorite waterfalls is up in Canada, believe it's called Tangle Falls, and it's just one floor after another floor, after another floor of falls and I definitely wanted a long shutter speed here. In this case it's a six second shutter speed. That ND filter allowed me to shoot a very long shutter speed of that and so they can be really helpful in that situation. Now these are gonna be some really dark filters and they are gonna come with a lot of different funny numbers on it, so I wanna try to simplify some of the numbers. What's really important to photographers is how many stops of light does it block getting in the camera? And there are two different systems that they might use for telling you how many stops. They might tell it to you in optical density where .3 is equal to one stop and so if you get a .9, that's three stops. A 1.8 is equal to six stops of light that you're losing. The other factor is a filter factor, where one is normal brightness and 2x means you need double the exposure, 4x means you need four times the exposure, and so on. And so depending on which company you get and how they like to run the numbers, you might see those different numbers on there. This can also be useful, I don't have any examples here, but if you are trying to shoot with really shallow depth of field, and you don't have a camera that goes up to 8,000th or 32,000th of a second, and you're trying to shoot with a 1.2 lens out in bright sunlight, you could also use a neutral density filter for doing that. This is what happens with a lot of people shooting video because in the world of photography we get to use different shutter speeds and in video, they kinda are regulated usually to about a 50th of a second. Sometimes they're playing around doing different things but most of the time they don't have shutter speeds to be creative in shooting video, but we get that and so we can choose faster shutter speeds. So when they're setting up exposure for video, they got their shutter speed lock there and if they wanna adjust the exposure, well then they play around with the aperture, but sometimes they don't wanna shoot at f16. They wanna shoot at 1.4 and so they'll use an ND filter to kind of balance out the equation there. The graduated neutral density filter is built for people who take pictures outside of sky and land. We talked about this being a problem and so when you're out shooting, the sky tends to be brighter than the ground, and if you want to darken the sky you need a filter that is dark on the top half but clear on the bottom half, and gradually changes from clear to dense. And so these filters look a little different like this. They are square and that is so that you can take the filter, and you can move it up and down on the lens according to where the horizon is, and it's neutral, which means it doesn't have color. You could get them with color, they're not too common, but most of the time they're just neutral in color and they have a density factor anywhere between one, two, three stops of density. Now the way that they're kind of designed officially to use is that you screw on an adapter ring and then you put on a holder, and then you mount the filter in there. And I tend to be a little bit quick in using 'em, and I just use my hand holding 'em in front. And if you have a good quality filter it won't scratch by touching the lens and so forth, but it's nice, quick, and easy. But I will use the holder if I'm on a tripod and I have the camera in an uncomfortable position, and it's gonna be set up for a while. Then it can be very, very handy but for many times, I'm just hand holding most of the time, 'cause I'm usually just getting a quick shot. So a good place where I would wanna use this is up at Mount Rainier National Park. We got Mount Rainier bathed in full sunlight and we have a bunch of wildflowers in the shadows. It's an exposure range that my camera cannot handle. I could shoot multiple exposures in HDR but in this case, I can actually get it right in camera. So if I was to use a different exposure I would get the exposure on the mountain correctly, but now the flowers are too dark and what I want is, I want the top part of the left side of the screen and the bottom part of the right side of the screen. And so what I will do is I'll set my camera up for no filters, far as exposure, and then I'll bring that filter down and I'll darken the top part as much as I need to, and I'll play around left and right with a little bit of tilting to get it set up right. And so this is really necessary any time you have bright sun and things in the foreground that are in the shade. And so this happens very frequently, where you're gonna have an object that's sticking up in bright sun and then items are in the shade down here. And so there's a big difference and it turns a bad situation into a very, very usable situation. When you use a filter like this, where do you sort of adjust your exposure for? Are you adjusting for the foreground or the... I am adjusting my exposure for the foreground, and so what's happening is the top part is getting blown out, and by holding that neutral density filter it then changes it. And so I've set it up as if I just want the foreground exposed properly. Alright and then I'll just bring in that ND filter and I'll darken up the top part of the frame. Now I've used this in reverse in some cases, where I've wanted to darken the bottom, or I've done it more on the sides 'cause there's a shadow off to the side, and so you can be as creative as you need to be to solve the problems in here, but normally it's darkening the sky and it's a nice, even line. But I will be tilting the filter from left to right in some cases, depending on the horizon, and trees, and things like that, and very, very helpful. So I carry two of 'em around with me in most cases, a 2-stop and a 3-stop. I started with a 2-stop 'cause that's a pretty good general one but then every once in a while things get a little bit more extreme, and it's a nice backup you know? If one of these broke I'd be fine for the rest of the trip. I can live with one of 'em but having both of them is kind of nice 'cause I have a little bit of a choice and if something was to happen to one of 'em then I've got a backup as well. And so I'll keep those in my little pouch here, and so what I'll do is I'll just pull 'em out, and they get cleaned real easy. And I'll just hold 'em like this and then when I'm taking a photo I'll figure out where I want it up and down, and adjust it according to where I need it, take the photo, and you're done. As I say, I don't normally bring around the brackets, but if I do need 'em I'll have 'em with me sometimes. The lens hood is designed for preventing lens flare on your camera. So as light comes into your lens, I thought I saw this diagram some place before and I was trying to figure out where I saw this before, and now I've got double vision of it. So light's supposed to come straight into your sensor, right? And if, let's say it's dark there behind it, it's supposed to be dark but what might happen is a little bit of light reflect off of one surface and then come back through the lens, and it makes this black a little less black 'cause it added some light to it. And what if some other light gets refracted through that and now it lessens how dark the black is as well. And so we're losing contrast. You can even have light bounce off the sensor, off the back glass, back onto the sensor, and this causing a lack of contrast on your images, and you don't want this. You want things to be blacks black, and the lights as light as they're supposed to be. And so this is a problem that will happen in lenses and it can get worse on the front of the lens. So when you have your camera pointed at something you're gonna have an angle of view that you can see, and your camera, and your lens is as corrected as it can be for the light that's coming in through the lens. Alright, now you clearly do not need to worry about light behind you, okay? 'Cause it's not hitting anything that's going into the lens unless it's bouncing off something else. But in between these two is what I would call your flare zone, where you do have to be concerned about bright objects that are striking the front of the lens, because if it can be seen by the front of the lens, not necessarily in the viewfinder, but if it can just see the front of the lens, it might bounce around and cause a problem. And so you wanna use a lens hood to block that light. And so right here in the studios we have some lights in these studios, and the lights are shining down, and this light is hopefully casting a shadow onto the front of this lens. And so this is typically not a big problem with normal household lights, normally inside, it's generally when you have a pretty significantly bright light in a place. And so one more visual to show you here. And so in this case I'm in my studio. I have got two lights and a reflector down on the bottom. You can clearly see the reflection. If you can see the reflection of lights in the front of your lens, there is a potential problem going on. And so when you add a hood, it's just adding a shadow on the front of your lens. Now, fact of the matter is you don't have to use a hood, alright? In a bright light situation, you could simply just do this everywhere you go, blocking the light, and the hood is just a lot more convenient for doing that, and so I recommend using it. And if you wanna know something that drives me nuts when I see people out there shooting like this, it's like, you got the hood right there. Just use it, how hard is it to turn your lens around and mount it up, and use it like that? It's doing some good now and so it's reversible so that you can store it more easily, and I do that all the time, and I think that's great. And so let's look at another example. Without a hood we've got a muddy photograph here. This is a lack of contrast in this particular photograph. We're also getting a lens flare up in the top middle. Let's go ahead and add a hood onto this and you should see an immediate change in the contrast to this. And so let's bring it split screen so you can see the difference between the two of these trees. And so what's happening is that bright light is bouncing around inside of the lens on the right-hand side, and we're losing contrast. And we might be able to get some of that back in post production, but wouldn't it be better just to do it right out in the field? Also, if you get these lens flare spots, on this image it wouldn't be too hard to clean up. There's a nice blue sky for cloning out those sorts of problems but when you get those lens flares on top of someone's face, or some place that's more detailed, it's gonna be really hard to clean those up and the lens hood can just do it automatically from the time you shot it. And some people have always had the question, why does it look like that? It's you know, flower shaped or petal shaped, it's kind of weird. Well, each lens hood is designed specifically for each lens and so let me show ya a quick little video as to why they are designed like this. When you hold it up to the camera, from the camera's point of view, that funny shape actually becomes a rectangle. And so that's how all lens hoods should look. The fact of the matter is the round ones used on telephoto are not as much as they could be, but if they designed the perfect lens hood it would be one of the most inconvenient items you've ever had. It would look like a gigantic sword that went out 'cause it's trying to block everything that's not actually in the photograph. And so there is a balance between effectiveness and convenience when it comes to lens hoods. And so it, one of the most important things is that they are dedicated per lens. And so if you don't have a hood for your lens, you need to look up what is the specific lens hood for that lens, from that manufacturer. Lens hoods should always be used, except when they shouldn't be used. An example of that is when you are using built in flash. Don't recommend built in flash too much of the time but if you are gonna use it, by using a lens hood it's potential that you could be blocking the flash from reaching where it needs to get. As I told you about working back in the camera store, I loved the easy question, which was, why is this photo all dark on the bottom? Yeah, it's because you fired the flash and you had the hood on. Ah, well why did they give me the hood? It's for most of the other times and so, not so good with built in flash. With add on flash, the flash is probably high enough it's not a problem. Now as much as I would like to tell you to use the lens hood all the time, there is always some cases where maybe you want to add some flare to your photograph, and you like that look, and it adds a certain style to it. If your name is J.J. Abrams, you must love lens flare, and you can add it in in post production. And so there is a certain style that you can add to it if you want, but in general, you don't wanna be causing problems where you don't want it to be a problem. Next up let's talk about teleconverters. So teleconverters are small little optical devices that are used between the body and the lens to magnify the view that you are getting with the camera. So between the body and the lens you can add a teleconverter that will make the lens a narrower angle of view, and magnify the view. These are generally in the 1.4 and 2x category, and so I wanted to do a lens test here to see which would give us the best optical quality. I was curious, well with a 300 millimeter lens, we don't have these teleconverters and as I mentioned before, if you add a teleconverter, it's gonna lower the optical quality of any device that it goes on. Adding elements generally doesn't help making an object sharper. And so it's gonna go down in quality as you go through this setting, but if you want to enlarge an area on the 300, you're gonna have to enlarge it quite a bit compared to what we've done up here. And so I decided to, let's just look at a small area of equal size on these and blow 'em up. And the one with the straight 300 millimeter lens was the worst of 'em because I had to blow it up the most. And so if image quality is important, what you really wanna look at is the total effective focal length, added in teleconverter, crop, everything else. And so some people say that, you know, I don't wanna use a 2x converter, I'll just crop it later. It's not that far off but it's not quite as good, and so there are two different ways of kind of approaching this problem. You can either blow it up after the fact, enlarging it in post production, or you can add on a teleconverter so that you can get it straight in camera. And so whenever I'm shooting, when I was in Tanzania shooting on safari, my goal was to try to just use my 300 millimeter lens. If I can get the shot with the 300 I'd get it. If I have to use the one four converter, I would move up to that, and if I really have no choice, well then I'll move up to the 2x converter. And so it's kinda like ISO, you wanna keep it as low as possible. You don't wanna have to use it but it's better to use it if you do need it. So these will come from a variety of manufacturers. The 1.4 does lose one stop of light and so you're gonna need to bump your shutter speed down to accommodate for things, or you're gonna need to bump your ISO to equalize the loss of light. The 2x will lose two stops of light and these are really nice because if you have a 300 millimeter lens, you now have a 400 as well with just a small device that really isn't that heavy, not overall as expensive as a lens, but that's not too much to bring along when you have your big lens already there with you.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Fundamentals of Photography Class Outline
Learning Projects Workbook
Camera Keynote PDF
Sensor Keynote PDF
Lens Keynote PDF
Exposure Keynote PDF
Focus Keynote PDF
Gadgets Keynote PDF
Lighting Keynote PDF
Editing Keynote PDF
Composition Keynote PDF
Photographic Vision Keynote PDF

Ratings and Reviews

a Creativelive Student

Love love all John Greengo classes! Wish to have had him decades ago with this info, but no internet then!! John is the greatest photography teacher I have seen out there, and I watch a lot of Creative Live classes and folks on YouTube too. John is so detailed and there are a ton of ah ha moments for me and I know lots of others. I think I own 4 John Greengo classes so far and want to add this one and Travel Photography!! I just drop everything to watch John on Creative Live. I wish sometime soon he would teach a Lightroom class and his knowledge on photography post editing.!!! That would probably take a LOT OF TIME but I know John would explain it soooooo good, like he does all his Photography classes!! Thank you Creative Live for having such a wonderful instructor with John Greengo!! Make more classes John, for just love them and soak it up! There is soooo much to learn and sometimes just so overwhelming. Is there anyway you might do a Motivation class!!?? Like do this button for this day, and try this technique for a week, or post this subject for this week, etc. Motivation and inspiration, and playing around with what you teach, needed so much and would be so fun.!! Just saying??? Awaiting gadgets class now, while waiting for lunch break to be over. All the filters and gadgets, oh my. Thank you thank you for all you teach John, You are truly a wonderful wonderful instructor and I would highly recommend folks listening and buying your classes.


I don't think that adjectives like beautiful, fantastic or excellent can describe the course and classes with John Greengo well enough. I've just bought my first camera and I am a total amateur but I fell in love with photography while watching the classes with John. It is fun, clear, understandable, entertaining, informative and and and. He is not only a fabulous photographer but a great teacher as well. Easy to follow, clear explanations and fantastic visuals. The only disadvantage I can list here that he is sooooo good that keeps me from going out to shoot as I am just glued to the screen. :-) Don't miss it and well worth the money invested! Thank you John!


Dear John, thanks for this outstanding classes. You are not only a great photographer and instructor, but your classes are pleasant, they are not boring, with a good sense of humor, they go straight to the point and have a good time listening to you. Please, keep teaching what you like most, and I will continue to look for your classes. And thanks for using a plain English, that it's important for people who has another language as native language. Thanks again, Juan

Student Work