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Nikon Lens Basics

Lesson 2 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

Nikon Lens Basics

Lesson 2 from: Nikon Lenses: The Complete Guide

John Greengo

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Lesson Info

2. Nikon Lens Basics


Class Trailer



Nikon Lens Class Introduction


Nikon Lens Basics


Focal Length: Angle of View


Focal Length: Normal Lenses


Focal Length: Wide Angle Lenses


Focal Length: Telephoto Lens


Focal Length Rule of Thumb


Field of View


Aperture Basics


Equivalent Aperture


Depth of Field


Maximum Sharpness




Hyper Focal Distance


Nikon Mount Systems


Nikon Cine Lenses


Nikon Lens Design


Focusing and Autofocus with Nikon Lenses


Nikon Lens Vibration Reduction


Image Quality


Aperture Control and General Info


Nikon Standard Zoom Lenses


Nikon Super Zoom Lenses


Nikon Wide Angle Lenses


Nikon Telephoto Zoom Lenses


3rd Party Zooms Overview


3rd Party Zooms: Sigma


3rd Party Zooms: Tamron


3rd Party Zooms: Tokina




Nikon Prime Lens: Normal


Nikon Prime Lens: Wide Angle


Nikon Prime Lens: Ultra-Wide


Nikon Prime Lens: Short Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Medium Telephoto


Nikon Prime Lens: Super Telephoto


3rd Party Primes: Sigma


3rd Party Primes: Zeiss


3rd Party Primes: Samyang


Lens Accessories: Filters


Lens Accessories: Lens Hood


Lens Accessories: Tripod Mount


Lens Accessories: Extension Tubes


Lens Accessories: Teleconverters


Macro Photography


Nikon Micro Lens Selection


Fisheye Lenses


Tilt Shift Photography Overview


Tilt Shift Lenses


Building a Nikon System


Making a Choice: Nikon Portrait Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Sport Lenses


Making a Choice: Nikon Landscape Lenses


Nikon Lens Systems


Lens Maintenance


Buying and Selling Lenses


Final Q&A


What's in the Frame


Lesson Info

Nikon Lens Basics

Well, you know it's good that you mentioned the world is watching and I have something I need to possibly apologize for right now you may not know that I might have offended some people so far in this class pretty quick might be the record so far here in the united states the company is known as nikon but in other parts of the world it's nick on and there are some people probably watching in germany or france or japan and they're going what's wrong with this guy as he done me does he not know how to pronounce the company's name well here in the united states the tv advertising and the radio advertising says nikon when you go into the camera store they say would you like a nikon camera? And so everybody talks about owning icons here and in other parts of the world's it's nick on and I would like to change it for this class but it's been ingrained in me since birth it's nikon that's what I'm going to say I no problem realizing it's different in different countries and so I appreciate you...

r tolerance of me in this class kalina nikon I was a funny little story I was doing the tour in jordan and my roommate was from australia and he used nick on and he called it nick on all the time and by the end of the trip I was saying nick on and so I'm more than willing to change but it's just where I'm at right now all right so let's get started before we even get started on the regular part of class I just want to go through a few basics just to make sure everybody is on the right plane field with lenses so one of my favorite things about photography is cameras that have interchangeable lenses because when you change the lens you change the camera and it completely changes the tool in your hand and having something that's that versatile and that adaptable just opens up the world of possibility and so that's why I currently do not own any cameras that you can't change the lens off gotta have a lens that you can change the lens because it just gives me so much to do and that's why there's so much fun and so interesting okay why is this coming up on screen? Are we in the right class here alright everyone's got a few pairs issues for the most part right now if you were gonna go hiking most of you would probably choose to number one if you're going to go hiking but what if you didn't have shoe number one you couldn't afford to number one the store didn't have shoe number one in there but you had shoe number three down here could you go hiking in this? Would you survive yeah, I think you could make it. What if you had to do it in chute number two? I probably wouldn't want to do it, but if I had to do it if my life depended on it, yes, I could do it. The point I'm trying to make is that it is really nice to have the right tool for the job sometimes it's absolutely necessary to have the right tool for the job. You want to go work on a construction company, you've gotta have one of these or something that looks like that is a work boot. All right, you have to do it, but a lot of times there's more than one tool that will solve the problem, and I get a lot of e mails and facebook messages from people asking me what's the best lens for me and this one thing I want to do and it's like there's ten different answers, and I was just no way that I can answer that. And so one of the themes I wantto kind of continue talking about throughout this class is that there's more than one way to solve the problem. And so, yes, photographer so and so really likes to use this lens it's part of their style, it's something that they're very comfortable with using that doesn't mean that that is the key to your success that isn't thie key for you to getting a good shot. You could dues any number of different lenses to solve that problem. And so hopefully that is something that you will pick up from this classes we continue forward, so lenses are tools we need to just think of them as tools. We don't need to idolize them. One of the things that drives me nuts is when people say this lens is magical, it has magic. No, it doesn't, it does this, it does that. What does it do? And so we're not gonna have magic in here. I'm sorry to say we're going to talk about things as they really are. So the primary characteristics of why you're going to choose the land's number one is the angle of view. What do you see through the viewfinder with that particular last, very closely followed by what's the maximum amount of light that will be able to go through that lens, the maximum aperture, and between the two of those that's going to give us our resulting depth of field, which is also very important whether reshooting landscapes are portrait type shots. Now there's a number of other very important issues what I call secondary characteristics that I often have to do with image quality or the physical design of the lands. And I enjoy going on the internet to the forms in the chat rooms to see what people are talking about and it really seems you know, people love to just bring up all sorts of little things over here, you know, generally you know, if the flare is a little off in the land is it mean that you should never buy that lands? Well, what if everything else is right but that's just a little bit less than you would for him there we're going to talk about all these issues and how they impact things and I think it's important to understand what they do and how to solve some of the problems that they may have but it's generally not a reasons why rai I want it by a lance unless there's a really strong implication into the type of photography that I was doing something to realize if there's a perfectionist out there there's certain people that are perfectionists things have to be perfect if you want things to be perfect give up photography all right? Because every lens is in perfect. Nikon makes a great range of cameras that are available today and there are little heavily centered on full frame sensors but they have to different size sensors in them and that's the first issue that I want addresses because the size of sensor you having your camera strongly impacts what lenses you're going to use and how the specific lens affects your image so the two different size sensors one is the full frame which is the same as the good old thirty five millimeter film I like to measure it from corner to corner and that's forty three millimeters so we know it's a forty three millimeter censor the smaller one is commonly known as an a psc system it has a crop factor of one point five we're going to talk more about this if we measure it from corner to corner it's twenty eight so you khun clearly just kind of measure twenty eight to forty three to get a feel for the difference in the size and this is really important because when we use the same lens on different cameras there's a different effect that it has so let's just take a lens it doesn't really matter what lens we just got a lands and what happens light goes through that lens and an image circle is cast on top of that sensor and our sensor is just the right size to capture a nice rectangular image within that area now if we were to take an exact copy of that lands and mounted in front of a sensor that is smaller in size well what happens light goes through the lens and nothing changes about like going through the lands does the exact same thing the amount of light the circle of light but we put a smaller frame inside there and now we have two images that are similar, but they have a different angle of you and so when we're talking about lenses, you kind of have to know what sensor is on the camera to really know the result that you're getting and so this is the crop factor that many of you are already aware of. I'm sure and so when we say focal ink is not the same thing is angle of view that means that well, we mount the same lens on different cameras there's going to be a different impact to it now nikon does make some special lenses designed for their smaller sensor, which are called dx lenses and if you were to take these lenses and mount them on a full frame camera, which you can do with nikon you are going to get really strong vignette ing or darkening of the corners. You can still get an image out of it, but it doesn't fill the entire frame on many not all the nikon cameras there's going to be an auto dx crop mode which automatically crops in so that you don't get the dark corners and you end up with the same result that you would with their smaller sensor cameras and so if you have a full frame camera, be aware if you have this I would leave this turned on because if you do mounted dx lenses than you want to get all the dark corners but generally those of you with the full frame cameras are not going to be buying the dx lenses so you're going to see that dx throughout this class traditionally the fifty millimeter lands has been known as the standard or normal lands on a full frame thirty five millimeter cameras with that lens you're going to see about forty degrees from side to side if you would amount that fifty millimeter lands on one of their crop frame cameras, you're going to see a narrower angle of you because of that smaller crop size and so we have the same lens that has two different effects on it. So the fifty millimeter lens that's our normal lands and so we're going to continue to talk in this class about being the normal or standard lens but with the dx sensor if you were to get a thirty five millimeter lands that's the normal lens for the crop frame sensor and so I think it's sometimes helpful because people get confused at these numbers and I think the simplest way to kind of keep things straight in your mind is first off you got to know what camera you have in what size sensor it has and just think what's what's my middle ground because I'm gonna have wide angle and I'm gonna have telephoto if you're full frame fifty is right there in the middle and you know less than you go more if you're on the crop frame well then you're thirty five and everything less is wide angle and everything mauris telephoto and so just remember where your home middle ground is and then you can kind of expand from there the focal length will be listed right on the lens that's kind of the most important thing about the lens and so thirty five millimeter twenty four to seventy that zoom lens so it has variable focal length on it. The second number that you're going to want to pay attention to is the aperture and so this is the one colin foreign we're actually looking for the number after the colon, so this is an f four lands many of the zoom lenses have a variable aperture that changes slightly as you zoom back in force, so the number would be three point five to five point six in this for instance here and so those are the key numbers that you're going to want to be looking at on your lens is if you're trying to compare with what you have with what's going on on screen, so the focal length technically is the distance from the nodal point to the image plane and the nodal point is where the light starts hitting the first elements and starts changing shape and the image plainness, of course, where the sensor is and so this is measuring the length of the lands it's. Technically not accurate, because there's a bunch of empty space in the body here but it's the effective length of the lens. And this is why we have fifty millimeter lenses that are relatively short in five hundred millimeter lenses, which are relatively long in sizes so that's indicating partially the physical dimensions of the lens. Although some technology is playing tricks with this is, we'll find out in some upcoming sections. So prime lenses are lenses that have one focal length, fifty millimeter lenses, a prime lens, everything less than fifty in numbers is a wide angle, and when you hit twenty, people start referring to it as an ultra wide angle. Because of its extreme angle of view. Everything above fifty is a telephoto, and by the time you hit four hundred, we start calling it a super telephoto because of its extreme, narrow angle of you. The other type of lens that we have. Our zoom lenses and zoom lens has come in a wide variety of range is one of the misconceptions were misunderstandings and photography is the difference between the telephoto lens and a zoom lands a telephoto lens? Is everything over on the right side of the screen. Okay so in eighty five is a telephoto of four hundred is a telephoto a two hundred four hundred is a telephoto a seventy two hundred is a telephoto zoom lenses everything on the bottom half now zoom is everything that changes so it's possible to have a zoom that doesn't have telephoto like this fourteen to twenty for because there's no telephoto it's got to be above fifty for it to be telephoto and so right in the middle we have a wide angle to telephoto zoom lens and so if we're going to take a picture of something far away do we need a zoom maybe maybe not it depends on which zoom we definitely want to telephoto and so if you're going to shoot a little small bird on the fence across the street you want telephoto maybe a zoom maybe not depends on which lindsay have but you definitely want to telephoto for something like that so a lot of questions about well zooms or primes what are better what should I buy? Zoom lenses are incredibly versatile because it's like having multiple single focal length lenses in one package so you know if you wanted to buy six lenses it's going to be a lot bigger than this one lens and there's less lens changing which means it's faster easier to get the shot less dust in your camera less chance of dropping the lens and so far so these air very versatile tools the prime lenses technically are better. They're sharper there faster, which means they let in more light, and they're often smaller in size. If you want to fifty millimeter lens, will this lens here twenty four to seventy, that that does fifty, but this is a much smaller fifty here, if that's all you really need. And so in general, in my mind, you kind of start off with zooms as you kind of figure out what you're doing in photography. And when you start having really targeted assignments, whether they're being handed to you or they're just this is what I want to do. Then you start going more with fixed lenses myself. I do a wide variety of photography, so I have a mixture of some zooms and some crimes. They different types of needs.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Nikon® Lenses Part 1
Nikon® Lenses Part 2
Nikon® Lenses Part 3
Nikon® Lenses Part 4
Field of View
Nikon® Lenses Part 5
Nikon® Lenses Part 6
Nikon® Lenses Part 7
Nikon® Lenses Part 8
Nikon® Lens Data

Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding class! This is a must own. You will refer back to this class many times during your photog career. John has put a ton of work into this class and it shows. Being able to download the slides and other Nikon glass info is wonderful. Even if you're not a Nikon shooter you will still gleam tons of information from this class, John covers in great detail the strength and weaknesses of each lens and when you might consider using it. I was expecting a good class, but this turned into an epic class. I watched multiple videos several times. The only bad thing I can say is I "had" to order a few more lenses! Thank you John Greengo for making a truly amazing class.

Anna Fennell

Wow! What a course! Very in depth, lots of valuable information. John instructs with great knowledge and integrity. I have taken other online courses, NOT from Creative Live (my bad!) and was left feeling like a monkey who had learned tricks without understanding or knowledge. Now I feel I have the confidence to move forward on my photographic journey securely knowing how lenses function, what to look for and what price range I can expect. Bravo John! I'd love to see a 2020 update video as an addendum.

Fusako Hara

Finally I have some sense of what lens do, know what I have, what I would like to have, what lens to use, and how I can get images that I see. Best part of this session is it was made so clear, simple, logical, and practical. I am glad that I purchased this product. Now, I am going to look for more from John Greengo so I can take better understanding and take better images. Thank You.

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