Fast Lenses – What Are They? A Short Guide Through The Lens World


Don’t ever let anyone tell you the equipment you use on an assignment are for newbies!  You can achieve the same kind of quality image with out having to wreck your wallet. What kind of Lens could accomplish such a feat? Why, sub-full-frame lenses will do most exquisitely. Here you will find some very good and uniquely fit choices.

So the quality in professional photography varies from person to person, that’s perfectly understandable. But you don’t need to be spending all of this money just because you THINK you’ll capture the best image of a flock of birds better then the competition, you can have the best quality camera and still lack a certain charm relevant to all completed photographs. The key to any good image capture would be your speed. Are you fast? Are you quick to the punch? It’s not so much about getting the shot right as it is about getting the shot while it’s still in view and not running away from you (Depending on what it is). When it comes down to the game though you’ll spend the least amount of money as you can so when the best pro tools are available for sub frame costs, it would definitely be in your best interest to take a look.

“With EF-S lenses, the typical image circle when the lens is focused at infinity is approximately 27.3mm in diameter, whereas with the EF lenses, the typical image circle at infinity is approximately 43.3mm in diameter.” Explains Chuck Westfall, Director of Customer and Media relationship, of course these choices seem more so limited and less articulate then others.

Short Guide Through The Lens World

Short Guide Through The Lens World

So then you might ask “What’s out there?” There are quite a few prestigious choices that some may overlook, the D-SLR, though a full frame machine has a sub-full frame sensor smaller than the average camera. This baby is priced MUCH lower then the super expensive EOS-1D Mark III and the Hasselblad H3DII. Whilst making use of a sub-full-frame sensor you can get your post work done in a more timely fashion at half the cost of conventional means, all because of a smaller image sensor.

Short Guide Through The Lens World

Short Guide Through The Lens World

Of course no good thing comes perfectly, as with many different tools each sensor varies from camera to camera. It would be impossible for the same size sensor to be used for EVERY professional camera out there, depending on the complexities of the camera’s system would determine how the sensor is built into it. Such examples would be the APS-H standing ready at 29.7x19mm and its competitor APS-C at 22.2x14.8mm. The Four Thirds System goes to about 17.3x13mm, while Nikon's APS-C-sized sensor size is 23.6x15.7mm, the Sigma reached a whopping 20.7x13.8mm and Sony uses a 28.0×22.3mm APS-C. Let’s just say at this point that there are many, many more to choose from as each size will bring about a different array of quality to your finished work.

You really shouldn’t worry too much about what size you’re looking for though as there is a vast network of choice available at your disposal. The idea is to find what works for YOU and YOU alone as each one will fit your standards in a similar fashion. The only thing that differentiates would be the creation of these said lenses using a variety of material goods and chemicals best kept out of your hands at ALL TIMES. Some of these lenses include fixed-focal lengths, wide-angles and finally the telephoto, all of which carry a unique design underneath. Think of these lenses as if they were snowflakes some of them look the same, some of them feel the same but each one has its own unique prowess that can only be found in specific types of lenses none of them look as though you’ve seen them before.

Back in the old days of earlier photography the inner design didn’t have much to be desired for but it got the job done. But after the digital Revolution EVERYTHING changed, not only could we develop pictures on our computers but we could also take them to stores to be developed instead of having to work on it all by yourself in a dark room. The shots we capture are instant with a digital camera thus the inner design of a lens has gotten more and more complex in terms of its design signatures, these aren’t your grandpa’s camcorders anymore. But the one similarity between today’s world of photography and yesteryear is that the ending clause is exactly the same: a crisp, clear and concise image meeting any and all of your standard specifications.

If you are a photographer moving from place to place but you get bogged down by all the extra crap you’re carrying with you then it is probably time to make a change in order to suit your essential needs while on the road. A less hardy lens for any APS-sized camera you have could be any form of a Fast-aperture lens; it reduces the light performance all around and will increase the speed of your capture exceptionally well. This is not the only alternative to have with you while you’re on the move though there are many more to choose from during your journey however long it may last.

“In creating a lens exclusively for Nikon's DX sub-full-frame digital SLR cameras, decreasing the size of a lens to two-thirds of what's necessary for the full-frame FX format (or 24x36mm) would seem simple, but it's not. Many obstacles have to be overcome. Otherwise, it would only make the size of a conventional lens smaller, but not improve aspects of lens performance, such as sharpness or vignetting.” says Lindsay Silverman, Senior Technical Manager at Nikon.

Short Guide Through The Lens World

Short Guide Through The Lens World

You can choose to place a professional grade lens on full frame sensors and it would definitely magnify the image but at the same time it is dangerous because the quality of the image will potentially dip exponentially and you’ll have to start over again from square one. Why? You might ask. Pro and full frame do not mix because the designs for them are meant for older versions of it ranging 35 mm full-frame sizes. The same can be said for sub-full frames as well, you can’t go placing subs on fulls and expect the payoff to be efficient as where the image would end up being smaller and less detail oriented if done in this way.

APS-sized products, as created by Sigma, generally make use of various elements to quicken its lenses. The materials are all grass elements use to create the HSM AKA the Hyper Sonic Motor. The Hyper Sonic Motor can be used to focus your shot automatically; it also allows you to keep a wide aperture whilst still maintaining a clear-cut focus. Keeping the speed and quality of the images you’re snapping in their highest regard is also a MUST for all lenses made for the sub-full fame D-SLRs available. “The HyperSonic Motor and internal focusing allow a faster autofocusing. Because the optics don't have to cover a full 35mm format, the lens itself can be somewhat more compact and lightweight.” Says Tom Sobey, an employee of Sigma.

Short Guide Through The Lens World

Short Guide Through The Lens World

APS sensors, in their construction, are fit to work for a smaller image circle because the sensor area doesn’t need to be the same. The resulting pressures can be smaller in their size. Theoretically there are no relations between the image circle and the wide-aperture/constant aperture design. But in reality smaller image circles would be most suited for larger apertures to determine its overall size and scope.

 When manufacturing lenses creators need to pay attention to more details than the sensor size. If not, then the only offer would be of specific marketing bran rather it be full frame or sub-full-frame, never both. These designs are usually fitted to specific E-System Zuiko Digital lines and lenses done only for THEIR sensors.

Other kinds of lens designs can be used for more than specifically optics. A direct link between the lens and the camera’s main focus are exceedingly more vital just as others are. As with Microsoft and Apple’s continued release and re-release of new hardware and content meant to improve a PC or Mac’s performance the same can be said for cameras which these days are essentially computers themselves keeping it up to date by use of firmware. These updates will help keep your lenses and streamlines in focus and fix any problems that persisted beforehand. Back in the old says you would just have to update by purchasing new equipment, not so much anymore.

Speed and velocity of an interchangeable-lens system can only do so much if it does not match or outmatch that of the auto focusing. By playing new tele-zoom lenses this allows them to center at a variety of focal lengths by changing supersonic or oscillating movements. It’s a pretty big deal.

Every photographer out there should invest in a fast lens that works exceptionally well for an APS-sized camera. Not only does it, as stated above, move fast but it also opens the door to more low-light snaps. Well, how can you tell what’s fast and what’s not? Practice with these optical elements and comparing them against each other would determine how well or NOT well the performance will be. You’ll be paying a lot more money just to maintain  one aperture than one with a rating since a constant aperture in a zoom lens is always in need of refocusing before you reach the desired effect and more times then not you’ll end up missing the mark.

These optics are made up of multiple grass elements varying designs, all of which reposition the light from the optimum angle to the sensor port. Steady apertures will need an abundance of these grass element materials to maintain, create and alter. Image stabilization and coated low-dispersion can vary depending on the lens but all of these materials are the deciding factor of the speed and weight of a digital lens capture. The speed of any lens all depends on the size of it’s back opening and it’s aperture the same can be said for the focal length as this is necessary to affirm how an image is set to come out. How big will it be? What kind of angle is the image on? Etcetera, etcetera.

“Until it hits the sensor, the light behaves the same with digital as it would have been with film,” clarifying Michael Burnham from Tokina. “The light and the colors of the spectrum all have to be focused at the same point on the CCD sensor. The one thing that's different with digital, and with digitally made lenses, especially on the wide-angle side, is that you're trying to get the light rays to strike the sensor to as close to a 90-degree angle as possible. Basically a CCD or CMOS sensor is made up of little pixel sensors, and each of those sensors sits in a little site and has a little cupped lens over it. Any light striking it at too strong an angle is either going to bleed over into another pixel, or it could be possibly out of focus, depending on how the lens is made. Critical aperture for any lens is going to be between two and three stops down from wide open,”

He would go on to explain that what settings your camera would be for in determining how a lens would come out, ƒ/4- ƒ/16. But the biggest distinction down the road would be that of ƒ/4 and ƒ/2.8. The optics of these choices has to be larger so it costs a lot more to produce. They try to avoid using this because they want people to purchase these lenses while still making a profit so they just fine tune a certain price point they need to maintain so they avoid going that extra mile as it would be exceedingly costly on their part.

Critical in their development is an aspherical lens design. A modernized idea these optics give the lens the ability to move ray of light to the same focal point no matter what direction you are coming from, this reduces a lot of stress on the manufacturer’s part as they do not need to use as many elements in order to build the lenses properly.

“Aspherical lenses virtually eliminate the problem of coma and other types of lens aberration, even when used at the widest aperture,” says Silverman, another expert in the field. “They are particularly useful in correcting the distortion in wide-angle lenses. In addition, use of aspherical lenses contributes to a lighter and smaller lens design.”

Every company making these lenses are sure to use all special coatings and low-dispersion glass elements to avoid ghosting and other potential flaws in the make. They can also keep the bulk and weight down when put up against other lenses of a more simple time but at the same time those other lenses are also full-frame sensors so it’s already hard to change them as it is. No one knows what these elements are made of but whatever it is let us hope it’s not too dangerous.

“All of our current lenses, including the DA* zoom lenses, are specifically designed for APS-C-sized digital sensors,” Carlson says. “This affects the overall size of the lens and how the lens elements are arranged so that the image circle is appropriate for those sensors. Additionally, there are significant differences between the flatness of digital sensors and film. Film was not perfectly flat, so compromises could be made to lens design. Because digital sensors are perfectly flat, the lenses for digital cameras require a higher level of precision so that spherical aberrations are minimized.”