Wrong assumptions beginners make about lenses – are you guilty of spreading these myths?

Nov 26, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Wrong assumptions beginners make about lenses – are you guilty of spreading these myths?

Nov 26, 2021

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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When you’re new to photography, there’s a lot of new jargon to learn and some of it can be confusing. There are also technical aspects that feel like if you don’t have a degree in advanced physics, you’ll never understand them. And there are people who think they understand them, explain them badly and either create or perpetuate myths that make terminology and techniques even more confusing.

In this video, photographer Robin Wong goes through five of the most common myths and incorrect assumptions new photographers make (and that even some more experienced users don’t really understand, yet try to explain to others) about lenses.

Robin covers a number of topics in the video, and while some of them touch on myths that surround Micro Four Thirds – not surprising, given that he’s an Olympus Visionary – they mostly apply to anybody, regardless of what camera or format you shoot.

  • Telephoto means macro – Being able to zoom in isn’t the same as being able to get really close
  • Thinking you need a macro lens for food photography – You don’t
  • You can only shoot landscapes with a wide-angle lens – Nonsense
  • Micro Four Thirds produces poor bokeh – Just listen to what Richard says
  • Shallow depth of field isn’t possible with Micro Four Thirds – Also nonsense

That last one is something I’ve heard a lot about APS-C sensors, too, and it’s complete nonsense. If you’ve got a lens with a wide enough aperture and your field of view and focus distance are suitable, you can get a plenty shallow depth of field. My only issue with shallow depth of field is people thinking that they absolutely have to have it for every single photo – like there’s no other way to separate your subject from the background.

Which common myth or bad assumption annoys you the most?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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