Speciality Lenses

For the photographers who have graduated from the ‘point-and-shoot’ stage of photography, its time to explore other opportunities offered by advancement in optical technology. The idea here is to gain greater control and choices for your photographic sessions.

In matters lens, we would be talking of lenses with more spherical power than your usual prime lenses. It’s therefore the lens optical power and flexibility plus the associated lens features such as the focal length that determines whether a lens is specialty or not. You will therefore find some categories of zoom lenses such as ultra-wide angle and fisheye lenses being also classified as specialty lenses. In fact some specialty lenses are only available as prime lenses due to design or cost constraints.

Photographers prefer SLR and digital SLR cameras because of the ability to attach different lenses. Usually the lenses are attached to same camera to adjust the way the light enters the camera. Specialty lenses allow photographers to create different effects in their photographs as well as allowing special aspects such as the capturing more of the picture or moving in closer to the subject to catch greater detail than with a normal camera lens.

Benefits of specialty Lenses

Although many DSLR cameras have integrated features that can create similar effects to specialty lenses as well as numerous photo editing applications which allow the photographer to create similar effects, the process of doing so lowers the quality of the image. An image produced exactly the same way it was taken will always be superior in quality in the following ways;

Total control of the Image: Specialty lenses affect the way that the light enters the camera thus manipulating the image before it is captured by the camera. This gives photographers complete control over how the image will look rather than being limited by the camera’s features.

Use of camera features or photo editing applications limit the photographers because this is done after the image has been captured by the camera (remember the manipulation is often not even done by the photographer but an editor who was not at the shooting scene) are limited in the manipulations they can do.

Better Resolution: With specialty lenses you can capture images with better resolution. While most digital cameras with a fixed lens have a zoom option, they are not nearly as powerful as a lens that is designed specifically for that purpose. When a lens has an optical zoom, this means that the focal length of the lens itself is adjusted to zoom in and out. With most digital cameras, this is done with a digital zoom that manipulates the image itself. This results in a picture with a lower resolution.

When using a specialty lens to create the convex appearance of the image, the light is manipulated before the image is captured. This means that more detail can be captured. When the image is altered after it has already been taken, certain parts of the picture have to be stretched and enlarged which will result in a lower resolution image.

Tilt Shift Lenses

A tilt-shift lens is a lens whose optics can be tilted and/or shifted in relation to the image sensor. Tilt-shift lenses also rotate to allow the lens to tilt and/or shift in a wide range of directions. The tilt shift lens was originally designed to provide a deep, artificial depth of field for photographers. However, by reversing the effect, you’re able to adjust the depth of field to be extremely shallow, and selective within the frame.

Due to these characteristics, the lenses aim to reduce distortion and achieve straight and even lines for their images. As a result they’ve become popular with portrait and landscape photography as well as a darling of architectural photographers for decades.

Popular tilt shift lenses are the Canon 24mm TS-E, Canon 45mm T/S and Nikon 24mm PC-E.

Canon 24mm TSE


Nikon 24mm PC-E


Canon 45mm TS-E