Advantages of the normal lens

A lens of normal focal length has several advantages over a lens that is substantially longer or shorter.

1. A normal lens suits the requirements of most photographic situations. It is ideal for the subjects that interest the majority of photographers.

2. It is usually faster than lenses of other focal lengths, allowing for easier framing and focusing, higher shutter speeds to stop more action, and full exposures under dimmer lighting conditions.

3. It is generally sharper and better corrected than telephoto, wide angle and zoom lenses although the difference is usually quite small.

4. Even with its extra speed and clarity a normal lens is smaller and lighter than any telephoto or zoom lens and most wide angel lenses.

5. For complex optical reason, normal lenses are able to focus much closer than those of longer focal length. Although wide angle lenses often have this ability too, their enormous depth of field makes precise focusing more difficult than with normal lenses.

6. A seldom realized advantage is that the coverage of the average flash has been matched to the field of view of the normal lens. In the typical indoor situation in which flash is used, a telephoto lens is impractical, a wide angle lens takes in more than flash covers (resulting in light fall off in picture corners), but a normal lens is ideal.

7. A so called ever ready carrying case is designed to hold your camera with its normal lens in place. In almost every instance other lenses that may fit the camera will not fit in the case.

8. Besides all of the above advantages, normal lenses usually cost less than lenses with other focal lengths. This is not because they are less well made, but it is because they are made in large quantities.

Zoom lenses that cover both sides of normal range (35mm-70mm or even 28mm to 85mm) are becoming popular with some photographers as substitutes for a 50mm unifocal (fixed focal length) lens. These zooms certainly donít have all the benefits of a fixed normal lens, but they do have some. In addition, they have flexibility, allowing you to crop or expand the image in your viewfinder without moving the camera.

The one major drawback of a fixed normal lens is that, being a compromise, it cannot be the best focal length for every photographic situation. Some subjects simply demand longer or shorter lenses or lenses with special features. The mid range zooms help the focal length situation some, but even they donít go far enough in either direction to eliminate the occasional need for additional lenses.


More about Normal Lens Features

- Focal Length of Normal Lens
- Typical Use of Normal Lens
- Tips for using Normal Lens