I trialled three different lenses with photographing flowers in order to document the differences I experienced, and how this factor may affect the approach required to capture successful images of flowers.
Details of the settings for aperture, shutter speed, focal length, ISO and whether the flash fired can be seen in each photograph’s caption.
Nikon D5300 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 (Kit Lens)
Nikon D5300 with Nikkor 50mm f/8.0 (Prime Lens)
Nikon D5300 with Sigma 105mm f/2.8 (Macro Lens)
An obvious difference in the manner in which the images would be shot is due to the purposes of the three different lenses. This is how far away from the object you should be when photographing it. The kit lens is a very basic tool that has multiple purposes which it executes to a satisfactory standard but none of which that it completes to an exceptional level. This means that it is possible to be a fair distance from the flower and still gain an acceptable image in terms of sharpness and resolution. Also, the fact that this lens possesses a zoom feature helps with this. As can be seen in the three different images, it is possible to be various distances from the subject as I was fairly close in the first yet not very close in the third. With the prime lens it is necessary to be a certain, optimum distance from the flower when shooting. This lens is mostly intended for use in portraiture. In order to gain a crisp picture, when photographing a person, you’d want to roughly just be able to see their head and shoulders in the frame. So, when using this lens for other purposes, such as this, I tried to imagine that sort of sized framing in my head when judging the area between my camera and the flower. As for the macro lens, because its purpose is to create images of the subject which are very close up and detailed, it was required that I was very close to the flower when taking the picture.
Another distinct difference that I observed was in relation to the depth of field of each of the photographs and how to alter this. With the kit lens, as expected it was necessary to use a smaller aperture (higher f/stop) in order to gain a shallow depth of field. This can be seen on the first two images, however on the third a fairly wide depth of field can be seen despite having a narrow aperture. This is because of the vast amount of light available when I was shooting this and had I used a wider aperture, the image would be largely overexposed. When using the prime lens, it was more straight forward to get a shallower depth of field without having to adjust the aperture. As can be seen on this image a low f/stop was used (wider aperture) yet the focal point (being the daffodil) is very clear, with the surroundings out of focus. Prime lenses are very useful for bringing a subject to the eye’s attention and making the background seem less important which is why they make effective portraiture lenses. The macro lens is very focused on the detail of the central focal point and leaves the rest of the image to blur. Similarly to the prime lens, this happens independently of the aperture being adjusted.