Camera Lens Essential I

Passion Project Day 5

Camera Lens Essential I

Lens is a critical part of photography. Without a good lens, you cannot take good photos. The first episode of my Camera Lens Essential series will give you a quick overview of what the basic specifications of a lens are and what a good quality lens means. 

Focal Length

70-200mm represents the focal length. Focal length is the distance between the lens and the image sensor. The larger the focal length is, the bigger the zoom is.


Here are the three categories of focal length.

Wide-angle lens: 0mm – 24mm

Standard zoom lens: 24mm – 70mm

Telephoto lens: 70mm – 800mm


f/2.8G represents the maximum aperture of the lens. Aperture means the how wide the opening of a lens’s diaphragm through which light passes is. (The aperture number usually starts with the letter “f”) The smaller the number is, the larger the aperture is. (“G” is a special classification for Nikon lens. We will discuss it in later Chapter.)


Two types of lens

Zoom lens features a range of focal lengths.

Prime lens features a fixed focal length with a much larger aperture than a zoom lens.

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G
Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.8G

Here comes to the question, what does a professional lens mean?

© Boris Smokrovic

Focal length:

Professional zoom lens usually specializes focal length in either wide-angle, standard zoom or telephoto range.

For example, Nikon AF-S 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G is not a professional lens because its focal length crosses from wide-angle to telephoto. However, certain professional wide-angle zoom lens does feature focal length from wide to standard range, but only to a moderate extent, like the Sony G Master 16-35mm f/2.8G.

Sony G Master 16-35mm f/2.8G


Professional zoom lens features a fixed aperture which means there is only one maximum aperture across the focal length.


Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G

For Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G, the maximum aperture from 70mm to 200mm is all 2.8.


Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G


For Nikon AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G, the maximum aperture at 18mm is 3.5, while the maximum aperture at 200mm is 5.6.

Keep in mind that

f/2.8 is the standard aperture for professional zoom lenses.

f/1.4 is the standard aperture for professional prime lenses.

Hebrew Trinity

Hebrew Trinity is a representation of the three professional zoom lens. Almost every camera company produces Hebrew Trinity lens.


Nikon Hebrew Trinity

(From Left to Right)

Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G: $1896 (Amazon)

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G VR: $2396 (Amazon)

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G VRII: $2249 (Amazon)

As we can see, all the Hebrew Trinity lens follows the rules of professional lenses, which are specialized focal lengths and fixed large 2.8 apertures.

For photographers who have a lower budget, there is also a “mini” version of Hebrew Trinity.

“Mini” Hebrew Trinity

(From Left to Right)

Nikon AF-S 16-35mm f/4G: $1096 (Amazon)

Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G: $1096 (Amazon)

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/4G: $1396 (Amazon)

Because they are the “mini” version of Hebrew Trinity, the featured largest fixed apertures are 4 rather 2.8 and their prices are much cheaper.

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