The Lens – A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer – #photography #bookreview

The Lens
NK Guy
(Rocky Nook, paperback)

NK Guy’s new book is billed as “A Practical Guide for the Creative Photographer.” It is that–and more. It also is a celebration of excellent photography made possible by great glass and having several interchangeable lenses available for your digital SLR or film SLR.

Forget about megapixels vs. more megapixels. “Nothing affects the technical quality of a photo more than the glass,” Guy writes.  

And: “Lenses are at the very heart of the image-forming process. They’re not a peripheral, and they’re not an accessory.”

He notes: “Many new photographers put a lot of effort into choosing the right camera, but leave the lens as an afterthought. Lots of people rarely venture beyond the standard kit lens that came in the box.”

The Lens is a noble effort to put lenses on the minds of new and experienced photographers alike. Well written and beautifully illustrated, the book offers not only the nuts and bolts and interior workings of lens but shows numerous top-quality photographs that visually capture the essence of the technical explanations. The pictures can make you want to pick up your camera and shoot something. And add another lens to your camera system.

The 310-page book has nine chapters:

  1. A Brief History of Optics
  2. Bending Light
  3. Lens Mechanisms
  4. Choosing the Right Lens for a Project
  5. Choosing a Lens by Focal Length
  6. Accessorize!
  7. Buying Lenses
  8. Advanced Topics
  9. Creative Options: Beyond the Standard Lens

There also are four appendices:

  • Appendix A: Lens Mount Systems
  • Appendix B: Manufacturer-Specific Lens Terms
  • Appendix C: Lens Mount Table
  • Appendix D: Chapter Opening Images

The book contains many useful tips, as well as information that can be surprising even to veteran photographers.

For example, Guy points out that “there are actually organisms that eat camera lenses….certain types of fungus can invade your prized possessions, gradually etching the glass with permanent tendril-like marks.” He describes how to protect against a fungus invasion and how to detect its damage in a lens, particularly a used lens you may be thinking of buying.

Si Dunn

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