In such an evolved era of social media and smart phones with state of the art cameras, it’s hard to pose the question: is it the camera, the conditions or the objects photographed? When it comes to breath-taking photos (those that make you stare at them with admiration), not many people know which part of the camera is the most important for reaching that “wow” effect. As I described in my post about important photography elements that will make a difference in the quality of your photos, this does not come down to only one piece of equipment – it’s a combo of elements. Here I’ll elaborate on one of them a little more. The lenses.

Some people claim that lenses wouldn’t do much of a difference in the quality of a photo, as opposed to the body of a camera. On the other hand, others claim that if lenses are soft, they won’t deliver the ‘pop’ effect in a photo regardless of the body of the camera. So, from here the obvious question is posed: how important are lenses really?

First and most important is to clarify what is the purpose of the lenses. They’re the part of the camera through which light passes before it reaches the sensors. Here, light bends as it falls on the glass surface of the lens in another angle rather than 90 degrees and changes direction. Focusing occurs due to the fact that the lens is able to precisely control this direction so that the light rays converge on the point precisely where the film is located in the camera (or in the case of digital cameras – where the CCD is).

Another interesting thing about camera lenses that people often mix, is that they’re not technically lenses. The photographic lenses are more accurately called an ‘objective’, or by definition, these are an optical system made of multiple lenses. However, the term is rarely used anymore, as many dictionaries have agreed that that particular part of the camera would be called ‘lens’. So, to explain it in the most accurate way possible, the photographic lens is made of multiple lenses which are basically pieces of optical glass, fit in a tube which is known as a ‘lens barrel’.

Now that we cleared out the terminology, lets see what lenses actually do. As said before, their primary function is to give focus to the rather dispersed light they gather from the object being photographed. Focus is probably the most important aspect of lenses as without good focus, the photos you’d take wouldn’t be sharp, nor will they have the definition we so praise upon. Meaning: blurred lines, poor illumination and basically, a pointless showing of colours. That’s where it’s important to remember to inspect thoroughly when you opt to buy camera lenses online or offline. If your lenses are soft, your photos will be of poor quality, without delivering the ‘pop’ effect you so want.

So in conclusion, while it’s good to own a high-quality camera body, without a good pair of quality lenses, you won’t exactly be able to praise on your photographic skills. Without making the efforts to buy camera lenses online or in stores, your expensive and ultra famous camera body will almost always fail you.