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A 50mm lens is considered to be a "normal" lens when used on 35mm camera bodies. "Normal" being that the field of view of a 50mm lens is very close to what we normally see with our own eyes.

A wide angle lens captures more due to its wider field of view. Less than the normal 50mm is considered wide angle. Technically any lens shorter than a normal 50mm lens is wide angle. Wide angle lenses are commonly used in landscape photography to capture more of the scenery. The lower/smaller the number of the focal length the wider the field of view for the lens. Some common examples are: 14mm, 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, etc. These are examples of "prime" or fixed focal length lenses (non variable, non zooming).

A telephoto lens has a lower field of view and brings distant objects closer. Technically any lens longer than a normal 50mm lens is telephoto. Telephoto lenses are commonly used in wildlife and sports photography. The greater/larger the number of the focal length the Some common examples are: 135mm lens, 200mm lens, 300mm lens, 400 mm lens, and 600mm lens. These are examples of "prime" or fixed focal length lenses (non variable, non zooming).

A zoom lens is variable in it's focal length. Zoom lenses cover a range of different focal lengths. The focal lengths can be just wide angle, wide through short telephoto, telephoto only, etc. A 17mm-35mm would be a zoom covering wide angle, a 24mm-120mm would be a zoom that covers wide angle to short telephoto, a 70-200 would cover short to medium telephoto, an 80-400 would cover short telephoto to long telephoto.

Courtesy of CurranDJ See Profile

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