Advice from the experts please? Diff. in pictures from two 55mm lenses

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by DScience, May 16, 2009.

  1. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    EDIT: Well, the noob that I became slightly less noobish. I just now realized you can simply look at 'minimum focal distance' on the lens specs to find this out. WOW, waste of money on my 55-200 since I used it less than 4 times. Anyone want a brand new lens for cheap?? LOL


    I am perplexed about this. I have two lenses, an 18-55mm and a 55-200 mm. Now I have been almost only shooting with my 18-55 mm lens, but I have been thinking about upgrading to a 50mm f1.4, so I decided that I would start shooting with my 55-200 lens, and keep it at 55 to see if I like this focal length. Something weird happened.

    What I thought, was that taking pics with my 18-55 at a focal length of 55mm would be the exact same as taking pics with my 55-200mm at focal length 55. Not so I found, but I have NO IDEA why this is. What I found was the 55-200mm lens was unable to focus at close distances to the subject, whereas the 18-55 lens at the same FL was able to focus extremely close.

    Here are two pics. The first is taken with my 18-55 lens at FL 55mm. Notice how close I was able to get with this lens:

    [​IMG]

    Now here is the second pic, taken with the 55-200mm lens at FL 55mm. This was the CLOSEST i could get to the subject and focus.

    [​IMG]


    This totally through me way off. I thought that the same FL would have the same focus abilities. Now I am scared to get the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 lens, because I like to take my shots close to the subject.

    Can someone comment on why this is happening and try to explain it? Also, how would the Nikkor 50mm f1.4 (AF-S) compare to these shots?
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2009
  2. Sherman Banks

    Sherman Banks TPF Noob!

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    My 50mm 1.8 will allow me a minimum focus distance of about 14-16 inches where my 18-105mm is probably closer to 12 inches at 50mm. The 55-200 is about 3ft at 55mm but this is also a short telephoto not meant to have close focus distance but rather reach to extend and makeup for the focus distance in focal length. So I doubt you will find any trouble with a 50mm 1.4 being able to focus closely.

    You may even want to look into the 35mm 1.8 which would AF on your body and the focus distance is probably similar to the 50 primes.
     
  3. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks Sherman...Well I have the 35mm on order, so I'll definitely get that. But I'm still confused:

    With my 18-55 I was able to get within inches (EDIT: i rechecked and it's about 3-4 inches) from the coffee mug. So you think with a 50mm f1.4 AF-S, the minimum focal distance would be about 12 inches?? If this is the case, what lens selection would give me the same results as my 18-55. I just love how I can get within inches and still have AF.
     
  4. ANDS!

    ANDS! No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    55-200MM:
    Minimum Focus Distance3.5' (1 m)
    18-55MM:
    Minimum Focus Distance11" (0.28 m)
    50MM:
    Minimum Focus Distance1.8'
     
  5. Samanax

    Samanax TPF Noob!

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    If you enjoy shooting up close you might want to consider macro/micro lenses.
     
  6. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That is most definitely what I am considering now. I've been doing some research, but do you have any recommendations for sub $600 lens?
     
  7. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    before I recomend a macro lens - first question - do you like bugs? butterflies, flies, grasshoppers, hoverflies etc....

    if you do then that will affect what sort of macro lens you should idealy look at first
     
  8. DScience

    DScience No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes I like bugs, but that would not be my primary choice of subjects. I would most definitely like to explore shooting bugs, flowers, plants, but also other random strange objects, like rusted screws and bolts, extreme textures...etc.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well if you have any bug interest then you want to be looking at macro lenses at least 90mm long or longer if possible.
    The possible contendors in your rough price range are:

    Tamron 90mm macro
    Sigma 105mm macro

    The Nikon 105mm VR, sigma 150mm and 180mm are all above your price range, though you might be able to go for a Sigma 150mm possibly. If your camera is one where the lens needs to have the focus motor in the body to focus I think only these latter 3 (more expensive) macro lenses have it and the others are normal AF lenses (no HSM focusing).

    They are pretty much all solid macro lens choices- the Nikon standing out as it has VR but its also one of the most expensive. The higher grade sigmas are also better for features than the lower grade ones, but sharpness wise they are all pretty much equal in that area.
    If you want to risk shorter there is the Nikon 60mm macro and the Sigma 70mm macro but for insect work they are not as good since your working distance is very small with those lenses - not that with all these lenses their magnification is the same (1:1 macro) and to get more magnification you have to look to teleconverters, extension tubes and macro diopters/filters/lens attachments.
     
  10. sburatorul

    sburatorul TPF Noob!

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    if you are going to macro photography i think auto focus is not such a important thing. i found that i get the best results setting the lens at its closest focus and then just move closer or further until i get it right.

    you could use the telephoto you have for macro but you need a macro ring that increases the distance between the lens and the sensor but you wont get 1:1 magnification. works for me though. i also use the 50mm inverted handheld for macro.
     
  11. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    oops I forgot that part!
    Yes most macro work is done with manual focusing not auto focus = its accuracy drops as you get closer and its also harder to compose with - far easier to compose with manual focusing. Note then that AF concerns are only really for when you use the lens in a more normal setting - ie when not using it for macro work.
     

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