Camera Choice?

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by RedDevilUK, Apr 4, 2007.

  1. RedDevilUK

    RedDevilUK TPF Noob!

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    First off, hello people :) this is my first post... just joined up

    I am looking at Buying a decent camera and wondered what you guys would recommend? i have been reading up on the Nikon D80 i was thinking of purchasing that, but i have a few questions.

    firstly is it a good camera, and can it be used for taking instant pictures, ie holiday snaps etc... aswell as the more professional type.

    you see i want to buy a camera that allows me to take good anytime snaps... some of which i may want to blow up in size, but i also want a camera that i can use as a photography hobby too.

    and could someone explain what all the jargon surrounding lens are??
    example: 18-135mm Lens ??? what exactly does the 18-135 represent?? sorry if this seems like a dumb question.

    cheers ;)
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Yes

    Yes

    That is the range of focal lengths for that lens. It's a zoom lens, so it can zoom from 18mm to 135mm. A shorter focal length is a wider view and a longer focal length is more a narrower view (more magnification).

    Also, you should know about the maximum aperture...which is also in the name of the lens...f/3.5-5.6. When looking at lenses, a larger maximum aperture is a desirable trait. The Larger the aperture, the smaller the F number. Also, many zoom lenses have a range of maximum aperture which corresponds to the zoom of the lens. This lens, for example, has a maximum aperture of F3.5 at 18mm and a maximum aperture of F5.6 at 135mm.

    As an example, a better lens would have a maximum aperture of F2.8 across the whole zoom range...but those are much more expensive.
     
  3. RedDevilUK

    RedDevilUK TPF Noob!

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    Thanks mike :)

    so it looks like i know what camera i want now... one less thing to worry about....

    i will just worry about the wife now.... told her im only going to spend about £150 hehehe :lol:

    and when she gets over the shock of that... i will go and buy a big lens lol

    so if i get this right a lens that is advertised as

    Nikon AF-S VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED Lens

    is like a optical 4.5x to 5.6x zoom ?
     
  4. gmarquez

    gmarquez TPF Noob!

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    I think so (it's what I currently shoot with).

    Yes. HOWEVER, I'd encourage any new user (especially if they are coming from the world of point-and-shoots) to do the following for "snapshots " (holiday pictures, etc.):

    Put your camera in "P" (program exposure) mode. ("P" mode will take care of exposure and camera settings for you, and you can control the onboard flash by popping it up or putting it back down). Then, using the menus, make sure your file type is set to "JPEG", and set "optimize image" to "VI" (vivid). This will pump up the in-camera sharpening and color saturation, resulting in better "snapshot" pictures, and looking "punchy" without having to go to photoshop.

    When you have more experience with the camera, you can set "optimize image" to "custom", and set things up the way you want...or shot in RAW (NEF) and set things up when you bring the shots into the computer.

    I've printed up to 30"x20", and the prints look awesome!
     
  5. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    No.

    the fnumbers equate to the size of the aperture. The "zoom" part is in the focal length info - 70-300 which is roughly a 4.285x zoom 300/70. Just think though that 70mm is a pretty long lens to start with. the compact you may have used will have an effective focal range around 35mm-105mm. (i won't confuse you just now with crop factors). For normal shooting you should be looking at something in the the 17-135mm range. A 17-50, a 24-70, a 24-105 etc any of these lenses will be in the standard walk around range.

    Smaller f numbers are better. this relates to how much light the lens lets in and controls the depth of field (how much of the image is in focaus) and the shutter speed. Smaller f numbers like f2.8 let in a fair amount of light. f5.6 is a quarter the amount of light of f2.8 so you only get 1/4 the shutter speeds compared to an f2.8 lens.

    Prime lenses o not "zoom" they have a fixed focal length. Normally the aperures are also larger (and are therefore considered faster lenses). look at the 50mm f1.8. A very cheap lens and great quality. Also compared to the lens you mentioned it's got around a 3 stop advantage (8 times the light so 8 times the shutter speed when used wide open (that is at f1.8) - roughly!

    Read on the web about exposure or better buy Bryan Petersen's book "Understanding Exposure". This will help you choose the correct lens for your needs.
     
  6. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    I know it's been answered but Im gonna answer it again.

    lol

    The first set of numbers is Xmm - Xmm, or just Xmm in the case of fixed or 'prime' lenses. 70mm - 300mm is about 4.2 times zoom, but you're STARTING at 70mm, which is a considerable choice as well.

    It's important to note that USUALLY the wider the difference between the two numbers, the lesser the optical quality. Generally (this is no always the case) youd be better off buying an 18-55mm lens and a 55-200mm than just a 18-200mm.

    Prime lenses are usually cheaper, since they are at fixed focal lengths, and usually "faster" which it what I will explain next.

    the second set of numbers are you're f stops, and they determine your maximum aperature, as mentioned above read up on aperture. Above they recommended a book, but there are other books, and even a good tutorial on wikipedia. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aperture#In_photography ) READ it, it's like a crash course. You'll want to read more about it, as this scratches the surface, but gives you an idea.

    It boils down to this: Buy the FASTEST lens you can, because it's going to be more useful at lower light levels, assuming you're using it for regular shooting, friends and family, inside dwellings which usually have poor lighting.

    A good starter lens (I am taking this advice myself, but its on backorder at Adorama) is a 50mm 1.8 lens. The 1.8 is VERY fast, I believe the only fastest Nikon lens is the 50mm 1.4, and 50mm is a good FIXED length, and you can use your feet as the "zoom".

    Eventually you'll want something wider, which is a lower number on the FIRST set of numbers, like an 18mm.

    So, in review:

    first set of numbers = zoom

    second = aperture = speed

    I think I got all that right.
     
  7. RedDevilUK

    RedDevilUK TPF Noob!

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    so, it looks like i need 2 lenses then... when im talkinmg about lenses by the way.... im talking about me taking pictures as a hobby, not holiday snaps.
    as far as i understand the camera alone is good enough for quick snaps, but if its a picture being blown up or something i want at good quality for editing etc, then i will use lenses

    the reason i say i need 2 lenses is because i will want one for close up work and one with a decent zoom (although i suppose this is obvious and most people have more than one)

    for instance, if im taking pictures of a rare bird in a distant tree top, i will need a good zoom that doesnt look pixelated when im editing/printing
     
  8. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    Right, since you've chosen Nikon (as have I, camera will be here tomorrow) you can also look into VR lenses.

    VR = Vibration Reduction. This refers to some internal motors that allows the lens to work a little faster, reducing the need for a tripod. It helps against camera shake, but doesn't help focusing a fast moving object.

    Two lenses, or more, is a great idea.
     
  9. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Um, no the camera alone won't be good for very much. :) You will need a lens attached; even if you use a standard "kit" lens that comes with the camera, you're still using a lens.

    No lens should create a pixelated look... you're probably used to using compact cameras with 'digital zoom'; "digital zoom" simply crops and therefore when the image is enlarged the pixels are enlarged hence the 'pixelation'. This isn't an issue with normal optical zoom which is what you will have with any zoom lens on a dSLR.
     
  10. EOS_JD

    EOS_JD TPF Noob!

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    When zooming even with 300mm you might find a small bird in a treetop too small and you'll have to crop your image to make it bigger in the frame (effectively digital zooming).

    Long lenses can be expensive. Start with one lens - say the Sigma 17-70 which is a decent range and pretty fast and then add to your collection over time. Buy the best you can afford at the time and you'll save money long term.
     
  11. xfloggingkylex

    xfloggingkylex TPF Noob!

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  12. RedDevilUK

    RedDevilUK TPF Noob!

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    right im off to the shops today :) going getting the Nikon D80 and 1 good starting lens, i will buy another lens in a few weeks

    i will play with the camera and go and shoot some pictures, and see what i can acheive... also see what changes the setting make to the same picture etc

    You never know, if i get some good results i will post them here :)

    hopefully i will be well aquainted with the camera by June 20th, thats when i go on my holiday to Cuba... Diving, walking and going out on boat trips amongst other things, should give me plenty of photo opportunities :)


    *** Update *** (edit)
    OK been and bought the Camera now, bought it with the 18-70 lens... will do for starters

    got it home, unpacked it all excited and tried to take a picture??? nothing.... no bloody memory card!!!!

    so had to go back out to buy a 4gig SD card... Grrrrr

    RedDevilUK is now off playing :D
     

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