Digital Lenses

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by whardman, Jun 2, 2006.

  1. whardman

    whardman TPF Noob!

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    Is there a difference between digital lenses and standard (35mm) lenses quality wise? I know that digital lenses don't work on regular SLR's but was wondering if there is a quality difference.
     
  2. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    it depends on what you mean by 'quality'. Sometimes companies like canon make a special high grade set of lenses (in canon's case it's their 'L' series), which are very high quality in most every respect - from autofocus to build to optics. Some digital grade lenses have those aspects, but they rarely have all three simply because they can't be used on all professional cameras (like canon's 1d cams), and companies feel that consumers that own cropped cameras wouldn't spend the high amount of money on super nice lenses. if they would, they would likely have a pro camera also. There are some digital lenses that are very high quality, like the sigma 30mm 1.4, the canon 17-55 2.8 IS, and a few others. It's very relative, their isn't major split between the two. However, 'digital lenses' do have a reduced image circle, so they have worse vignetting wide open.
     
  3. whardman

    whardman TPF Noob!

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    I have a Sigma 100-300mm lens non-digital that yields slightly fuzzy photos at any range (even 100mm though it is most visible at 300mm). I was thinking about getting a 55-200mm nikkor lens and was wondering if the quality would be better. i.e. would I be able to get a sharper picture at 200mm with the nikkor than 200 or 300mm with the sigma.
     
  4. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

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    yeah that's completely relative. It all depends on each individual lens. look at reviews for each lens. i'd suggest www.photozone.de or www.fredmiranda.com for some great reviews
     
  5. bigfatbadger

    bigfatbadger TPF Noob!

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    Why do companies make digital only lenses? I've never quite understood it? Why make a lens that only works with one type of camera, when a full frame lens would work with both?

    Is it cheaper?

    And why do they have an autofocus /manual focus switch on the body of the lens? There's one on my camera that works perfectly well!
     
  6. dsp921

    dsp921 TPF Noob!

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    The 55-200 is a plastic lens with a plastic mount, I guess for $250 it's OK, but I'd go for something better. If that's all my budget would allow I'd probably get the 70-300mm ED for about the same money. I don't know anything about the Sigma or it's image quality so I can't say if the Nikkor would be better. I can tell you zooms in this price range are going to be slow, have a good amount of distortion and get pretty soft at the long end. If sharpness is what you want, get a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR.
     
  7. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    As far as I know, yes. It's probably because you can make the lens to have a reduced image circle.

    From what I know, the lenses with the cheaper motors don't like to have the motors turned by hand when engaged (even if it's turned off on the body). Manually focusing one of them while the switch is on AF can eventually ruin them. In the case of Canon, I think it's the ring unltrasonic motor lenses that can be focused by hand while still in AF. The 50mm/1.8 is an example of a non-ring motor, so it has to have the switch thrown. The 50mm/1.4 is an non-ring unltrasonic motor, but they put a clutch in so that you don't need to use the switch.
     
  8. dsp921

    dsp921 TPF Noob!

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    The one on the body switches the camera's focus motor, if the lens has a motor as well it also has a switch.
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    As far as I know, a system will have the motor in either the lenses or the body. In the case of the Canon EOS system, and I think modern Nikon, the motors are in the lenses. The body only tells the lens what to do.
     
  10. whardman

    whardman TPF Noob!

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    My biggest issue is price. My price range is quite small, $250 or less, especially as I am more of a hobby photographer. I have the Nikkor 18-55mm identical lens that yields sharp photos. The other reason that I was thinking of going with this lens is that it is 52mm the same as my other lens. That way I would only need one set of filters.

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=50626#post502651
    This should give you a decent assessment of the quality of the lens that I have. Would this lens be sharper? Does anyone have the 55-200mm or 70-300mm and would be willing to post an example at the maximum focal length for comparison?

    Thanks
     
  11. dsp921

    dsp921 TPF Noob!

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    Nikon has a focus motor in camera. The AF-S Nikkor lenses have their own motor (with a clutch so you can make manual adjustments by just turning the focus ring). Non-AF-S lenses are focused by the camera's screw drive motor. Unless I completely misunderstand the system anyway....
    That would explain the two switches, if it's an AF lens the body's switch disables the in camera motor and the lens switch disables it's motor. I could be wrong, though.
     
  12. dsp921

    dsp921 TPF Noob!

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    I remember that thread...Unfortunately I have no images from the 70-300mm to post, but both my sister and sister-in-law have the G version of the lens and the pictures look better than that. I can't base that statement on any tests I've seen, just my opinion from images I've seen.
     

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