Lens frustration

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by fragged3d, Mar 3, 2007.

  1. fragged3d

    fragged3d TPF Noob!

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    So I got my Alpha yesterday and I have to say the stock lense blows! It might be me but I wouldn't think I would be that bad with focusing as an amature. I am on the lookout and doing my research to get a better lens!!

    The technology and the usefullness drew me into this hobby but I have found an intrest in one area "Urban shooting". I have researched some of the lenses various people use for this type of shooting and found that the most common is a 50mm f/1.8. I have searched all over and found that Sony or Minolta makes a 50mm f/1.4, is this better or as good? I don't know how to lookup lenses yet, I don't know what to type in the searches. I know it's A-mount but that never gets me anywhere! If I can find a really nice lense in that size it will be my first lens purchase. I am open to suggestions on what other lenses to research. Thanks in advanced!

    <R>
     
  2. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    well, i do not know about that particular lens in terms of quality. But in terms of aperture (and this is what the f/1.4 refer to) the f/1.4 is the better choice, since f/1.4 is a larger maximum aperture than f/1.8.

    This means you can have slightly more shallow depth of field and you can shoot slightly better in low light with the f/1.4.

    Also, usually an f/1.4 lens set at f/1.8 will give you better image quality than a f/1.8 lens set to its maximum aperture f/1.8 .
     
  3. fragged3d

    fragged3d TPF Noob!

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    My first shot was in MF, should I learn and buy MF lenses or learn and buy AF lenses?

    Thanks,
    <R>
     
  4. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    oh, that really depends ony our personal preference.

    MF will be cheaper.

    AF-capable lenses can often used in manual mode as well ...

    I only use MF if AF will not give the result I want.
     
  5. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    I'm a little confused here...

    Firstly, in what way does the standard lens 'blow'? Sorry if that sounds like a silly question, but what are you talking about - just sharpness, or something else? What was wrong with the focusing? What sort of apertures or shutter speeds were you shooting at? How many shots did you take? Edit: I see the photo you posted now. I know it's only a small web pic but I can't see anything fundamentally wrong with it that can be blamed on the lens. What problems are you having with it?

    Secondly, Sony/Minolta have a 50mm f/1.7 or 50mm f/1.4. The 1.7 is comparable in quality or price to the f/1.8s you see Canon and Nikon folks mention. The 50mm f/1.4 as with any other brand is significantly more expensive; it may not be noticeably better at say an aperture of f/4 but it will let you shoot in lower light conditions. To be honest I wouldn't buy either just based on the fact that lots of people have one; you really need to know what kind of focal lengths you want to use.

    Finally, I'm very confused by your point about the "first shot" being in MF. Does this mean you've only taken one shot from which to judge the lens? Also, do you mean you set the camera to manual focus? Because as far as I know there are no manual-focus-only lenses for the A-Mount; it was designed purely for autofocus lenses.

    Hopefully we can help once we get an idea of what you're looking for. You might want to check out Dyxum.com, which is dedicated to A-Mount digital SLRs and lenses.
     
  6. fragged3d

    fragged3d TPF Noob!

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    I am just starting and I will admit I don't know much and I am still in experimental stages. I read the owners manual last night and got a little better handle on things. It's really hard going from a point and shoot and not knowing any of the technical stuff to a full blown DSLR. The reservoir shot was at 200 ISO I believe but I couldn't tell you what the f-stop was, everything else was on auto. That shot was the cleanest I got and I shot a couple dozen with various settings. The lense doesn't go far enough and clear enough and as strange as it sounds, it isn't really clear close up either. Like I said though, at this stage it could be user error.


    I don't know the focal length I need or want. I was doing my research and found that most people that shoot urban use that lense. Could you point me in the right direction for better research material.

    MF= Manual Focus. Again I am having issues here and would be the reason I'm doing research and learning as much as possible.

    <R>
     
  7. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Are you using MF out of preference? If not why not simply switch it to AF?

    For an idea of the effect of using different focal lengths you could take a look here. Just click on the symbol that says "Digital" instead of "35mm", then try playing around with different lenses - that refers to Tamron lenses but a 50mm lens is a 50mm lens whatever the name on it.

    The reason a lot of people use a 50mm lens is partly because a 50mm prime (fixed-focal length) lens can be made with very good optical quality at fairly little expense, whereas good wide-angle or telephoto primes, or zooms, tend to be more expensive. Also these 50mm primes tend to be "fast" in that they have a large maximum aperture of say f/1.7 or f/1.4 (whereas a zoom may start at f/3.5). The upshot of this is that you can open up the aperture and then use faster shutter speeds for a given exposure with a given sensitivity (ISO), and since a slow shutter speed can result in blur from the motion of the camera and lens, so a "fast" lens is better for shooting without a tripod with less available light. Finally 50mm is a fairly useful focal length for various situations, so if you can find one for a good price it would probably be a good investment. Bear in mind that lenses keep their value much better than digital camera bodies so you generally won't lose much if you buy a good lens and decide to sell it on.
     
  8. fragged3d

    fragged3d TPF Noob!

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    I want to learn to shoot in MF so that I have better control over what I shoot. If I use the AF I feel like I'm not learning anything and I just bought a $700 point and shoot camera, know what I mean? Keep the good advice coming and I am going to keep practicing!

    <R>
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    that is something you control even with AF.well, AF does not mean the camera decides about what should be in focus. you decide where te focus should be, and then let the AF do the measuring.

    there is so much to learn about exposure, composition, use of DOF ...
    ... in particular exposure is very tricky.
     
  10. Don Simon

    Don Simon TPF Noob!

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    Ah ok, nothing wrong with shooting MF out of choice. I often do this too. But now that SLRs are designed mainly with auto-focus in mind they no longer have focusing screens of the size or brightness they used to with manual-focus SLRs, nor do they usually have things like split-screen or microprism collars used for precise manual focus confirmation, so especially when using a wide aperture I will usually use AF instead. Since you're using manual focus one thing I would definitely recommend reading up on is hyperfocal distance.
     
  11. Innocence

    Innocence TPF Noob!

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    i think when you want to learn things - using your camera in manual mode is ok (maybe try aperature priority), but i think learning to use manual focus probably isn't the best place to start nor will it give you much insight into photographic technicalities (depth of field etc.)
     
  12. fragged3d

    fragged3d TPF Noob!

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    After posting the last time I sat down and experimented with my camera and stock lense. I am unable to choose to set arpature unless I'm in that mode and then I can only take it down to 3.5. Are you telling me I can put it in AF and still have control over the settings? How do I zoom when in auto?

    Thanks,
    <R>
     

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