Lenses....what's the difference??

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Ashlorraine, Jul 12, 2010.

  1. Ashlorraine

    Ashlorraine TPF Noob!

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    Hey everyone! A friend mentioned the other day that he wanted to get a 50mm f/1.8 lens. I know that he has the same camera & lens as me ( Nikon D60 w/ 18-55mm f3.5-5.6), so I am trying to understand the advantage of him making this purchase...

    Based on my current understanding.... f/1.8 would give him a larger aperture (smaller depth of focus) and faster shutter speed? Is that correct? But would it really be a huge difference from the kit lens we already have? Also he would be purchasing a lens fixed at 50mm...and we already have lens that cover this range.

    I am approaching my 1 yr anniversary of starting photography w/ my dslr (yay! :D) and so am considering getting my first new lens. Therefore I am really trying to explore & understand these differences...based on my interest in photographing wildlife (they always run away when you get close!) I am looking at telephoto...does anyone have any suggestions??

    If someone could help clarify these things for me I would really appreciate it! Thanks so much and thanks everyone else who has helped me grow in photography over the past year! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2010
  2. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    I'm newer to photography than you are well taking photography seriously anway but thats not the point...

    The point is from what I have read around on the forums it sounds like he would be purchasing the 50mm f/1.8 for indoor photos. The f/1.8 means that the opening to the scensor is more open so you can have the ISO be lower so you don't have much noise in your photos and makes it easier to take good pictures in low lighting. I honestly am not sure why he would get a fixed lens... I personally would go for a lens that goes you can adjust and having a f/2.8. Hopefully somebody else will be able to put some more imput on it also.
     
  3. Ashlorraine

    Ashlorraine TPF Noob!

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    That totally makes sense, I never thought of it that way. Thanks!
     
  4. MrBarney

    MrBarney TPF Noob!

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    Morpheus is right, the big apertures allow you to either keep the shutter speed up or the ISO lower in lower light conditions. 50mm is really nice on a crop sensor as it gives about 80mm which is generally flattering for portraits.

    The reasons you might go for a 50mm f1.8 prime lens over your example of an f2.8 zoom lens are; price - fast zoom lenses are expensive, weight - a fast zoom is usually heavy to carry around, and finally a fixed lens has to make fewer compromises in the design because it only has to work well at one length. They are therefore generally sharper with less distortion.

    Of course, you can get very good quality, fast zooms. You just have to be willing to pay for it.

    To compliment your kit lens and to give yourself some extra distance for wildlife you should probably consider either the Nikon 55-200MM F4.5-5.6 AF-S VR DX, or the Nikon AF-S VR 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED depending on your budget. I'm a Canon user, so I don't have any experience with either of these, but they get good reviews and either of them will give you a lot more reach. VR is worthwhile at the longer lengths.
     
  5. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    that is cool i never knew that about fixed lenses
     
  6. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

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    Really, your lens purchase depends on what you're trying to do better. If, for example, you want to shoot kid's sports or wildlife, go long. If you're looking to do indoor photos or portraiture, go with the fast prime.

    I like my 35 1.8 but it's usefulness to me is limited. But then again, I like wildlife, and a 35mm isn't that helpful for getting up close.
     
  7. flea77

    flea77 TPF Noob!

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    MrBarney is correct, prime lenses (ones with only one focal length) are sharper and have less distortion etc than zooms, they are even better than expensive zooms, as a general rule. Many really serious pros will use a prime even shooting portraits, sports and wildlife so they get the absolute best image possible.

    Allan
     
  8. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Primes are generally sharper as well. Stop it down from wide open and it's even sharper still. Your 18-55 is like a butter knife while the 50mm is like a chef's knife. It'll cut you holmes.
     
  9. o hey tyler

    o hey tyler Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Sharp like a Wüsthof, dawg.
     
  10. Morpheuss

    Morpheuss TPF Noob!

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    thanks for the analogy village it really put things into perspective
     
  11. Village Idiot

    Village Idiot No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Shun as sharper and a 50 f/1.8 isn't as sharp as a Shun.
     
  12. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Since neither your D60 or the AF 50mm f/1.8D ($130, new) have a focus motor in them you will be manually focusing the lens, which is exactly what I did when I had that lens mounted on a D60.
    For manual focus you could also consider the AF 50 mm f/1.4D ($370, new).

    To have auto focus when mounted on your D60, you would need to look at the AF-S 50 mm f/1.4G ($485, new).

    50mm lenses on your D60 give an equivelent field-of-view (FOV) as a 75 mm lens would on a 35 mm camera. (1.5x crop factor)

    An alternative to the 50 mm's would be the AF-S 35 mm f/1.8G ($200, new). The 35 mm gives an equivelent field-of-view (FOV) as a 52.5 mm lens on a 35 mm camera.
     

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