"New to SLR photo" questions...HELP!

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by dukeboy1977, May 1, 2009.

  1. dukeboy1977

    dukeboy1977 TPF Noob!

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    OK, so some of you are aware that I'm not new to photography but am new to SLR cameras...So these may be stupid questions to you but I'm not sure what they mean so I need to understand to enjoy it more. What do the numbers on the lenses mean exactly? On my Nikkor 55mm-200mm it says: AF-S DX zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED This is my mostly used lens and it does me well for now, but I want to buy a better lens someday soon and want to understand what I'm looking for. I'm also looking for a good wide-angle lens for my 52mm Nikon...Any suggestions? The basic and only one I could find on Ebay with macro is ok, but I don't feel it's enough... Also, my "night-shots" always come out badly. Either it tells me the subject is too dark and won't fire, or the flash makes it look bad. Do I have to take a daytime pic and darken it myself by editing it? I like the look of night shots way better than daytime shots and want to incorporate them into my photos. I'm sure I got alot more questions, I just don't want to push my luck and try asking them all right away. Thanks for any help you can give me, Jeff :mrgreen:
     
  2. bdavis

    bdavis TPF Noob!

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    Heres a quick break down:

    AF-S - This means the lens has a built in autofocus motor. The D40 doesnt have an autofocus motor so you need lenses that say AF-S if you want to autofocus.

    DX - This means that its a crop sensor lens. Meaning that if you upgrade to a full frame camera some day, this lens will work on it but instead of shooting 12 megapixels on a full frame, you would only be shooting around 6 megapixels because its ONLY meant for a crop sensor camera.

    The 55-200 is obvious...thats your zoom range. Can go as wide as 55mm and zooms all the way to 200mm.

    The f/4 - 5.6 is the aperture. Toward the 55mm end of your zoom range, the largest aperture you can go is f/4. When you get to 200 the largest you can go is f/5.6. The aperture measures how much light is let into the camera. The smaller the number, the more light that comes in. Thats why you'll see pro lenses with f/2.8...they let in much more light than your lens and thus can achieve faster shutter speeds in all situations. The pro lenses also can maintain their aperture throughout the zoom range. For example the 70-200 f/2.8...this lens can hit f/2.8 throughout its entire zoom range which is great...thats why its a pro lens and why it costs so much.

    If you want to do better shooting in the dark, you need to look for lenses that have a larger aperture. Prime lenses are great for this, like the 50mm f/1.8. This lens is very fast in dark situations.
     
  3. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    Some other abbreviations that might be found on your lenses.

    VR = Vibration Reduction
    SWM = Silent Wave Motor, the internal AF motor.
    ED = Extra low dispersion - refers to the type of glass in the lens. ED lenses are similar to Apochromatic lenses in that they are thinner..and more expensive. The idea being that you get less color fringing, and distortions.
     
  4. dukeboy1977

    dukeboy1977 TPF Noob!

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    THANK YOU Bdavison for the info! I knew a little bit of it, but the break-down was perfect! If there is anything I can help you out with sometime, let me know and I'll try my best. Your help is very much appreciated!
     
  5. bdavison

    bdavison TPF Noob!

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    Dont forget we are two different people....Bdavis and Bdavison.
    So some of the credit should go to Bdavis for his/her breakdown too.

    One thing also....
    The D40 will also AF with lenses labeled "AF-I" the older designation for and internal AF drive motor. Third party manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron, etc also have internal drive lenses that will AF on the D40 as well.
     
  6. dukeboy1977

    dukeboy1977 TPF Noob!

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    Yes, thank you! I just looked really quick so I didn't notice that there was a difference in the name cuz the first letters are the same. Sorry about that, but thank you for pointing it out. Thanks ALSO to Bdavis!! My mistake to both of you, I'm sorry...THANK YOU for your help, both of you!
     
  7. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Quite right, though the difference is not so much that the AF-I is an older designation. Both AF-S and AF-I indicate the presence of an AF motor in the lens. The difference between the two is the type of motor.

    Originally, the "I" was used to indicate an Internal motor in the lens. These were rather conventional motors. Later, the new Silent Wave Motor was introduced which, while originally more expensive, offered faster focusing with some lens designs. These lenses were marked with the AF-S designation. Over the years the old kluge designs (MF optical designs with an AF motor grafted on) were replaced with newer optical designs that required less horsepower to focus allowing the weaker but faster SWMs to become dominant over the older powerful but slow motor design.
     

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