picking a good lens

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by rooky, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. rooky

    rooky TPF Noob!

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    I understand that a quality lens can go a long way in getting the most from your camera. thats one thing that I never really had a real handle on. can someone offer some good advice on what to look for when shopping for a good lens. always been a weak point of mine.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Applefanboy

    Applefanboy TPF Noob!

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    I don't know much about lenses, but I have heard good things about the nikon 50mm f/1.4.

    IMHO when looking for a lens, you should:

    Find one with a range you will be working with(like if you do a lot of wide angle shots, you might want a nice wide angle)

    Find one with a large aperture(the larger the lens's aperature, more light will be gathered, thus reducing shutter time)

    Think ahead, don't but a cheap, beginers lens if you think you will need something better soon.

    Hope this will help...
     
  3. Aye-non Oh-non Imus

    Aye-non Oh-non Imus TPF Noob!

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    When you get a short list, look at Photozone.de for reviews.
     
  4. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Prolly the best way is visual comparison. If you are as new to this as you seem you should prolly start out with sticking to the lenses made by the manufacturer of your body untill you get a good idea as to how to read the information available from retailors. After that don't be afraid to ask about something that statistically looks good to you.
     
  5. rooky

    rooky TPF Noob!

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    well, I'm not new to photography. As a matter of fact, I've got over a decade of experience professionally. The thing is, I specialize in aerial photography...not people/object photography. I know exactly when and when not to take an aerial shot and what times are ideal but with people pictures and such, I'm not the guy to ask about that(even though I do seem to have a good eye). I know tons about aerials... from taking to making, photoshop corrections, selling, etc...

    Like anyone, I have had a lot of experience with certain things but not as much with others. But there is always room to learn new stuff.

    And I dont have a great deal of experience comparing lenses. In the past, I have simply read a few reviews and bought what seemed like the way to go, but that doesnt help me in comparing specs.

    And for the longest time, I used the same equipment year after year.

    So, I figured I'd get on here and brush up. Learn something new beyond what I have always done.
     
  6. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There's a few things that indicate the quality of a lens.

    - Build Quality: The first, especially if you smack your equipment around. Smooth auto focusing, well dampened zoom rings, button layout etc fall into this category.
    - Zoom Range: The inverse quality indicator since a short zoom range normally means all other quality indicators are better. But if they do make a 18-200mm lens in the future that does get a tick in all the other boxes then it would be almost ideal.
    - Aperture: The wider the better (or at least the more versatile). There are some people who would prefer an f/4 lens to an f/2.8 but those are the same people who are afraid of spending a few hours a week in the gym.

    Image quality indicators:
    - Barrel Distortion: Only a problem on zooms, with large zoom ranges and usually also only on the wide side of things. The 18-70mm for Nikon for instance is pretty nasty below 28mm but fine on every other zoom position.
    - Sharpness: Not just centre sharpness, but border sharpness is the key. There's a reason why the 30mm f/1.4 from Sigma scores excellent in centre sharpness tests yet still only gets a 2/5 for image quality in reviews. Regardless of how this lens is handled the border sharpness is poor.
    - Vignetting: Only a problem on wide angles, and usually on wide open apertures. This is the amount of darkening that occurs in the corner. It's also more of a problem for lenses designed for APS sensors and not for film lenses mounted on an APS digital camera.
    - Chromatic Aberration: Purple fringing and colour smearing in areas where the contrast changes suddenly. The lower the better, especially for purple fringing.
    - Bokeh: How are the out of focus areas rendered? Out of focus light sources should be rendered circular not octagonal (for 8 aperture blades), and should not produce a ring around the spot as this causes out of focus areas to draw attention to themselves.
    - Flaring: Less of an issue but if you shoot into the sun how good of a photo can you get? Every lens flares, the cheaper the lens the more likely you lose contrast when it happens.

    Can't think of anything else, but as said above www.photozone.de reviews lenses by doing tests on many of these parameters.
     
  7. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I apologize for that, I made an assessment on another post you made, my mistake. :blushing:
     
  8. foto-flo

    foto-flo TPF Noob!

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    i actually was just about to by a new lens for my old N75 last month for a good 600 dollars before my boyfriend (who is not even a photographer) helped me find an amazing fixed lens for 200 dollars. we read a ton of reviews, i waited a few days to decide on a lens, didn't like the first one i chose, took it back and now i'm very pleased.
    what i'm trying to say is take your time, if you can. don't be doofus and impulse buy, because you could end up spending a lot more money and be stuck with a lame-o lens.
     
  9. rooky

    rooky TPF Noob!

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    Garbz, I want to thank you for the insightful post you made. I know it took a lot of time and I really appreciate that my friend.

    and ty to everyone who was kind enough to pitch in.

    And to Battou, there is no reason to apologize. You didn't know. And I can see why you thought that way, I'm a joker and I had made a couple fun posts that could be misinterpreted as inexperience. But I guess I just like to tease sometimes. Anyway- I appreciate your help. It was kind of you as well to try and offer help. And besides, my handle is rooky...lol:lmao:

    Again, ty everyone....
     

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