prime lens question(s)

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by fwellers, Nov 21, 2008.

  1. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    Hi,
    I am new to photography, actually just gathering info for my first SLR camera purchase ( which I hope will be within the next couple of months ).
    I've been reading my butt off, and talking to people, so I have enough knowledge now, to really ask stupid questions.
    But first, the basics.
    I'm planning on getting a Nikon D90. I want to use it for general purpose photography, a little of everything. I want to learn to become artistic with my photos. I like natural light and am not as interested in using flash. So I think I need a faster lense, especially since I don't have the steadiest hand.

    So, thinking about and reading about all the prosumer type lenses, I'm currently thinking about getting a zoom, maybe 16-85 afs with the vr2, but also am thinking about a fast prime, like the 50mm 1.8 or something.

    Ok stupid question 1)
    I read somewhere that a 50mm lense is the closest to being what your eyes see without the camera. Is that true ? And if it is, would that be meaning on a FX camera ? If so, then it would be somewhat less of a focal length needed for the same thing on a DX camera ?
    Any insights here ?

    2)
    For my scattered description of the type of photography I want to do, does my lense choices seem correct or do you have any further advice of lenses ? btw, my budget won't be that big. The camera would be almost $1k, and I was hoping to spend less than that on the lense(s).

    Thanks !!

    Floyd
     
  2. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    1) exactly. You need to divide the focal length by the crop factor. Sigma make a 30mm f/1.4 which suits the bill nicely.

    2) As a start this is perfect. It's pretty much how everyone starts without a very specific mind set (like macro, or sports). A versatile zoom, and a 50mm or 30mm large aperture lens.
     
  3. laam999

    laam999 TPF Noob!

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    My only thing to say would be you have it the wrong way round, you should worry more about the lens than the body. Except for yourself, light and the subject I think that the glass is the most important thing for you to care about. You may have a great body but if you put bad lens' on it you wont get as good pictures as if you have an excellent lens on a cheaper body.

    Thats what I feel anyway.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the forum.

    While the FOV (field of view) will be narrower on a crop body, the perspective and magnification of a lens remains the same. So a 50mm lens is still pretty close to what our eye sees.

    I agree with your plan for lenses. A wide(ish) zoom lens and a fast prime lens should make a great combination to get you started.
     
  5. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. Umm, for number one, so that would mean if I want the lens to provide a close perspective to what my eyes see, on a DX camera I should get a 35mm lens ?

    Thanks.
     
  6. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    You answered my question that i just asked to Garbz. Thanks.

    I guess that's why I hear so many people talking about 50mm.

    as an aside, if I listen to the more purist types that say I shouldn't get a zoom because it is too easy to get lazy and not learn to frame or compose properly etc,,, then I wouldn't get a zoom
    but just on the way home from work today, I was stopped at a traffic light and saw a great picture of two glass buildings of different geometric shapes side by side. There was no way I would be able to catch that, even from across the road without at least a 100mm, probably a bit more I'm thinking. So I guess a zoom is mandatory since I've already saw the need for it and I don't even have an slr yet.
     
  7. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    A big part of why 50mm lenses get talked about so much, is that they are cheap. The cheapest lens in Canon's line up is the EF 50mm F1.8. Not only is it cheap, but the optics are quite good for such a cheap lens. The rest of the lens is cheap and mostly plastic but overall, it's a great value. The same is true of most other company's cheap 50mm lenses.

    Just because something is far away, doesn't mean you need a zoom lens. There are plenty of prime telephoto lenses available, but they do tend to be expensive. There is nothing wrong with using zoom lenses. It used to be that zoom lenses compromised a lot of quality, but the modern zoom lenses can be pretty good...especially the more expensive ones. The important thing to remember is that when you zoom, you not only change the field of view, but you also change the perspective. So you may still need to 'zoom' with your feet. if you want to change your composition without affecting your perspective.
     
  8. fwellers

    fwellers TPF Noob!

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    Hmmm, that gives me something to think about. btw, thanks for the welcome. :)

    The thing that causes me concern with the zooms is that I think I would want a nice fast lense to get more light and faster shutter speeds. All the zooms that are not over-budget, are like 3.5-5.6f. I have no experience, but I read that those are maybe too slow for low light, especially if they don't have VR.
    I also don't know yet if I would like to carry multiple lenses and switch them. Really I don't know anything yet because I don't have the camera, but when I do jump, I want to land in the right place for ~ $1500 dollars or so.

    I wonder. Maybe I ought to rethink the body. It seems many say that the lense is so much more important. I can probably afford a real fast professional standard zoom lense if I get a lesser body like the D40. You think that's a worthwhile and would mean better pics etc.. ?

    I forgot now, why I even wanted the D90 over lesser D's. Could be the real nice lcd, but I think there were some other very fine advantages, I just can't remember them now, due to information overload. :lol:
     
  9. kundalini

    kundalini Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Instead of the D40, perhaps look for a used D70 or even a D80. Much more camera.

    BEWARE: Once you start shooting the good glass, there's no turning back. :lol: Good Luck and welcome to the dark side.

    Oh, and also welcome to TPF.
     

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