So many lenses, which ones to choose?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Ryan Hall, Feb 8, 2009.

  1. Ryan Hall

    Ryan Hall TPF Noob!

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    I've been browsing Nikon's website as well as forums trying to learn about what kind of lenses are available, and what kind of situations they are designed to shoot. I've got two questions.

    First, why do lenses have overlapping zoom ranges (for example Nikon makes 16-85mm and 17-55mm standard zoom lenses).

    Second, what type of lenses are optimal for casual outdoor photoshoots where the subjects are at fairly close range?

    Thanks!

    If I need to provide more information, just let me know.
     
  2. Heather09

    Heather09 TPF Noob!

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    Im going to add a real noob question, what do the number stand for ... is it the distance ? and how is it measured..
     
  3. TheOtherBob

    TheOtherBob TPF Noob!

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    The zoom range is only part of what makes up a lens. The other things involved are aperture (fixed or variable, slow or fast), image quality, ease of use, ruggedness, and whether or not it has image stabilization.

    In this particular case, the 16-85 has a maximum aperture of 3.5 at 16mm, and is down to 5.6 at 85 -- so that's not a very fast lens. ("Fast" meaning that it lets in a lot of light, letting you set your shutter speed "faster" in dim light (hence the term), and also giving you a greater depth of field.) The 17-55, on the other hand, is fast at 2.8 across the zoom range. The 16-85 has image stabilization, which may or may not be important to you -- but can also help make a slower lens faster, if the subject isn't moving.

    I'm not a Nikon guy, but I'd guess that the 17-55 is more rugged and has better image quality. So they're very different lenses targeted towards different customers and applications -- the 17-55 is probably more of a professional lens, while the 16-85 is likely more of a high-end consumer lens. (But, again, I'm not a Nikon guy so I'm just guessing at that.)

    Assuming we're not talking about professional applications (where a fast, rugged lens with very high image quality would be important), the 16-85 is probably a great choice. The 17-55 is (I would think) objectively the better lens -- but if we're talking about casually taking pictures in bright daylight, the added features and abilities of the far more expensive lens are probably not going to make that much difference. But that's just my opinion.
     
  4. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

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