What does 'better glass' actually mean?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Hair Bear, Oct 15, 2006.

  1. Hair Bear
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    Hair Bear New Member

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    I've seen it on a couple of threads about camera purchase and the like.

    I have been lusting after the D80 with 18-135 are you saying the lens is not good? Its nikons own?

    Surely they don't put bad lenses on their gear, if you are suggesting the lens will not show the cameras potential how is this good for Nikon?

    If you get 'better glass' how much more are we talking about and who makes 'better glass'?

    What do I look for?
  2. Alex_B
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    Alex_B New Member

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    Well, I do not wone any Nikon, but still I can help a bit here ... how much more are we talking about .. well I think you can almost spend any amount of money on glass for your camera, starting from things cheaper than what comes with the kit up to what you would pay for a car ;)

    Who makes better glass .. well Nikon themselves do! Just some of the Nikon shooters here have to give advice which particular lens might be good for you.
    Also there are some pretty good lenses by other companies on the market I suppose.

    Certainly the kit lens is not a "bad" lens, it will work well for many situations. But at some point you will probably get to its limits and then you want to buy a more expensive lens. And this is good for Nikon (and all other companies do it in the same way): They sell the kit lens, and later ou upgrade ... hence you bought at least two lenses! Also, it is more leikly you will buy the camera if it comes in a kit with a cheaper lens than as if you pay 400 USD more in a more expensive kit.
  3. fmw
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    fmw New Member

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    You may want to go back and read my post again. I, for one, didn't say anything about bad lenses. I just explained what makes better ones better. It is what you asked.
  4. Hair Bear
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    Hair Bear New Member

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    Sorry Fred, I started this thread as I didn't want to hijack somebody eleses but the way I read your post on there you appeared to say not to get the kit lens with the camera but to get a cheaper camera and better glass. And I didn't see anywhere that I said you said etc.

    The question 'are you saying..' wasn't specifically aimed at you. Its a general question to any body willing to input and explain 'better glass' to me.

    I was always told 'buy the best you can' I have used this and it works for me, ofetn buying the best i can't afford. LOL

    So if you belive there is better glass than the kit lens glass, what is it?

    If I then go on to buy a Nikon lens, whats the difference?

    Should I be looking at other makes if so what ones?

    What budget?
  5. DocFrankenstein
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    DocFrankenstein Clinically Insane?

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    Nikon makes some consumer lenses and some professional.

    A 200 dollar lens will not perform the same way as a 1500 lens. And there is a reason to buy a 1500 lens too - you get better quality, better build, faster autofocus... etc.

    I shoot canon myself, but I know THIS is a good lens for sure.

    If I were to start, my first lens would be a non-zoom 35mm f/2 lens. It's very good optically and for many reasons you'll want to learn with it. Probably you'll never gonna sell it either.
  6. JIP
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    JIP Active Member

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    I have that lens and I can agree it is awesome I got iit directly from Nikon but for some reason the said I couldn't get the white one
  7. Hair Bear
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    Hair Bear New Member

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    Ok I need to wrap this up now.

    I went into the local sho to ask about lenses and the D80 kit lens.

    He seemed to think there was range lenses or prime. Prime being better in quality as its fixed and has a better fstop range.

    But unless you want to carry around a shed load of prime then the 18-135 is an acceptable compromsie and a good lens. He did agree that at the out range of the lens there would be some problems but these would be unseen by all but the most anal user.

    So I'm still non the wiser really.

    Does better glass mean prime? and what short of budget should be allocated to them in order to get the most from the back?
  8. Digital Matt
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    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    I'm not sure what your experience level is with photography, but if you are stressing this much about what lens to purchase for your camera, you are missing out on just having fun and taking pictures, which is what it's for!

    Yes, there are good lenses, and great lenses, and so so lenses, and really bad ones. Any of them will produce an image, and it's up to you to make that image interesting.

    Get the kit lens and the camera, and start shooting, and later on you'll know what better glass is when you are ready to see a technical improvement in your images.
  9. Hair Bear
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    Hair Bear New Member

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    Couldn' agree more and currently having great fun with my Nikon SLR 35-70.

    But the point of the question was to learn what better glass is, or is it just one of those terms that is banded around without being understood.

    Clearly nobody has actually explained it in simple terms on this thread.

    If the D80 with kit lens is £899 and with out £799 the difference is £100 (est figures for exmaple only)

    With that £100 + some extra, what can you buy thats better glass?

    If its another £1000 then its just not worth it, buy the kit and use it and have some fun etc.

    BTW the gy in the shop thought the kit 18-135 would be better in terms of quality then my current nikkor 35-70 and therefore image quality would be increased in terms of final picture.
  10. Digital Matt
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    Digital Matt alter ego: Analog Matt

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    It's really a subjective and personal experience. No two people will see all the same details. If you want scientific data, then read lens MTF charts, and compare that way.

    http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-mtf.shtml

    The truth is, you won't know the difference in "better" glass, until you do your OWN comparison, which means buying that better lens, or renting it, and comparing sharpness, distorition, color rendition, and contrast, to your other glass.
  11. fmw
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    fmw New Member

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    I think this is a really good answer. The differences between good lenses and great lenses is actually fairly subtle. The important differences are the speed of the great lenses and that speed requires much more design and precision than the slower lenses. Like Matt says, get a camera and go shoot.
  12. Don Simon
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    Don Simon New Member

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    Just hit the nail on the head of this particular can of worms... metaphors mixed enough for ya? :lol: It is subjective. Tests and charts claim to be objective, and even if they are then they're not all that much help. Sometimes you want a sharper image, but sometimes you don't. Some people like vignetting. Some people don't like using zooms, and some people swear by them. Personally I like primes for the larger maximum aperture and (depending on the lens) the bokeh - and nice bokeh or not is about a subjective a factor as they come. Zoom or prime? I don't think you need to carry a shedload of primes... just enough to cover a couple of very useful focal lengths, and then as they say zoom with your feet. But I do agree zooms can be more convenient (for example if you can only carry one or two lenses)... unless of course you get into low-light situations, where you might want a prime for the larger max aperture.

    For £100, go for a kit lens. Use it, and if you don't like using it or like the results then look at spending the money on a better zoom or a prime. You may not feel the need to.
  13. mysteryscribe
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    mysteryscribe New Member

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    I hear this kind of thing all the time... my suggestion is to buy all the lense you really need, and not waste your money on the whiz bang you don't need.

    Actually MOST people do not buy better lenses they buy a longer than kit lense maybe. Most people don't need long lenses that will stop down to 2.8.... MOST cameras are sold to people who wouldn't know the difference anyway and don't plan to waste the time to learn the difference. Sometimes we tend to forget that WE are not MOST people and that's why average quality lenses come on cameras.

    lol.... now you can beat up on me.
  14. TJPhotoGuy
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    TJPhotoGuy New Member

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    I think it means "Primes"
  15. Tiberius
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    Tiberius New Member

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    That's flamebait right there. And quite often not true. Both Nikon and Canon make zoom lenses every bit as good as their primes; they just cost more as a matter of tradeoff.

    Better Glass just means faster and sharper.

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