what to look for in a new lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by abuccanero, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. abuccanero

    abuccanero TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    I was just wondering what makes a lens good and is there a way to tell besides reading review after review?

    Ive been reading other threads about what lens to get and it seems people keep saying what lenses they like, but is there something that makes it better than another lens?

    Because I just sold a few things and have around $400 for a new lens but im not sure how to start deciding on what lens to get.

    If you want to suggest a lens feel free but if you can please expain what makes it better than another similar lens. By the way I am looking for a macro lens for close up nature shots.
     
  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,504
    Likes Received:
    700
    Location:
    Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Yes, reviews are your best bet.

    I is hard to say if a lens is good just by the spec's.
    There are many different ways of correcting optical aberrations ... in most case's it is a costly thing to do ... which explains why very high quality lenses are expensive.
    Price tends to be an indicator.

    Most manufacturer's have two groups of lenses ... general consumer grade ... and their highly corrected optics.
     
  3. beni_hung

    beni_hung TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2008
    Messages:
    380
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Lansdale, PA USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Reviews FTW
     
  4. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,604
    Likes Received:
    1,236
    Location:
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Build quality is important, obviously...

    Maximum aperture & number of aperture blades are important too (more is better).
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    38,233
    Likes Received:
    5,006
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Uh, you want us to just pick one of the couple of thousand lenses out there? Or did you have kind of an idea of what focal lengths you may want/need? :confused:

    If you take pictures of a lot of things that are more than 20 feet away you want a telephoto. :confused: If you mainly take pictures of things inside of 20 feet you want normal focal length lenses. :confused:

    For telephoto lenses $400 pretty much keeps you in the consumer glass. Nifty fifty's (50mm primes) are around 100 bucks and are usually a great value. Fast wide angle lenses will be beyond your $400 budget but you can probably pick up a 35 mm or 85 mm prime.

    Hey, have fun spending your money.
     
  6. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,604
    Likes Received:
    1,236
    Location:
    Cedar Hill, Texas
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Oh, I didn't even notice that the OP was looking for lens suggestions...

    Well, for starters...what make camera do you have? Believe it or not, that will actually be a pretty important factor in lens recommendations...
     
  7. abuccanero

    abuccanero TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    THe main purpose of this thread was not to get suggestioins which lens but more of how to pick one myself.

    BTW i just got a Nikon D80.

    another question would $400 get me a good macro lens for taking close up nature shots? or do they tipically run more than that?

    thanks.
     
  8. benlonghair

    benlonghair TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2009
    Messages:
    1,072
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Woodstock, CT
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    DPReview is a good place to start.

    Remember that there's several pages per review.

    The Sigma 105 2.8 macro seems to get good reviews and it's around that price range.
     
  9. bigtwinky

    bigtwinky No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2008
    Messages:
    4,820
    Likes Received:
    285
    Location:
    Montreal
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The first thing I do is think about why I want a new lens...what will its purpose be that my other lenses are not fitting.
    - Is it increasing image quality over an existing lens? An often cheaper solution for this one is looking at prime lenses over zoom lenses.
    - Do I want to have a longer lens (telephoto), a wider lens or a standard lens?
    - Will this lens be always with me? ie - is weight a factor?
    - Do I want to have an easier time shooting in low light conditions?

    Once you narrow down what you wants are, then its time to think about budget. A high quality, good for lower light, zoom lens will be pretty expensive.

    Once you know basically what you want and what you budget is, then its time to hit the review sites. I wouldn't wander too far around for lens reviews, I'd stick to a few, trusted sites like dpreview or fredmiranda.

    Read reviews on third party lenses and Canon/Nikon lenses to see the differences, not just in cost but in terms of build quality, image quality and so on. While not 100% on par with the big boys, lenses from Sigma, Tokina and Tamron are often a cheaper alternative.

    Once you've narrowed down your choices to a few, start asking around. Even find a store where you can rent them if you are really undecided.


    Ex: My kit a while ago consisted of a 10-22mm wide, 50mm 1.8, a 22-50mm kit and a 55-200mm kit. I love the 50mm, but I wanted some zoom capability around the 50mm range, staying with a fast constant aperture (f/2.8).

    So I started checking out reviews and read up on a few lenses and narrowed my choices down to the Canon 24-70mm, Tamron 28-75mm, Canon 24-105mm, Sigma 24-70mm.

    Via the reviews, I knocked out the Sigma.
    Budget was a concern, as the two Canons are netly more expensive. But I kept them as options. I then read a thread here comparing the Tamron to the Canon and while the Tamron is slower focusing, slightly lesser build quality (nothing major), it was way cheaper.

    So I bought the Tamron and love it.

    All this babble just to say that you should figure out what you want, look at your options, look at your budget, read reviews and go for it.

    Some will hate the Tamron I bought, some love it, some are ok with it. You'll always have someone with a bad experience somewhere.

    What you should not do is what many people do and just come onto a forum, create an account, and just say "what lens should I get to be an awesome photographer? BTW, all I want to spend in $50". Lots of info is out there on the internet.

    Be an informed consumer.
     
  10. abuccanero

    abuccanero TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2008
    Messages:
    70
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Bigtwinky - Thank you very much that answers my questions!
     

Share This Page