Which is the Best Lens?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Maynard, May 16, 2004.

  1. Maynard

    Maynard TPF Noob!

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    Very shortly, I'll be traveling to Italy with my family. A friend accompanying wants me to take pictures that he will subsequently have enlarged, framed, and hung up in his house.

    I've been doing research on the best type of lens for this fashion of photography. Thus far I've narrowed my search down to a telephoto lens or a wide angle lens. I'm curious about whether or not there are pro's and/or con's with respect to each lens type.

    I'll most likely be shooting some scenery, some buildings/architecture; all in all primarily inanimate things. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    -- Maynard
     
  2. Mitica100

    Mitica100 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Maynard, keep in mind that wide angle lenses will distort architecture unless the camera is perfectly level. From what I read above regarding your needs for a lens, you could use either a good quality zoom lens, which will cover anything between 35-200 or 28-200. There are some great zooms out there, especially the APO lenses (Apochromatic) which will deliver great shots.

    What camera are you taking?

    Italy is great, you will have a grand time! I'm jealous!... :lol:
     
  3. Maynard

    Maynard TPF Noob!

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    Mitica100:

    So, using a wide angle lens to photograph architecture is only advisable with a tripod?

    Will a zoom lens provide a wide enough view for the type of shots I'll be taking? And is a zoom lens the equivalent to a telephoto?

    I'll be doing some research on APO lenses. But besides that, what about them generates a great shot?

    I'm taking a Minolta Maxxum 5 (35mm). The lens is a basic 28-90.

    Thank you very much! And I appreciate your advice as well.

    -- Maynard
     
  4. drlynn

    drlynn TPF Noob!

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    If you already have the 28-90, then I would suggest adding a zoom on the long end. Minolta has a 75-300mm zoom that you should be able to find for <$200, or the nicer 100-300mm APO zoom that will probably run around $400.

    Wide-angle for 35mm cameras starts at about 40mm, so the bottom end of your current lens will do for that. As Mitica said, buildings usually appear to be bending into the scene when shot at wide angles. 28mm isn't usually wide enough to cause much distortion though. Generally that starts in the 20-24mm range, at least from what I've seen.

    For traveling, the lens you have plus one of the ones I listed should give you good coverage for any scene you come across without being too bulky to carry around.

    Wide angles are good for landscapes and open scenery, while telephotos are better at shooting people as well as distant objects.
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Zoom means the lens is adjustable. It could be a wide-angle zoom, like a 17-35mm, or a telephoto zoom, like a 75-300mm, or an all-purpose zoom, like the one you have.

    The opposite of this is a prime lens, which is just a single focal length, like 35mm, or 50mm, or 100mm. These don't have the vesatility of a changing focal length, but they have wider apertures so you can take pictures in low light or blur out the background more. They also tend to be sharper, as compromises don't have to be made for the variable focal lengths.

    If you want to carry only a lens or two, a zoom is the way to go. The 28-90 is a good basic range. I agree that a telephoto zoom would be a good addition. Another option would be a 50mm f1.7 prime lens. A 50mm makes for a good overall lens, and the wide aperture would allow you to take pictures in low-light without a flash. You can also blur out the background more, which you can't do with a typical zoom. It can give your pictures a look that goes beyond the typical snapshot.

    I would also suggest becoming familiar with how focal length affects the image. It does more than just make the subject closer or farther away.
    http://www.ctlow.ca/Photo/FocalLength.html
    http://www.hash.com/users/jsherwood/tutes/focal/focal.html
     
  6. Maynard

    Maynard TPF Noob!

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    drlynn:

    Taking into consideration the advice I've received, I'll probably end up buying a lens like the one you've described.

    Yes, I looked at some pictures on the internet taken with a wide angle lens, and the exterior lines appeared to converge toward the top of the structure. While this is an interesting affect in its own right, it's not necessarily what I'm after. Maybe a few shots here and there, I suppose.

    Excellent...thanks!

    markc:

    That's interesting. Can't say I've come across this prime lens before now.

    And this suits my shooting preferences quite often. Perhaps I'm too stubborn, but I enjoy retaining the feel of natural light and attempt to abstain from using a flash whenever appropriate.

    Also, thanks for the links about focal length!

    -- Maynard
     
  7. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    I agree with Mark. If I were travelling light with my 35mm SLR I'd take my 28-200 zoom and the fastest 50mm prime I had.
     
  8. Maynard

    Maynard TPF Noob!

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    I'm looking to buy this lens here:

    The price is 145$.

    My only hang-up is the higher aperature. Will this create a problem with regard to proper lighting? And does this mean there's a greater chance for camera shake and blur because of lower shutter speeds?

    -- Maynard
     
  9. Maynard

    Maynard TPF Noob!

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    Another question I have pertains to enlarging the pictures after they're devoloped, or something of the like. As I mentioned, these pictures will be for hanging in my friend's home.

    Is there a particular type of film that best suits my purposes?

    Is the enlargement quality mostly due to the place I'll have the pictures enlarged, or the type of camera (lens) used, or some other thing? I haven't been able to find much information on this.

    Again, I very much appreciate all the assistance and counsel provided thus far.

    -- Maynard
     

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