Which lens?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by texassand, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. texassand

    texassand TPF Noob!

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    I'm trying to understand the concept or short lenses vs long lenses and which to use when. If I was shooting a family - mom, dad, and 4yr old son - so three people outdoors - you know just a typical "family photo" would I use my 18-55mm or my 28-135mm? What about just the mother (she's pregnant) doing some maternity photos? I'm thinking the 28-135mm but just because it zooms in more - but with three people, I want to make sure and get them all in clear focus.

    Can someone give me a simple explaination of this?

    Thank you!!!!!!!!:heart:
     
  2. JDS

    JDS TPF Noob!

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    I'm not really sure if either would be better than the other. The real question should be, 'which glass is better'? i.e..which lens produces sharper photos? With either of those, if your feet become the zoom you can get the right composition. I personally plan to invest in a prime lens - a single focal length, probably 50mm. Those produce the sharpest photos and are commonly used in portrait photography.
     
  3. Big Mike

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

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    There is no hard rule that says you have to use a specific focal length for a type of shot.

    Part of it is the field of view, you will need to get everyone in the frame and if you are limited for space, then you will need a wider lens. If you are outdoors, you can usually just back up but not always.

    Also, as the focal length changes, the perspective changes. It's easy to see this at the extremes. If you use a wide angle lens and fill the frame with your subjects...there will probably be some distortion. A wide angle will accentuate the distance between things...like the distance from the front of a person's nose to the back of it...making it look like they have a huge nose.
    When you use a telephoto, it tends to compress the distance between things...which usually is best for shooting people.

    So my suggestion would be to use your longer lens and back up. Unless of course, you want to get some distortion or accentuate something...like a pregnant belly.

    While this is affected some what by the focal length, it's affected much more by the lens aperture that you are using. A wider aperture (lower F number) will give you a more shallow Depth of Field (DOF). So for group shots, I like to shoot with a smaller aperture...maybe F8 or F11 or F16. This makes it harder to blur the background, if that's something that you want to do.
     
  4. texassand

    texassand TPF Noob!

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  5. Big Mike

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

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    What he means is that it doesn't matter what focal length you use...if you have the room to back up or get closer. So rather than standing in one spot and zooming the lens...you use your feet and walk closer or farther away.

    The 28-135mm lens is a mid level lens, in terms of image quality. It's not crap but it's not the top of the line either. The 18-55mm lens that came with your camera is probably closer to the bottom of the list. However, with either of theses lenses...there are more important factors that will help to improve the image quality...like the use of a tripod. Also, the aperture that you shoot at, will have an affect on image quality. Most lenses are not very good at their maximum apertures. So try to stay away from F4 to F5.6. It would be better to shoot at F8 to F16...if you have enough light.
     

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