Zoom or Telephoto?

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Dmitri, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. Dmitri

    Dmitri No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi, I just bought my first SLR with the kit lens. I would like to take pictures of birds and squirrels and stuff in my backyard, which this lens won't do.

    Should I be looking at zoom or telephoto lens? Sorry I don't know what the difference is.
     
  2. Big Mike

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

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    Welcome to the forum.

    Those terms are not mutually exclusive. 'Zoom' refers to a lens that can change it's focal length. It could be from 10-22mm or it could be from 28-300mm or 300-500mm etc.
    Telephoto usually refers to a lens with a long focal length (longer than the 'normal' focal length).

    So you could have a lens like the Canon 100-400mm...and that would be a 'telephoto zoom' lens. A 300mm prime (non-zoom) lens would be a telephoto lens but not a zoom lens.

    What brand of camera do you have and what is your budget?
     
  3. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Personally I would advise a 400mm or 500mm telephoto, I use a 400mm for birds in my back yard quite frequently from my kitchen window.

    Knowing your camrea make and model as well as your budget will help users here fintune their suggestions and point you to some good lenses specifically for your body.
     
  4. Dmitri

    Dmitri No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Sorry, it's a Canon Digital Rebel XTI.

    Was hoping to find something in the $200 range. Just a hobby, not looking to grace the cover of National Geographic :wink:
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Neither am I :lol: but anything less than 400mm (or very big birds and squirrels) is going to require a lot of cropping, heck my 400mm requires some major cropping every now and again.

    $200 Ouch, I think that is going to hurt your prospects considerably, But I shoot Canon FD mount lenses and Digital Rebel XTI uses EF mount, so I do not know a great deal on specifics on EF glass.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    you could try something like the sigma 70-300mm APO macro
    http://www.amazon.com/Sigma-70-300m...1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1213973783&sr=8-1

    fits your budget and you can get a good feel for both longer focal ranges and also for macro work if you want. However these lenses are budget work and thus you do have to accpet that they will have shortcommings. My own experiences with the sigma (mine is hte non AOP is its a little worse) is that it is fine up to about 5m - after that getting sharp shots definatly needs a tripod and even then its iffy. Even within that range I tend to always use it mounted on a tripod (the cheap ones work well enough, just don't leave you camera freestanding on them and you will be fine). Personally I have found that after a few months use I am not only going for much more expensive lenses but also that the sigma's strongest point is as a flower portrate lens.

    I would say if you are unsure about investing large amounts - get a lens like the sigma and use it for a few months - you will learn good skills whilst you use it and if you find you have the photography bug you can then make a more informed choices about going after better lenses

    if you want to you can take a look through my blog - my sigma is my primary lens - I think my kit one is gathering dust somewhere ;)
     
  7. Dmitri

    Dmitri No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Thanks for the advice all.

    Couple questions:
    1: Overread, did you use a tripod for those pictures?

    2: How important is Image Stablizer? I was under the impression that fast shutter speed would get rid of any types of blur.
     
  8. davebmck

    davebmck TPF Noob!

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    The longer the focal length, the more difficult it is to hand hold the camera. The IS really helps there. Also, unless you are shooting in broad daylight, you will not always be able to shoot at a shutter speed that will eliminate camera shake.
     
  9. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    For me ever shot I take is tripod mounted - I have never had any real success with my sigma when not on a tripod. Granted this is partly me, but also the lens I feel - I just like shooting and knowing that I have a really good chance of a sharp keeper rather than pot luck without.
    I would consider IS very important if you intend to be walking about a lot and don't want the bother of a tripod to lug around as well. It costs extra on a lense granted, but I feel it is worth the investment in.
     
  10. Dmitri

    Dmitri No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ok. Thanks again guys :hug::
     

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