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TPF Noob!
Aug 22, 2015
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Hey there folks. I'm a college kid who took high school photography and after just getting my first DSLR (Canon XTi) I realize that I've apparently forgotten all of my photography teachings. I have so many questions, I'll probably add on as I go here but a few that come to mind is that is what does 18-55 or 200- 400 mm mean? I feel like such an idiot, but I suppose everyone has to start somewhere. Any tips and tricks to mention? Is the XTi still a good camera compared to modern day DSLR's? Here's my full kit in case it helps: XTi, 18-55 kit lens, 32 GB memory card, 3 batteries, camera body armor, bag, tripod, lens cleaning supplies. Got all of it for just over $200 canadian dollars, I think thats a pretty great deal?? I'd really like to do astro photography (milky way photography with long exposures), any hints and tips as far as that?? Any and all feedback is welcome, thank you.


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O.K., welcome! The beginner's Forum is not intended for C&C, you would use one of the Gallery forums for that.

In this series of shots of your computer, the shots themselves are pretty good, but some text of explanation would be beneficial in helping us to understand what we're looking at.

Those numbers on the lenses indicate the focal length of the lens, one of the key identifiers of lenses.
Hey there and welcome to the forum.

To answer your question, the number marked as 18-55mm on your lens is called focal length, at the core, those are simply standardized number to mark the zoom of your lens. However, as you grow as a photographer, you will learn that these are also important to consider as a specific focal length will affect the distortion in a picture in a certain way. For example, a lens that is marked as 24mm will have a much wider angle of view than a lens that is marked as 70mm or even 200mm that has a much narrower field of view.

It is important to note that a lens that is marked as ( for example ) 18-55mm is called a "Zoom lens", which indicate that you are able to change your focal length without the necessity of changing lens. The opposite being a "Fixed lens" which, like the name imply, is fixed and thus, render you unable to change your focal length as long as you do not change the lens itself. Those will be marked with a single digit of the focal length it is built in. For example a 50mm lens.

As for the XTi and your goal to shoot astro, I'm sorry to say that I'm not familiar with any of those topics.
Do not worry, you will get to a 100% new in no time here. Welcome.
Sounds like you got a good deal for a starter lit. There are many ways to find the answers you seek. This and other forums, youtube and even books from the library can give you the information.
The lens question is one we all deal with daily. The smaller the mm number the wider the view. So a 10mm is very wide and a 200mm is a very narrow view. The distortion caused is also a factor of the mm number. If you have a 35mm camera or a full frame digital camera then 50mm is about the same as your eye as far as lack of distortion. My Nikon is a crop sensor so it's 1.5 times the number for me and Canon is 1.3 I believe.
An 18-140mm zoom lens will adjust anywhere from 18mm to 140mm - which is a wide angle (18mm) to a telephoto (140). The quality is also a very, very wide range. The quality of the glass and the maximum light gathering rating, (minimum aperture) will make a huge difference in the value. I have an inexpensive 10-18mm rated at 4.0 aperture maximum. They make the same lens (10-18mm) in 3.5f and it's over 200$US more.
Those numbers on the lenses indicate the focal length of the lens, one of the key identifiers of lenses.

yes, and longer focal lengths and larger apertures cost $$ !

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