Please Help!

Shipman

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I have been shooting a lot with my D5100 and need to get a new lens. I only have the 18-55 VR and do a lot of automotive photography. I have been picked up as a photographer for an auto enthusiust website and want to get a new lens to do featured shoots.

My question is for guys who also shoot cars, what lens would give me the best results, its always with still cars, no need to capture motion shots. I want something that will give me a greater focus on the foreground and less on the background. Im still learning my camera so any help with how to adjust my settings would also be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Here is the result Im looking for...(I do not own these pictures)
http://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z364/mshipman89/9190600950_6a3eb599aa_b_zps543a7458.jpg
http://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z364/mshipman89/vosPJl3_zpsac5e5e97.jpg
http://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z364/mshipman89/9283921631_dde8d7096c_b_zps189ec1ae.jpg
http://i1186.photobucket.com/albums/z364/mshipman89/9190602434_aaeb23f5f2_b_zps8bab02fb.jpg
 
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cgipson1

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Aperture, focal length and distance to subject / brackground control DOF (Depth of Field) and that is what it sounds like you are asking about. If you are wanting more control over blurred backgrounds, you may need a larger aperture than what the 18-55 gives you, especially if you use it more on the short (WA) end. The more Wide-Angle a lens is, the more inherent DOF it has (distance wise), so it can be more difficult to get the soft backgrounds at shorter focal lengths (although it can be done... even with your 18-55)

Take a look at this > Online Depth of Field Calculator play with it (set for your camera) and see what DOF's various focal length / aperture combinations give you as far as DOF and distances. Mix it up and you can hopefully see the relationships between the different variables.

You need to post some of YOUR images... so we can get a better idea of what YOU need... not some random shots off the web.

Also... look at your images... figure out what range of focal lengths you normally prefer to shoot at. That would make a difference in what lenses I would recommend.

Basically large apertures (Small F numbers) give smaller DOF's.. and anything outside the DOF will be blurred. This is easier with longer focal lengths than it is short focal lengths. A short distance to subject, and a long distance from subject background enhances this greatly. Those are the basic variables, Aperture, Focal Length and Distances, and they can be combined many different ways to get different effects.

(note: It is against forum policy to post images you don't own, although you can post links to those images.. just not the images themselves. Copyright violations!)
 
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cgipson1

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All of the shots above were shot at F/7.1 and at a variety of focal lengths from 18 to 55. Unfortunately that kit lens will probably not be as sharp at wide open, as better glass would be.. so I can't recommend just opening the aperture.

Sample Exif from #1

Exif data
Camera Nikon D5100
Exposure 1/3200 sec
Aperture f/7.1
Focal Length 42 mm
ISO Speed 2500
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash No Flash

You need to list a budget for the lens you are wanting... there are a variety of prices.

You could go with a 35 or 50 prime... that would allow you apertures from 1.8 up..... cheapest option.

Or you could get a 24-70 2.8 (much more expensive.. but PRO glass, and worth it)

If you want as wider.. there are a number of lenses that might do... 17-35 2.8 or the 14-24 2.8 (again both very expensive pro glass)
 

cgipson1

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On the shots themselves:

You need to learn to see backgrounds... and avoid ugly ones (yes.. blur will help that)

You need to learn to see the light... beware harsh sunlight when possible, and avoid dappled shade under trees.

Depending on what you are trying to do... minimize dead space in the image... emphasize the subject, leave out extraneous items.

There is more.. but that will get you started.... lol!
 
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Shipman

Shipman

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Thank you, I have been attempting to perfect placement and objects to focus on. I appreciate the advice, I was told by another car photographer to look into getting a 200mm lens. If you were to reccommend a lens for under the 300 range what would you say?
 

SCraig

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What camera was the other photographer using? The D5100 has an APS-C sensor, normally called a "Crop Sensor" camera. The field of view is 50% narrower than on a full-frame camera body. A 35mm lens on a crop sensor body will compare to a 50mm lens on a full-frame body. A 135mm lens on a crop sensor body will compare to a 200mm lens on a full-frame body.
 

Derrel

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WHat you need is a "fast lens"...that is one with a wide maximum aperture. SOmething like an 85mm f/1.8 AF-S G for example, would be my suggestion. It's got a nice, selective angle of view, and it is not so long that you must be back a country mile, and yet it is n ot so short that it includes a wide swath of background. For doing detail shots, like wheels, grilles, steering wheels, shifter handles, stereo controls, and things like that, it's a good length. You can also back up 30 to 40 feet, and shoot at "fast" apertures, like f/1.8 to f/3.2, and get shallow DOF and defocused backdrops that "hint at" the locale, but do not reveal everything about the locale.

Longer lenses make you stand wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy back; and increasing distance is the fastest way to get deep depth of field, and deep depth of field is the exact OPPOSITE of what you are desirous of.

85mm f/1.8 AF-S G NIkkor. THAT would be my suggestion. Here is what it looks like at 8.91 meters at f/2.2 on full-frame...it's look a lot like this on A DX frame at 35 feet...

_D3X8857_1400_screen-2.jpg photo - Derrel photos at pbase.com
 

brunerww

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Hi Shipman - ideally you want a telephoto lens with a large aperture, to work your depth of field challenge from both directions. But that will be tough to do for less than $300 - so you'll have to probably buy separate telephoto and large aperture lenses.

I would get the $237 Nikon 55-200mm as your long lens and a $139 50mm f1.8 to shallow out your depth of field closer in. These aren't the absolute best quality lenses, but you're already doing good work with the kit lens. These lenses will do a great job for you and will raise your game.

You can get less expensive home (Japanese) market versions of these lenses new on eBay. These lenses are exactly the same as those intended for the US market, but they are covered by store warranties instead of manufacturers' warranties. Big Value sells the 55-200mm for $124, for example.

Hope this is helpful!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution
 

cgipson1

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A 200 (or a 70-200 2.8 probably)... on a crop body like the D5100 has a FOV (gives images like) a 105-300 would... just the way it works. Seems a little long for shooting vehicles, since you would have to be a pretty good ways off from it to get good framing. 2.8 at 200 gives some excellent shallow DOF, that would be useful, but with a subject as big as a car... probably of limited use unless have a lot of room to shoot with.
 

cgipson1

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Hi Shipman - ideally you want a telephoto lens with a large aperture, to work your depth of field challenge from both directions. But that will be tough to do for less than $300 - so you'll have to probably buy separate telephoto and large aperture lenses.

I would get the $237 Nikon 55-200mm as your long lens and a $139 50mm f1.8 to shallow out your depth of field closer in. These aren't the absolute best quality lenses, but you're already doing good work with the kit lens. These lenses will do a great job for you and will raise your game.

You can get less expensive home (Japanese) market versions of these lenses new on eBay. These lenses are exactly the same as those intended for the US market, but they are covered by store warranties instead of manufacturers' warranties. Big Value sells the 55-200mm for $124, for example.

Hope this is helpful!

Bill
Hybrid Camera Revolution

The 55-200 has worse IQ than almost any other kit lens out there... really? The 55-200 barely scored an 8 on DXOMark, and the VR version scored a 9. DxOMark - Compare lenses

I would not recommend these lenses to anyone... you get what you pay for. There is a reason they are so cheap!

Primes are always a good inexpensive alternative... of course!
 
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Shipman

Shipman

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I really appreciate all the feedback, I do like the 85mm and have seen some other shots that seem to be what Im looking for. I have a buddy selling a 55-200mm VR but Im not sure if that would give me what Im looking for.
 

cgipson1

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I really appreciate all the feedback, I do like the 85mm and have seen some other shots that seem to be what Im looking for. I have a buddy selling a 55-200mm VR but Im not sure if that would give me what Im looking for.

My advice for your budget range.. would be to get one good prime... that 85 1.8 G! Or a combo of 50 1.8 / 35 1.8. IQ on any of those will far exceed what you get with a cheap zoom. The larger apertures would also allow you much more latitude on the backgrounds.
 
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Shipman

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Thank you very much, Im going to make a purchase soon and will be sure to let you guys know and post some of the results.
 

Tailgunner

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If you can't pony up the coin for an 85mm 1.8g, the 85mm 1.8d runs about $300-350. It may work just as good for the price.
 

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