Total Noob Here - Don't Read If Easily Distressed.


TPF Noob!
May 23, 2006
Reaction score
OK, some of you may know I am currently searching for a camera whether it being film or digital.

I know that the dSLR-like cameras with fixed lenses have their lenses measured by 'X' eg. 3x, 4x, 10x, 12x etc.

But the lenses you can buy for a DSLR are measured in mm eg. 28mm-55mm etc.

What is the equivalent x to mm?
The 'X' factor is simply the range of focal lengths. A 10mm to 100mm lens would be a 10X zoom. A 50mm to 500mm would also be a 10X zoom. A 20mm to 60mm lens would be 3X.

Interchangeable lenses are labeled by the actual focal length of the lens.

A greater range of zoom is more convenient. However, compromises have to be made and the image quality suffers. The best image quality typically comes from prime lenses that don't zoom and have a fixed focal length.
So what do you think of the Samsung Pro815's 15x zoom? Will the image be distorted at the 1x and 15x extremes?

Is there a way of finding out what the focal lengths are? Thanks
It's likely not going to be a very good lens at any point in the zoom, and at longer focal lengths, it's likely to be so dim that the shutter speed will be slow. Figure, at 15X, it's only going to be able to use 1/225 the light it collects, whereas at 1X, it will use all of it. That's a bit less than half a percent. And to answer your question, the lens is likely to show distortion at all values of zoom. Also, camera shake becomes very important at long focal lengths (like at the 15X end). Combine with the 225 times as long shutter speed, and you could have a serious problem in any but the brightest of daylight conditions. To find the actual focal lengths, you'll probably have to search the packaging, instruction manual, the camera itself, and maybe google it.

My guess is that the 15X zoom capability is primarily a marketing feature, rather than a useable feature.

If you're even semiserious about photography, avoid any large zoom like that. 3X is about the limit of what I'd consider, and interchangeable prime lenses (non-zoom) are ideal. It's also good training to not have a zoom, as they tend to breed laziness--why get close when you can just zoom in? Granted, it has it's uses, but in general, closer is better. Spend your money on something better.

I only have a zoom for "normal" focal lengths right now.. from moderately wide angle to medium telephoto, about 2.3X zoom factor. I hate the thing, but I've been using it for about a year. I've got the zoom ring securely taped at the midpoint to keep me from using the zoom, and a 50mm prime on the way.
Yeah, I was thinking that. Since when did Samsung make prosumer cameras? Maybe they should just stick to Property Developing and TVs. Their camera seems to be just one big attempt at wooing people - best battery, biggest screen, biggest zoom....

So what do you think of the DSC R1? Will that suffer from as much distortion?
jophassa said:
So what do you think of the Samsung Pro815's 15x zoom? Will the image be distorted at the 1x and 15x extremes?

Is there a way of finding out what the focal lengths are? Thanks

The focal lengths is listed as 28mm to 420mm. I think they list those as 35mm equivalent. That means that those will feel like 28mm to 420mm on a 35mm SLR camera. The actual focal length is probably much smaller because of the small sensor.

I really don't know much about Samsung cameras...but my philosophy is to stick with a company that is know for photography...not DVD players.
Exactement! Then again Sony's Cybershot is quite good and yet they make silly games consoles. The Sony R1 does have a totally massive sensor so I am thinking that is quite good. I just dont think i can afford a proper DSLR with interchangeable lenses. Especially if 3+ are needed.
You don't necessarily need three lenses. You can get a good start with just one...and buy more when you can afford it. With the R1, you do get the benefits of a bigger sensor but you loose the ability change lenses.

One thing to note: Lenses are the most valuable part of a system. Camera technology changes all the time and bodies are getting better all the time...but a good lens 10 years ago, is still a good lens...and can still be sold for a lot of it's purchase price. Try that with a digital camera.

While the R1 is a great camera, it will inevitably loose it's value as time goes by. The built-in lens would be the only lens you could ever use. With a DSLR, you could one day buy a better or newer camera and keep all the lenses that you have invested in.

Besides, isn't the R1 more expensive than a Canon 350D?
Yeah, I think it is, but it comes with a lense, you see?

It is also 10MP over the 350d's 8MP (not that that matters).

And a lot of people on here have been saying stuff about how the kit lense is rubbish and you'd need to splash out on a lense that costs as much as the body.

I think the DSC R1 is maybe a good option for the time being. Agree?

Or is the best option to buy a film SLR with EF lenses so that I can get the 350D when i can afford it? At least that way i would be getting some funky lenses.
The 350d kit lens will do fine for a start, I was shooting with low and medium grade lenses for over 20 years before I got any high-end lenses. As for the DSC-R1 the specs on it are very good. There are a few TPF members with it.
Don't get me wrong; the kit lenses, even though they're cheap zooms, will work. Any lens is better than no lens at all. All my best photos were actually made with that EF 35-80mm f4.0-5.6 III zoom. It's just that all along, I've known that it wasn't as good as it could be, nowhere near. However, I had it on hand and decided to get other lenses outside that range first. Any lens is better than no lens.

Ideally, you should spend most of your money on glass, becuase the body isn't as important. However, by getting a camera with an incorporated lens, you lose the ability to ever get better optics, without buying an entirely new system. Cost-benefit analysis is in order.

If you're seriously interested in photography, then a decent film SLR body, even if you have to use the kit lens (though you should try to get better optics as soon as you can afford to) will do you good. Plus, as someone is bound to point out soon, it's going to cost a lot more to take 1000 pictures on film than it will to take 10,000 pictures with Digital.

Let this not become a film vs. digital debate (Lord knows we've enough of those elsewhere), but the higher cost of learning will cause you to learn more quickly, or go broke. You'll think more carefully before pressing that shutter, and examine your images more closely. It's true that there's no instant feedback, but that teaches note-taking, which is also useful.

To be fair to Digital (though I don't like it myself, partly on principle, partly sour grapes), you do get instant feedback and it can record the notes for you (I think), and you can try several compositions and settings before dumping the trash. You can elect to print only those images you really like. There's no scanning process to introduce color, contrast, and luminosity variations, or dust, or scratches, or any number of other (completely avoidable!) horrors of film photography.

In short, it's much more convenient, and less room for damage (unless you drop the expensive camera and break it, or happen to misplace that itty-bitty gigabyte flash card).

Your best bet, if you're serious about learning photography, is a camera (any camera) with interchangeable (preferrably prime) lenses and manual exposure settings. Whether that's a film SLR, Digital SLR, Hasselblad, 1920s vintage roll-film folder, or 8X10 monorail view camera, is largely irrelevant. (just kidding on the 8X10... everything about it is likely to cost you an arm and a leg--but the quality is unbeatable).

So, if it comes down to it, get the Digital Rebel with the kit lens, and gradually upgrade to better optics as you are able. Or go the film route and do the same. But by all means, manual exposure and interchangeable lenses--but most especially manual exposure.

Most reactions