For all you camera Pros...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by DevilDog, Apr 3, 2006.

  1. DevilDog macrumors regular

    DevilDog

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    #1
    I just got my D50 2 weeks ago, and wanted to buy some lenses for it. All I have is the 28-80mm 'stock' lens. So: I wanted to know if all of you could get together and make a guide on camera lenses, such as the difference between macro and zoom and fisheye and all that. On Nikon's website alone there are 80 some different lenses. I think it would be a good resource to a lot of people. Is this feasible? Thanks!
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    Well I'm no expert, but here it goes....


    (oh man, I wrote so much and didn't even intend to do so. Got a bit carried away, I guess)

    Macro lenses have the ability to focus on things that are very close. So if you have the 18-55 mm kit lens with the D50 (or 28-80 mm equivalent in 35 mm format, I guess), you usually have to be around 40-50 cm away from the subject you're focusing on in order to get it in focus. If you have a macro lense, you'll be able to focus on a subject even if it's only 20-25 cm away.

    A zoom lense is any lens where the focal length is adjustable. For example, your 18-55 mm kit lens can have any focal length from 18 mm to 55 mm. In english, it means that you can shoot wide looking photos (at 18 mm) and also zoom in and get closer by going to 55 mm focal length. A 70-300 mm lens will be able to see further away since it can reach 300 mm.
    Even a 12-24 mm lense is considered a "zoom" lense because of the adjustable focal length, although even when you zoom in, you're not going to zoom in very far.

    Non-zoom lenses are called "prime" lenses. A "prime" lens doesn't have an adjustable focal length. So a 50 mm f/1.8 lens has a focal length of 50 mm that cannot be adjusted. The benefit is that because they're much easier to construct, they're relatively cheap considering the quality of the lense and the maximum aperture capable with a good prime lense. So it is quite normal for a prime lense to have a huge aperture of like f/1.4, which lets in a massive amount of light (good for night shots and motion shots that don't look blurry) but for a zoom lense, you'd be lucky to have a good zoom lens with an aperture of f/2.8, as these lenses are usually very expensive.
    A 50 mm prime lense is considered a "normal" lense, and looking through a 50 mm, or even a 55 mm lense (I guess) is like the perspective you get using only your eyes (except not as wide as your vision).

    A fisheye lens such as the Nikkor 10.5 mm fisheye lense is just an ultrawide prime lense. We're talking about massively wide.....able to capture light at angles of 180 degrees. Thing is that the images are very very distorted, but it's considered an "artistic effect" since it's so extreme and offers a unique view of things. Pretty much all wide-angle lenses, like a 12-24 mm lense, will result in barrel distortion (where straight lines look curved, especially along the sides/edges of the field of view. However, the amount of distortion will vary depending on how good your wideangle lense is.
    There are 2 different kinds of "fisheye" lenses. One type will produce an image that looks circular, and where the edges are dark (forgot the name), and the 2nd type is a diagonal type where the entire rectangular field of view is used and there aren't any black spots where there is no image. For example, the 10.5 mm Nikkor. :)


    Any lense with a focal length of 18 mm or less is considered a zoom lense. Actually, you'd probably need a lens with focal length below 18 mm, say 14 or 15 mm, to get really wide shots, but whatever.

    Any lense with a focal length greater than 70 mm, but less than....oh....say 125 mm.......is considered a mid-range telephoto.

    Any lense with a focal length beyond 125 mm (just my opinion, but not sure
    if there's an actual definition) is considered a telephoto.
     
  3. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

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    #3
    That's some tasty information Abstract. I really want to get a telephoto lense for my D50 but shudder at spending a ton of cash... so I'm looking on eBay some... at least now I have a glimpse as to what is what.
     
  4. TheMasin9 macrumors 6502a

    TheMasin9

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    Huber Heights, OH
    #4
    zoom kit

    try the nikon zoom kit from adorama.com. 70-300mm zoom telephoto, bag, extended warranty for your camera all for a reasonable 150.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Jan 5, 2006
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    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    First off, what's you budget and what are you planning to shot? Without knowing this all I can say is "They all are good."

    But first do some "homework". Shoot a few hundred images or a thosand and keep track of the shots you less because your lens would not alow you to get the shot.

    My gues is that if you are like most, you will want a wider lens. Assume you do. Now here is where the budget comes it. Do you by a 12-24 or the 18-55 , the 17-55,
    18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Zoom-Nikkor .

    Or maybe you want "pimes" te 50mm f/1.4 works well

    It all depends on whay you want to do and who much money you can spend. But all things being equal "fast" lens is best.

    It depends on what you need. For many people the 70-300 is way to slow and certainly to slow to us hand held at 300.

    People are saying very good things about the
    18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED-IF AF-S VR DX Yes it is also an f/5.6 lens but the "VR" works well.

    And then there is an "all time clasic" Nikon lens the 80-200 f/2.8 zoom. This is THE sports lens, has been for many years.

    But for now use what you have enough so that you can say in some details _why_ you want another lens. As soon as you can say "why" in some detail then selection is easy

    One thing to remember --- It's the lens that projects the image onto the sensor. All the camera body can do is record it.

    Digital bodies wil have a short lifetime, new ones come out frequently and the technology is moving fast. A good lens, on the other hand can last for decades.
    get a wide angle lens first. It's more usfull and much easier to use
     
  6. mchendricks macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2002
    Location:
    Central Florida
    #6
    One other thing to consider is that some lenses are for digital only while others can be used on film and digital cameras. Here are various digital only designations:

    Nikon - DX
    Sigma - DC
    Tamron - Di II
    Tokina - DX

    Some of the 3rd party lenses can produce great images without the high cost of the Nikons. Here are a few that are considered excellent lenses:

    Sigma 70-200 f2.8 HSM
    Tamron 28-75 f2.8 Di
    Tokina 12-24 f4 DX

    Mike
     
  7. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #7
    You might want to go to the library or bookstore and pick up a basic book on photography, which will explain a lot and also will show you illustrations of the differences between various lenses. It also will explain about f/stops and what they mean with regard to the overall image and it will explain shutter speed and aperture priority and how these can have an impact on your final image.

    Basically, with regard to lenses:

    Prime lens: a fixed-focus lens which can often be of extremely good, sharp quality, lighter weight than many zooms and somewhat less expensive than many zooms. Often prime lenses are "faster" than zooms, with apertures starting at f/1.2 - f/2.8.

    Zoom lens: can be used to achieve many different focal lengths. Some zooms are of extremely high quality and are subsequently heavy and expensive. Some are "fast," with apertures starting at f/2.8. Some zoom lenses retain the same throughout the lens range, so that if you're shooting at f/2.8 at a closer distance, when you zoom out further, you can stlll be shooting at f/2.8. Others are variable, so that the lens might be f/3.5 at one distance but then when zoomed out further goes to f/5.6. These are the slower lenses.

    Fisheye lens: these are very specialized and not used in everyday photography. They're fun, but not really a practical choice for someone just starting out. For examples of Nikon's 10.5 fisheye, take a look at the thread Chip started in this forum. He's got some great images there. I added one, a shot that I took with a 10.5 that a fellow photographer let me try on my camera for a few moments.

    Wide-angle lens: These are a necessary part of every photographer's bag, as they'll let you shoot in relatively close quarters, they'll let you capture stunning, vast landscapes, etc. Nikon's 12-24 is a very good wide-angle lens, but there are some excellent third-party lenses out there, too. For a little less than really wide, you can use a 17-55 lens. The 1.5x, 1.6x factor really makes a difference when talking about wide angle lenses, as what used to be considered "wide" on a 35mm camera no longer is when it's put on a digital SLR.

    Macro/closeup/micro lens: Nikon refers to their macro lenses as "Micro," so when you see that as part of the description of a given lens, that's telling you that it's a macro lens. Basically with a macro lens you can move in closer to the subject and in some instances achieve a 1:1 ratio so that it fills up your LCD screen and your viewfinder frame. With a macro lens, also there is less camera-to-subject physical distance, too, so that the lens is closer-focusing. For example, I can get some nice bokeh when shooting flowers with the 70-200mm or the 18-200mm lenses; however, I am not able to move in physically with either lens, the focusing distance is several inches (I think as much as a foot with the 70-200). On the other hand, if I've got my 105 macro on the camera, I can get very near to my subject physically, as that lens has a closer focusing distance. There are definitely times when this is important. When shooting skittish little animals or bugs, though, you want to have a little space between you and them so as to not scare them away. Using a 90mm, 105mm or longer macro lens works better in these cases than the excellent 60mm macro. The 55mm or 60mm macro lenses are great when shooting some small object such as coins or jewelry.

    Vibration Reduction (VR): on some of Nikon's lenses you'll see this designation, and what it is telling you is that the lens has special mechanism built in so that when you're handholding you can actually shoot at a lower f/stop than you ordinarily could; in some situations where you would need a tripod, with a VR lens you can get away without the tripod and can hand-hold. This can be advantageous, as you can imagine. Some of the big, heavy zooms have VR and now Nikon has just come out with a VR version of their 105mm macro lens. Why would one need it on that lens? In order to get handheld shots rather than using a tripod in situations where a tripod just isn't feasible.

    If I were just starting out I would begin with the new 18-200mm VR lens, which is a surprisingly sharp and good little lens for the money and for the range it covers. It is an ideal "walkaround" lens and an ideal travel lens. It is not the fastest lens on the block, but one can make up for that if need be by adjusting the ISO. This lens is a great way to begin to learn about the different focal lengths and to see what happens when you zoom in close or when you have the lens at 18mm.... As lenses go it is not that terribly expensive, as it is designed to be an all-purpose lens for the consumer. I suspect that Nikon envisioned the purchaser of the D50 as being the prime target audience for the 18-200mm. Many of us have snapped this lens up for use with our D70 cameras, D70s, D200 and even the D2x.... It's so popular that right now it's hard to get your hands on one, but I'd go for this lens as one of your first purchases because of its versatility.

    Hope this helps! I really strongly urge you to find a book which will illustrate all of this and which will give you a better idea of where you're going from here....

    Definitely I recommend that if you can afford to do so, buy the best quality lenses you can. You'll be keeping your lenses for years (or if you do need to trade up or sell, a higher-quality lens will give you much more return than an inexpensive one would). Camera bodies wil come and go, but you can anticipate successfully using your lenses for years to come....
     
  8. Mr. Jones macrumors member

    Mr. Jones

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    #8
    The difference between the lenses has been covered pretty well, however, the the aperture, in my opinion, needs to be explained.
    Aperture, in regards to a camera, is measured in f/stops. The standard f/stop range is between f/.45 and f/32, although most lenses won't go above f/29. The lower the f/stop, the more light comes in, thus making the shutter speed higher, the higher the f/stop, the less light comes in. The lower the better.
    The affect the f/stop you choose will change what is called the depth of field or DOF. As you use a higher f/stop, the larger the dept of field. If you take a shot at f/32, the shot will be in perfect focus for as much as 30 feet into the field if you're shooting a subject right in front of you. If you're shooting a subject at f/.45, the background immediately behind the subject will be out of focus.
     
  9. DevilDog thread starter macrumors regular

    DevilDog

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    Location:
    Ohio
    #9
    Well, I just turned 17 in February. That probably says a lot. I just have the 28-80 lens. I'd like a good zoom lens, and close up would be good.
    A few Q's:

    1. Are milimeters on the lenses always the same... like, on a telephoto would 200mm be different than a close up 200mm?

    2. What set of lenses would you recommend for me to have a decent coverage of most necessary distances?

    3. Why don't they put the VR in the camera itself???

    4. Difference between 'close-up' and wide angle?

    5. High power zoom and telephoto?

    I do have a job, so if I need lenses I can obtain them. I'll be going to Fort Benning at the end of the summer and want to get a lot of pics there. And *hopefully* Guatemala again this summer.

    And... if anybody is familiar with the D50... what's the best way to take pictures through glass? I've been using auto mostly, but am still figuring out how to control flash and manual stuff.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  10. Mr. Jones macrumors member

    Mr. Jones

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    #10
    All millimeters are created equal unless the lens has been compensated for the sensor size. There is no close up 200mm lense. The largest macro lense I've seen is 180mm.

    Anything between 15mm and 300mm. There will be overlap.

    The vibration reduction is made possible by a pivoting piece of glass inside the lens. In this case, it's just easire to put it in the lens itself.

    Wide angle is pretty much any lens that is less than 35mm. Close up lenses or macro lenses have a lower depth of field. I explain in my previous post.

    People that aren't photographers call telephot lenses high power zoom lenses. In effect, there is no difference.

    There is no good way to shoot through glass. Too much reflection.
     
  11. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #11
    BUY the 17-55mm f2.8 DX lens. You won't regret it.

    Also the 18-200mm f.3.5 VR II lens is awesome too.
     
  12. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #12
    1) yes. 200 is 200. However the macro lens has the ability to photograph a postage stamp (assumming you have a good tripod and lighting equipment.) Most 200mm teles can focus only to about a dozen feet or so. The difference is if the 200mm lens is optimized for close or for distant subjects. Although the macro can be used for distant subject if will be more expensice and bulky

    Tip: By a used 55mm f/2.8 for about $75 for macro work. It's dead-on sharp and you don't need auto as the shots take "forever" to set up anyways.

    2) are you doing wildlife, sports, kids b-day party? What to get depends of what you shoot.
    I'd recommend something wider than 28mm as your first lens. Which one depends of budget. The 18-55 is dirt cheap, 17-55 is much better but $$$ and if you really want "wide" the 12-24 is great. ALL nikon glass is good, some just has better specs and therefore more $$$

    I like the 18-70 as a general purpose lens. It is moderate cost, reasonable speed (f/3.5-f4)

    On the Tele side the 80-200mm f/2.8 has been THE lens every Nikon owners has lusted after for decades Each version is better then the last version, none are cheap.
    A lens longer than 200mm is not as usful as you'd think and a _good_ lens that long is hugely expensive

    3) VR is done by moving a lens element and for technical reasons the element must be ocated near the mid point of the lens

    4) "wide" means the lens "sees" 60 or 80 degree angle. "close" means the camera s close to the subject. I don't see how this could be confusing - what did I miss?

    5) Means pretty much the same thing. Although when people say "high power" they mostly mean "high-end" too Not many would call a 300mm f/5.6 lens "high power" although it is a long telephoto. Others might reserve the term "high power" for any lens 300mm or more.

    Technically the term "telephoto" aplies to any lens with a focal lenght greater than the diagonal of the frames size. the D50's 24x16 frame is 29mm. So technically even a 50mm s a "tele" for the DX format. And this is true in practise too. My 50mm f/1.4 acts like a short tele on the D50 but is the "normal lens" on a film body.

    How to shot through glass? (1) Get a "circular polerizer"
    filter. (2) Don't even try to use a camera mounted flash. Get a sync cord and put the flash a couple feet away and very close to the glass.

    You are not asking about lens "speed". This is possably the signle most important characteristic of a lens and is the primary determiner of price. Be sure you understand about this before spending much money.

    Check out the Nikon forum at www.nikoncafe.com Many helpful experts hang out there.
     
  13. macit macrumors member

    macit

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    Austin, TX
    #13
    Considering the D50 &/ or Nikon...

    I felt this was on topic enough... :p
    - I've been looking at the D50 for a while now and was wondering- is this the best camera for my $$$? I'm not looking for anything extraordinary - just a nice, entry level dSLR. There's also something about the fact that Nikon is using the same lenses since the dawn of time and Cannon recently switched over to EOS - is this relevant? Should I wait until Nikon 'updates' their lenese or something? Is there something *better* about EOS vs. Nikon


    I pretty baffled about lenses and such, but Abstract cleared a lot of that up! thanks! :)

    Edit: I read ChrisA's post and it answered a lot of my questions - I promise to read more carefully next time :D
     
  14. DevilDog thread starter macrumors regular

    DevilDog

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    Ohio
    #14
    Okay, so if I had the body only... what 2 lenses would you recommend I buy?

    And what about 3?

    I do have the 28-80, but is that good... should i get a 80mm+ zoom? and what kind of lens below the 28 for close ups? When I get close to things, like a car show I went to, I have to stand farther away from the car... and wide angle would be good for getting people, too, right?

    Sorry for being so... asinine.
     
  15. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #15
    Actually, there is a Nikkor 200mm AF-D Micro (Macro). I've never handled one but I know they exist.

    Shooting through glass, such as at an aquarium, is possible, but it's tricky. You can't use your flash. Many people press the lens (with lens hood on) right up against the glass and shoot that way, using a fairly high ISO if need be.

    I think when they refer to "high power zoom," that's a term usually found with P&S cameras and they'll often also refer to a zoom as being "3x," "5x," "10x," etc. When someone is purchasing a telephoto lens for a DSLR, it's going to either be a fixed focal length prime telephoto lens or a zoom telephoto lens, and usually someone will simply refer to it as the "18-200" zoom or whatever lengths it covers. On a P&S camera the zoom is powered by a motor within the camera; on a DSLR the zoom is controlled by the photographer's hand.

    Actually, the lens which most Nikon shooters lust after is the 70-200mm /f/2.8 VR, which is an outstanding lens with beautiful bokeh. It's an expensive lens but worth every penny.

    A longer lens, as Chris points out, is very expensive, and unless someone is really into shooting birds and elusive wildlife probably not a priority purchase. Those lenses run in the $3000-4000 range. One alternative way to get more range is to buy a teleconverter to put on your zoom tele and that will get you more range handily.

    Like Chris, I'm a little surprised at the question about the differences between "closeup" and "wide-angle." A macro lens gets very close to the subject and magnifies it in the viewfinder at a 1:1 or sometimes 1:2 ratio, meaning it fills the frame. One can also get close with a telephoto, but not in the same way. Most long telephotos cannot get in too physically close, although the lens can zoom in on the subject. A macro lens is designed to have a close-focusing distance. "Wide angle" is just what it sounds like: the area seen by the lens is signficantly wider than with a "normal" lens or a macro lens. One can take a 12-24mm lens into a room and get much of the room incorporated into the photo. A normal (say, for digital, around 35mm) lens will get part of the room. A long zoom will get very small sections of the room. For a party, a wide-angle lens is your best bet.

    Chris brought up something very key and that is the "speed" of an individual lens. This can make more difference than the range the lens covers because it offers more flexibility in terms of lighting situations under which one can shoot. A "fast" lens allows one to shoot in low light. Some of the most beautiful portraits are done with natural lighting. As a rule, most faster lenses are more expensive, but you can get a fairly inexpensive f/1.4 or f/1.8 50mm lens and do some amazing things with it.

    Good glass is the best investment you can make. Choose your lenses wisely....

    As someone else mentioned in this thread, first thing to do is to assess the kinds of photos you think you will be taking. This will in great part determine the lenses you would want to purchase.

    Wide angle lenses work great for shooting cars, yes, or boats.... they aren't really so good for shooting people because of the distortion factor. The wide angle is going to do funny things to someone's facial features if you get too close to them. For doing crowded party scenes, though, yes, it works great.

    A lens somewhere in the 12-24 range is good for doing wide angle, but Nikon's 12-24mm lens isn't inexpensive. You might want to check out third-party lenses, too; I think it's Tokina or Tamron which has a 10-20mm wide angle zoom.

    Nikon makes a 70-300mm zoom, but I can't speak to the quality of it, as I've never used it. I do know that it is definitely a consumer level lens and that it is comparatively inexpensive. The 80-200 f/2.8 VR that Chris mentions is also a good one to consider; I believe that it's less expensive than the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR.

    On the Nikon Cafe site, they often refer to "the Three Kings," which are the 12-24mm, the 28-70mm f/2.8, and the 70-200 f/2.8 VR. These three (expensive) lenses cover the full range that most shooters would want. There are less expensive alternatives to these, and probably for now that's what you'll want to check out.... You're already partway there with your 28-80; you will want to fill in on each side of that so that you'll cover the wide angle spectrum and the telephoto arena.
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    Yeah, a "high powered zoom" usually refers to those Olympus point and shoot cameras with the 10x or 12x zoom.

    Telephoto just means that the lens has a focal length of greater than.....say.....125 mm or something. It doesn't refer to zoom, only how far you can see. A telephoto lens is like a telescope or something where you can see things that are far away (if that makes it easier to imagine). Some of these telephoto lenses are "zoom lense" like I mentioned earlier, which have focal lengths that can be adjusted (eg: 80 - 400 mm, which has a "zoom" factor of 5x, since 400/80 = 5). Other telephoto lenses might not zoom at all, and these are the prime lenses that only have a single focal length (eg: 200 mm f/2)
     
  17. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #17
    Yes, the D50 is a very nice entry-level DSLR. Nikon did a very good job with this camera and there are many happy and satisfied users out there. Yes, Nikon photographers have an advantage over Canon users in regard to being able to utilize many of their older lenses, since Nikon has made a point of keeping their mount the same.

    I wouldn't wait to buy a new camera until this or that happens....who knows if it ever will happen? Buy the camera now and enjoy it now. If you keep waiting for the "next best thing" you'll never get anything and subsequently will lose out on a lot of potential fun.
     
  18. jlcharles macrumors 6502

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    Wenonah, NJ
    #18
    As a first lens, I would always recommend a 50mm f/1.8

    I'm a Canon shooter myself, so I don't know the price of the Nikon, but it can be had for less than $100 I believe. The Canon comes in around $70.
     
  19. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

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    #19
    B&H offers the f/1.8 50mm for $104.00, but it can be found for a bit less at other places. This lens used to be the "normal" on a 35mm SLR; now on a digital SLR it is more equivalent to a 75 - 80mm lens, which is a nice portrait range. Using one of these in natural light -- positioning the subject near a window, also utilizing a reflector if need be -- can produce lovely portraits.
     
  20. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

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    #20
    As good of a spot as any to wade in :D

    You're going to have fun learning. FWIW, I personally like & recommend pretty much any of the books by John Shaw. Go check him out on Amazon.

    Most of us probably started with a lens in this general range. As we experimented, one of the things many of us discovered is that a 35mm camera with a 50mm lens is roughly the same perceived view as we get from the human eye ... and that moving away from what is "normal" is "interesting".

    Personally, while I have lenses from 20mm to 300mm, I find that I don't generally shoot the "middle" stuff anymore...I tend to be either very wide or very long.

    A mm is a mm, but they can be differently applied: the lens focal lengths of 35mm film cameras have become the comparison benchmark for (not quite all) digital systems: for example, your D50 has a sensor size that is smaller than the 24mm x 35mm of a traditional piece of film, so it has what is referred to as a "1.5x crop factor".

    What this means is that your 28mm-80mm Nikkor lens on a D50 is the equivalent of a (1.5x)(28mm) to (1.5x)(80mm) = 42mm-120mm zoom lens.

    The only time that such a "crop factor" doesn't apply is when the digital camera has a sensor the same size as film. These are called "Full Frame" (FF) cameras. Note: Nikon doesn't currently make any of these.

    This "effective focal length" bit is a bit confusing, but it exists to help us old dogs out who have been shooting with 35mm for a hundred years :) to be able to keep up with these new changes of the digital SLR age.

    Even for newcomers, I think its an important thing for you to know & be aware of, since digital sensors are being made in around a dozen different sizes (mostly in Point&Shoots), and each variation ends up being slightly different.

    Finally (yeah, I'm getting long on Q#1), be aware that this "1.x" crop is a GREAT thing for when you want a longer telephoto lens, but it is a BAD ting when you want a wider wide angle lens. There's no such thing as a free lunch.

    As a rule of thumb, I'd say that a good starting point ... to see what you like ... is 28mm-200mm equivalent. On the D50, this would be 18mm to 135mm (I divided by the 1.5x crop factor to get these numbers).

    For most people, the limits are set by the practical aspects of affordability. In traditional 35mm, it gets expensive to go below 20mm and above 300mm, so that's what are most hobbiests' natural limits.

    Putting this into D50 terms is the tricky part, since the variable here is cost. YMMV on where "affordable" lenses end, but if we say that the wide angle is the 18mm on a digital mount (EF-S for Canon; I think its DX for Nikon), but we can still go up to 300mm with the standard SLR mount, after the crop factors are considered, what was a 20mm-300mm range for 35mm is evolving into a 28mm-450mm range for a dSLR like the D50.


    This is starting to happen.

    This is Apples-vs-Oranges. You can have a close-up (macro) lens without it being a wide angle and vice-versa. Ignoring a lot of the engineering details, the big difference between a Macro lens and a normal lens is that it has been designed to have a longer range of adjustment. Simplistically, this comes down to how far a lens element inside can be moved. Less simplistically, the Devil's in the Details on how to do this while maintaining quality over the entire range and all sorts of other optics concerns...this is why not all lenses have this range of adjustability.

    FYI, you can "convert" many lenses into a macro lens by adding what's called an 'Extension Tube' between the lens and the camera body. Extension Tubes are fairly cheap, but they do have some trade-offs, such as not being able to focus the system at infinity. Consider it another tool in the toolbox to experiment with sometime.

    FWIW, since your budget is probably fairly low and you're interested in close-up photo's -- plus since extension tubes don't have any glass in them, they last forever -- this might be something for you to consider playing around with in the near term, while you sort out if your focal length interests are more wide or more long.

    <<< EDIT: Kenko has a 3-piece set for Nikon for $160 on B&H's website. >>>

    If the telephoto is a zoom telephoto and not a prime lens telephoto, then its simply a difference in nomenclature.

    Glass gets expensive, fast. What also gets expensive fast is to buy a comprimise and then replace it shortly thereafter. At Benning, the parachute drop towers are probably a nice subject to photograph, although you'll probably have to get a camera pass to be allowed to bring your personal gear on post.

    Sounds like you're asking about how best to use a polarizer. Modern autofocus cameras require a "circular polarizer" if you want them to be able to continue to auto-focus.


    -hh
     
  21. -hh macrumors 68020

    -hh

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2001
    Location:
    NJ Highlands, Earth
    #21
    I think part of the confusion here might be that the "natural" minimum focus distance of a generic lens is proportional to its focus length...tele's longer, WA's shorter. As such, its not that unusual for a Wide Angle to have a minimum focus distance of less than 18". As a result, from a compositon standpoint, its pretty common to shoot "CFWA" (Close Focus, Wide Angle).

    This example is from Underwater, but its an example of CFWA with a 15mm on a 35mm Nikonos V. It isn't 'Macro' because the subject was around 5 inches in diameter, so it was at best around a 1:10 ratio:

    [​IMG]

    FYI, the distance to subject here was around 10 inches.


    Its a little more than merely "magnification", as the strict definition for Macro has to do with the ratio of the physical size of the subject to its size on the 35mm film. If the ratio's 1:1, that means that a critter that's 12.34mm long will physically be 12.34mm on the negative/slide. Similarly, for a 1:2 ratio, the 12.34mm critter will be a 6.17mm image on the slide, and for a 2:1 ratio, it will be 24.68mm in size.

    FWIW, I think that traditionally, it isn't called a 'Macro' lens unless it is capable of resolving at least a 1:1 ratio.

    Point worth mentioning, since this is really IMO where the recommendations are coming from to buy a 50mm prime lens: the underlying objective here is usually because you can pick up a "fast" lens at an affordable price.

    IMO its worth pointing this out, because there's no rule that says that you "MUST" always have a continuous spectrum of available focal lengths. Here, there's a gap from 24mm to 28mm. For me personally, I've cut from carrying 3 lenses to 2, and I've not had any problems with a gap from 35mm to 70mm...for generic 'portait' stuff, its very easy to zoom/WA with my feet :D


    -hh
     
  22. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus

    SilentPanda

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2002
    Location:
    The Bamboo Forest
    #22
    Just wanted to let you guys know that this thread is incredibly helpful to me especially just starting out. Thanks a ton!
     
  23. Clix Pix macrumors demi-goddess

    Clix Pix

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    8 miles from the Apple Store at Tysons (VA)
    #23
    Thanks, HH, for clarifying this even further. It's an important point that I think we were overlooking. Also, as I found when reading further down in the thread after having made my response, the OP is interested in doing things such as shooting cars at a car show, and wants to get closer to the subjects and yet have a wider view, so this is exactly the explanation he needs. Thanks! I sometimes am too literal and kept thinking he was interested in getting closer as in doing macro/micro photography.

    With regard to "the three kings," which I'd mentioned because they came to mind when thinking of specific focal ranges. They're pretty expensive and many photographers may have one or possibly two of them, but not all three.

    Absolutely it's not imperative to have a straight continuous spectrum of focal lengths. Right now, with the exception of the 18-200mm VR, I have a gap in my lenses, jumping from the 17-55 f/2.8 up to the 70-200 f/2.8. Some day I'll fill in that gap but in the meantime there is indeed nothing wrong with good old "foot zoom!" In fact, I think it is important for all photographers to learn to zoom with their feet, put a prime lens on the camera and experiment with it. This is how you can learn to approach a subject from different angles, get different perspectives on it, etc. I think too often it's all too easy to become dependent upon a zoom and the easy focusing/composition that can be done with one.
     
  24. joepunk macrumors 68030

    joepunk

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2004
    Location:
    a profane existence
    #24
    This thread and the discussions within have been very helpful. Thanks a million.
     
  25. Pistol Pete macrumors 6502a

    Pistol Pete

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    Location:
    So Cal
    #25

    sounds great can you provide a link?

    anyways I heard that in some cases 3rd party telephoto lenses can have really slow response and can sometimes not give proper metadata.

    is this somewhat true?
     

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