Good lenses guide with features explanation?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Gloor, May 29, 2009.

  1. Gloor macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2007

    I was wondering if anyone has a good guide that would explain to me the differences in lenses like the 18-108mm f2.8 etc as those numbers are a bit confusing so as I'm starting to learn more and got my first DSLR I would like to get really confident with all the features and terms so one day I can do really nice and professional looking photos as a lot of people here do.
    So, where or what would be a good guide? Any great ideas? Thanks in advance
  2. gkarris macrumors 604


    Dec 31, 2004
    "No escape from Reality..."
    I go to the local Camera Shop and ask for the glossies from the manufacturers. The manufacturers usually have a guide for their lens lineup.

    They are harder and harder to find, as they want you to go to their website. Calumet Photo has days where a rep comes out and shows their wares, and they usually bring all the brochures with them.

    And they're free!
  3. rogersmj macrumors 68020


    Sep 10, 2006
    Indianapolis, IN
    The sites already suggested are all great and should contain all the information you need. One of the most important aspects of a lens (other than the focal length -- the "zoom" in layman's terms) is the aperture; I wrote a simple guide to understanding aperture on my site awhile back, maybe that will help you.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Good ideas above but people always seen to forget about the public library. Most librarys have some very old books but that's OK, Photography has not changed much on the last 40 years. Any basic photo book will explain this. It really is best to read a book length explanation. Because everything about those focal length , aperture, shutters ad so on is interrelated.

    I could simply tell you the "f-stop" (f/2.8) is the ratio of the lens' effective diameter to is focal length. But that is not helpfull is the goal is to choos a lense that would be best for a given subject. There is a set of basics that you have to know and then it all comes together. It really does required more than a web page
  5. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    At the beginner level there's hardly anything to be gained from reading an in-depth book on the subject as opposed to just going to the websites listed above.
  6. chocolaterabbit macrumors regular

    Nov 2, 2008
    Second the public library idea. It looks like you need to learn all aspects of photography, not just lenses. The books in the library are great for this, as they have all the guides in one place, as well as having examples etc. That's how i started out, and it was infinitely more useful than websites with forums with misleading information (eventually you'll know how to sort out the wheat from the chaff), and guides that teach you one thing but doesn't have everything in the one place.
  7. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Good pictures have much more to do with composition and subject than equipment. That is- you can get great publishable pictures with almost any camera/lens combination in today's DSLR line-ups from any of the manufacturers. Equipment comes into play more in taking pictures of a particular subject than it does in taking good pictures. Therefore, if you're still at the "all my pictures look like snapshots" stage of the game, I'd suggest that you'd be much, much better served by taking a photography class at a local community college or equivalent, taking a beginner's workshop, or getting the ($diety, I hate the name) complete Ron Reznick "Sure Shot" DVDs than worrying about lens specifications.

    Sure, faster lenses will allow better subject isolation and lower light shooting, but if you don't have the fundamentals, it won't matter much what equipment you bring to the game. I've seen as many bad photos with pro-level gear as with entry-level cameras and kit lenses.
  8. Flash SWT macrumors 6502

    Flash SWT

    Mar 14, 2009
    Houston, TX
  9. jdesign macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2008
    in easier terms :
    • 18-108mm : is focal length of the lens. so it's the zoom capabilities of the lens. If you are confused, 50mm is what your eye see... so if it's 50mm when you see the camera viewfinder it's exactly what your eye see. so lower number is zoom out. higher number is zoom in

    • F2.8 : is the aperture. just think of it the window of the lens. when you open a window lights come in. the more light the better. Lower F number means the lens can open that window even bigger, where higher number will close that window . usually the bigger window it can open eg. f2.8 lens will cost more, but give a faster shutter speed ( because plenty of light comes through )
    and lower f number will give nice portrait look in your photos ( blurring the background ) , higher number F stops will make everything looks sharp.

    something also to consider the longer zoom you have it's usually best if you have a quick lens as well as it tends to shake more.

    all the best, sorry for my english.. i'm not a native english speaker :p
  10. Captain Zero macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2009
  11. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    #12 50mm on 35mm film approximates the perspective, nothing else. read the link Flash posted.

    first, this is technically the f-stop, not the aperture. anyways, note that this only denotes that maximum f-stop.

    also, background blurring is much more complicated than simply large apertures.

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