Lenses, how to recognize their difference and usage

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by wheelhot, Oct 19, 2008.

  1. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Well Im going to be delving into the DSLR world sometime by this year, latest by early next year. And I would like to get some information cause that what I always do, do research on stuffs to ensure that the sales person is not ripping me up.

    So here goes. What does focal length in a lens mean? Does it mean how much magnification the camera can do. What about Macro lenses? If you use Macro lenses, you can only use it for close up shots or you can use it for almost everything, just that it has an extra advantage during close up shots compared to other lenses?

    Im thinking of Canon by the way, either 1000D (Rebel XS) or 450D (Rebel XSi).

    Oh yea, btw, yesterday I went to a photography shop and I saw a 1000D selling for RM4000 thats is ~$1,136. That is so freaking overpriced. :mad:
    That's the problem with Canon, they don't control the price of who is selling their products. Here in Malaysia, Canon products (cameras and lens) is very expensive, it made Sony DSLRs look cheap and of a better alternative then buying a Canon for people who want to delve into DSLR.
  2. wheelhot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
  3. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Jul 22, 2005
    Welcome to a world of no money :)

    Focal length determines how wide or narrow a shot will be. 50mm is roughly the focal length of the human eye, so if you look though the viewfinder with one eye and keep the other eye open, you should see roughly the same thing. Anything wider than 50mm (eg 24mm) will allow more objects around you to be in the shot, while anything narrower than 50mm (eg 200mm) will magnify an object in the distance.

    Either of those two cameras will be fine for your use. When you get it, I highly suggest you get the 50mm f/1.8. It's a very cheap lens, but for the money, its absolutely brilliant.
  4. Le Big Mac macrumors 68030

    Le Big Mac

    Jan 7, 2003
    Washington, DC
    Bear in mind that that is the case for 35mm film and a full-frame DSLR. Most DSLRs use smaller sensors so that a 50mm lens actually has a modest zoom effect.
  5. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    On the Canon bodies the OP mentions there is a 1.6x crop so a 50mm lens has the same field of view as a 80mm one. A 30-35mm lens on these bodies is closer to normal...
  6. wheelhot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Thanks for the tips.

    Yeah, I got that a lot, mountain bike = world of no money, photography = world of no money....anyone see a pattern here? Dang hobby stuffs is expensive.
  7. apearlman macrumors regular

    Aug 8, 2007
    Red Hook, NY
    Focal length simulator

    This is what focal length does:
    Keep in mind that a 50mm lens on a 1.6x crop sensor will "look like" the 80mm image in this simulator.

    Macro lenses can be used for general shooting as well as their main purpose, which is extreme close-up/enlargement of subjects. They are able to focus on very close subjects. The main drawback is that most of them tend to focus slightly more slowly in general use.
  8. wheelhot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Aaah okay, well I'll post the Canon lens that my dad bought to see what you guys opinion about it. To see if its okay for general use :D.

    Cause Im thinking of buying a Canon XS body only if the Macro lens is good enough for general usage. I mostly take close up shots cause I don't know, I have the fondness of it, most of the pictures that I like using a PnS is Macro mode. Only on certain occasion I will take sport pictures. :rolleyes:
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Macro lenses generally work OK for general use but have some problems. They are more expensive, they many are not as "fast" and they are all either a mild to long telephoto. For general use you will need a wider lens. Even a 60mm macro lens is quite long

    Do you ned a macro lens for the kind of work you want to do. The macro lens will take a picture such that an object 24mm wide fills the frame. Of course you could also take a picture of something larger. If your subjects are larger than 24mm, say the size of a book or your hand then you may not need a true macro lens
  10. eric m. macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2008
    Kalispell, MT
    the world of SLR photography is amazing, but it can also be so expensive and there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to buying lenses. you can pretty much expect to spend MUCH more on lenses than you do on your actual camera body. i am shooting with a 40D and 5D right now, and even though i only have a few lenses i use, the cost of them is far more than what i paid for my 2 camera bodies.

    for starting out, the canon rebel xti (400D?) is a great way to go. it is a good quality camera with lots of features and you can get one so inexpensively these days. even the old xt (350D?) is a great camera. just get one good lens and you can keep it when you upgrade to a better body later, if you decide you really like digital photography. a great lens that isn't too expensive is the 28-135mm IS f/3.5-5.6. It will cover a good focal length which is more than enough to learn with. and it has image stabilization which is nice if you have shaky hands or shoot in low light.

    another amazing lens for the price is the 50mm 1.8 which was mentioned above. it is incredible how a lens for under US$100 can take such consistent, sharp, rich images. it is such a bargain. the top of the line f/1.2 L series 50mm is over $1200 but as i said, there is a point where you have to spend a lot more money to just get slightly better sharpness and it's just not worth it for the beginner unless you have a whole lot of disposable income.

    good luck!
  11. wheelhot thread starter macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    thanks for the tip. The reason why I ask about Macro lenses cause my dad has them already (and he will not be using them, now that those lenses did not do what he wanted). So I guess I could save money by buying the body only while using macro lenses. :p

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