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Thread: Lens suggestion for beginner please

  1. #1

    Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Hello All expert photo graphers,
    I just started doing some research on DSLR photo graphy and learnt that it's better to buy a camera, which has the lens you needed. This is my confusion.

    I will be shooting protraits, land scapes and temple (Church) events.

    1.Is it better to start of with Prime lens first and after a while buy a zoom lens or , buy both prime and zoom lense together ?

    2.Among the prime lens - which is better 35 mm or 50mm ? with F1.4 or f1.8 ?


    3. Among zoom lense for above mentioned usage, is Nikon 18-200 mm or 70-200 mm , again which f stops are better ? lower ones like 2.8 or 4 and above.

    4. Finally between Nikon 18-200 and Canon 28-135, which is better one to have ?

    Thank you very much for your time.

  2. #2

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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Rajaram: Welcome to CIC, the questions you are putting forward are very general in nature, as a beginner, to get into expaining a lot of terms and points I am going to ask if you have gone through the Photography Tutorials which can be linked to on the top banner to help better understand the answers that get in the future. This way you can inquire on more detailed questions, than very general one.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  3. #3

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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Rajaram; At the risk of misunderstanding some of your questions, I'll give it a try. In my opinion, just one lens is probably not going to do everything you want to do.

    1. If you already know which lens you want, you might be able to get a package deal, depending on the retailer. Most package deals that are offered include a lens, but not always the "best" lens,and sometimes not even the lens you want. That is why you need very specific information to convey to the retailer about your needs.

    2. The choice of focal length will be up to you as the photographer. You will have to know what type of photography, at what distances, in what light, and any other condition of the photo session in order to know what lens to choose.

    3. Generally, lenses with larger maximum apertures (f2.8) cost more than lenses with f4. The term "better" will depend upon your shooting conditions, such as the focal length, depth of field, and the amount of light. Also, some lenses "test" better as far as resolution, but the differences are often fairly small and somewhat localized as well. The objective test results can be found on many websites, but remember; you will have to pay considerably more for a higher quality lens. Your suggested usage includes a broad range of distances, so again you have to decide what will be the primary use. You might use an 85mm for portraiture, a 35mm for landscape, and the 18-200mm for interior shots.

    4. If you don't already have a camera body, try to think about buying a system, rather than simply a camera and a lens. Canon lenses are made to work with Canon cameras, Nikon lenses are made to work with Nikon bodies. Both makes are good, but they don't work with each other very well. If your question is about the relative merits of each lens, then just visit a review website and read the reviews.

  4. #4

    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    hi Designer,
    Thank you very much and sorry for asking such confusing questions. But i read reviews, when im almost about to narrow in on a lens/body, then i get read cons. That gets me confusing.
    May be since im beginner, i will learn more with practice.

    Regards

  5. #5

    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Hi Polar,
    Thank you for the suggestion. I tried reading few times, but when i see such a long page, some how i skip it. BUt i am going to do it. I already started and it is helping me so much.
    Kudos to all who put in so much information on the page.

    Regards

  6. #6
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Hello All expert photo graphers,
    I just started doing some research on DSLR photo graphy and learnt that it's better to buy a camera, which has the lens you needed. This is my confusion.

    I will be shooting protraits, land scapes and temple (Church) events.
    First of all, at a high level there are two different formats in DSLRs; full-frame with sensors that are pretty well the same size as 35mm film and crop frame sensors (APS-C) that are 23.6mm x 15.8mm for Nikon; Canon crop frame sensors are little bit smaller than that. Nikon refers to full frame as FX and crop frame as DX.

    Full frame cameras are primarily targeted at the professional market and crop frame are mostly amateur cameras. Lenses for the full-frame sensors tend to be faster (smaller f-stop number) and more expensive than the crop-frame models. The other thing that we get with a crop camera is apparently longer focal length with the same focal length of lens. Full-frame is the base, and using a 100mm lens on a Nikon APS-C sensor would look like you are using at 150mm lens on the full frame; or a crop factor of 1.5. With Canon the crop factor is 1.6.

    1.Is it better to start of with Prime lens first and after a while buy a zoom lens or , buy both prime and zoom lense together ? .
    If you are new to photography; I highly recommend that you get a prime and learn to shoot with it. It forces one to move around and work for the best composition. If you have a zoom lens, one tends to get lazy and just stand there and zoom in and out, rather than moving around to compose. Primes also tend to be less expensive, faster, sharper and have less distortion than zooms, but for all practical purposes, the faster (smaller f-stop number) is really the only part that makes any difference in most practical photography.

    That being said, a zoom lens gives you a lot more flexibility, which is why then are so much sharper.

    2.Among the prime lens - which is better 35 mm or 50mm ? with F1.4 or f1.8 ?
    The reason I went on about the full frame and crop frame is that the “normal” lens would be the 35mm lens and for full-frame, the 50mm lens would be the “normal” lens. As a general rule, crop frame lenses are not suitable for use on a full-frame sensor, but a full-frame lens can be used on a crop frame sensor.

    The f/1.4 lenses tend to be aimed at the professional and these are more expensive. The f/1.8 lenses tend to be aimed at the amateur and can be less expensive. I do not own anything faster than a f/1.8 lens right now.

    3. Among zoom lense for above mentioned usage, is Nikon 18-200 mm or 70-200 mm , again which f stops are better ? lower ones like 2.8 or 4 and above.
    From the Nikon standpoint, I know both lenses quite well. My wife uses the 18-200mm on her crop frame camera, while I use the 70-200mm on my full-frame camera.

    You can’t really say one is better or worse than the other, as both lenses are built for different uses. The 18-200mm lens is a general purpose lens that covers a wide range of focal lengths. Optically, it is slower and has more distortion than the 70-200mm, but on the other hand it is about 1/3 the cost, is much lighter and you don’t have to change lenses to get the range of focal lengths. The f/2.8 70-200mm lens (both in the Canon and Nikon lines) is the mainstay of the professional portrait photographer. I do shoot it wide open to get a very narrow depth of field[/QUOTE]

    4. Finally between Nikon 18-200 and Canon 28-135, which is better one to have ?
    As per a previous comment, the Nikon and Canon lenses cannot be used on cameras from each other straight out of the box (technically one could get a converter), so your purchase should be dependent on which camera body you have. If you have a Canon camera, get lenses made for that manufacturer and if you get a Nikon, get Nikon F-mount lenses; either from Nikon or from third-party manufacturers like Sigma, Tokina or Tamron.

  7. #7

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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Let me just suggest that, if you decide on an APS-C Nikon, you may seriously want to consider the 18-105 f/3.5-5.6 kit lens. It is a very respectable lens at a very decent price. For the subjects you have expressed an interest in photographing, it would be pretty close to ideal. Its main drawback is that it is a bit slow (small max aperture) for indoor events if you are not allowed to use a flash with it. A notiecably pricier alternative that would be a bit faster and is also a bit better optically (but not enough to worry about) is the Nikon 24-120 f/4 lens. FWIW

  8. #8

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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Hi. A newbie here. Started DSLR when my son gave me an entry-level Nikon D3100 kit lens: 18-55mm last year.
    .
    Right away I wanted to buy super-duper zoom lens. But after asking around and researching the web, got the impression it's best to take several thousand shots with the kit lens before getting zooms etc. ( a noted author even said "it's all you need..." )

    luckily, I found friends who readily lent their old zoom lens.
    At first I felt cool with all those lenses. Then gradually, felt loaded down carrying so much gear.( they were heavy film cam type lenses , manual focus. But I learned a lot from them. )

    I asked/ researched again, and felt maybe the 18-200mm dx vr lens is the good all-around lens for noobs. However, it's expensive and considering I'm just a snapshooter, I got a refurbished 55-200mm dx vr. and a prime 50mm 1.8D. So far, so good. Perhaps, get a 35mm prime in the future.

    Hope this helps. Meanwhile, let's just enjoy shooting. Cheers.
    Last edited by nimitzbenedicto; 28th August 2012 at 04:22 PM.

  9. #9

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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    I'm not an expert. If I was a serious beginner, I would choose a camera such as the NIKON 16.1 mp Coolpix 510, about $400. SONY, Canon, Olympus make similar cameras. Or you may want to research some earlier models and purchase used. I would advise against getting a camera body and a separate lens for a beginner. Good luck.

  10. #10
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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    I think it would be best for you to start with a zoom lens until you have some experience. If you were buying a compact camera they often give the focal length equivalents to a full 35mm camera. It's no accident that they often cover something like 28mm to 105mm because it covers most aspect of photography without going extremely wide angle or very telephoto. There are complications - usually expensive going any further. Some zooms cover a much wider range but quality is likely to suffer.

    If you buy a dslr things get a little more complicated. A full frame dslr would use a 28-105mm lens. An APS on has what is called a crop factor. The sensor is small so the focal lengths of the lenses need to be modified to give the same view. In the aps case it would 28 divided by 1.6 and to 105 divided by 1.6. That's roughly 18 to 65mm. Looking at Canon's range which I would recommend they do an 18 to 55mm at several prices. It can even be bought with image stabilisation which wouldn't be a bad idea if you are getting on in age and may not be able to hold a camera steady. The also list 18-135mm and 18-200mm I believe but if I were you I would avoid them. You find that the 18-55mm meets most of your needs. Later you might want a telephoto and they make a 55-200mm. You will want image stability with that one.

    There is another option that involves higher quality lenses and a lot more expense. Your 1st lens would be a 24 to 105mm IS L series lens. Here the catch is that it will not show such wide a view at 24mm as the 18 available on the other and you would be wise to have the IS- image stabilisation version. For a telephoto to go with that a 70-300mm IS would be suitable and will reach a long way on an aps camera. These are the 2 lenses I use most on mine. There is also a 100-400mm but it's very expensive. You might also decide you need a wider angle lens in this case such as a 10-22mm. I've always intended to get something like that but haven't. Very very occassionally I find I need a lens as wide as that but not very often and it hasn't really been a problem.

    The 2 lens approach is much cheaper than the 3. I've also suggested zooms with a relatively short range. It's best to stick to 3 to 4 for decent quality. There aren't any free lunches as far as lenses go. It's no accident that canon and other stick to that sort of range on their quality lenses. Buy an 18-135mm or 18-200mm by all means but bear that in mind. You may find a camera plus 2 lenses deal in that sort of range at very reasonable prices. You will also find deals with the camera and one of the longer range zooms but personally I wouldn't go in that direction.

    Hope this helps. All make offer similar lenses. By range I mean longest focal length / divided by the shortest. Though I had better add that as it will hopefully make things clearer.

    John
    Last edited by ajohnw; 28th August 2012 at 11:59 PM.

  11. #11

    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    This was very helpful to me, thanks

  12. #12
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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    I have been asked this question a few times by colleagues over the past year or so. Here's what I've suggested:

    In terms of camera brand, go to shops and try out different cameras. They have different menu systems, build quality, buttons etc. Just because I shoot Nikon doesn't mean I blindly suggest Nikon to people. A Canon may feel better in your hands and be more intuitive to you.

    All camera brands offer starter packages with either a single lens or two lens package. Generally these are a good way to start in the world of DSLR photography, and will cover your needs.

    When you say you will be shooting portraits, landscapes and temple events, you are covering a broad array of subject matter. If you were an experienced photographer/keen amateur/pro then you may have different lenses in your bag to cover these different subjects. Obviously the $$$ spent instantly increases. If you are shooting landscapes and temple events you will be needing a wide field of view. On starter cameras which have a 'crop' sensor, as mentioned by other guys previously, 28mm on the Canon lens you're talking about will possibly not be wide enough. That's why you generally see starter packages with an 18-55, 18-105 or equivalent lens included. I would not recommend your only lens being a 28mm at its widest.

    When you're investigating cameras in shops, do some research on the internet about how these cameras perform with high ISO settings. ISO is the sensitivity of the camera sensor to light. In darker conditions when you're not using flash (maybe your temple won't allow flash photography) you'll need a camera which is good in low light and high ISO. A very good entry level camera body these days should produce acceptable results at up to ISO6400 if pushed, but 3200 should be very acceptable. Don't be fooled by manufacturers bragging about max ISO of 25600 - try looking up the results at that high an ISO on the internet for that particular camera and see if you would seriously use that setting for your images. Try looking at camera reviews at www.dpreview.com - there you can compare camera outputs at different ISOs against its competition with test images in a controlled environment.

    In terms of prime lenses that you mention, they are different beasts again. f1.4 lenses are more expensive than f1.8 lenses. These will give you a shallow depth of field for your photographs, and backgrounds will blur more. The other advantage is that they let more light into the camera, which is useful for photography in lower light. This is why you may hear them mentioned as 'fast' lenses. However you are stuck with a single field of view and cannot zoom. Initially this may be limiting, so I would not recommend that you start with a prime lens, but go for a zoom lens on a camera body that is good at high ISO (negating the advantage of the prime lens on an older less High ISO capable camera body in terms of performance, but obviously you won't get the creamy background)

    So I cannot recommend the latest Canon camera bodies as I don't keep up with their latest offerings. However in the Nikon lineup I would recommend the D3200 - look up the latest Canon offering that matches this in price and performance from on line/magazine reviews.

    In terms of lenses, I'd recommend the 18-55 for the D3200 and the 55-200 if they offer a two lens deal. Again, Canon will offer similar packages.

    If you have the budget to go for a bigger body, then I'd recommend the D7000 or Canon equivalent. The D7000 should come with an 18-105mm lens which is good, and maybe come as a package with a 70-300mm. If you are offered the 70-300mm, then make sure it is the Vibration Reduction (VR) version, as the cheap non VR version isn't very good at all - rubbish in fact! The 18-105mm should meet all your needs though and was an ideal everyday lens for me when I started in photography with my D90.

    If you eventually want to go down the lines of a prime lens then if you are using it as an everyday lens I'd recommend a 35 1.8, or as a prime lens for shallow depth of field portraits I'd got for the latest 50 1.8 (Canon again have equivalents). 50mm as a prime lens may be very limiting on a crop sensor body and you will probably get more use out of a 35mm.

    If you really want a prime lens then I'd recommend sticking with the D3200 or equivalent, skipping the extra outlay on a D7000 or equivalent, and buying a 35mm f1.8G lens (or Canon equivalent). There are some cheaper Nikon 50mm lenses available second hand (50mm f1.4D and 50mm f1.8D) but they will not autofocus on the D3200 body (I'm pretty sure) - AFS - G lenses will autofocus. In Canonland your EF lenses should all autofocus I think.
    Last edited by dubaiphil; 29th August 2012 at 05:23 AM.

  13. #13
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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    Yo Rajaram, I may not be a professional photographer but i'd like to give out advice since i want to see how my skill is in giving photography words of wisdom

    1. First, it maybe good to start out with a prime lens. It makes you less lazy and it has good aperture. Its also a nice starter lens and a good lens for your shootings of landscapes, ESPECIALLY PORTRAITS!, etc.
    2. Its your choice. Professional or not, as long as you shoot pictures, it doesnt matter if its 1.4 or 1.8. You will learn so for me, no such thing as PROFESSIONAL. what matters though is your budget. the lens w/ f1.4 IS always more expensive than the 1.8 so if you wanna save then go for the 1.8
    3. the 70 200mm is better. it has 2.8 aperture which is AWESOME for a zoom lens. you normally dont find zoom lenses with Big aperture. but the 70 200 is bigger, heavier and EXPENSIVE. The 18 200mm on the other hand has 3.5-5.6 aperture. normal for telephoto/zoom lens. this what i use. it may not have a big aperture or stuff like that but its a good all around lens. you can use that for your portraits, landscapes and especially in churches where you cant go close to what your taking a picture on. plus, the 18 200 is WAY cheaper than 70 200. but still, when its on lens quality, my money is on 70 200.
    4. I dont know what specs the canon 18 135 has. ill check that one time. but if your looking for range, go for 18 200.

    Thanks for reading. Im a semi pro photographer so what i say may or may not be correct so please forgive for i am still learning. we all went to this stage.

  14. #14
    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Lens suggestion for beginner please

    I would add a little to the last post specifically on portraiture. In 35mm terms portrait lenses are generally in the range of 75 to 85mm. Some companies haven't bothered and just produce a 100mm lens. There reason they do this is that these focal lengths give something close to the human eyes perspective. Other focal lengths distort the apparent depth in the photograph and don't approximate what we see when we take a shot. On an aps camera this works out at around 50mm. One option on some cameras, canon for sure, is an early quality 50mm standard lens and an adapter. Autofocus is lost and some cameras may loose some of their features when a manual lens is fitted. There are adapters available for canon that allow the autofocus confirm to work on the camera. Aperture has to set manually as well. While this is a bit of a pain when focus and aperture are critical for blurring out scenery behind a subject etc an af lens is likely to need manual setting anyway,

    If this focal length is scaled up to large format focal lengths, Hasselblad for instance, you will find that they also mention landscape use. The reason for this is the same - eye perspective. This is the sort of focal length to use where something needs to be shown as it actually is. It not a hard or fast figure and variations either side wont make much difference but it's a point always worth bearing in mind. 1/2 it or double it and there will be a very noticeable difference. +/-25% is more debatable.

    These lens tend to be very sharp in the centre of the field even wide open but don't perform well over the whole field until they are stopped down to F4 or may F5.6. The same applies to the old standard lenses. Usually 50mm in F2, F1.8 or 1.7, F1.4 and F1.2 You might say the F1.2 is a step to far. F1.4 could be worth while as it's may be better at F4 /5.6 than the others but there usually isn't much in it.

    Personally given good zoom lenses with a range of 3 to 1 and 4 to 1 I would wonder about prime lenses because if the manufacturer has done their job there shouldn't be much in it. That's most likely to apply on lenses in the priced range of £500 and up though. People have a budget so it best not to worry about that aspect but if you can afford it a camera body of your choice and the best standard zoom is a very sensible option. You will never feel that you really need to change the lens even if the manufacturer has bought out a MKII etc unless it offers a very distinct advantage and of course if you sell it they retain their value better. On the other hand - new camera comes out with some features that appeal - just buy a body. Camera manufacturers want us to buy the lot again and are very good at encouraging us to as well.

    One thing I would add is that for maximum flexibility it's still best to stick to a dslr. There is a growth in cameras with electronic view finders of one sort or another but they have their limitations and just aren't as flexible. The main problem is critical focusing when it's needed - macro work and blurring parts of a shot etc or even checking the autofocus. The problem shows it's head in a number fo ways. Some are light and compact and very easy to carry around with a few lenses but the resolution in the viewfinder is insufficient to really show what is going on. They offer a magnified view to get round that but it's easy on Olympus 4/3 for instance to find yourself trying to manually focus through what is a 700mm lens in 35mm terms without image stability, A joke. The new Olympus OM EM5 it seems does get round that aspect but when the view is magnified it's also rather restricted. It's still an option if a person is prepared to put up with that problem and wants something small, light and easy to carry about. Where it falls over is when objects are photographed rather than scenes. There is always the possibility that the camera isn't focused where you want it to be and checking can be a problem. Panasonic lenses have image stability built in which just leaves the restricted magnified view. I'm playing with an olympus pen at the moment. I manage with the standard short zoom but use the pansonic 45-200mm for a telephoto. Really because the Panasonic cameras use software correction it's best to use their lenses on their cameras. That is common these days. I have 2 dslr's but often find I want a camera with me when I've left it at home hence the Pen. One other aspect of Pen's is that they have "photgrapher" features in the menu's. They can be rather torturous to use. Too much so for many. The sensor on these is even smaller than APS. The crop factor is 2 which has the advantage of making dedicated micro 4/3 lenses smaller and more compact than either APS or full frame especially in the case of the Pen. I'm just mentioning them because they are another option and are capable of producing good results but at the expense of the electronic view problem. These cameras can also have lots of noise in low light making them impossible to use. Eg dim living room. They wont focus either. A dslr may not either but at least the viewfinder still works. A The Panasonic's or the new OM are probably the most sensible option in this area as shake while using manual focusing or checking is taken care of. Having used one I don't always feel that the sensors in them are fully up to the standard of others.

    :-) I can't help posting shots sometimes. This is from a Pen. Taken around portrait focal length with it's usual standard kit zoom which is actually better throughout it's range than some primes. This isn't to encourage anyone as a dslr is still the best option for a single camera but it gives some idea what a small sensor can do as it's full size. It's just been cropped. Very nearly full width but reduced height.

    http://www.23hq.com/ajohnw/photo/8098480/original

    John

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