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Thread: Newby

  1. #1
    New Member
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    Sep 2012
    Livingston, TX
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    Hello, I'm 59 yrs old and new to digital photography and I would like to ask a question or two. I don't know anything about lenses. I just recently acquired a Canon EOS Rebel XT(350D) with three(3) lenses from a family member. The lenses are a EFS18-55mm, 35-80mm & 80-210mm. I've used the camera a couple of times just checking it out and trying to get used to it. I've tried each lense for various shots and I've found that the 80-210 seems to zoom farther(make objects closer), I guess I'm saying that right, but it doesn't seem to be enough. I want to take pictures of my grandchildren at their High school football games. They are in the band and I'd like to get close-up shots of them on the field while they're marching but the 80-210mm doesn't seem to get close enough, almost but not quite. Can you please tell me the next size(?) lens I can get to get closer shots of my grandchildren?
    Thank you in advance for your help, Ron.

  2. #2
    Moderator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
    Ottawa, Canada
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    Manfred Mueller

    Re: Newby

    You have a set of lenses that range from a moderate wide angle (18mm) to a moderate telephoto at 210mm. The larger the focal length, the higher the degree of magnification. You will find that you can get lenses that go up to 300mm at reasonable prices, there is quite a jump to get to the 400mm or 500mm range, and anything beyond that is getting into the exotic high end. In addition to Canon, you could check out lenses made for your camera by Sigma and Tamron, as they make lenses that do work well with your camera. Also look for a feature called image stabilization (IS) on those longer lenses, it is a feature that will help get steady images. You could also look at a teleconverter (a 2x teleconverter would turn your 80-210mm lens into the equivalent of a 160mm - 420mm lens), but cameras will not autofocus above a certain f-stop number, but I don't know what it is for your camera.

    The downside of a longer lens is that they become much harder to hold steady and compose, if you are hand-holding the camera. A long lens means a very narrow angle of view and gives you much less room for error. Your 210mm should be more than adequate, but the trick is understanding where to stand and when you can and when you cannot get an acceptable image. That only comes from experience and practice.

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Jul 2008
    Southern California, USA
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    Re: Newby

    One of the least expensive longer lenses for Canon DSLR cameras is the 55-250mm f/3.5-5.6 IS. However that doesnt give you a lot of reach over the 210mm you already have. However, it does provide Image Stablization IS.

    Slightly more expensive is the 70-300mm f/4-5.6 in either Canon or Tamron versions with Canon's Image Stabiization or Tamrons version which is designeted OS.

    Any of the three above lenses will be quite versatile and could be used hand held as a general telephoto and portrait lens. Or could be used on a monopod with IS or OS turned on or on a tripod with the IS or OS turned off...

    I think that you will notice the advantages to IS or OS in a lens if this focal length.

    Getting a longer lens than 300mm would mean putting out some prety serious cash.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    South Devon, UK

    Re: Newby

    I think, Ron, your first requirement is to work out exactly how much further you need to zoom, and a sample photo would help, plus details of the original image size in pixels; or inches plus the 'image resolution' setting.

    The Canon 70-300 is certainly a good lens at a reasonable price. There is also a 'super 70-300' which has the additional letter L in it's name. That is a really good lens, but at a substantially increased price.

    As well as zooming the lens to get closer, another option is to crop and resize the image which you capture. We now get into what can appear to be a complicated maze of pixel numbers and printing resolutions.

    But very simply, if a print at, say 10 ins, isn't big enough on detail you can lose some of the background and print smaller but at a substantial increase in apparent zoom. Which is an option which may work, at no extra cost.

    If you do need to get a larger lens, an idea of how much you would be willing to spend would be helpful.

    ps. The 350D is a bit 'old fashioned' by today's standards but millions of photos have been successfully taken with those cameras in the past so it is still capable of producing good results.

  5. #5
    FrankMi's Avatar
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    May 2011
    Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
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    Frank Miller

    Re: Newby

    Hi Ron, you are new to digital photography but are you new to interchangeable lens cameras as well? If so, then you may find a DSLR to be a bit of a learning curve. If you are actively learning about photography this should not be a problem but if you are an occasional snap-shooter, you might want to consider some of the long lens Point 'n Shoot cameras for this type of shooting as a relatively inexpensive and easy to learn alternative.

    I have both a DSLR and a long-lens Point 'N Shoot because the cost to get a long lens for my DSLR is beyond my budget. You can click on my SmugMug link in the signature below if you want to see and compare images from both cameras.

    If you do decide to get a longer lens for your Rebel, you might want to rent one that you think will fit the bill for a week or so to see if it will work well for you before you decide on your purchase.

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