Upgrading from the kit lens?

Just came across this superb post on another wordpress blog on buying a new lens. Explains in very simple, easy to understand terms (for beginners like me that is), the key issues involved. Well worth reading!

What Lens Should I Buy?”

(And it includes the first decent explanation I’ve come across of “focal length”… beats all the other stuff I’ve read hands down!)

About fotdmike

Occasional photographer; occasional writer/blogger; occasional activist; occasional computer-geek. Bit of a fool really.
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6 Responses to Upgrading from the kit lens?

  1. robsinlight says:

    Thanks,
    Glad you enjoyed the post!
    Rob

  2. LifeSpy says:

    Hmm…I have found my 50mm f1.4 has an awfully lot of problems with digital, on film its great. A lot of primes were/are designed for film and I would be careful on purchasing without trying as they are not being made yet for digital(well Nikon have just launched a few)!

    In the old days when I was doing news/sports it was easy we had a 24mm, 85mm, 200mm, and a doubler (2x converter),Not counting specialist lenses for cricket, football etc. All were fast lenses but we also had lots of bodies with different lenses attached doing away for the need to change during fast news events.

    The way I consider purchasing zooms is by asking “am I happy with its widest setting” cos that’s what you will use the most, and modern zooms are only 2/3 of a stop slower than a prime and i can get the same coverage with two zoom lenses, but at the loss of not having a fast telephoto by one stop, so I just get closer :)and image stabilisation helps on some subjects. Telephotos also magnify the subject, not just crop

  3. fotdmike says:

    I’m not at all clear why there should be a necessity to have lenses specifically designed for digital… got any links to articles re the science behind it?

    Re telephotos magnifying as well as cropping, I’d sorta assumed that was implicit anyway.

  4. LifeSpy says:

    Non that I have to hand, but the main problem was the lens coating and the sensor, the sensor is shiny and bounces light back on the rear element; fringing is often a problem too (purple edges on the highlights, but can be other colours too)
    Some manufacturers like Sigma do special type of lens that is compatible for both digital and film, and have slowly been discontinuing the film only versions.

    Nikon have DX branding meaning they are designed for digital only.

    I think Tonika and Tamron also have an equivalent digital signifier, not sure about Canon.

    There is not a great deal of difference between digital lenses and film lenses both will give you a picture, but film on digital seems to throw a few curve balls when in difficult lighting, or just unexpectedly gives strange effects.

    That said digital lenses can’t be used on film bodies as they are designed with the small sensor area and vignetting occurred on the edges

    I just wish it was like the old days, you invested in lenses cos they always worked, now the bodies are constantly changing and technology forces lenses to be redesigned, so you can’t invest in anything untill it all settles down 😦

  5. fotdmike says:

    I’ve been checking out the Jessops site meanwhile (goes without saying I’m at work at the mo’!) and looks as though quite a few of the Tamron lenses are designed for digital and some Sigma lenses too.

  6. LifeSpy says:

    Not surprising really, as a lot of camera manufactures are no longer making film bodies, lens companies are designing/supplying for just digital cameras.

    There are some good classic primes to be brought second hand and v cheap, such as 35mm f2 (ideal for low light work) for eg. or even some very long lenses (harder to find) from local camera shop. They normally offer 6 -12 months warranty on purchase, but again try them first, cos no one is buying film lenses the shops often put them on Ebay, but then they have no warranty:(

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