How to choose a lens for a digital SLR ?

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by therogerfan, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. therogerfan

    therogerfan Rookie

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    So, the title says it all. I wonder if you could provide me with a tutorial or share your own advice. I am not aiming for anything specific, the main purpose is simple photography of objects situated not far from me. The standard lens would suit me well I guess. Anyway, all your recommendations are appreciated.
     
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  2. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    What focal length do you need? Do you need something fast? What platform are you on?

    There's too many variables here to work with.

    Personally, I gravitate to primes for most of my photo work, as you can get fast and sharp lenses for a pretty nice price, but if I weren't a budget shopper, I'd get a nice fast zoom and be done with it.

    If you're going to be doing low-light or no-flash stuff, you will want to look for some faster aperatures (f2.8, f2, f1.8, etc). Zooms that are f2.8 or faster can be REALLY pricy (see the Nikon 17-55 or 70-200).

    If you don't want to use "sneaker zoom" (i.e. moving around to change your focal length as you have to do with a prime), then look at zoom lenses. As far as focal range is concerned, that's up to you - I use a lot of the "normal" focal ranges (35mm-70mm or so), but lately have found that I kind of like the effects of wide angle zooms for some of my work, so I am glad that I have a zoom that goes to 18mm.
     
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  3. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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  4. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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  5. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Can you first tell us what DSLR you have. Once we know the brand, it will limit the lens a bit. If you want the standard coverage. 24-70 and 70-200 on 35mm equivalent, will cover everything you would need to start out. I assume that you have a cropped DSLR 1.5X, 1.6x or 2x cropped DSLR and not a "full frame" DSLR because you are starting out?
     
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  6. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I think that this is pretty much dead-on.

    The kit lens with most DSLRs is good enough to get a start, and will likely not be the weakest link in the chain (that being the operator learning to use the camera). As you improve, you should learn which lenses are appropriate for your needs.
     
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  7. cadfael_tex

    cadfael_tex Professional

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    Agree with slapshot that there are too many variables for a simple answer. From what you've described the kit lens would probably be sufficient. A couple of suggestions though:

    1. get the fastest glass (largest aperture) on the budget you have rather than spending on wider zoom range.
    2. look at used gear to save money. I've had really good luck with ordering from KEH out of Atlanta.

    Might help us to know what your current set-up is :)
     
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  8. therogerfan

    therogerfan Rookie

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    First of all, I would like to thank everyone for replying so quickly. As you have already guessed, I am only planning to buy an SLR, so I am only a beginner. I think that at the very beginning a kit lens will be more than enough. I might buy any other lenses if I will need them of course. I've taken a look at camera kits offered in our stores and I've noticed, that most of them come with very similar lenses.
     
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  9. cadfael_tex

    cadfael_tex Professional

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    What brand of SLR are you looking at? There's some pretty good sites to give you good information. If for Nikon for instance, try nikonians.org.
     
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  10. dennis10is

    dennis10is Banned

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    Ok, if you haven't bought a DSLR yet. Here is some advice. Go and purchase the duo kit lens that is offered on Nikon, Canon and Olympus, I"m sure Sony and Pentax will have similar 2 kit lens combo.

    Just be sure to get the latest kit lenses. Some kit combos will have the older kit lens that they want to get rid off, and these are not as good. In the past 1-2 years, the quality of the kit lenses have really improved significantly, while prices have remained stable. So be sure that you are getting the version.

    I think it all started with Olympus, their kit lenses were much better than Nikon and Canon. So, within a year, both Nikon and Canon have released much better kit lenses to compete.
     
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  11. therogerfan

    therogerfan Rookie

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    I am currently choosing between Olympus and Nikon, Canon is too expensive for me. All the shop assistants and many friends of mine recommend me Nikon.
     
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  12. cadfael_tex

    cadfael_tex Professional

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    I'm a Nikon guy so I think that's a great choice ;) The D40 is still available and does a great job for a small, inexpensive SLR. The D5000 is the new somewhat inexpensive that looks pretty good.

    There is a very good review of all Nikon lenses that you can use as a reference - its naturograph dot com or something similar and it's put together by a man named Bjorn R.
     
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  13. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I'm a Nikon nut as well - I have a D40 that is my "knockaround" body and a D200 which is amazing.

    The 18-55 kit lens for Nikon is fantastic.
     
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