PDA

View Full Version : The Lense!


Sav
06-02-2006, 12:15 AM
From all the other threads and discussions on on this part of the forums I find that it might be a good idea to dedicate a thread just to lenses as it is important as the camera itself. Basically just a thread discussing what lenses are a good suggestion for a persons need when using a SLR. Maybe more such as personal experiences with the lense and other purposes. I would start it off but I don't feel iam knowledgable enough to do so. So anyone feel like kick starting it?

ZiggyB
06-02-2006, 01:59 AM
The primary lens that I use is the Sigma 30mm/1.4f. They have it for Canon, Nikon and Sigma mounts.

At that length it's perfect for crop cameras, IMHO. It's 48mm equivalent on my Canon 350D. I tried going with a 50mm (becomes 80mm on the 350D) but it's just too long for my personal tastes.

The pluses for the lens is that it's very sharp even wide open. I use the lens at 1.4f most of the time to get that lovely blurred background.

I've been really happy with the perfomance of the lens.

The cons for the lens is that it's quite heavy. So it adds a lot of bulk. You also have to be really careful with the focus. Focusing can be really touchy at 1.2f. There is a bit of vignetting, especially in bright sunlight, but it's difficult to see and only if you're really looking for it.

Overall I've been really happy with the lens and like I said, it's my primary lens at cons. :)

Ollie
06-02-2006, 07:41 AM
I actually use the 50mm 1.8f lens quite a bit. It's hard to get full-body shots, due to the 85mm equivalent focal length (I have to stand a good 25 feet back), and at full open focusing can be finicky. However, the low light of conventions becomes much less a problem. If I just want a bust shot, it's pretty good. On the 350D, it makes the camera almost tiny and easy to work with.

For any kind of set-up shots, though, I tend to use a 80-200mm lens. Despite a "regular" 4.5f, the zoom provides a good background blur effect.

Oklahoma
06-02-2006, 08:47 AM
I have a Sigma 28-70mm f2.8-4 and a Sigma 70-300mm f4-5.6 and use both regularly. For walking around I use the 28-70 usually wide open at 28mm but do zoom in for some shots. It allows me to stand about 8-10 feet back and not have to step in front of other people trying to get a shot if a lot of people have gathered to photograph one person I can always zoom in if I need to. I use the 70-300 to shoot Masquerades because I never end up front row so I usually stand part way back and shoot from a distance at moderatly high shutterspeeds to offset the lens shake at around 200-300mm.

Overall I am satisfied with the lenses but have noticed a few things that I do not like, like slow autofocus on the 70-300. The lenses are sharp but I would like to get some better lenses at some point.

Godly
06-02-2006, 11:38 AM
Canon 50mm F/1.4 here. I will use that in every shot, unless it is impossible to back up any further in which I will reluctantly switch to the kit lens (18-55mm) to shoot anywhere from 18~30s distance. I almost never shoot at F/1.4 though because I might only get part of a face focus or something. I usually go at F/2.0 just to be safe and I feel it has great bokeh, but sometimes I do go F/1.4 when really close up. I favor F/2.0 and F/5.6 apertures very much.

gmontem
06-02-2006, 02:00 PM
I don't think I have a primary lens; never occurred to me really. But it's probably the 50/1.4 (Canon EF mount). For Fanime '06 I wanted to make things a bit more difficult for myself, thinking of a potentially greater reward, and shot mainly with a 135/2, even indoors. The caffeine sure made it difficult for me to stay still. XD;

[SG]
06-02-2006, 03:23 PM
http://www.fredmiranda.com/ has great short reviews for lenses by the users but I'd have to say the canon 50mm f/1.4 would be my choice.

Otherwise if I could one day buy it.. I would prefer to use the Canon 35mm f/1.4L since the rebel and *0D's have the 1.6 crop factor.

Edit: spelling ..

jtnishi
06-02-2006, 05:29 PM
I'm actually pretty sure this topic's come up before, though I'm a bit too lazy at the moment to hunt down the thread. :-P

I still live and die by my Tamron 28-75/2.8, not too dissimilar from Oklahoma's Sigma of the same length, except for the fixed widest aperture through the whole length. It's a nice quick lens that at it's widest point on a 1.6x crop body like many of the low end dSLRs is a very reasonable normal aspect lens, but at it's longest is a pretty decent short telephoto for portraits. By far, my favorite lens, because for cosplay, it's useful for just about anything at a normal range of 5-10', such as cosplay gatherings and single shoots. Not as sharp as I'd like, but for it's price (~$400), it's a great value. It's well loved by the folks over on the DPReview forums, and with good reason.

The only times I can't really use that lens are for main events, like masquerades and such, when I have to switch over to a long telephoto (a 70-200/4L in my case), and for dark nighttime shooting, when I have to use a 50/1.8 prime (still the cheapest lens worth buying).

staereo
06-02-2006, 05:53 PM
I'm considering writing a lesson about lenses in here. Including reading MTF charts and such. Is there enough interest here to warrant the time I would put into going through everything, or would you guys not care much?

I dont want to bother if noone is interested in learning some technical sides to the lenses we all love.

I will admit it will be somewhat slanted towards canon's lenses, but we have enough photographers here using other brands to help translate the information into other brand's terms and such after I post it.

Let me know if you're interested,
Bruce

Oklahoma
06-02-2006, 07:05 PM
I wouldn't mind it and I will add what I know to it. I know some things but other things I know are hard to find and I am always looking to learn so...

Eriol
06-02-2006, 09:56 PM
For a walk-around lens, I want the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G DX ED Vibration Reduction (Canon calls their vibration reduction technology "Image Stabilization" or IS). The lower end is for wide angle shots (landscapes) and the higher end is the telephoto power.

I don't really care for MTF charts and overly technical stuff. If somebody wants to submit lens reviews or lessons, I want to know about the following: autofocus speed (if it has auto-focus), focal length, any pincushion or barrel distortions, sharpness or softness, etc.

staereo
06-02-2006, 10:24 PM
I don't really care for MTF charts and overly technical stuff. If somebody wants to submit lens reviews or lessons, I want to know about the following: autofocus speed (if it has auto-focus), focal length, any pincushion or barrel distortions, sharpness or softness, etc.

Reading mtf charts is a good start, helps to know what f stops on what lenses give you what kind of contrast and sharpness, etc... even tells you about distance from center of lens affecting those attributes.

So, that being the case, maybe?

jtnishi
06-03-2006, 12:29 PM
I'm considering writing a lesson about lenses in here. Including reading MTF charts and such. Is there enough interest here to warrant the time I would put into going through everything, or would you guys not care much?

I dont want to bother if noone is interested in learning some technical sides to the lenses we all love.

I will admit it will be somewhat slanted towards canon's lenses, but we have enough photographers here using other brands to help translate the information into other brand's terms and such after I post it.

Let me know if you're interested,
Bruce

While certainly it would be useful to learn how to read MTF charts, it'd be a lot easier to point to someone else who has already done so, rather than write up here. Not to mention that's really getting a bit more technical than really should perhaps be approached in a forum like this anyway, where the specifics that come from photographing cosplayers are more important.

For those that are interested, there's a very good tutorial on reading MTF charts at http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-mtf.shtml . In reality, I still believe that trying to make a lens purchase is easier if you just look at the results of pictures taken by that lens, as many as possible, to get a feel for some of the common characteristics of the lens. The galleries on PBase (http://www.pbase.com/cameras) allow searching for pictures by lens, which is a nice start. I actually do look at the MTF charts now when I make a lens purchase, but normally, I'd rather just see the results first.

staereo
06-03-2006, 12:34 PM
I use the charts not only for purchasing, but also looking at f stops when using a given lens. ^^

Eriol
06-03-2006, 05:02 PM
For those that are interested, there's a very good tutorial on reading MTF charts at http://luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/understanding-series/understanding-mtf.shtml . In reality, I still believe that trying to make a lens purchase is easier if you just look at the results of pictures taken by that lens, as many as possible, to get a feel for some of the common characteristics of the lens. The galleries on PBase (http://www.pbase.com/cameras) allow searching for pictures by lens, which is a nice start. I actually do look at the MTF charts now when I make a lens purchase, but normally, I'd rather just see the results first.

While knowing how to read MTF charts is not a bad thing, I prefer jtinshi's philosophy of seeing how the pictures turn out. Photography is a visual medium. Let the person "see" the results. I personally don't want to get too hung up on specs. There are some people out there who are obssessed with numbers but aren't out there taking actual photographs.

staereo
06-03-2006, 05:24 PM
Hmm.. im going to have to take a stand here....

The fact is, photography is all about numbers. It is an exact science, and everything about it is based on math. Certain glass has certain effects on light that will be identical under identical circumstances.

Knowing how glass attributes affects light scientifically, is a direct way to emulating a picture you are looking for.

Many times we know this with the more obvious specs, like how fast your lens is, etc. But other things like spherical surfaces, different glass composition, and coatings on glass all create quantifyable changes to a given image.

Knowing which lens to use to capture a picture a certain way is a valuable tool.

We are artists, as photographers, but there is a giant difference between our medium and someone elses.

If someone uses the same lens, same camera, same exposure settings, same angle, same set, and same light, we can all create IDENTICAL images to one another. Why? Because it is an exact science. Our creativity is controlled by our composition and our knowledge of how light exposes onto our medium.

The composition is in our heads, but the way light exposes onto our medium is all science. All completely calculatable.

Knowing what the numbers mean yields better performance in the field. I firmly stand behind this, because I follow a well practiced method of pre judging the specifications of my equipment, to decide exactly the level of my exposure.

This means that on a given capture, I have a strong idea of what my equipment's characteristics will do for my resulting image. I know at what aperture my lens will be a given sharpness, i know the resolving power at various stops, the effect of these things from the center of the glass to the edge of the glass...etc etc...

Its as simple as understanding how the distance that a light source is from a subject affects the light reflected into your lens.

Photography is not just an art, it is a science, and to ignore either component is to short change your finished product's potential.

^^
Bruce

jtnishi
06-03-2006, 08:09 PM
I'll avoid putting in a massive quote block here. ^^;;

Oh, there is no disagreement there about what you stated. Photography is definitely both a science and an art, much like music or cooking. The whole basis of photography is firmly grounded in the science of optics, and that's always worth remembering. Arguably, I'm very much a technical shooter, rather than an artistic shooter, in that I focus on fundamentals rather than a high level of creativity. Probably why I'm fairly boring when it comes to photography, too. ::shrug::

There is a benefit from knowing how an MTF chart reads. But if you look at that tutorial, you also learn that an MTF chart is NOT the only thing that really matters. There are aspects that are NOT covered by an MTF chart. And the fact of the matter is that while an MTF chart can tell you certain characteristics of the lens, many of those characteristics, as well as the intangibles, are mostly perceiveable when you actually look at pictures that come out of shooting with those lenses.

MTFs are a good way to objectively compare two similar lenses where results are similar, but you need a good tie break. But in the end, unless you're spending absolutely top dollar for the glass you're going to get, MTF charts aren't a reasonable substitute for looking at actual results, while generally, looking at actual results can provide enough info that an MTF chart isn't quite as necessary. Good camera stores always allow you to try the lenses you want to buy, and normally, if the shot looks good in the store, plus if the samples look good outside, the lens is probably good.

staereo
06-03-2006, 08:52 PM
I was referring more about specs in general than just mtf, mtf was just one of a larger picture.. hehe..

i agree with everything youve said.

of course, if you look at some cheaper lenses at a medium aperture, they can outperform more pricey lenses.

case in point, the often dismissed as low quality 50 1.8 II.

But I agree with ya Jason.

All about the balance.

SolarTempest
06-04-2006, 11:00 PM
I love shooting with my Nikkor F1.4 50mm (75mm on D70s). Love the perspective - it's stellar for outdoor shots and most indoor work. The bokeh is amazing and the colours are vivid! The contrast in the lens and the brightness is just wicked.

With the F1.4 though, as ZiggyB mentioned, you have to be really good on the focusing. Any small errors in high resolution really show up. A few centimeters of DOF is pretty challenging to work with.

For cramped hallways though, it's not wide enough for full costume shots. For that, 35mm or wider is definitely necessary on digital.

Mine ran me $420 CAD, but if you're a Nikon shooter you can get the F1.8 for about half the price with excellent results. For a starter Nikon dSLR user, the 50mm lenses are the cheapest but highest quality lenses you'll ever get. A must buy.

TomodachiFriend
06-05-2006, 12:06 PM
That is true for almost all brands. Any aspiring photographer should get a 50mm first. I have a 1.4 Minolta and 1.8 Canon. Both were bought used at very low prices. Canon's 1.4 50mm is too expensive for me.