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lens info
Can someone please direct me to a site that explains the lenses? I am trying to understand what the numbers, and letters in the lens names mean..... For example, I bought a 50mm F1.8 lens. Someone recommended I get a 18-55mm as a second lens. I already have the 50mm range with my first lens, does the 18mm range mean I can zoom in more on a far away subject, or that I can take photos with a closer subject?.

Basically I need a site that is a lens 101 class b/c none of these terms make any sense  Help!..

Comments (9)

Wish I could edit my post at this time....From what I understand, the 18-55 lens will not be able to zoom in on a subject any more than my 50mm prime lens. Right? I am just confused as to why that lens was recommended, when it will not provide me with much more zoom than the 50mm I already have. Wouldn't a lens that goes up to 200mm or so be a better complement to the 50mm instead of getting another lens with a similar range?..

Comment #1

These sites give a good visual comparison of the effect of different focal lengths:http://www.usa.canon.com/app/html/EFLenses101/focal_length.htmlhttp://www.tamron.com/...es/learning_center/tools/focal-length-comparison.php.

Sometimes it's easier to understand something this way rather than with words..

Regards,Peter..

Comment #2

Rach123 wrote:.

Wish I could edit my post at this time....From what I understand, the18-55 lens will not be able to zoom in on a subject any more than my50mm prime lens. Right? I am just confused as to why that lens wasrecommended, when it will not provide me with much more zoom than the50mm I already have. Wouldn't a lens that goes up to 200mm or so be abetter complement to the 50mm instead of getting another lens with asimilar range?.

IF your objective is "zooming" in on a distant subject .... then the HIGHER the number will provide the most magnification. So you are correct that the 18-55 does not offer any more magnification, (well .... 5mm but that is not even noticeable)..

Keep in mind that the word "zoom" can have two different definitions. I think YOU are looking for "MAGNIFICATION" (as a term used in BINOCULARS or TELESCOPES). But "magnification" is not a term commonly applied to lenses; they sort of leave it to you to figure it out on your own..

The word "zoom" as it applies to lenses only means that it has a VARIABLE focal length .... and indeed it may be a WIDE-ANGLE "zoom" ... (no "magnification" at all)..

You didn't mention what camera you have, except that your prime lens was 50mm. 50mm is commonly considered a "normal" (no magnification and no wide-angle either) on an older 35mm camera. HOWEVER ... on most digitals, the smaller "sensor" results in a 50mm having a SLIGHT TELEPHOTO (magnification) anyway ... BUT ONLY "SLIGHT". It can't ever be referred to as an actual "telephoto" which is indeed what I think you want..

Just for reference, you mentioned a 200mm .... that will indeed give you 4X magnification (zoom) compared to your original 50mm..

Thanks for reading .... JoePhoto.

( Do You Ever STOP to THINK and FORGET to START Again ??? )..

Comment #3

There are three things about lenses you have to know:1) focal length.

This value varies from about 10 to 500. With 10 you can go extra-wide and take a picture of 20 people standing next to one another from 3m away. With 500 you can make a close-up from a bird in it's nest while you are 10 m away. The more you zoom in on something, the narrower the field of view gets.There are fixed focal lengths (called primes) and zooms..

Your 50 - 1.8 is a prime lens (only 1 number + F) very fine lens for low light and normal indoor use or landscapes. The "1.8" shows it can let a lot of light in..

A 18 - 55 3.5 - 5.6 is a zoom going from 18 to 55 with F 3.5 at the widest and F 5.6 at the tele-end and is considered a "normal" lens..

2) F number: the lower, the more light it can let in. So, 1.8 is good for lowlight without flash..

3) focus in body or in lens: Because you can't just put any lens on any body or lose the auto-focus and will have to focus manually .I would advise to buy nothing more till you really know what you need.And you should visit the "Learn/Glossary" "Optical" on this same page..

Greetings...

Comment #4

Debruyne wrote:.

3) focus in body or in lens: Because you can't just put any lens onany body or lose the auto-focus and will have to focus manually ..

The OP appears to have a Canon DSLR so doesn't need to worry about this. As long as the lens is made for the mount (i.e. EF or EF-S), it will work..

Seen in a fortune cookie:Fear is the darkroom where negatives are developed..

Comment #5

You should really get yourself a good book on photography... Still, I'll try to explain it here. Lenses differ by:.

A) Brand - there are certain exceptions, but normally you can't put, say, a Canon lens on a Nikon camera; however, there are independent brands, like Sigma - such companies make lenses to fit different cameras;.

B) Quality - which is usually reflected in price; better quality gives you better resolution, sharpness, clarity, contrast, less chromatic aberration, less pincushion/barrel distortion, better bokeh;.

C) Focal length - shorter = more wide angle, longer = more magnifying;.

D) Maximum aperture (the larger - the better);.

E) Zooms and primes (zooms are more convenient, primes are better in quality);.

F) Image stabilisation (greatly helps with a heavy tele or zoom);.

G) DOF - decreases when focal length increases;.

H) Rendition of perspective - strong with wideangle, straight/flat with tele;.

Etc. Lots of other stuff is important too, but there's really not enough space here..

Http://lordofthelens.smugmug.com/..

Comment #6

Rach123 wrote:.

Wish I could edit my post at this time....From what I understand, the18-55 lens will not be able to zoom in on a subject any more than my50mm prime lens. Right? I am just confused as to why that lens wasrecommended, when it will not provide me with much more zoom than the50mm I already have..

The 18-55 zoom and the 50mm prime serve different purposes. The zoom is a general-purpose lens that gives you flexibility in many everyday situations..

The 50mm f/1.8 although in the same range regarding focal length is less flexible, but is very useful because it is likely to be much better optical quality (sharper) and works better in low-light situations..

I would tend to regard the 50mm 1.8 as an indoor lens - particularly when not using flash, and the 18-55 as an outdoor lens as there should be more light. Not a fixed rule though, just a suggestion..

Regards,Peter..

Comment #7

Thanks everyone. Its so easy to just get started taking pics without really figuring anything out. I definitely have lots of reading to do in order to take advantage of my XTi camera. Going to start reading before deciding on more lens purchases...

Comment #8

Hi,.

Jumping in late as usual..

The 18 - 55mm lens sounds like the so-called kit lens and will probably be a sensible choice. I don't know your Canon too well but I think you will find it is the equivalent of a 28 to 85 mm lens on a 35 mm camera. (This is a fairly common means of comparing focal lengths as all digitals seem to use different CCD's with different aspect ratios.).

Roughly speaking & in 35mm film terms, here's a quick and simple guide: the normal lens will be anything from about 45 to 55 with 50 mm most common. The other two primes were 35 mm and 28 mm, 35mm is reasonably wide angle and 28 more so with distortion creeping in at the edges, unless you pay a lot for a top grade lens. Usually the distortion can be cured in software and some people like it..

Going away from 50 in the other direction the first prime we come to is the 85 or 90 mm which was called a "portrait" lens in the old days because you could stand far enough away to avoid emphasising noses and ears too much and yet still be within speaking distance. So practical and distortion free for portraits..

Before zooms became fashionable and worked well, a reasonable set of lens to have would be 28, 35, 50 and 85/90mm and that's what the zoom is designed to cover. Beyond that primes tended to be more specialised..

As those primes would be heavy it was normal to take just the 35 and 85/90 on holiday as a travel outfit. The w/a was for landscapes and the portraiture lens for people. For townscapes the 28 was popular but - as I said distortion and converging verticals caused problems (they did with the 35 mm but not as badly). Nothing to worry about with digital as the software for editing will cure it..

BTW, if you want to see what those travel kits looked like, do a search on "Leica CL" - a lot of people are still using them..

Hope this is some use to you. Your next sensible lens should cover, perhaps, 85 to 300 mm in 35 mm terms and at the 300 end will need either a tripod or IS or a lot of luck and good technique..

BTW, a lot of people are rude about kit lenses: it's true that you can spend more and buy better but they're not at all bad to start with and capable of turning out excellent results - within their limitations (which aren't that bad either)..

I have the lowest of the low on my EOS and that's the 35 to 70 mm (a nice, neat small practical travel lens). I also have several exotic lenses from MF to 2/3" format and still think it's OK. (And it cost a fraction of the price of the zoom on the Leica... ).

Regards, David..

Comment #9

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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