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What's a good maximum aperture?
I'm looking at the Sony 18-250 f3.5-6.3 lens, but will it be fast enough to limit the depth of field for candid indoor portraits? Obviously it's not a dedicated portrait lens, but on vacation it would likely be the only lens I'd carry. The large depth of field on my S2 IS is one of the reasons I want to upgrade to a dSLR..

Does anyone make a faster lens with a similar range? Or do you have to get a smaller range and pay a lot more to get something significantly faster?..

Comments (11)

You have four variables:Low priceGood Image QualityFast ApertureVersatility (zoom range).

You can have: Low price, Good IQ and Fast Aperture (Canon 50mm 1.8)You can have: Good IQ, Fast Aperture and Versatility - but it will cost you..

You can have: Great IQ and fast Aperture, but usually only in a fixed focal length and at a price..

You can have: Low price and versaitility (ie, Canon 75-300), but IQ and fast aperture will be sacrificedYou can have: Low price, Versatility, and good IQ, but no fast aperture..

Or here's the condensed rule that will cover most lens purchases:PriceIQAperturePick two.

Nullspace wrote:.

I'm looking at the Sony 18-250 f3.5-6.3 lens, but will it be fastenough to limit the depth of field for candid indoor portraits?Obviously it's not a dedicated portrait lens, but on vacation itwould likely be the only lens I'd carry. The large depth of field onmy S2 IS is one of the reasons I want to upgrade to a dSLR..

Does anyone make a faster lens with a similar range? Or do you haveto get a smaller range and pay a lot more to get somethingsignificantly faster?.

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Comment #1

Re>fast enough to limit the depth of field for candid indoor portraits? <.

There's no rule that you have to "limit the depth of field...".

Most people looking at pictures, and not haveing been brainwashed about hokey-Bokey, like sharp pictures..

The advantage of a fast lens (wide aperture) for candid indoor portraits is that it will let in enough light so that, despite limited depth of field, at least something will be in focus and the shuttr speed will be ft enough to limit camera shake. Plus the fast aperture makes it a lot easier to focus and to see the expressions of your subjects..

BAK..

Comment #2

Really? I've not a photographer by any means, but I've always thought that candid portraits taken with my friends' dSLR's look noticeably better when the subject is sharp and the background is blurred. It just seems to make the subject pop a lot more. Maybe most people don't notice that though..

BAK wrote:.

Most people looking at pictures, and not haveing been brainwashedabout hokey-Bokey, like sharp pictures...

Comment #3

Nullspace wrote:.

Does anyone make a faster lens with a similar range?.

Could be, but one doesn't come to mind..

Or do you have to get a smaller range and pay a lot more to get somethingsignificantly faster?.

My guess is you'd need to split the focal range in two - 18-50mm & 70-200mm..

For example:.

Tamron 17-55 2.8 ~$450http://www.adorama.com/TM1750MAX.html.

Sigma 18-50 2.8 ~$420http://www.adorama.com/SG1850NMAX.html.

Sigma 70-200 2.8 ~$900http://www.adorama.com/SG70200MMAX.html.

If you want a fast aperture across that entire focal length range it's going to cost and you'll have deal with the "inconvenience" of using two lenses..

There are strategies you can employ to get a blurry background with smaller apertures like increasing the distance between the subject and the background, but having a large aperture lens does give one more options for blurring the background in a greater variety of circumstances..

Good Day,Roonal.

'Money doesn't buy happiness, but it makes for an extravagant depression' by golf tournament sportscaster..

Comment #4

Roonal and others have it about right. So called "vacation lenses" have to sacrifice something and it is always speed and sometimes sharpness, chromatic aberations etc etc..

The 18-250mm you speak of will be at f/5.3 by 80mm. That means a DOF of 6ft 6" at 12 foot..

The Sony 18-250 is almost certainly a cross-licenced Tamron. See these reviews:.

Http://www.photozone.de/.../8Reviews/lenses/tamron_18250_3563_nikon/index.htm.

Http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/sony_18200_3563/index.htm.

You pay your money and you take your choice! Maybe the answer is the 18-250mm plus a 85mm prime:.

Http://www.photozone.de/8Reviews/lenses/minolta_85_14/index.htm.

I query why are looking at Sony? It might be best to look at the lenses you need then make your camera choice based on that. Remember you are buying a system and it will cost a lot to change systems..

You might want to consider a Nikon D40x plus 55-200VR plus Sigma 18-50 f/2.8 HSM as a good overall package (or a Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 plus Nikon 70-300 VR). Alternatively you could mount the Tamron 18-250 on a Nikon D80 and buy a 50mm f1.8 (The Sony 50mm f1.7 prime is inferior to the Nikon and Canon low cost primes.) I do not know the Canon range well enough to make similar observations..

So I suggest you take your time pottering around Photozone.de and also visit SLRGear.com:.

Http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showcat.php/cat/2.

Then chose a body to match the lenses that suit you..

Hope that helps!.

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.

Http://PlacidoD.Zenfolio.com/..

Comment #5

Hi,.

I don't know what camera body you are thinking about but do you really need a 250 mm on holiday? Better imo to go for three or four lenses with a dSLR or film for that matter. And if a 250 is needed then go for a prime to make it count..

Usually people end up with a macro lens, a tele-zoom and a wide to portraiture zoom. People who like one kind of shot often buy a prime to do just that but a lot use (as a good example) the Olympus 50 macro as a portraiture lens as (on a FourThirds body, which is all it fits) as it's about 100 mm equivalent and f/2 as well..

One last point, on holiday I'd not like to have to carry that lot around all the time - holiday cameras are very much a specialised niche, imo. And if you go out for the evening, it's best to leave a SLR and lens in the hotel safe..

Regards, David..

Comment #6

I don't really need such a long lens on vacation, but I do enjoy the range of the Canon S2 I currently have (432mm in 35mm equivalent on the long end). Just last week I was in Mexico and the extra range let me get some good pictures of dolphins jumping in the distance. Too bad the S2 was too slow to get the shot I wanted!.

I figured that to start I would buy just one lens (probably a Sony a700 body), and the 18-250 has a good range with decent optics. It seemed like a good starter lens..

David Hughes wrote:.

Hi,.

I don't know what camera body you are thinking about but do youreally need a 250 mm on holiday? Better imo to go for three or fourlenses with a dSLR or film for that matter. And if a 250 is neededthen go for a prime to make it count..

Usually people end up with a macro lens, a tele-zoom and a wide toportraiture zoom. People who like one kind of shot often buy a primeto do just that but a lot use (as a good example) the Olympus 50macro as a portraiture lens as (on a FourThirds body, which is all itfits) as it's about 100 mm equivalent and f/2 as well..

One last point, on holiday I'd not like to have to carry that lotaround all the time - holiday cameras are very much a specialisedniche, imo. And if you go out for the evening, it's best to leave aSLR and lens in the hotel safe..

Regards, David..

Comment #7

It varies by focal length and subject, but f/2.8 is probably a good starting point. I don't think your 18-250 is going to do it. Maybe add a 50mm f/1.8 for portraits. 85mm is a little on the long side for a crop-sensor camera...

Comment #8

Thanks for the links - I hadn't seen those sites before, and there is a ton of good information there. This will keep me busy for a while...

Comment #9

You asked:.

'will it be fast enough to limit the depth of field for candid indoor portraits?'.

The answer is certainly yes. f6.3 at 250mm and a close focusing distance (we're indoors remember) will certainly result in a shallow enough DoF for the type of shot you're after. Here's a picture taken at 125mm and f5.6:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

With f6.3 at 250mm you're going to be able to create an even thinner DoF, certainly thin enough for the type of shot you want..

However - this is not the complete answer. As others have said, using the lens like this will be quite 'clumsy' - you'll need high ISO, the autofocus won't be the greatest and you'll have to stand quite far back as a result of the minimum focus distance. 18-250 lenses weren't really designed for taking indoor portraits. It can be done, but it's certainly not the best tool..

My advice would be to add a Minolta 50mm 1.7, either an old or new version, for around 40 ($80, you're american aren't you?). This will be just about perfect and costs peanuts, and will allow results similar to this:.

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window.

Look forwards to some results ..

Comment #10

You mentioned only wanting to carry one lens around. A 50mm 1.7 is tiny and weighs practically nothing. Apart from having to change lenses from time to time, it shouldn't pose too much of an imposition...

Comment #11

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