Looking for a lens? Start here!
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    Ken182
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    Looking for a lens? Start here!

    by Ken182 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 10:56 pm

    Okay it is very arrogant of me to assume I know anything of value to my fellow peers here. So this means instead of a sole opinion piece by me, if anyone has something to add just post it below and I will edit it up into this original post. This then builds a reference piece we can send newbies to instead of answering the inevitable questions - yet again :wink:

    Before we get started, if you are new and needing info Great! I want you to refer to this link Nikon Lens Simulator if you are struggling a bit with the next paragraph.

    First off I will be talking in Full Frame, this is not to be a snob but to keep the post as brief as possible, so for all DX frame cameras just multiply the focal length by 1.5 ( find half the value and add it to the whole IE 20mm: half of is 10mm + to 20mm = 30mm) When you use DX you do not increase the length of you lense you decrease you field of view. There is nothing wrong with this, just don't listen to the slippery salesperson who would tell you the other.

    Okay, all you need to to take a decent photograph is a 50mm lens, that is it. Need to get closer? Step forward, need a wider view? Step back! Now we have covered the basics and discovered some loose change in the lens budget we can step up a level. The basic full camera kit needs a wide lens, a standard lens and a tele lens. These focal lengths are as follows:

    Wide= 24mm
    Stan = 50mm
    Tele = 100mm

    If you have these three covered you are a long way to getting the large proportion of your creative output achieved. To give a little more background:

    20mm or shorter is consider superwide or panoramic, arguement has raged for years as to whether 40mm or 45mm or 50mm is standard. The point of reference is this lens is supposed to have the same field of view as the human eye. This is why someone who has only ever had variable focal length lenses for use is so infatuated with a 50mm when they first use one because there images are suddenly "normal" instead of compressed tele or the avante garde wide lens feel. Who would have thought being normal could be so cool! Longer focal lengths than 200mm used to be referred to as long or supertele lenses, fairly self evident why.

    So now you have some background you can think a little about what lens you should get. This is like asking how long is a piece of string (answer at end of post) Most experienced photographers will ask you "what type of photography are you wanting to do" this then helps them try to focus in on a particular sub group of lenses to help remove some of the confusion, however most people starting out just want to try everything they can to get as much experience as possible.

    So my advice would be to start off with a lens that can cover as many sins as possible maybe something in the 18-200mm range. Most Pro lenses won't have this many times magnification to it, but this is a great range to get as many different styles under your belt as possible. You may end up only ever using this lens, or you may end up selling it in a couple of years and getting other lenses more suited to your chosen areas of photography

    You have to start somewhere, the sooner you make the decision the sooner you can go out with the gang here and take photos

    I currently have a D700 and my favourite lenses to use with it are these following ones

    Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AI-s
    Nikkor 50mm f/2 AI
    Nikon 100mm f/2.8 Series E
    Nikon 200mm f/4 AI-s

    Why are they my favourite lenses:
    * They are all very SHARP and CLEAR
    * they are all small and light
    * they all have the same filter size
    * they all are fixed focal length (primes)
    * They are all fast
    * They all are built around lens theory and not computer arrhythmical compromise.

    Yes I have variable focal length lenses that are all constant aperture and fast glass, but they are all heavy and cumbersome and they all give a very similar modern wonderful outcome, like everything else. I just prefer the old lenses because they make you think ahead of yourself as to what field of view you should compose in - In other words they make you consider your composition much more.

    Thats enough from me, as I said anything I have missed or people think needs added list it below.

    I am a Ken Rockwell fan because he will not offer opinions on kit he has not used - a very subtle difference to many other equipment reviewers. So please support his site if you find it useful

    cheers
























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    Re: Looking for a lens? Start here!

    by JazzXP » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:27 pm

    Good info, but....

    Ken182 wrote:I am a Ken Rockwell fan because he will not offer opinions on kit he has not used - a very subtle difference to many other equipment reviewers. So please support his site if you find it useful


    is very wrong. Ken often does reviews based on the datasheets without actually using the lens. Even on his about page...

    this site is my "aggressive personal opinion," and not a "logical presentation of fact."


    and

    I occasionally weave fiction and satire into my stories to keep them interesting. I love a good hoax. Read The Museum of Hoaxes, or see their site. A hoax, like some of the things I do on this website, is done as a goof simply for the heck of it by overactive minds as a practical joke. Even Ansel Adams kidded around when he was just a pup in the 1920s by selling his photos as "Parmelian Prints." I have the energy and sense of humor of a three-year old, so remember, this is a personal website, and never presented as fact. I enjoy making things up for fun, as does The Onion, and I publish them here — even on this page.
    Nikon D5000 | Nikkor 18-55 | Nikkor 55-200 | Nikkor 50 f/1.4 | Tokina 12-24 f/4 | OLD Tamron 300mm (CT-300) | Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VRII
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    Re: Looking for a lens? Start here!

    by Ken182 » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:35 pm

    JazzXP wrote: I occasionally weave fiction and satire into my stories to keep them interesting. I love a good hoax. Read The Museum of Hoaxes, or see their site. A hoax, like some of the things I do on this website, is done as a goof simply for the heck of it by overactive minds as a practical joke. Even Ansel Adams kidded around when he was just a pup in the 1920s by selling his photos as "Parmelian Prints." I have the energy and sense of humor of a three-year old, so remember, this is a personal website, and never presented as fact. I enjoy making things up for fun, as does The Onion, and I publish them here — even on this page.


    I have followed Ken for some years and know why he wrote that. Read some of his reviews and you will get it.

    Any thoughts on the lenses you have chosen so far JazzXP?
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    Re: Looking for a lens? Start here!

    by JazzXP » Sat Mar 12, 2011 9:39 am

    Ken182 wrote:
    JazzXP wrote: I occasionally weave fiction and satire into my stories to keep them interesting. I love a good hoax. Read The Museum of Hoaxes, or see their site. A hoax, like some of the things I do on this website, is done as a goof simply for the heck of it by overactive minds as a practical joke. Even Ansel Adams kidded around when he was just a pup in the 1920s by selling his photos as "Parmelian Prints." I have the energy and sense of humor of a three-year old, so remember, this is a personal website, and never presented as fact. I enjoy making things up for fun, as does The Onion, and I publish them here — even on this page.


    I have followed Ken for some years and know why he wrote that. Read some of his reviews and you will get it.

    Any thoughts on the lenses you have chosen so far JazzXP?


    70-200 f/2.8 VRII is absolutely brilliant. Very sharp even wide open and just a fun lens to use overall.

    50 f/1.4 basically lives on my camera for a walkabout lens (I prefer the short telephoto effect over a standard lens). A nice lens to use for a quick portrait too.

    Tokina 12-24 f/4 is ok, but I grabbed the old one, so manual focus on my camera. I'd probably like this one more if I could take a decent landscape shot!

    Kit Lenses:-

    55-200 is a fantastic lens for the price, but has been replaced by my 70-200 (although it still comes in handy if I want a lighter lens to carry around).

    18-55 probably my least favourite lens, but gets used quite a bit. Does the job, reasonably sharp, but I don't know, it's kind of boring. Can't do a narrow DOF with it, pretty standard zoom range - probably will be replaced at some stage with a 24-70 f/2.8 so that I'm prepared for full frame in the future.
    Nikon D5000 | Nikkor 18-55 | Nikkor 55-200 | Nikkor 50 f/1.4 | Tokina 12-24 f/4 | OLD Tamron 300mm (CT-300) | Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VRII
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    by AJ » Sat Mar 12, 2011 1:45 pm

    My Lenses, used with Canon dSLR
    Sigma 12-24mm F/4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical
    The widest zoom available for full frame. Just been replaced by a Mk2.
    IQ is very good, distortion is surprisingly minimal. Focus speed is good. Very good ultrawide zoom at a reasonable price.
    7.5/10

    Sigma 20mm F1.8 EX Aspherical DG DF RF
    Fun, fast prime that has excellent IQ.
    7.5/10

    Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8 L USM - My favourite lens coupled with the 5D
    This is my walkaround/outdoors/landscape lens of choice on my 5D. Great zoom range, big aperture when needed and awesome image quality. Built like a brick too. Superb!
    9.5/10

    Canon EF 50mm F1.4 USM
    A good focal length with a big aperture at a bargain price. Image quality is excellent with good background separation at larger apertures. I rarely use this lens but when I do the results make me glad I own it.
    8/10

    Canon EF 70-200mm F4L IS USM
    This is a great lens. Very handy zoom range, very good IS and super sharp pictures. Not too heavy or too big for travel. Only downside may be that its neither a wide nor a long zoom lens. If you need a lens to cover this midrange then the 70-200F4L IS is fantastic.
    9/10

    Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 DG OS HSM APO
    Used for general outdoors/offroad shots. Almost permanently attached to my 1D. OS is brilliant and allows me to comfortably shoot handheld. IQ and focus speed are good but since shown up by the 300L. Great bang for the buck!
    Cons: Almost unusable in low light.
    6.5/10

    Canon EF 300mm F4L IS - Second favourite lens coupled with the 7D
    I got this lens as I was finding that the 70-200F4L IS was a bit short for some shots and the Sigma 150-500 was too slow for some shots. Combined with the 1.6 crop factor of the 7D this is a really nice tele lens. Sharpness is a given but what I really love is how fast it focuses and holds focus with the 7Ds' extra AF points. A killer combo.
    Pros: Superior build quality, Super-sharp images, Fast auto-focus
    9/10

    Sigma 150mm F2.8 EX APO Macro DG HSM
    I dont shoot a lot of macro but this lens is very very good. Super sharp and with excellent IQ.
    8.5/10

    Canon 1.4x extender
    Great match for both the 70-200 and the 300. No visible loss of IQ. Drops lens back to max F5.6. Expensive but the results far outweigh the price tag.
    9.5/10

    Kenko 2x extender
    Have only used this for moon shots with the 150-500 and 7D - giving an effective length of 1600mm. 8) No apparent loss of IQ but AF is no longer functioning with any lens slower than F2.8. Not a problem at this length as MF is a must.
    7/10
    Andrew
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    Re: Looking for a lens? Start here!

    by K1W1 » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:59 pm

    Ken182 wrote:I have followed Ken for some years and know why he wrote that. Read some of his reviews and you will get it.


    Then how come he has been able to write supposedly factual reviews that have included such outlandish statements as that he has taken thousands of photos with a camera that he obviously never even had his hands on as it wasn't yet available to the public?

    The guy is a self publicist who derives I suspect an reasonable proportion of his income from click throughs on his web site. He should be read as the comedy supplement and should never be quoted in polite company.

    Back on topic. Unfortunately I can see that this thread may become a mine is bigger than yours exercise which would be a shame as the intentions are obviously good.
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    by Dalzine » Sat Mar 12, 2011 10:16 pm

    Ken Rockwell, love him or hate him, there is no in between :lol:

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    by Ken182 » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:36 am

    K1W1, Dalzine, JazzXP and AJ, thanks for you comments, lets all move on from Ken Rockwell and get onto the prime message as K1W1 suggested:

    You guys have all bee around for a bit, if you got asked by a bright eyed enthusiastic newbie "What lens should I get"

    You will have an answer but what would be your motivators or philosophy, reasoning, experience etc.

    Instead of a mine is biggin' yours I would like a well thought through answer with some reasoning points.

    TO ALL GEAR HEADS - there is no correct answer, they all are correct if the reasoning is sound.

    Other than that:

    JazzXP nice simple kit mate (50mm f1.4 mmmmmmmm)
    AJ - Nice list of lenses, you're an obvious Canon owner, what one lens would you guide a newbie to, a mate had his 400 stolen so he replaced it with a 5d and a 24-105mm f4 which he thrashes and loves.
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    by JazzXP » Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:29 am

    Ken182 wrote:K1W1, Dalzine, JazzXP and AJ, thanks for you comments, lets all move on from Ken Rockwell and get onto the prime message as K1W1 suggested:

    You guys have all bee around for a bit, if you got asked by a bright eyed enthusiastic newbie "What lens should I get"

    You will have an answer but what would be your motivators or philosophy, reasoning, experience etc.

    Instead of a mine is biggin' yours I would like a well thought through answer with some reasoning points.

    TO ALL GEAR HEADS - there is no correct answer, they all are correct if the reasoning is sound.

    Other than that:

    JazzXP nice simple kit mate (50mm f1.4 mmmmmmmm)
    AJ - Nice list of lenses, you're an obvious Canon owner, what one lens would you guide a newbie to, a mate had his 400 stolen so he replaced it with a 5d and a 24-105mm f4 which he thrashes and loves.

    If I had a D90 rather than my D5000 (well in body motor more specifically), I'd probably shoot with a lot more primes. The AF-S versions are just too expensive.
    Nikon D5000 | Nikkor 18-55 | Nikkor 55-200 | Nikkor 50 f/1.4 | Tokina 12-24 f/4 | OLD Tamron 300mm (CT-300) | Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8 VRII
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    by LOZ » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:03 am

    Looking back only a few years I think I was happier and more adventurous with my D70s 18-70 50mm1.8 and incredibility sharp and versatile Nikon 70-210. This setup covered 18mm to 210 from memory the 210=300mm on the cropped sensor.
    Its not that I'm unhappy with my big dick (always had a big dick) FF and the trilogy . Its got to the point I dont use it as much as the little GF1 and 20mm lens which has better IQ than the D700 and any lens you can put on it.

    Choosing a camera and lens is as personal as buying underpants . Just go out and use what you have forget all the crap that is written about lensX v lensY Nikon v Canon (forget Pentax they are crap)
    Some of the best photography I see is from those people that cant afford fancy camera gear and rely on their photographic skills and raw talent. I'm constantly amused buy owners of big dicks or in a feminine speech big virginas that can even frame a photo(OMG did a Google spell-check on virginas wondering if it was with or without an apostrophe and was lost for a hours doing interesting research :lol: why do we refer to dicks been big and not virginas as been big must be men's thing )

    Sorry Ken what was you question did I answer it :?
    Calm down its not real life its a internet forum:)
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    by AJ » Sun Mar 13, 2011 11:21 am

    Ken182 wrote:AJ - Nice list of lenses, you're an obvious Canon owner, what one lens would you guide a newbie to, a mate had his 400 stolen so he replaced it with a 5d and a 24-105mm f4 which he thrashes and loves.


    Yeah I use Canon but I thought it was worth C&P that from my post on another forum given that half my lenses are Sigma.
    To answer your question, the 5D is full frame so in Canon world there is much debate between the 24-70 and 24-105. Both are L lenses, the 24-70 is F2.8 vs the 105 that is F4. The 24-105 has IS though. The 24-105 is also about 30% cheaper. I havent used the 24-105 but as I said above I really love the 24-70. As always it comes down to budget and intended use but I would highly recommend either the 70-200 or the 300 if he wants a second lens.
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    by Banjo » Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:52 am

    Hello Ken,
    I am new to photography :roll:
    The big man in the red suit is about to bring me a Nikon D5100. I have researched lens and sought advice from Dug. He suggested a 18 105 or 18 200 lens.
    I think l will go with the 18 105 to start with. What do you think? I think l would prefer to get into landscape photography.

    Cheers
    :)
    Banjo
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    by Busiboy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:28 am

    Banjo,

    I can't help you with particular choices but I will offer this.

    If you think you are going to want mainly the short end, a shorter lens will do a better job generally that a lens that covers a massive range. The more a lens covers the more compromises have to be made.

    IMHO two cheaper zooms generally do a better job than a single zoom covering the same range. Again, 4 zooms will do a better job than two or one. A series of primes is generally consider best results but not as practical or versatile and generally a lot more expensive.

    Versatile vs quality, it depends on your budget.
    *PPOK*
    C&C always welcome

    Scott
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    by Busiboy » Thu Oct 06, 2011 8:31 am

    Back to the Canon guys, I'm still considering a switch to the dark side and the 5D has taken my fancy, I haven't ruled out Nikon though.

    A full frame with Video is my preferred choice.

    In the Canon realm the choices I am considering;

    5D mk II 24-104 L kit
    70-200 f4 IS
    tele converter (1.4 or 2?)
    580 flash

    primes

    24
    50
    85
    100 macro

    None L as I do have a budget.

    Are there any to avoid on that list? Are the zooms worthy or are they a waste of time?
    *PPOK*
    C&C always welcome

    Scott
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    by LOZ » Thu Oct 06, 2011 9:25 am

    Banjo wrote:Hello Ken,
    I am new to photography :roll:
    The big man in the red suit is about to bring me a Nikon D5100. I have researched lens and sought advice from Dug. He suggested a 18 105 or 18 200 lens.
    I think l will go with the 18 105 to start with. What do you think? I think l would prefer to get into landscape photography.

    Cheers
    :)




    Landscapes ? 18-105 yuck 18-200 yuck yuck they may be OK runaround lenses but no substitute for a 28mm or 35 mm for landscapes

    I keep a eye on whats lens are on the second hand market and the 18-200 is always up on top if it was any good why so many for sale ?
    Calm down its not real life its a internet forum:)

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