What exact specs to look for in a lens?

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What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:51 am

I've been told that this is a rather subjective topic, so I would like to present this question to you guys.

What do you look for in a lens "EXACTLY"?

I have these 3 lenses I am looking at, and all I can tell is you pay a little more for the name:

Tamron 70-300mm lens

Sony 75-300mm lens

Sigma 70-300mm lens

How would you choose? I am looking for a long range lens to compliment the 18-70mm that came with my camera. I have a friend that works at a place that mostly deals with Tamron lenses. Would it really make a difference if I buy Tamron vs. Sony brand lenses? I am quite lost on the terminology when describing a lens. I know from the responses I have gotten here before that a faster lens with a wider aperture - in general - would be a better lens (if I had the money), but when it comes to "number of elements" and the like, I have no clue.

I am taking all personal preferences and understandings into consideration here. I would like to make a decision in the next two months since I will be going home to the Bahamas in June for a family reunion and I have a feeling that my camera will be getting ALOT of use.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:17 pm

Save your money for awhile longer and get a fixed aperture lens. f4.0+ lenses suck.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:52 pm

Things I look for off the top of my head:
1) constant aperture for zooms
2) bokeh quality -- you'll have to find samples online or rent the lens to see for yourself. Closely related to the number of blades used to control the aperture.
3) close focusing distance
4) distortion control
5) non-rotating front element when zooming
6) the feel of turning the MF ring
7) Chromatic aberration control

Pay no attention to "number of elements" or "number of element groups". Means nothing to the photographer.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:28 pm

Hance wrote:Save your money for awhile longer and get a fixed aperture lens. f4.0+ lenses suck.


Fixed aperture 300mm lenses are expensive. f4.0+ lenses work well provided you understand their limitations.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 2:33 pm

I have the older version of that Sigma lens & have no complaints about it. Like End User said...as long as you know the constraints of the lens, you'll be fine.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 4:48 pm

lex-ington wrote:I've been told that this is a rather subjective topic, so I would like to present this question to you guys.

What do you look for in a lens "EXACTLY"?

I have these 3 lenses I am looking at, and all I can tell is you pay a little more for the name:

Tamron 70-300mm lens

Sony 75-300mm lens

Sigma 70-300mm lens

How would you choose? I am looking for a long range lens to compliment the 18-70mm that came with my camera. I have a friend that works at a place that mostly deals with Tamron lenses. Would it really make a difference if I buy Tamron vs. Sony brand lenses? I am quite lost on the terminology when describing a lens. I know from the responses I have gotten here before that a faster lens with a wider aperture - in general - would be a better lens (if I had the money), but when it comes to "number of elements" and the like, I have no clue.

I am taking all personal preferences and understandings into consideration here. I would like to make a decision in the next two months since I will be going home to the Bahamas in June for a family reunion and I have a feeling that my camera will be getting ALOT of use.


There are many, many things to look at in a lens but for amatuer photographers, being budget limited, you often have to overlook many of these aspects and just go with whatever fits the budget. All you can do really is find the sharpest lens among those you can afford; look for reviews on the web, and/or goto the camera store with your camera and actually take photos with the lens to evaluate - just ask the sales guy.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:06 pm

The Sony SAL-75300 lens doesn't get good reviews. You could get better image quality with the Minolta 70-210mm f/4 "beercan". With the Sigma APO DG and the Tamron Di LD essentially tied in the Dyxum reviews, they probably perform similarly. As everyone else suggested, try both the Tamron and Sigma in the store, checking not only how sharp the images are but also how quick and reliable the focus is and whether or not the out of focus objects ("bokeh") are appealing to you.

$249 Sony 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6: 3.88 average sharpness rating. Filter rotates when focusing, making it more challenging to use a circular polarizer. f/5.6 aperture. 1:4 magnification.
$209 Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 DG APO: 4.05 average sharpness rating. Filter rotates when focusing. f/5.6 aperture. 1:2 half-macro.
$165 Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD: 4.13 average sharpness rating. Filter rotates when focusing. f/5.6 aperture. 1:2 half-macro. Weight: 435g.
$224 Minolta 70-210mm f/4: 4.53 average sharpness rating. Filter rotates when focusing. Constant f/4 aperture. 1:4 magnification.
$99 Kenko Teleplus DG 1.5x teleconverter: Gives you 105-315mm, but drops to f/5.6 aperture.
$849 Sony 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G SSM: 4.75 average sharpness rating. Filter does not rotate. f/5.6 aperture. 1:4 magnification. SSM focus motor.
Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 5:31 pm

Lex:
spec-wise, those are all more or less the same lens. If you're set on that type of lens, you're not really going to be choosing between them solely on "specs" but also on ergonomics, build quality and image quality considerations, along with price. Parts of image quality can be expressed as a "spec", but not all of it. Ergonomics and build quality aren't things that are going to be well-represented by a spec either.

I have a lens like the ones you listed. I don't use it, as I prefer to use my 80-200 f/2.8 and 300 f/4 lenses that weigh significantly more but offer larger apertures and better ergonomics.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:31 pm

You're in luck: all 3 lenses were tested at slrgear.com

Sony: http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/986/cat/83
Tamron: http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/455/cat/23
Sigma: http://www.slrgear.com/reviews/showproduct.php/product/230/cat/31

Sony got the best grades in build quality and image quality, so it's a no-brainer.

Things I personally look for in a lens:
1. Focal Length and aperture (I like fast primes)
2. Image quality (sharpness, MTF-50, chromatic aberration, distortion, vignetting)
3. Bokeh (subjective, so I like to look at image samples if possible)
4. Build quality (I go trekking in jungles, snow and desert, and I like to take my lenses with me - and back)
5. Size and weight (I shoot MFT, so it's silly for me to get big lenses)
6. Performance and features (AF speed, OIS, etc - actually, I don't care about OIS, since a wide aperture is always better for my needs)
7. Filter compatibility (non-rotating front element, built-in hood, etc)
8. Price (well, this is actually the single biggest deciding factor, else I'd have a stable of summiluxes, ultraprimes and distagons in my closet :p)

EDIT: Actually, I second JAE's suggestion to get the beercan. That lens is a classic.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:22 am

Please excuse my ignorance/ lack-of-knowledge in the world of photography. :oops:

What is the downside of the filter rotating when focusing?

Mattsteg had really described some good stuff in another thread I had started when I had my Canon S1 IS, but all of this manual stuff really takes some getting used to. (The book Hoser suggested has helped me quite a bit too). Now to get a lens by mid-June.

I will look around to see if I can find the "beercan" JAE is referring too. What do I lose in terms of usability between f/4 and f/2.8. I can graspd that the aperture is larger so more light gets through continuously, but if the f/ stops aren't that far apart how come a zoom lens with an n f/ stop range of 3.5-6 is considered garbage?
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:49 am

lex-ington wrote:What is the downside of the filter rotating when focusing?

I'd like to know too.

lex-ington wrote:I will look around to see if I can find the "beercan" JAE is referring too. What do I lose in terms of usability between f/4 and f/2.8. I can graspd that the aperture is larger so more light gets through continuously, but if the f/ stops aren't that far apart how come a zoom lens with an n f/ stop range of 3.5-6 is considered garbage?

It's not that it's garbage, it's just not as good as a lens that has a larger aperture. Don't let people tell you that a lens you're looking at is garbage because there's a better one out there...there's always a better lens out there. Just get what you know will work with what you want to do & can afford.
One of the things about the bigger aperture is that you can use a faster shutter speed without having to up your ISO settings to compensate. You have to remember that each f/stop step up means half of the light is being allowed in.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Tue Mar 23, 2010 10:09 am

lex-ington wrote:Please excuse my ignorance/ lack-of-knowledge in the world of photography. :oops:

What is the downside of the filter rotating when focusing?


It only matters for 2 commonly used filter types: Polarizing filters and Graduated Neutral Density filters. If you're not shooting with either, it rarely matters. If you ever want to experiment with either, you'll want a lens without a rotating front element, though.

I will look around to see if I can find the "beercan" JAE is referring too. What do I lose in terms of usability between f/4 and f/2.8. I can graspd that the aperture is larger so more light gets through continuously, but if the f/ stops aren't that far apart how come a zoom lens with an n f/ stop range of 3.5-6 is considered garbage?


f/4 lets in half as much light as f/2.8 (each stop is a sqrt(2) multiple from the last), so your shutter speed will be twice as slow. If you're shooting hand held, the rule of thumb is that the reciprocal of your shutter speed should be as fast as the (35mm equivalent) focal length of your lens. So a 200mm lens on an APS-C body (1.5x crop) would need a shutter speed faster than 1/300s in order to be sharp. Also, for fast moving subjects, you may want a fast shutter speed to capture them without motion blur. Both of these will be harder with a slower (smaller aperture) lens.

Of course, the downside is that f/2.8 lenses are a lot bigger, heavier and more expensive than f/4 (or f/5.6, which is yet another stop slower) lenses. f/4 and slower lenses may not be garbage, but there are some shots that you will not be able to make with them that you could have captured with a f/2.8. Most consumer zooms are in the f/3.5-5.6 range because they're cheaper and easier to build, since consumers have no need or are unwilling to pay for and carry around a heavy and expensive lens. While I love fast primes, I concede that not everyone wants a $4,000 lens that weighs over 5 lbs (as Canon's 300mm f/2.8 L lens does). :p

PS Also, for some uses, you want a shallow depth of field (portraits, creative photography). To get a shallow depth of field, you want to:
1. use a long focal length
2. shoot as close as you can
3. have a large aperture

You can't always control 1 and 2, since you have to consider framing and practicality, as well as the other characteristics of the lens. So if you want shallow depth of field and bokeh (blurred background/foreground), you want a lens with as large an aperture as you can.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Tue Mar 23, 2010 11:33 am

lex-ington wrote:What is the downside of the filter rotating when focusing?


Circular polarizers require you to rotate the filter to achieve desired effect ... if the filter-end of the lens rotates along with the lens when zooming/focusing, the orientation of the filter is changed and you need to re-set it. Gradual filters create a gradient effect and again, you'll need to reset these filters to get proper orientation.

Really, not an issue for the amateur photographer. But the implications are obvious in more time sensitive/quick shooting situations.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:14 pm

Voldenuit wrote:While I love fast primes, I concede that not everyone wants a $4,000 lens that weighs over 5 lbs (as Canon's 300mm f/2.8 L lens does). :p
Sony makes a very good 300mm f/2.8 G super-telephoto prime lens that weighs 5.1 lbs and costs $6300. The 5.3 lb Sigma 300mm f/2.8 EX DG is available for the Sony α cameras for only $3000.

phez wrote:Circular polarizers require you to rotate the filter to achieve desired effect ... if the filter-end of the lens rotates along with the lens when zooming/focusing, the orientation of the filter is changed and you need to re-set it. Gradual filters create a gradient effect and again, you'll need to reset these filters to get proper orientation.
I encounter this problem when using a polarizer on my telephoto zoom lens. I can usually hold the filter ring to keep the polarizer from turning with the lens while focusing, but that's not possible with the lens hood mounted.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:46 pm

Allow me to ask another question that might help not only the OP but myself :oops: .

When considering a large aperture lens, can you achieve (just as easy if not easier) the same DOF, clearness, ect at the same aperture setting (when stopping up) as you would with a similar focal length lens at the same exact F-Stop.

Example....

50mm/1.7
50mm/4.0

Assuming the same brand/glass/blades/ect, if you take the 1.7 and stop it up to 4.0 would you not have the same exact results using the same settings? Or because the 1.7 is capable of taking in that much more light at a high aperture, it will also take in more at the same F-Stop at the "lesser" lens? And how does this relate to lenses with varying focal lengths due to an F-stop being a ratio of the lens.

Example...

50mm/1.7 - If you stopped up to 2.8
vs
70-210/2.8
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:59 pm

Two 50mm lenses at f/4 would produce very similar DOF on the same camera, regardless of whether the f/4 aperture was the largest setting on the lens or if it was stopped down.

However, the two lenses may have different sharpness, contrast, bokeh, distortion, colour reproduction and vignetting at the same aperture.

A zoom set to 50mm and at f/4 would also have very similar DOF as the 50mm primes above.

You could take a look at this test to illustrate what I've said, for instance: http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?p=5946798#post5946798
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:25 pm

If I am understanding the information given correctly, then THIS lens would actually be considered a bit of a steal. Anything in this range of f/stops and price is a good bargain and if I can find similar for cheaper, that would be a bonus.


I'll be doing some more looking this weekend, but I wonder if this is worth the $730 they're asking for it?
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 3:47 pm

lex-ington wrote:If I am understanding the information given correctly, then THIS lens would actually be considered a bit of a steal. Anything in this range of f/stops and price is a good bargain and if I can find similar for cheaper, that would be a bonus.


I'll be doing some more looking this weekend, but I wonder if this is worth the $730 they're asking for it?
That price is more or less normal for "3rd party" f/2.8 telephoto zooms. Sigma's is going to be similar in cost, I'd suspect, and I believe has their HSM focus motor which is nice. They recently launched a stabilized version as well. That might cost more. In terms of image quality and build I'm not sure how they all stack up. Another possibility in that price range or lower is used Minolta glass.

The larger aperture lenses are great. You get a brighter viewfinder, more ability to isolate the BG with shallow DoF, the ability to use faster shutter speeds at the same ISO, and often a better build quality. You also get higher cost, greater weight, and larger dimensions as there is no free lunch.

My preference is to accept the extra weight and larger dimensions (and the cost, although my used example wasn't too pricey), as for my purposes the advantages of the f/2.8 lenses in that class are things I value. If I was climbing a mountain my priorities would likely differ.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:01 pm

That means I am left with a few choices:

1. I can ask my sister to pick up the lens for me.

2. I can bid on a few lenses on ebay. Henry's has a Minolta 70-210mm f/4 which I think is the "beercan" that so many people have used.

3. I can take a trip to the Henry's outlet store in Mississauga and see what I can find in there.

4. I can go downtown Toronto to the pawn shops and see what they have in there.

Actually, how many of you actually use a zoom lens? Do you just pick a zoom . . .say 135mm . . .and work with that (like a 135mm f/2.8 lens)? And then get a macro lens and move around with both to get the best picture?
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:24 pm

I bought the wife a Tamron f2.8 17-50 mm lens for christmas and it has worked very well so far. The one you are looking at is probably fairly similar performance wise.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:37 pm

lex-ington wrote:If I am understanding the information given correctly, then THIS lens would actually be considered a bit of a steal. Anything in this range of f/stops and price is a good bargain and if I can find similar for cheaper, that would be a bonus.


I'll be doing some more looking this weekend, but I wonder if this is worth the $730 they're asking for it?


The Tamron performed well in tests. ~$700 seems to be the going rate (note that slrgear includes used prices in its average, so $730 new is actually pretty good).

However, as mattsteg says, if you don't need or are not going to use the larger aperture, you'll have a heavier and bulkier lens that you'l have to carry around all the time.

Personally, I think you'll be better off with the beercan. It's an established classic with well-liked characteristics, smaller, lighter, more solidly built (the Tamron is plastic) and much, much cheaper. As a relative newcomer to photography, getting the best, most expensive gear may sound tempting, but they're not always the best tool for the job.

Actually, how many of you actually use a zoom lens? Do you just pick a zoom . . .say 135mm . . .and work with that (like a 135mm f/2.8 lens)? And then get a macro lens and move around with both to get the best picture?


A 135mm is a prime. A telephoto prime, but it's not a zoom. I'm a prime man myself. I have a 20mm and a 50mm, as well as a 7-14 zoom as part of my regular kit (Micro Four Thirds, so double the focal lengths to get 35mm equivalent). Primes are less versatile than zooms, but I like them because they enforce more discipline in the shooter and train you to think about distance and composition. I also prefer the image quality, visual characteristics, larger apertures, lighter weight, durability (less zoom means less dust sequestering). The focal length you choose depends a lot on what you want to do and how you want to go about doing it.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Wed Mar 24, 2010 8:39 pm

Hance wrote:I bought the wife a Tamron f2.8 17-50 mm lens for christmas and it has worked very well so far. The one you are looking at is probably fairly similar performance wise.


The Tamron 17-50/2.8 (I'm guessing you got the aspheric one?) is a great lens and people rave about it on photo forums. It's a great all-purpose walk around lens on an APS-C body. The 70-200/2.8 also sounds promising, but I don't know if the bulk and weight tradeoff will be worthwhile to the OP.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Thu Mar 25, 2010 1:52 am

Well.... lets set something straight here hehe. I know that we've got some very knowledgeable and experienced guys in here so allow me to ask the question that might help them to make an honest suggestion for the OP. Lex-ington....... what EXACTLY do you want a new lens for??? Are you looking to shoot nature pictures, animals from far away/close up..... looking to take personal portraits of people, fast action sports shooting? What your shooting for will determine what you will want to buy. Also how much are you willing to spend on a lens? Do you travel around with the lenses a lot like mountain hiking or backpacking long distances. I guess these are things we should have asked you before hand heheh.

I'm fairly new at all of this but have figured things that I like already. So far I like primes (Fixed Focal Length) lenses too. Something about the one i've been using produces a much more appealing image to me, and I like feeling like I can interact with my surroundings when im taking pictures. At times I feel like an idiot moving my entire head and body towards and away from plants and things but it just makes you try or see other angles you wouldn't get if you were stationary with a zoom lens.

As of right now I have:

Kit Zoom lens 18-55 - General use.... but sadly I haven't been using it since I got the 50mm
A 50mm Prime (F 1.7) - Portraits and night/low light shots

Want to get:
70-210 (Telephoto) so that I can shoot some nice close up mountain ranges. If I wanted to shoot some nice night shots of things like say...... the moon close up I'd look for a slightly larger aperture.
Macro....... Now I haven't given the focal length much thought but I'd like to get a 1:1 for some really nice true to life shots of things like ants and other bugs.

Do any of those shooting styles or subject matter match what your looking at doing?
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Thu Mar 25, 2010 3:23 am

Welch wrote:I'm fairly new at all of this but have figured things that I like already. So far I like primes (Fixed Focal Length) lenses too. Something about the one i've been using produces a much more appealing image to me, and I like feeling like I can interact with my surroundings when im taking pictures. At times I feel like an idiot moving my entire head and body towards and away from plants and things but it just makes you try or see other angles you wouldn't get if you were stationary with a zoom lens.


They say your feet are the best zoom. :lol:

I agree completely. People think primes are "limiting", but in fact, they free you to explore perspectives that you might have left untouched if you could simply turn a zoom ring to "get closer". Using primes also puts you in the mindset of thinking "what would my lens see?", which is an essential step on the road to great photography (definitely not there yet myself). The 50mm is very "neutral", and approximates the human visual experience quite well (which is why it is for many the lens of choice to start people off on photography with). Once you start using a, say, 24mm prime or a 300mm, you'll round out your ability to think like a lens.

It may sound strange, but having a prime has also improved my photography for other focal lengths. The many times I've had, say, a 50mm out and went "damn, I wish I had a 35mm on right now" has trained me to be able to recognise those "35mm moments" when I actually do have one on. An interesting experiment is to go somewhere and take photos with one focal length, and then to revisit the same place another day with a different focal length, and to compare the types of pictures you take, and see what works with what and what doesn't. It can also be interesting to compare the two perspectives of looking at the world.

Optically, a prime only needs to be optimised for a single focal length, so often gives better and more consistent image quality than a zoom, which has to work throughout its range. Leica experimented with a M-A-T-E (no, I have no idea what it stands for) lens that clicked into 35-50-75 focal lengths and not any of the intermediate steps, so they could optimise the optics for those three lengths. It remains a rarity and a collectible today - they were overshadowed by their own past successes in amazing primes, so they never sold that many (the price didn't help).

Of course, there is definitely a place for zooms. Journalists use them because they never know what they're going to come up against. Wedding photographers use them because they don't want to miss a moment swapping lenses (and so they can carry fewer bodies with them). Nature photographers often can't "zoom with their feet" (not if they want to stay uneaten). If you're traveling, sometimes it's nice to have an "all in one solution". And if you're starting out, they're a cheap way to get started.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:01 am

You can get a Tair 3S for cheap. It's an old fixed 300mm lens that uses the M42 mount. There are converters for that type of lens mount out there.
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Crayon Shin Chan
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Thu Mar 25, 2010 5:07 am

Crayon Shin Chan wrote:You can get a Tair 3S for cheap. It's an old fixed 300mm lens that uses the M42 mount. There are converters for that type of lens mount out there.


Haha. That is just evil. Suggesting a 300mm manual focus lens *with a manual cock diaphragm* to a newcomer :p

Might be amazing on MFT though, since you can hold the gun in your arm and still be able to see to focus.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:07 pm

Welch wrote:Well.... lets set something straight here hehe. I know that we've got some very knowledgeable and experienced guys in here so allow me to ask the question that might help them to make an honest suggestion for the OP. Lex-ington....... what EXACTLY do you want a new lens for??? Are you looking to shoot nature pictures, animals from far away/close up..... looking to take personal portraits of people, fast action sports shooting? What your shooting for will determine what you will want to buy. Also how much are you willing to spend on a lens? Do you travel around with the lenses a lot like mountain hiking or backpacking long distances. I guess these are things we should have asked you before hand heheh.

I'm fairly new at all of this but have figured things that I like already. So far I like primes (Fixed Focal Length) lenses too. Something about the one i've been using produces a much more appealing image to me, and I like feeling like I can interact with my surroundings when im taking pictures. At times I feel like an idiot moving my entire head and body towards and away from plants and things but it just makes you try or see other angles you wouldn't get if you were stationary with a zoom lens.

As of right now I have:

Kit Zoom lens 18-55 - General use.... but sadly I haven't been using it since I got the 50mm
A 50mm Prime (F 1.7) - Portraits and night/low light shots

Want to get:
70-210 (Telephoto) so that I can shoot some nice close up mountain ranges. If I wanted to shoot some nice night shots of things like say...... the moon close up I'd look for a slightly larger aperture.
Macro....... Now I haven't given the focal length much thought but I'd like to get a 1:1 for some really nice true to life shots of things like ants and other bugs.

Do any of those shooting styles or subject matter match what your looking at doing?


Well . . . I can't say for now as the lens is quite limiting for my budget. Don't get me wrong, the lens that came with the camera is quite fine. I shot an entire wedding with it. Not the best pics in the world, but it was satisfactory enough that there were no complaints about any of them.

But summer is coming . . . . and that means driving. My wife loves Niagara Falls and its only an hour away. I plan on going to a few other places like Ottawa and Montreal this summer - not to mention the family reunion. Throw in some baseball games, two more Raptors games, Caribbana, the jazz festival, and quite a few weekends down by the Harbourfront and you can tell where I'm going with all of this.

Anyways, my sister is bringing the Tamron 70-210mm f/2.8 on monday - just in time for the Raptors game wednesday night, then down by the beaches on the weekend. If the pictures turn out o.k. I'll post a few. I don't want to totally embarass myself with a new lens and sucky pictures.

Would it be best to shoot in RAW format with a better lens?

IF things work out like I hope, then next in line is this and a flash.
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lex-ington
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:14 pm

RAW is always better, but then you have to go through the workflow of copying the images from your memory card to your PC's hard-drive, importing the images into your photo software, tweaking them, and saving them as JPEGs. I'm lazy enough that I usually shoot in RAW + small JPEG. I save the 13 MB (10 megapixel 14-bit color) RAW files for later editing and I can upload some of the small JPEGs straight to Photobucket.
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:19 pm

My take on it..... ALWAYS shoot in RAW. It allows you to be able to edit the pictures without loss of quality, along with doing other advanced PP that you cannot technically do with a JPEG. Unless your completely strained for space on your memory card, then there really isn't any reason to shoot in any other format. One exception is if you plan on posting cropped versions of the pics on a website for things like banners, ect where you are going to reduce the size/quality anyhow for load times. Still then if you start out with a RAW you can always reduce later, that way you don't miss any magic.

Sounds like you need a good ranged telephoto, the 70-210 would probably serve you really well, and if you wanted to get some extra distance for things like Niagara falls, a 2xteleconverter will give you the extra range you need. looking forward to seeing some pics :D.... (Don't be afraid to post them regardless)
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Re: What exact specs to look for in a lens?

Postposted on Sat Mar 27, 2010 3:24 pm

RAW is always better

I disagree, and that's a lousy mentality to impress upon someone just starting out. Shooting RAW for everything just wastes space; most of the "extra detail" won't even matter or be noticed (and hence, wouldn't be missed). Important shoots - say, something you're being paid for - certainly justifies the use, but if one is just out and about having fun? Hell, if I shot nothing but RAW, I'd have a terabyte of pictures by now, and for a dedicated hobbyist, that would be an absolutely ridiculous situation. The sheer amount of time spent converting that terabyte would have absolutely killed my passion for photography.
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