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 Post subject: The Next Step
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 4:55 pm 
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So... I don't have any intentions of buying a lens soon, definitely not before the summer is over. Honestly, I'm surprised at my reluctancy to buy new lenses. I was afraid that getting into this hobby would be a money sucking habit, that I'd constantly be thinking of "oh man, when I get my next lens". but honestly, I feel in no way have I outgrown what I have and am quite happy with my arsenal of equipment. Having said that, I was at the local camera store buying a lens for work (No, my work is not photography, we just happen to use cameras a lot) the other day and of course had a look at what's there for myself. I wouldn't even be able to decide on what I would want next.

I consider myself primarily an outdoor photographer, although most compliments I get are on my portraits. But I guess what looks best and what I like to do are two different things. I guess its the fact that I like being outside and thus associate taking pictures outside as a more enjoyable experience. I'm getting a little off topic. Basically, apart from a standard lens which I have, there are four types lenses that I have considered if only for a few moments of thought. Macro, wide angle, large aperture prime, & tele. Here are my thoughts that I've had.

Macro - yeah, I can see how they're fun... but I really don't think that I would get many photos from this. They don't draw my eye much and on photo forums, I typically skip these threads. So basically, they're fun, but not for me.

Wide Angle - The first thing that comes to mid is landscape HDR. stuckincustoms.com - or rather, the guy who maintains it - primarily uses a wide angle. I like his results. I've yet to come up with a reason to steer myself away from this.

Large Aperture Prime - This is what interested me from the beginning. I considered getting one of these even as my first lens. I'm talking about in the full frame equivalent 50mm range, with a 1.4, 1.2, or 1.8 depending on budget. Yeah, the obvious advantage is the really nice DOF from it. That's what really got met excited about SLR's when I was a-young-in, was this ability. So, right now, the purpose of this lens for me is somewhat debatable. Sure, you can take photos inside without a flash - but I just got my flash and I love the way it makes photos look. Again, apart from the tight DOF, its tough to fight the advantages.

Tele - Well this just seems right. The reason is not obvious... but it just feels obviously obvious to me. It's great for portrait work, which apparently I'm ok at, and it really opens the doors for some interesting outdoor photography. I'm interested. I've since investigated 70-200 f/2.8 in the Tamron and Sigma models - hey, I 'aint rich, and I'm totally pleased with my Tarmon to date.

Just wondering if you guys would share your equipment "path" and why you went the way you did.

Trevor


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 5:04 pm 
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Location: North of the 49th parallel
This is the only lens on my radar...

http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/50mm-f14-ex-dg-hsm-sigma

* I should add that I have an "all purpose" Sal 18-250 which does most everything really well, even birding to an extent. My Sigma 10-20 is a work lens which also has great artistic appeal, and when used properly and with lots of imagination makes photography a blast.
But I need a proper portrait lens, as in a 50mm.


Last edited by WestCoast on Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:25 pm 
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Location: Taiwan / Sweden / Scotland
though the Sigma 50mm has many different versions some with ok focus and some with horrible focus.

I got one with horrible focus, anyways Sigma is always very inconsistent in their autofocus department.

The lens is alright though, but I'll be looking forwards to the 50mm 1,2L mark II instead

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 7:39 pm 
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You must of got a bad copy, DP and others call it "class leading"
http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/sig ... /page6.asp

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/392-s ... on?start=2


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:11 pm 
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Hi Trevor, you might get getter repsonse if we move this to a manufacturer section - which camera body do you use?

You should also check out my lens buyers guide here:

http://www.cameralabs.com/lenses/Latest ... iews.shtml


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 8:33 pm 
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Sure thing Gordon... I'm using a Nikon D200.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:30 pm 
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I started with a little Zeiss 16-80mm f/3.5-4.5. Then I got a 70-200mm f/2.8, followed by a Zeiss 24-70mm f/2.8 (for which I sold the other Zeiss) and a 50mm f/1.4. That last lens was the best purchase decision I've made in my life, I think. It changed my photography and helped lay the basis for my current style. A Zeiss 85mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 were logical choices afterwards. The 35mm is actually my favorite at the moment (but it is much more expensive).

I just recently sold both the Zeiss 24-70mm and my 70-200mm to be able to buy a Leica M9(.2 or M10?) with a 50mm f/1.4 Lux.

Oh; I left out the 28mm f/2.8. Bought that shortly after the 50mm to have a wide-angle prime. It's not fast enough for me though, I need the wide aperture.

Anyway, to conclude: get a 35mm or 50mm, as fast as you can afford.

- Bjorn -

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 2:58 am 
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I am still learning, of course, but my biggest jump in understanding photography occurred when I acquired an exceptionally sharp pre-Mark II Canon 50mm 1.8, which allowed me to do so many things that the 18-55mm kit lens and a Tamron 18-200mm lens simply did not allow, with their apertures of 3.5, at best. The large (fast) 1.8 aperture freed me from being so dependent upon a tripod and/or flash for low-light shots of moving subjects.

I am considering other fast lenses in the 35mm to 60mm range, as finances allow.

Edited to add: I posted my above response before this topic was moved to the Nikon section. No offense to Nikon fans was intended. :) I am actually considering several nicer Nikon lenses, which would mean then buying a Nikon body, anyway.

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Last edited by RexGig on Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 3:35 am 
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Location: North of the 49th parallel
@Bjorn, do you have the Sigma 50mm 1.4 or the SAL?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 4:15 am 
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Well I started off with the 18-105mm kit lens that came with my D90, and quickly bought a 70-300mm VR to complement it. I don't need telephoto very often, but that was a good value purchase, and was FX proof if ever I went in that direction.

Next up was a 35mm f1.8 for DX. It gets rave reviews for its bang per buck but I did not enjoy it so much. The distortion wasn't good but focussing was spot on, and it was pretty sharp from f2-2.2. I liked the focal length though on DX. That was sold (luckily for pretty much what I paid for it)

Next up was the 24-70mm f2.8. What a jump from the kit lens (which was promptly sold). This is my go to lens and is always on the camera. It fitted my needs perfectly and I like the focal length on DX, plus it's future proofed for FX. I thought about the 17-55 but that was DX only and I'd need wider that 17mm anyway. The 24-70mm gets the job done with great contrast, clarity, sharpness and focus speed. If there's an event or something moving, this is the main lens I use.

I wanted wider than 17-18mm, so the next purchase was a sigma 10-20mm. Again, this isn't FX proof, but it gets a lot of use. I've found it to be fairly good for daylight but a pain in the ass for night photography which is something I particularly enjoy. It gets soft in the corners and the resolution isn't stellar, but bracketing and using exposure fusion in Photomatix can bring out details further which offsets this.

Next up - a bit leftfield - was a jump back to a prime, but a manual focus prime, the Carl Zeiss 35mm f2. This is a beauty and if there is anything that focal range, I'll opt for this over the 24-70mm. It's in another league again. It gets a fair amount of use but I think I'll prefer the focal length even more on FX than DX. Then it will be the perfect walkabout lens, and the output you see on full frame cameras is stunning. There's something that's just 'right' about this lens. Pick one up and try one if you ever get the chance - it's lens porn!

Next up, and the most recent, was a lens specificaly for one purpose, which has paid for itself many times over and statistically is my most used lens (because of bracketing HDR interior shots for 360 degree panoramas). It's a Samyang 8mm fisheye. This again is just for DX, and very rarely gets used apart from real estate panoramas.

So I've bought a few, sold a few, and ended up with a current lineup of 5 lenses from 4 different manufacturers. I'll always keep the fisheye on a DX camera for interiors, but the next step is an FX camera. Then I will need another wideangle, and one that is as good as the 24-70mm or Carl Zeiss. Therefore I'm looking at the 14-24mm or 16-35mm Nikkors, of the 21mm Carl Zeiss. It's a toss up, and the 14-24mm and 21mm Carl Zeiss are actually both owned by many people - the 14-24 is stellar and more flexible, but again that Zeiss has something extra.

So my advice is to look at what you shoot, how often you're going to shoot it, what conditions you'll be shooting in, and not to avoid 3rd party manufacturers. For example, I could have dropped 5x the $$$ I dropped on the Samyang 8mm fisheye. Yes, the extra would have got me autofocus and camera body aperture control, but with a fisheye and its immense depth of field, would I really need that in my application? No, I just go to F11-F16, manual focus at 0.7-1m and everything is sharp.

And another bit of advice - try picking up a 2nd hand prime lens or two. Going for older 50mm f1.2/f1.4 or wider from online sites can bag you a quality bit of glass at a cheap price (as long as your camera can work with them). Sure, it won't be the sharpest or best rated in online DxO tests (or whatever they are) but it will have character and open up other shooting options for you.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:26 pm 
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@WestCoast: I have the Sony 50mm. Never really liked the idea of 'cheap' third-party lenses (Zeiss is a different story of course).

- Bjorn -

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