SLR Lenses - what do you consider the essentials?

@Pigglies (9340)
United States
February 5, 2007 1:36am CST
I'm curious to know which lenses are the essentials? One of my friends told me I shouldn't buy a package deal because the lens that comes with the body generally isn't one I'd use a lot. Which lenses should I buy instead of just going with the package? I do a lot of wildlife photography, macro shots, portraits of pets for animal rescue groups, etc. Tell me about your lenses and what you use them for. The only lenses I have currently are for a manual film camera anyway, so I'll need all new lenses when I finally go digital.
5 responses
@bonbon50 (659)
• United States
12 Feb 07
As for my 35 mm, I wouldn't be without a polarizer. This is essential when shooting outdoors for getting the best color and contrast! Of course, this is a filter and you're inquiring about lenses. If you don't have a polarizer filter, get a good one, you'll be amazed at the different.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
13 Feb 07
I have a set of filters. I've used the polarizer a few times, but find it much more useful for video myself. What shooting conditions do you use it for generally? For video, I use it outside a lot. But I've really only used it a few times with a still camera.
@bonbon50 (659)
• United States
14 Feb 07
I use it for shooting outside photos. Mine dials around, almost like focusing but changing the polarization instead. It can make blue skies very vivid and give nice contrast, water shots, too.
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
14 Feb 07
Oh that sounds nice! I think the problem with mine, is that you can't change it. So it often doesn't help, but hurts the photo instead. I'll look into one where it can be changed, that really sounds nice. Thanks for the info!
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
14 Feb 07
One thing I would say about the package lens is they are usually a good general purpose lens. If you are looking to save moeny by not buying the kit check it out carefully. It would cost me more money to buy the camera without the lens than buying teh kit - don't ask why but that is what I found out on ebay. You can usually sell the kit lense for $50.00 or so. I do mainly action photos and have been told I should us the 70 300 mm f2.8 lense that costs about $1,800. I can't afford that yet. I use a 50 mm f1.8 and have gotten some great shots at night of football games. I can only print a 5x7 and sometimes an 8x10, but that is what I an sell. When I bought my DigitalSLR - a Canon Rebel xt with an 18-55 mm lens and looked for different lenses. I bought the 50 mm because of the low light capitlies it afforded me. I am saving up for a better zoom lens. I would like a 28-105 mm f2.8 lens for general shooting and my sports photos. I do check ebay to see if there are any deals and I was able to get a Tamron 28-200mm lens for under $30.00. It appeared at the same time several camera shops and photographers were selling their lens so this one did not look attractive. I gambled and won. It is not a fast lens but it does give me some good outdoor shooting opportunities. If you are unsure if you will like a lens you can look into renting one for a shoot and see how you like it.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
15 Feb 07
I've looked on Ebay, but I don't trust a lot of the sellers on there. I've bought cameras on Ebay before, but the one place you have to call in on the phone. They have good prices and all, but I'd rather just shop online at Ritz or Samys. If I can only sell the kit lens for $50, it's not worth it. It adds $300 to the price of the camera that I want (the Nikon D80). I want a 50mm for sure. Maybe the 1.8, or possibly a 1.4, can't seem to decide yet. I'm watching some on Ebay, but I don't like to spend a lot on there. If anything goes over $100, I'll buy it where I can return it instead. I'm hoping to be able to do bigger prints than 8x10s, since I could do more than that with my Nikon CoolPix 8700. But the D80 is a 10 megapixel camera, so I should be able to. I should try renting some. I noticed that Samys does rentals. Especially on the more expensive lenses, I may try that first.
@bobmnu (8160)
• United States
22 Feb 07
I have read review on the 50mm lens and for the cannon there is a big difference in picture quality between the f1.8 and the f1.4, with the f1.4 being thepoor of the two lenses. Check out www.dpreview.com for reviews and discussion by photographers. They range from new comeres to professionals and you can read forums suited to your camera or needs. I have found many good sellers on ebay as well as a few cut rate sellers who only care about selling and not the quality. Read the feedback and look at what they sell. Are they electronics or do they sell anything they can get their hands on. Good luck.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
23 Feb 07
The f1.4 on the Nikon lenses can do everything that the 1.8 can. It's just that the 1.8 isn't going to a "real" (full) f-stop. I've heard people say that the camera needs to be recalibrated to use the 1.4 maximum. However, if you're not using that, it doesn't. But I suppose, why pay $200 more if you aren't going to use it? And that's something I'm still not sure on... if I'd use it. Because on my film camera 50mm lens, it does go to 1.4, and I haven't really ever used that. But maybe I would. And maybe by some miracle I won't need to buy another 50mm lens, because maybe this one will fit. Even though it is an old all metal one.
• United States
11 Feb 07
What kind of digital camera are you getting and what kind of film camera do you have? The Canon EOS series lenses work for both film cameras and digital ones. The essential lens for film is a 50 mm, for digital I think is 24mm. That's the standard size. For wildlife, you'll need some kind of telephoto zoom. Film- 80mm and up. Digital, 50 mm and up. For macro, 18mm will work with both formats. For the pet portraits, the standard lenses should work for that. In my experience, the lens that comes with the body is a standard zoom, usually around 35mm to 80mm for film, 18-55mm for digital. That'll cover your basic needs, and for macro you can just buy a close-up filter. It's much cheaper than a whole new lens. For the wildlife stuff, the lens that comes with the camera probably won't cut it. So, I'd go against what your friend says, and buy the bundle, a close-up filter, and a telephoto. Unless you need ultra-large apertures, the lens that comes with the camera is the one you'll use most often.
1 person likes this
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
11 Feb 07
I have a Nikon film camera with some Nikkor fixed lenses (no zooms). And I plan to buy the Nikon D80. Just wondering, why does the essential lens change on film and digital? I have a 50mm for film. But wouldn't 24mm be wide angle? I'm not sure how much I'd really use wide angle. 18mm to 135mm is the kit lens for the D80. I do have macro filters already for my previous digital camera, and they'll fit this one as well. This lens adds $300 to the price of the kit. So if it's not something I'd actually use, I'm not sure I should pay that much extra. Because that $300 could go towards a more useful lens for me. My friend seemed to think I'd want better maximum aperture than the kit lens offers (3.5 to 5.6). What would the better apertures be more useful for? She recommended a zoom lens that was at 2.8 at all focal lengths, but it costs $1,500. :( One bad thing I noticed though on lenses that come separately, is a lot of places say you'll end up waiting for them. If I can save up that much money, I don't want to wait too.
1 person likes this
@healwell (1271)
• Ahmedabad, India
20 Apr 07
I have Olympus FE-130, 5.1 megapixel digital camara. It is purchazes in December, 2006. But right now since last 2 weeks i am facing problem regarding not getting good photos during day time:There are lining over the objects also and when flash starts my screen shows strips over there which was not happening before! I have taken so many photos and done good work out of all such photos! I am unable to find out the root cause of this though i have gone through book and all the processes camara has inside the menu! Would any one can suggest about? all settings I have checked, all the processes i have done properly; ten why this problem occurred?
• United States
24 Mar 07
If you can physically move closer to your subjects, it's always better than using a zoom. Zoom lenses have a tendency to make distances appear closer together. For example, a picture of a man on a bench with a tree 50 feet behind him, taken with a 50 mm lens will look like a man on a bench with a tree 50 feet behind him. With a 110 mm lens, it may look like the tree is only 20 feet behind him. It's called the "compression effect", I think, if you want to look it up. That's why I recommend the standard lens. It sees exactly what the human eyeball sees, sans distortion.
@Pigglies (9340)
• United States
24 Mar 07
Yeah, I try to move in close whenever I can. I'm pretty good at sneaking up on wildlife, but sometimes I just can't get close enough. I'm horrible at knowing distances myself, but that makes sense.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Feb 07
For everyday shooting i use my 20-80 mm lense. I can get close-ish to my subject or be across the room and still get a good picture. If im outside and wanting to shoot wildlife, i like my 80-300 mm lense. Its my baby. I can sit in my car and see sheep on the mountain side. Im so in love with it hehe. I need some polorizers very badly though.