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21Delta Apr 17, 2005 1:39 AM

How do I get the most out of the lenses I have for my DRebel? I can't afford the latest and greatest lenses, so I have to make due with what I have. I have the 18-55mm lens that came with the Rebel and the Canon 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II. Are there any settings these lenses work best at?

ohenry Apr 17, 2005 10:37 AM

All lenses, regardless of how good they are, generally perform at their best when shot towards the middle apertures. The worst performance is generally seen at the extreme ends of the zoom or the extreme ends of the aperture.

IMO, too much emphasis is put on the quality of the lenses in the internet forums and not enough on proper photography technique.

There is nothing wrong with your lenses and if you take the time to properly expose, focus, and compose your subject, there is absolutely no reason that you can't produce some stellar shots.

BobA Apr 17, 2005 10:45 PM

I agree completely with ohenry,

You can have the most expensive equipment available and still take horrible photos. Technique is way more important than the quality of the lens, and with proper technique you will likely take better pictures than a lot of the "L" glass crowd frequenting the forums.

Some things that you may want to consider:

1. If you don't already have one, invest in a decent tripod. Using a tripod may improve your shots if you are experiencing some blurring due to camera movement. Also, I find when I use a tripod I take a bit more time to properly compose my shot.

2. Enroll in a community college photography class, or buy a good book on composition and exposure.



stellgar Apr 17, 2005 11:16 PM

Take the time to thoroughly know your camera and what it is capable of.

Use a tripod for slow shutter speeds and landscapes.

Learn to use a good software package to change contrast, color shifts, saturation, and sharpness levels to make up for the short comings of the lens.

When possible leave room for cropping don't frame in so tightly this way you can take out the best parts of what the lens captured.

Just a few thoughts off the top hope they help.

David W

Canon G3, G6, 20D, A2, Pentax PZ1, Spotmatic, Super Program. 35 years of photography and I still have every camera I've ever looked at the world and the ones I have loved through.

JohnG Apr 18, 2005 1:46 PM

My quick take -

Regardless of lenses, photography is about capturing light. So, the single most important step is understanding exposure and how it works. Once you understand the concepts of exposure you can start to evaluate how challenges a given situation will present to obtaining proper exposure. Then, given your lenses you can figure out where they fall short for a given situation. For instance, you may be shooting indoors in low light and your max lense speed is f5.6 - probably too 'slow' to capture good photos. You can compensate by using higher ISO and/or flash.

That first part will allow you to take the best picture possible under current conditions. The next part, in my opinion, is using post processing (like photoshop) to correct problems brought about from the capture - e.g. noise reduction because you had to shoot at high ISO, techniques for compensating for distortion or whatever. One of the benefits with digital is you have a great amount of things you can do with software to correct an image. But, having a good understanding of exposure will allow you to capture a better starting point.

All of which will help with the technical aspects - the other part is the 'art' of photography - capturing something of interest. That's where books on composition, etc. will help. THis is the area that I struggle with the most. I've gotten better over the past few years with the technical nature but am still struggling with the art side - and actually capturing something worth people looking at.

In both cases - technical and art practice is always the best approach.

pdxfella May 8, 2005 4:48 PM

I have a eos 10D, with some standard Canon lenses, everytime I think that the camera or lenes I have are giving me a problem I capture a pix that just knocks my socks off and then I know that the problem is not in or in front of the camera it is the nut behind the camera that need tweaking... In real Estate the phrase is "Location, location, location."

In photography the phrase should be "Basics, basics, basics." use a tripod, understand your parameters, know you scene and what it takes to get it...

It is always a pleasnt surpize to capture a great pix, but is frustrating to know understand all of the bad ones you took..


[email protected] May 8, 2005 8:26 PM


I like to shoot "wide open" or close to "wide open", which in your case is F/4.5 and whatever is wide open with your 18-55 kit lens.

Shooting wide open lets me blur the background, and in some ways, control it from being distracting.

If you want a real sharp shots, shoot with F/5.6 or F/8. However, you may have some unintended and distracting foreground and background in focus.

Another cool technique is to set your ISO reallly high (like ISO 1600), and set your aperture as small as possible (F16 or F22 or whatever) and let the camera choose the shutter speed. Then you can use your camera like a "point and shoot" where everything from 3 feet to infinity is always in focus.

Try out the above three techniques and compare your shots. Eventually you will develop a "style".

As for me, I like to get close in and personal with my subject, shooting at the widest zoom (or near to it it), with the aperture wide open. It's a real "in your face" style that seems to work for me.

-- Terry

thatsanicepicture2 May 8, 2005 8:54 PM

21Delta wrote:

How do I get the most out of the lenses I have for my DRebel? I can't afford the latest and greatest lenses, so I have to make due with what I have. I have the 18-55mm lens that came with the Rebel and the Canon 80-200mm f/4.5-5.6 II. Are there any settings these lenses work best at?
The place to go and see what really good pictures can be taken with a DRebel is
Critiques and Techniques Look for pictures done by Aladyforty. She has a DRebel
and gets very nice pictures. She's not the only one but she did tell me that she has
the same or similar equipment. There is a lot to be learned in that forum.


wburychka May 12, 2005 10:51 AM

The 18-55mm lens has been unfairly criticized by many people on many forums. Check out the review of that lens in the current Popular Photography, and you will see what many of us knew all along: that is a good lens and an excellent value. I see status seekers all the time with their expensive white 400mm lenses sitting on a cheap Walmart tripod or even worse, running around hand held shooting more like an M-16 than a camera. These are people with cameras...not photographers. Incompetent users can take bad pictures with any lens. A skilled, experienced, and artful photographer can take a good picture with any lens.

As others have said, a couple of stops down from wide open is usually the best. That's often around F8. If you can find lab tests on your lenses, you can see for certain the best aperture to use for optimum sharpness. However, sometimes limited DOF with your lens wide open can make your subject seem sharper by contrast to an OOF background.

Let me second also the recommendation for a good (you won't find it at Best Buy) tripod and the largest ball head you can afford. Also, for working at the long end of that 80-200, a cable release can't hurt. You'd be surprised how easy it is to shake the camera with your shutter finger even on a steady tripod. You can make your own (many plans exist--just do a search) or spring for Canon's $30 version (I recommend that--only a little more money than you'd spend on parts, and it works very well, including half-press and a button lock for Bulb).

Finally, Henri Cartier-Bresson never published a photo taken wider than 28mm or longer than 135mm (that's equivalent to 17.5mm to 84.4mm on your DRebel).

Noteto stellgar--please post smaller pictures than you did here. It really messes up the display and forces us to usethe horizontal scroll bar to read messages.

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