Go Back   Steve's Digicams Forums > Digicam Help > Newbie Help

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Jun 7, 2003, 11:10 AM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 6
Default Help on Lenses-a DSLR Newbie

Hello everyone,

I am planning on buying my first DSLR Fuji S2 :lol: and I am very excited about it. But I know nothing about lenses and their terminology. Can someone please give me a real fast crash coarse on how to select lenses and what all those numbers are and how to read the numbers. Like for example I read somewhere that Nikkor 28-200 3.5-5.6 AF-D is a great all arround lense but I have no idea what all those numbers mean. Can some one please explain. I don't have time or money to take a class as to I am investing in the new camera. Thank you very much

Van Pragal.
vanpragal is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old Jun 7, 2003, 9:37 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

This question would really rate a really big answer. It also leads to questions like "why are you buying so fancy and expensive camera if you have so little experience? That is a lot of camera." But you didn't ask about how well you match the camera.

There are lots of free web sites which can teach you a lot about photography. I'll give you a few links, but there are many others out there. Check out this page:
http://www.photocourse.com/

It covers things like "how do you control Depth Of Field" and "how to use a flash" (my titles.) It also has a section on lenses starting at this link:
http://www.photocourse.com/07/07-00.htm

This is also a nice place to look around for info:
http://www.photo.net/learn/

I don't believe this this actually answers your direct question, but you might find it useful. It has answers to lots of photography questions:
http://www.cs.duke.edu/~parr/photography/faq.html

To answer most of your question in one link, check out this page:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bh2.sph/...ID=F5DC61FD800

It describes what all the letters mean after a nikon lens.

Lets take the lens you listed (28-200 3.5-5.6 AF-D) and decompose it:
28-200
This is the focal length (in milimeters.) You eye sees (basically) the equivalent to a 50mm lens (but taking into the 1.5x focal length multipler of the Fuji S2, on that camera your eye sees the same as a 33mm lens. If you don't understand this statement, just ask.) If you use a lens which is less than 50mm, things will look smaller than what you see with the naked eye. If you use something larger than 50mm, objects will look closer. Because there are two numbers listed, it is a "zoom". It can be set to any focal length between 28 and 200. There are also telephotos, or fixed lenses, which have only one number. The optical quality is (usually) better with a fixed length vs. a zoom, but a zoom is much more convient (and in many cases are very good in their own right.)

3.5-5.6
This is refered to as the f-stop, which is a measure of aperture. This is the largest aperture the lens can open to. This effects several things. The larger the aperture, the more light will go through the lens and hit the CCD/sensor. This means that it can be used in lower light situations (for example, in a gym taking pictures of your kids or at sunset.) It also lets you use a faster shutter speed which lets you stop motion. If you want to take a picture of a moving object, you need a fast shutter speed to stop the action. If you're limited to a small aperture, then you can't use a fast shutter speed (this is, of course, a lie... if you can use a flash to provide extra light. But that isn't always an option.) Aperture also effects depth of field.

AF-D
This is the type of lens mount, and the electronic connections that are made to the lens.

Personally, I wouldn't call that a "great all arround lense" because the minimum aperture is so small. For its price, it might be very good for what you want... but "great"? Not in my book. To me, a "great all around lens" is this one:
Nikkor 80-200 f/2.8D ED
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bh2.sph/...ID=F5DC61FD800
But that is a $919USD lens. Rather expensive. Or:

Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8D ED-IF
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bh2.sph/FrameWork.class?FNC=ProductActivator__Aproductlist _html___164859___NI8020028AFS___USA___CatID=274___ SID=F5DC61FD800'
But that is a $1,499USD lens. Very expensive, but very good.

But hey... maybe we have different definitions of "Great".
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 7, 2003, 11:00 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 6
Default Wow

Thank you very much Eric, that is a whole lot of information you gave me to start with. You nailed my question perfectly and that is exactly what I wanted to know. I just needed some info. that will let me get up and go. I will go thru the links you have provided and hopefully I will learn something useful.

Thank you :P
vanpragal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 7, 2003, 11:08 PM   #4
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 6
Default Matching well

I have to admit, when you said I din't ask how well I match the camera I must say I felt like Joey from friends and have to say you completely lost me there. If you could please explain that will be great.

Thanks again :?:
vanpragal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2003, 12:21 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 5,803
Default

Glad I could be of help.

A DSLR is a complex camera… very complex. It has automatic modes, complete manual modes and everything in between. I have no experience with the S2, but I've used a Nikon D100 and own a Canon 10D. I also used an almost completely manual SLR for many years. I went through some tough decisions when I finally bought a DSLR. My comments come from that deliberation (and from reading answers to the ever common “what camera should I buy?” post.)

When picking a camera, you should ask a few questions. This is my collection, others will ask different ones:
  1. What do you want to do with it? Be specific.
  2. How much manual control do you want?
  3. What matters to you personally? (I mean things like size, compatibility with current equipment,…)
  4. How much money do you want to spend?
The first is obvious. Here are some examples. If you want to take pictures in indoor settings, then you limit your choices. You’ll need a mount for an external flash, or a lens with a low f-stop (larger aperture.) You need to make up for the lack of light. Maybe you’ll take pictures of air shows. Then you need as much zoom as you can get, and aperture doesn’t matter as much because it will be a bright sunny day. The list can have multiple items, but be specific.

Second: If you only want an automatic camera, then you can go the more simple “point-and-shoot” style. If you need more manual controls, then the cameras get fancier and more expensive, and probably larger. If you really want “manual like in a SLR” then you want (for example) a manual focus ring (like the Minolta D7 family) instead of focus buttons (like the Nikon 5700.) Or you want a DSLR because it will have a real through-the-lens view and button placement that models a SLR (that you might be used to.)

Third: If you must fit it in your pocket, then size is a very limiting factor. If size doesn’t matter, then you are lucky. Maybe you own a flash, so any system that has a matching hot-shoe would be good. Maybe you already own a SLR, so you have lens & stuff. That means it might be better (for cost & more) to buy a compatible DSLR.

Forth: This is obvious. DSLR’s are expensive. Very expensive (I should know, I just spent over 4K on a body, 3 lenses & a TC.) If you can’t afford to spend thousands of dollars, go to the top of the line consumer cameras. They max out at around $1,200 or so. They come with reasonable zoom lenses and a lot of manual (and automatic) controls, along with their large CCDs.

When you can answer those questions, apply them to the camera choices. It should be very easy to reduce the possibilities from the near infinite that are out there to a reasonable number. Once you have done that, learn about those and pare it down to 2-3. Then go to a store and look at them. Make sure the fit your hands and the button placement is good… does it “feel good?” It's amazing how different it is to see something for real compared to just reading about it.

A final statement about DSLRs. You are buying into a system so consider it all. The body might get replaced in 2-4 years, but the lenses will (hopefully) still work with the new one. Along with the flash, your carrying cases, and maybe even the batteries! But the big investment is the lenses. You can spend thousands of dollars on lenses and they can last you 10s of years. You should expect them to! So make sure that the system you are buying into offers the features you want. Do you take pictures of people? Then you need good 50-100mm lenses. Will you use lots of filters? Then internal focusing matters. Will you do lots of macro? Take pictures of distant wildlife? On and on. You really need to match what you will do with the equipment or you will get frustrated because it will be harder to do what you want. You are spending too much money to do otherwise.

Let me give you a different example. If you were going to replace your electric guitar, you wouldn’t just go buy the one that Stevie Ray Vaughan played (at first I said plays … sigh. Wish he were still alive.) You’d make sure it does what you want, that it fits your body type, goes with your equipment, has the features you want. It’s the same with a digital camera. It’s an expensive tool… don’t get the wrong one.
eric s is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2003, 9:13 AM   #6
NHL
Senior Member
 
NHL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 39.18776, -77.311353333333
Posts: 11,545
Default

My recommendation is to get a cheaper camera (ie an s602 if you want to stay with Fuji) and get yourself familiar with focal lenght and f-stop! By the time you're ready the dSLR will have come down somewhat in cost...

The fact of the matter is, even with a 28-200mm, one lens is rarely adequate for a dSLR! while the unitiated always go for the mega 10x or more zoom, most pictures need a wider angle... especially indoor, beside more perpective control et al. ie you'll need a 15-17mm (with the 1.6x factor) @ a minimum which increase the weight and the inconvenience factor of having to carry and change the lenses. So unless you're ready don't just jump in! :?
NHL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2003, 9:15 AM   #7
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 6
Default What is T.C.

Thanks so much for your help and advice Eric. You have no idea how much it is helping. I would like to do all of the above- sporting events, weddings, models, fashion, studio, indoors, and ofcoarse outdoors. One question though I have is I will be shooting in low light for sure but it is not gonna be pitch black like insect hunting at night (although it is a great idea) but kinda like Restaurant interiors with available light, city sky lines, beautiful sunsets, concerts so how low my f-stops and how high my aperture should be for that kind of shooting. And ofcoarse I will be buying a suitable flash but yes you are right it is not gonna be useful for shooting city sky lines and sunsets etc. What lens would you recommend for mainly shooting weddings and fashion models. When shooting models I am big on capturing every single detail from the model's eyes. So my question would be what lens (keep in mind this is my first encounter with DSLR) would be the best with out going over board on price for my kind of requirements. I think I have made up my mind on S2 (I like it's 12 MP interpolated size-figured it must be better than bi-cubic in PS7and love firewire and fits great in my hand) and a d80 flash but the only thing I am completely pulling my hair is what will my first lens be and that is how I came to a conclusion of getting Nikon 28-200 3.5-5.6 AF-D. One thing I din't know in your previous post is T.C. If you could please explain that will be wonderful. You also said for shooting people it is best to get a 50-100mm lens. Does that mean a 28-200 will work or those 2 lenses are so different like apples and oranges. Please Help.
vanpragal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2003, 10:31 AM   #8
NHL
Senior Member
 
NHL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: 39.18776, -77.311353333333
Posts: 11,545
Default

A TC is a Tele-Converter... not very good for the lens you're looking at especially an 2x, it will double your minimum f-stop hence reducing the light you can see in a darkened studio accordingly (and might even prevent the AF from working properly)! What is probably preferable is a standard 50mm which is effectively an "80mm" and all the while giving you a shallow depht of field with it's wide aperture (ie f1.8-1.4) to 'pop' your subject from their background... 8)

Nice website BTW... It seems like you're are pretty good @ lighting (ie beyond basic) already so why all theses questions?
NHL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Jun 8, 2003, 2:25 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 172
Default

The lens factor of the Fuji S2 is 1.5. not 1.6 as mentioned earlier. Also, the camera does like good glass.

A great starting lens is the Nikkor 28-105 AFD. f 3.5-4.5, very popular with a very usable macro mode. Another great extended zoom lens is the Nikkor 80-200mm AF, ED, 2.8 D, sharp, contrasty, fast auto focus, good in low light. It also has a close-up mode, but for me a little hard to hand hold at 200mm and get sharp images. I'm too shakky...

The S2 will also work great with most of the available TTL flash units where the Nikons need to use the exclusive dTTL Nikon units.

For Nikkor lens zoom list... http://www.foto.w3.com.pl/yzoom.html
M. Haner is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 9:04 PM.