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Old Mar 28, 2006, 6:48 PM   #1
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Hi,
I recently upgraded from a digital point & shoot to the e-500, with the 14-45mm and 40-150mm lenses. I've never had anything but a point & shoot camera, so the concepts of lenses, shutter speed, and exposure are new to me (but I'm reading, and experimenting, and reading and reading some more). My main reason for purchase was to take better pictures of my 3.5 year old daughter. I'm hoping that one day I can get her to sit still long enough for a portrait session.

My main problem right now is that I keep getting hung up on the size of the lens and what that means, and in which situations I would want to use one over the other. I've experimented with both of the lenses that came with my camera, and they seem to do equally well for portraits or pictures outside, although obviously I can focus on objects that are further away with the 40-150mm lens. Most of the explanations that I see of mm size equates it to a regular 35mm film SLR - as in, x size in digital means y size on a 35 mm film camera due to the "crop factor." Unfortunately, this confuses me even more because I've never had a 35 mm film camera, so I have no reference point to compare.

I guess this is all a roundabout way of asking - which lens is better in which situation? For example, if I want some portraits of my daughter with a shallow depth of field, which lens would I use? Compounding the confusion is the fact that I shoot inside and don't want to use the flash, and both of these lenses don't go down very far as far as exposure, so I get some blur if she moves, or the camera does.

If I am shooting trees and rocks and plants outside, which lens should I use? I have used the 45-100 to zoom on faraway trees and points of interest. But it seems when I use that lens at the longer length, I can't get much detail.

I'm going to keep experiementing, and trying to learn, but any advice is welcome. Many of the discussions I read are aimed at people who have at least a little more knowledge of this than I do so I'm getting confused by a lot of what I read.

Thanks, and I love this forum.
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Old Mar 28, 2006, 10:12 PM   #2
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Congrats on your E-500. I bought mine 03/24/2006, upgrading from a C-3040 I got in 2001.Try this for a quick idea of "standard" lens lengths.

Put your 40-150 lens on the camera, set it to 50mm and focus on something about 8-10 feet away. Rotate the camera to vertical so you can see through the viewfinder and your other eye. (Angle the camera towards your nose to get an overlap.) The object should look the same size in both eyes. If you set it to 100m the object should look twice as big.

If you have an old film camera with a 50mm lens you could look through both and they look the same.

One of the best sources I've seen forcamera info is:

http://www.shortcourses.com/using/index.htm

They have a full range of ebooks, I think the book:

a short course in digital photography

is the best at explaining your questions.

As far as portrait photos, most recommend a 100mm lens. It gives you enough to capture head and shoulders shots without sitting on top of you subject.



Enjoy!



Mike
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 2:34 PM   #3
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That looks like a great website to learn all the terms and theory.

One great advantage of a SLR as opposed to a point-and-shoot is the ability to swap different lenses to do the job you want.

If you used point-and-shoots, they probably were equiped with 35-ish mm lenses (at their widest), so you do have a good reference point as to how close to the subject you can get. Every lens has their own advantages and disadvantages.

Wide-angle lenses (about 28mm and less) capture more image so you don't have to stand too far from your subject. Problem is these lenses distort their centers and edges -- noses can get very big looking in a face-portrait! These angled-lenses also let in the most light.

When you get to telephoto, say about 110mm+, you get less center distortion, but you require a lot more light.

Then there's the f-stop, which is the aperture of the lens (width of the hole letting in the light), smaller means wider and more light. More light is good, right? Sometimes. Smaller apertures, say f11, produce sharper focused pictures. It's that pinhole effect. But you need more light to do it. Then there's that portrait mode a lot of point and shoots have -- zoom into your subject to the maximum, crack open the aperture as wide as you can, snap the picture -- everything is blurred except the subject.

Blurred daughter? She's moving and you're moving. Try a tripod... maybe better light too if you don't want to use a flash. Also, remember, when trying a flashless handheld photo, that wide-angled shots blur less than zoomed-in shots from camera-shake.

Don't forget also, that the Oly E500 doubles focal length of a lens, so if you slap on a 50mm lens, or set a zoom to 50mm, it is really taking the picture at a 100mm (35mm equivalent, which is sort of telephoto-like). Use the 14-45mm lens for portraits -- zoom it to 45mm (which is really 90mm) for your daughter.

Keep experimenting -- you don't have to pay for film! I love digital. :G
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Old Mar 29, 2006, 8:54 PM   #4
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Thank you both for the advice! That site looks great - I started reading and can't wait to take my camera out and experiment. It looks like I could find a lot of good info there. (Mike, I upgraded from the Olympus C4100 - I really love that camera, but I wanted more control over my pictures....)

Today after work I took some pictures of the same scene with both lenses, and at different F stops and shutter speeds to try and get some idea of how all of it comes together. I think it's sinking in! I had a big "aha" moment when I played around with the "Aperture" setting and I saw how the camera changed the shutter speed depending on what the F stop was set to. I do have a tripod for my videocamera so I will have to get that out and see if it helps if I want to take really detailed pics or when I am taking pictures in low-light situations.

Thanks again for the advice and the welcome!
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 2:06 AM   #5
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There is a book by Bryan Peterson titled Understanding Exposure which is the best I've seen at explaining the basic principles of photography. It's not a dry textbook that will put you to sleep either. It's very entertaining reading.
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 6:31 AM   #6
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Too funny - my photographer friend recommended that same book and I have it on order from Amazon!
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 7:06 AM   #7
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Another excellent book is
PHOTOGRAPHY AND THE ART
OF SEEING


by

Freeman Patterson at FreeManPatterson.com.



Mike
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Old Mar 30, 2006, 11:36 AM   #8
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The following quote is not quite correct...you have to remember that the Olympus 4/3 lenses have a 2x multiplication factor over the 35mm film format, so setting the 40-150mm lens to 50mm means you're actually setting it to 100mm or telephoto; for a "standard" view what you need to try is the 14-45mm or 14-54mm lens and set it to 25mm...then you'd have the 50mm standard view.

After a while you stop thinking in terms of 35mm cameras...on the Olympus 25mm is standard, anything more is telephoto and anything less is wide angle.

The only issue where you still have to think in 35mm camera terms is what shutter speed you need to compensate for handheld zoom...if you set the lens to 150mm, for a handheld shot you should be at 1/300th of a second or faster (the rule is 1/(the equivalent of 35mm focal length) for handheld shooting).

mbtech wrote
Quote:
Congrats on your E-500. I bought mine 03/24/2006, upgrading from a C-3040 I got in 2001.Try this for a quick idea of "standard" lens lengths.

Put your 40-150 lens on the camera, set it to 50mm and focus on something about 8-10 feet away. Rotate the camera to vertical so you can see through the viewfinder and your other eye. (Angle the camera towards your nose to get an overlap.) The object should look the same size in both eyes. If you set it to 100m the object should look twice as big.

If you have an old film camera with a 50mm lens you could look through both and they look the same.
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 1:45 PM   #9
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Considering how varied every camera manufacturer is on their focal lengths, it's not entirely crazy to drop the 35mm notion. A 300mm lens on an Olympus E-500 is different than on a Canon XT or a Nikon D1 and so on... however if you say it converts to a 600mm equivalent of a 35mm camera -- it makes more sense to me how close to the action the lens can get. And it helps you know more than the salespeople trying to sell you your next little lensed friend.
:|

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After a while you stop thinking in terms of 35mm cameras...on the Olympus 25mm is standard, anything more is telephoto and anything less is wide angle"
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 2:38 PM   #10
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Now I'm confused. After I made that post I took my OM-2 body with a 50mm lens and my E-500 40-150 set to 50mm and with a camera to each eye the view was exactly the same. I focused on a double wall switch plate as a target . It's my understanding that if you could mount the original film 50mm on the E-500 it would look like a 100.

Mikefellh wrote:

Quote:
The following quote is not quite correct...you have to remember that the Olympus 4/3 lenses have a 2x multiplication factor over the 35mm film format, so setting the 40-150mm lens to 50mm means you're actually setting it to 100mm or telephoto; for a "standard" view what you need to try is the 14-45mm or 14-54mm lens and set it to 25mm...then you'd have the 50mm standard view.
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