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A photographic lens is used to focus the light onto film or a digital sensor. Many cameras have interchangeable lens systems, allowing the photographer to choose the type of lens to use.

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37
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5answers
8k views

What should one look for when buying a used lens?

When buying a used lens, what should the buyer check? Other than looking for obvious physical damage on the outside of the lens, what else should be inspected to identify the condition or quality of ...
57
votes
8answers
4k views

Why do some lenses cost 10 times as much when the specs are very close?

For example, a Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens is about US$110, while another Canon 50mm f/1.2 lens is about 14 times as expensive, at about $1450. Is the 1.8 or 1.2 the main reason for the price difference? ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

How do lens lineups vary across Mirrorless camera systems?

We often hear advice like ""choose your lenses and then choose the body that matches". We have great information on DSLR systems at How much do lens lineups vary across DSLR platforms?, but what about ...
29
votes
10answers
72k views

Why does fungus form in lenses, and how to get rid of it?

Recently I was using an old Pentax 50mm f/2 that had a quite big green spot, and later I was informed that it was a fungus. A couple of questions raised from this: Why does fungus form inside the ...
32
votes
8answers
5k views

Do I really need a fast 50mm lens?

Everyone I speak to says that a 50mm lens is the best and beats them all as an all-rounder. I was wondering whether to get myself a decent, fast 50mm as well. However I'm still not 100% sure whether I ...
30
votes
6answers
2k views

What is the definition of a “prime lens”?

There are many discussions of differences between prime, zoom and macro lenses. I have not heard about prime lenses until recently. Could someone explain what exactly a prime lens is? Is it ...
22
votes
3answers
5k views

What is 'freelensing'?

I've recently heard about a photographic technique called 'freelensing.' How do I go about 'freelensing,' and what can I do with the technique?
7
votes
9answers
82k views

What should I do about Canon PowerShot “Lens error, restart camera”?

I've had a Canon PowerShot A1100 IS camera for almost a year now. About a week ago, I went on a trip, took pictures the whole trip, everything was ok. When I got home, and tried to turn the camera ...
18
votes
6answers
4k views

How can aperture be f/11 on a lens with an aperture range designation of 3.5-5.6?

I made a series of outdoor shots with Nikon D5000, with the 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR kit lens. On some shots, I see in the EXIF info f/11, and in another shot, f/9. How can that be, that the f-number ...
7
votes
2answers
11k views

What is CLA service?

I've seen the term used in used lens listings, e.g "recently CLA'd". I have a few questions, but I think they're related enough to only warrant one post: What does CLA stand for, and what is it? ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

What are the tradeoffs when replacing two zoom lenses with a superzoom?

I have two lens currently for my camera. An AF-S DX VR NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G (kit lens) and a AF-S DX VR Zoom-NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED lens. I have found that there are cases when the 18-...
6
votes
5answers
5k views

Is an EF 50mm f/1.4 the same as 50mm with an EF-S lens on a Canon 550D?

I have a Canon 550D with the standard 18-55mm kit lens. The 550D has a 1.6× crop factor. My question is very simple but whenever I've asked before (Yahoo Answers) I always got overly-complicated ...
16
votes
10answers
36k views

Which prime lens for Pentax APS-C?

My girlfriend is buying a Pentax K-5 (I already have a Pentax DSLR so we thought it made sense for us to be able to share lenses), and she's not sure about which lens to get with it, so I've been ...
9
votes
6answers
14k views

What is a good general purpose lens for Canon?

As an upgrade from kit lens 18-55mm, which would be a better general purpose lens? Obviously there is no "best" option, as everyone has a different budget and style, but what are the best options ...
25
votes
3answers
4k views

Why do wide angle prime lenses have relatively small apertures?

I've noticed that many of the wide angle prime lenses (at least for Canon) have somewhat smaller apertures than their normal or telephoto counterparts. E.g. the regular Canon 24mm prime is f/2.8 while ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

Which scenarios are better shot with a prime lens versus zoom lens or macro lens?

What scenarios are better shot with a prime lens? A zoom lens? A macro lens?
25
votes
5answers
9k views

What does a 'nano crystal coat' do on this lens?

The Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G AF-S has a 'Nano Crystal Coat'...what is that and why is it on most of their most expensive lenses? Obviously its a coating and some links seem to indicate it may increase ...
17
votes
7answers
13k views

Is a UV filter better for lens protection than a protector filter?

I'm usually very good at getting water/finger marks on lens, so I must use something for protection. Is there any downside of using an UV filter instead of a protector filter? Example: Hoya HD ...
16
votes
6answers
6k views

How does background blur (bokeh) relate to sensor size?

This is a somewhat theoretical question. Suppose I first take a photo of a subject using a full frame sensor DSLR, with a given lens (say 50mm prime lens at f/3.5). Now suppose I exchange the camera ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

How can a 24-70mm and a 10-22mm both be “wide angle” lenses?

I've been looking at a 10-22mm lens for my Canon T2i. I've also come across some other "wide angle" lenses, like the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8. I don't understand how a wide angle lens can have such high ...
16
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the benefit of an internal focus lens?

The "IF" in Pentax DA★ 200mm f/2.8 ED (IF) SDM stands for "Internal Focus". I know what this means: the lens doesn't change in size as I focus. (And it's true; it doesn't.) What's the point of this, ...
15
votes
8answers
25k views

Is it a wise-decision to buy full-frame lenses for use on an APS-C body?

I have a Canon 550D which I've been using for around a year now. I really love it and have learned a great deal with this and the 18 - 135mm kit lens. But now with experience I feel the need to get ...
14
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the meaning of “stopped down”?

Was reading this answer (emphasis mine): It also tells us that the lens was stopped down, as if it were wide open there would be no corners to cause diffraction, regardless of the number of ...
13
votes
5answers
15k views

What does the f-stop printed on the lens refer to?

I have read this,so I know what an f-stop is, but what does the number on printed the lens signify? Is this is the maximum f-stop, the ideal, or something else?
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Why buy an intentionally soft lens?

While reading some reviews of older lenses, I keep reading "It's soft wide open, but that's not always a problem with portraits." Over my rather short time in photography thus far, I've come to ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it normal for focal length to change while focusing?

When I change the focus distance on my Pentax 55-300mm lens, the focal length appears to change. More specifically, the lens appears to zoom in as I focus towards the minimum focusing distance. This ...
6
votes
5answers
2k views

What about lens construction influences bokeh?

I can understand how certain elements of a lens can correct an aberrations or make it sharper - but specifically, how do lens manufacturers influence the bokeh - the quality of the blur? There's a ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

Should a telephoto zoom be my next lens after the kit lens?

I am new to dslr's and got a nikon 3000 with 18-55 lens as a gift. I already see some limitations with the lens for walking about or on trails. So my question is being new should I go with a 55-200 ...
5
votes
2answers
911 views

What are the theoretical minimum and maximum apertures?

Is there such a thing as a maximum aperture that a lens can be open to? What about a minimum aperture that it can be closed to? Do these concepts even make any sense? Is there a lens with the ...
45
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the best way to clean lenses and filters?

After removing dust with an air pomp and a brush, what are you using to remove stains from the lens and filters? So far I'm using the liquid from a Giotto's CL 1002 cleaning kit for the lens, but I'm ...
36
votes
3answers
3k views

How do I interpret an MTF Chart?

As part of how Canon (and other lens makers) give technical information about their lenses, they supply an MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) chart. How do I read and interpret what the chart is ...
36
votes
4answers
64k views

What is back-focusing?

What is back-focusing? Is it something I need to be worried about, or can I just live with it? How can I tell if my camera/lens is sufferring from it?
54
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there development in the world of lenses?

Now, I'm not an expert, so if this post makes you laugh, you're welcome. Still, as far as I know there are basically two components that determine the potential quality of a camera's photos: Sensor ...
20
votes
12answers
2k views

What's the best way to create a tilt-shift photograph?

Specifically, what's the best way to go about shooting photos that have a fake miniature quality to them, which produces high-quality (and believable) images? Is there some special lens that you can ...
27
votes
5answers
3k views

What are the most notable differences between Canon and Nikon lenses?

I'm currently considering to buy one of the next generation enthusiast DSLRs. Either a Canon EOS 60D or the slightly more expensive Nikon D7000. I'm quite new to the SLR discussion but I know there ...
13
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the reference point that the focal length of a lens is calculated from?

I understand the idea of a focal length for a single lens, i e the distance from the lens to the point at which parallel rays of light converge. However, in the case of a photographic lens with ...
26
votes
7answers
2k views

Why do some lenses cost so much?

Something that confuses me is why there is some lenses that cost so much. For example the only difference that I see between the two lenses is the aperture: f/2.8 vs f/4. Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L II ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

Can I use my APS-C kit lens as a reference for choosing between 50mm or 35mm prime lenses?

I'm looking at getting a second lens in addition to my Nikon D7000's kit lens. I want to know if it's possible to use my 18m-105mm kit lens to get an idea of the focal length for a 35mm lens vs. a 50 ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do some lenses focus past infinity?

On the kit 18-55 lens that came with my Nikon D5100 I have noticed that when trying to focus on infinity for shots in dark conditions (star-trails, etc) the lense tends to move past infinity out of ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Why are 50mm Lenses Cheaper?

There is no doubt that 50mm lenses, if all other variables are held equal, will beat any other lens when it comes to value for price (lower f/number). I want to know why. Possible theories I have ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

What are the advantages of a lens having a fixed maximum aperture?

What are the advantages of a lens having a Fixed Maximum Aperture? Previous answers have indicated that "pros tend to want constant apertures in zoom lenses". While in general lenses with a fixed ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

Is it better to upgrade Canon 18-55mm IS kit lens to the 18-200mm, or complement with 55-250mm? [duplicate]

I currently have the Canon EOS 550D with the 18-55mm IS kit lens. I am primarily looking for greater telephoto reach, as I have found the 55mm length to be quite limiting at times. So, I was ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

What is a good Canon lens to take portraits?

I have a Canon T2I, and also a good prime lens (50mm / f1.8) but I cannot seem to take close up portraits like I see in magazines. Do I need a better lens?
4
votes
3answers
624 views

What are the summary rules for when to use image stabilization and when not to?

When I got my DSLR, I took a lot of pics and all of them came excellent, even though I had VR at the "Off" position. Since those came out so well, I wonder when should I turn VR on, and when I ...
9
votes
5answers
4k views

How can I get maximum DoF with no distance markers?

I am aware of what hyperfocal distance is and the general principles behind it. However, most of the tutorials I have seen and read regarding it make use of lenses with focus distance indicators. ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the kit lens focal length specified for APS-C or FF?

I have the 18-55mm kit lens for my Canon 50D and was wondering if they're still specified against full frame 1:1 crop? Would my 18mm actually be 1.6x? I ask because I doubt anyone with a full frame ...
18
votes
4answers
4k views

How does a lens affect the saturation of a picture?

In many reviews people describe how a lens can affect the saturation of a picture, especially when it comes down to a comparison of two similar lenses, e.g. 50mm 1.8 vs. 50mm 1.4 or something like ...
10
votes
8answers
8k views

What is the fastest lens available for a DSLR?

I've seen references to f1.2 lenses. I was wondering, are there any faster lenses available for a DSLR mount?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How can a telephoto lens take great landscape photos?

I've read in various answers on this site people mention that telephoto lens can be used quite nicely for taking landscape photos. How is this possible, as my (beginners') understanding of landscape ...
3
votes
3answers
779 views

Which would be more suitable lens in terms of utility, weight, price: 18-135 or 18-55 + 55-200?

Is it better to invest in one 18-135mm lens or have a standard 18-55mm lens and another 55-250mm lens for occasional need?