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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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52
votes
8answers
2k 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? ...
19
votes
11answers
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 ...
23
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
30
votes
5answers
5k views

How do constant aperture lenses work?

Cheaper zoom lenses usually are faster at the wide end and slower at the long end (for example, the $150 Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6). More expensive constant-aperture zoom lenses have the same ...
12
votes
5answers
8k views

If I have a 18-55mm lens, is there a point in buying a 35mm prime lens?

I have the Nikon kit lens that came with a D5100 — the kit lens is 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom. I was thinking of getting a fast lens and I am looking to buy the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G DX. ...
8
votes
3answers
793 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
5answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
5answers
641 views

What is an ultra-wide lens?

What is the point at which a lens is considered "ultra-wide angle" vs just wide angle?
10
votes
5answers
4k 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?
5
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
32
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
17
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
3k views

What size lens is recommended for flying bird photography?

My wife has a Canon 450D and a 70-300 lens for long distance shots. I am considering a present or two and good advice from jrista suggests possible upgrade of camera to a Canon 7D and of lens to a ...
22
votes
2answers
3k views

What is a zone plate?

I was looking into alternative methods of photography and I happened upon something called a 'zone plate.' Three questions: What is a zone plate? How does it work? What can I do with it?
22
votes
5answers
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 ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

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

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
3answers
1k views

What type of lens will auto-focus on Nikon bodies without a focus motor?

I know my D40 doesn't have a motor in it to auto-focus lenses. What type of lens has the motor in it? How can I know which lenses will and will not work?
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?
8
votes
4answers
2k 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. ...
7
votes
4answers
9k views

What's the difference between using a 50mm f/1.8G and a 50mm f/1.8D with a Nikon D80?

Recently, Nikon announced their new 50mm f/1.8G lens, as revamp of the old 50mm f/1.8D. Here's how Gizmodo describes the difference: The main difference between this new "nifty fifty" and the ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
9
votes
6answers
2k views

What does small depth of field mean?

Can anyone clarify for me the various terms used to describe depth of field? There are so many it's hard without a photo dictionary to relate in my head what's actually being said to me about the ...
7
votes
2answers
699 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
487 views

Dust-like speck visible every few pictures — is it dust, or worse?

I seem to have to dust-like speck on my Sony Cybershot S950's lens, but it appears randomly every few pictures. Could something be going bad internally?
4
votes
5answers
913 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
8k views

Nikkor f/1.8G 35mm or 50mm?

I'm new to photography. I got Nikon D3100 with 18-55 KIT. I was looking to buy 1.8f prime lens. I found two options. AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G and AF-S DX NIKKOR 55mm f/1.8G Which one you guys ...
2
votes
6answers
13k views

Looking for a good, cheap entry-level telephoto lens for Nikon D5100

I currently own a Nikon D5100 with the 18-55mm kit and am looking for a good, cheap entry-level telephoto lens. I'm a beginner, and plan to do wildlife, nature and landscape photography with an ...
1
vote
4answers
4k views

Should I buy a Canon 55-250mm lens or 70-300mm for my Rebel T3i? [closed]

Should I buy a Canon 55-250mm lens or 70-300mm for my Rebel T3i? I have the basic 18-55mm lens that came with my camera but I need a next step up that's not too expensive. What are the most common ...
20
votes
14answers
15k views

How do I get a stuck screw filter off of my lens?

There is a UV-filter screwed on my Canon 16-35mm. For some reason, I'm not able to get it off the lens. Does anyone has a simple but safe trick?
11
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
6answers
4k views

What's a good Nikon lens (DX) for a serious hobbyist landscape photographer?

I shoot a bit of everything, though mostly landscape stuff. Mostly with a beanbag, or handheld. I currently have the following lenses: Nikkor 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED DX Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 APO DG ...
19
votes
3answers
2k 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
9answers
16k views

What features differentiate Nikkor and Tamron/Sigma lenses?

I'm wondering if anyone has an opinion about Nikkor vs. Tamron and/or Sigma lenses. Is it worth the extra money to purchase Nikkor lenses? I haven't had the chance to compare these. Are the Nikkor ...
18
votes
12answers
14k views

How does the lens diameter influence photo quality?

I have tested two different 50mm lenses in my camera. One was a Nikkor 50mm ∅52mm. The other one was a Sigma 50mm ∅72mm. I took some pictures with both lenses using the same setup for aperture and ...
14
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
7k views

What does the magnification ratio number mean on a macro lens?

I'm looking for a macro lens. I have 28-105mm Nikkor which gives me "1:2 Magnification Ratio" (whatever that means). I found another lens, Tamron 90mm Macro, which has magnification ratio of 1:1. ...
7
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
20
votes
6answers
866 views

Should I be worried about getting dust inside my SLR?

I recently went to Silverstone to watch the F1 qualifying and took my DSLR camera with me. Throughout the day, I switched lenses a few times, but each time was very conscious that there was a lot of ...
18
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it true that there are no stabilized prime lenses (and if so, why)?

Fast prime lenses like the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens work nicely in low-light situations. But I'm quite sure they would work even more nicely if they had optical image stabilizers. It seems to me that no ...
15
votes
7answers
7k 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 ...
14
votes
9answers
2k views

Are all kit lenses poor? (And if so, why?)

Kerri Shotts says (emphasis mine): Also, if you already have great glass, there is little reason to get more (unless you need it for a certain reason). E.g., if you have a 70-200 f/4, don't rush ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

Does an ultra-wide lens perform well in landscape photography?

I own a DSLR for less than a year, currently shooting with my Nikon D90 and 18-70mm DX lens. Since the beginning of it, I am deeply in love with shooting landscapes photography: seascapes, skyscapes, ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is 1:1 desirable for a macro lens?

Why is 1:1 desirable for a macro lens? I know it means that you can print a picture of something and it will be the same size on paper as it is in real life, but why is this such a desirable feature ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Which is better: Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM or Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM (without IS)?

Simple question: Which lens is better? The L Series (non-IS) Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0 L USM or the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM? I am an enthusiast and usually shoot landscape, my kids playing ...
3
votes
8answers
773 views

Canon Starter Level Lenses

I would like to get into photography, and I'm thinking about buying a starter D-SLR camera (450D, 500D). Which Canon lenses do think fit to my purposes as considering I'm a beginner and my budget is ...
21
votes
0answers
567 views

Is Image Stabilization better in the lens or the body? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the difference between in-lens image stabilizing and in-sensor image stabilizing? Some DSLR manufacturers have image stabilization (IS) in the body of their ...
13
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
6answers
18k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
8k views

How can I fix a broken lens/autofocus?

My 35mm f2 canon lens's autofocus has stopped working. In manual focus mode the focus wheel is locked, and in autofocus mode the focus wheel spins freely but does not change the focus at all. In ...
4
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the advantages to using EF-S lenses on Canon APS-C cameras?

I know EF-S lenses are "optimized" for crop sensors but what are the exact advantages to using an EF-S lens? Does it give better color, sharpness, depth of field, etc...? In addition, do EF-S lenses ...