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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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15
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4answers
2k views

What is a parfocal lens and how beneficial is it to photography?

I heard someone say that after using a parfocal lens for the first time, they would never switch back. What is a parfocal lens, how is it different from any other lens, and what are the advantages and ...
14
votes
4answers
22k views

How does a spherical lens differ from an aspherical lens?

Many lenses (like the Pentax DA 15mm f/4 Limited, or the Nikon AF-S 35mm f/1.4G) are described as having "aspherical lens elements". Does this mean that regular lenses are spherical lenses? What's the ...
10
votes
8answers
7k 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?
9
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
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
6answers
3k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
595 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
16k 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
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4answers
14k 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
1k views

Moving up to the next lens from 55-200

I do mainly amateur wildlife shots especially whale watching and some football photography just as a hobby. I currently have canon EOS 400d with 18-55, 55-200 and macro lenses. What lens would you ...
27
votes
11answers
2k views

Will a tilt-shift lens solve my 'leaning building' shots?

I shoot primarily with a Nikon D300, and that's not likely to change soon. The camera does everything I need it to do, but this. I also use a 17-55 lens, which I know that Thom castigates as being ...
31
votes
7answers
22k views

What can a fisheye lens be useful for?

I have a variety of lenses in my camera kit. One that I do not have, and has me curious, is a fisheye lens. I mostly understand what it does: it captures an image with distortion similar to what you ...
12
votes
6answers
29k views

What is the difference between a telephoto lens and a zoom lens?

Looking at the product page for Nikon lenses, I notice a distinction between telephoto lens and zoom lens. What is the difference between the two? Why would I want one over the other? I wiki'd ...
11
votes
4answers
33k views

What is USM, and what are its pros and cons?

My Canon lenses have the designation USM on them, which I assume is for the same reason that they say "Ultrasonic". What does this mean, and why or why do I not want it?
10
votes
6answers
5k 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 ...
31
votes
6answers
22k views

Is it worth to upgrade from Canon 50mm f/1.8 to Canon 50mm f/1.4 on 550d?

I'm a newbie in the world of DSLR photography, having played around with my Canon 550d for few months. After posting my first question here and getting some superb advices I decided to buy Canon 50mm ...
23
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 ...
18
votes
9answers
21k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

What is the Nyquist Limit and what is its significance to photographers?

The Nyquist Limit is frequently mentioned in the context of lens and sensor resolution. What is it and what is its significance to photographers? Here is an example of it being used by DPReview.com ...
15
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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 ...
12
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1answer
1k 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
7answers
4k 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, ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I/should I check the sharpness of my camera lens?

The sharpness of a lens is a major concern for most photographers. This might be because we are worried about a defect in the lens, a problem with our technique or a problem with the camera. Or we ...
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 ...
18
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4answers
4k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
280 views

What are the standard tests available to quantify lens parameters?

In some of the questions I have asked here, some of the terms frequently used to describe the difference in image quality between the cheaper lenses and the premium ones have been increased contrast, ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What are ED elements?

I find that some lenses are indicated with the letters "ED", referring to some special type of lens element. What are ED elements, and what advantages do they bring? Note that this question isn't ...
4
votes
9answers
918 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
4answers
2k views

Is it physically possible to build a long zoom (17-300 mm for example) at an aperture value of around 1.4 or 1.2?

I'm curious if the physics allow a company to build such a lens of course with good IQ, minimal color aberration, maximum sharpness, and little to none lens vignetting or edge softness
13
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8answers
4k views

Will using a lens at max aperture (“wide open”) result in poor images?

I’m looking to add a second lens to my kit lens I got with my Nikon d7000. I have read several reviews on both the 35 and 50 mm lenses made by Nikon in particular that said using either lens at the ...
12
votes
3answers
6k 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 ...
7
votes
3answers
13k 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 ...
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 ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

What is the relationship between focal length and shutter speed?

I am very new to photography and am trying to grasp the basics of it these days. Can someone please help me understand the relationship between focal length of a lens and shutter speed of camera?
21
votes
0answers
578 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Why are cine lenses so much more expensive?

For example, compare a cine lens like the Zeiss Compact Prime CP.2 50mm/T2.1 ($3,900) to a high-end DSLR lens like the Canon 50mm f/1.2L ($1418). Both are EF-mount, have the same focal length, and it ...
16
votes
10answers
2k views

Which piece of equipment is holding me back?

I am primarily an amateur photographer but I do take small jobs from time to time. I'm looking to upgrade my equipment but I'm not sure if I should be spending money on my body, glass, or both. I ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Why is the Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR twice as costly as Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX?

The Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR is almost twice as costly as Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX. Why is that so? The only difference I see is the internal Focus. If that ignored are ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it worth repairing a broken kit lens?

I dropped my camera while on holiday last summer. Thankfully, my camera wasn't damaged but the kit lens has lost the ability to autofocus and the UV filter and 58mm to 52mm filter step-down (I use it ...
4
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
665 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?
32
votes
4answers
53k 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?
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Why no zoom lenses below f/2.8?

I can understand that a zoom below f/2.8 would be difficult and costly, but it seems like something pros would kill for. Surely it can't be more expensive (if its possible) than some of the $10k+ ...
23
votes
10answers
6k views

Canon 50mm lens: f/1.2 L or f/1.4? Alternative brands?

I am in the market for a 50mm lens for my Canon DSLR. I've read plenty of reviews, and all of them have great things to say about both lenses. From a scientific perspective, the f/1.2 performs better ...
23
votes
4answers
2k views

Do the Lightroom lens correction tools make good lenses less important?

Lightroom has Lens Correction tools such as Distortion, Vignetting, Chromatic Abberation, etc. depending on the brand and model of lens. Due to this feature, is it less relevant what the distortion ...
23
votes
8answers
11k views

Why there is no Canon 50mm *IS* lens?

Canon's 50mm prime lenses are all non-IS (Image Stabilization) for some reason. Considering the popularity of these range primes, shouldn't Canon be interested in shipping a new, optically improved IS ...
22
votes
3answers
7k views

How can a 18-55mm lens focus on objects beyond 55mm?

I guess this is a total noob question, but doesn't 18-55mm mean that it can focus only up to 55mm?
17
votes
12answers
8k views

What is the best Canon lens (around $500) for taking pictures of my newborn?

I have a Canon T2i, a 50mm f/1.8 and the kit lens (18-55mm). I'm considering buying a new lens for more flexibility with taking pictures of my upcoming newborn. I LOVE the 50mm/1.8 lens, but on the ...
12
votes
4answers
17k views

What's the advantage of buying a fixed 50mm f/1.8 lens when my camera has an 18-55mm zoom lens?

I've got a Nikon D3100 with an 18-55mm zoom lens. I'm keen to experiment with some other lenses and a friend of mine recently reccommended I purchase a fixed 50mm f/1.8 lens as he said it's good for ...