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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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3answers
2k views

Do you have advice for buying my first lens after kit 18-55mm (sub-$300)?

I’m looking to buy my first lens beyond the kit 18-55mm for my Pentax K-x. As a student my budget limits me to around a sub $300 offering. I am new to photography, and so I have a hard time answering ...
12
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8answers
389 views

A website that can help me in choice of new lens?

Is there any website that can help me to choose the best lens? I would like to find a website where I can specify a range of minimum focus distance, a range of maximum focus distance, range of ...
12
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4answers
1k views

Sigma 10-20mm f5.6 alternatives?

I've been wanting to add a wide angle lens to my collection for a while now. Sigma 10-20mm f5.6 looks good. I was looking at it about 2 years ago. I was wondering if there have been newer wide angle ...
11
votes
9answers
1k views

Galapagos vacation — what photo gear should I take?

Soon I'm off to the Galapagos Islands. I have to admit I've been spending a lot of hours talking to people and reading reviews, and that has left me very confused choosing the correct gear for my ...
10
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8answers
2k views

For greater telephoto range, should I use 70-200mm + teleconverter or a longer zoom lens?

Right now, I have a Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-f/5.6 VR lens. I like it, but want more telephoto range and would also like to be able to use faster shutter speeds. I am interested in the 70-200mm f/2.8, but ...
21
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3answers
1k views

When you zoom in with a lens on an SLR why does the lens go in then out?

I guess this is more a question of optics than photography but I just got an SLR with a basic 18-55 lens. I noticed that when going from 18 to 55 or 55 to 18 the lens physically comes back in and ...
21
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7answers
1k 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 ...
20
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6answers
1k views

How long should a lens last?

There are loads of ratings and tests for how long DSLR bodies last, but I have never really seen much that describes the expected lifespan of lenses. Recently, one of my cheap-o lenses (Nikon ...
12
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5answers
483 views

What are the different focal lengths of macro lenses and their advantages?

I am interested in macro-photography. I see there are macro telephoto (zoom?) lenses (e.g. 200mm), or smaller macro lenses (e.g. 40mm) ... What are the different types of macro lenses and their ...
12
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4answers
760 views

How close can a lens focus?

From my understanding, if you want to do some macro photography it is better to have a lens that can focus when it is really close to the subject. Sometimes people buy extension tubes to help them ...
12
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1answer
418 views

Is dust in a zoom lens a problem which should be addressed?

I have accumulated some amount of dust inside one of my zoom lenses, visible through the front glass. It does not appear to affect picture quality as far as I can tell, but I wonder if this is ...
8
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4answers
712 views

Is it possible for a lens to produce too much contrast?

I came across a complaint that a certain lens produces too much contrast. The lens was described as rendering "cartoonish" contrast when shooting a portrait with diffused light from a window, where ...
7
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3answers
202 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, ...
5
votes
3answers
960 views

How does using a lens with some focal length on a full frame camera differ from using a lens with “equivalent” focal lens on a crop camera?

As an example, a 35mm lens on a crop body (such as Nikon DX) is said to be "equivalent" to a 50mm lens on a full frame body. Equivalent here means that they will have the same field of view, but what ...
3
votes
4answers
6k views

Why do some people prefer 50mm to 35mm prime lenses, even for a crop sensor?

Comparing the two lenses for an APS-C sensor: EF50mm f/1.8 EF35mm f/2 here Leaving out cost as a factor, EF 35mm has the following advantages: 43 degree while 50mm has 31 degree Its equally ...
15
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10answers
15k views

What's wrong with the Canon EF-S 15-85mm?

Maybe this question should be on meta. I've just come across the Canon EF-S 15-85mm. It's been available since 2009. I'm just wondering why it has never been mentioned on photo_se_com or any of the ...
12
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6answers
536 views

Does lens speed still increase meaningfully when the physical aperture is larger than the sensor size?

This question came to me this morning, thinking about 50mm lenses. I have the Pentax 50mm f/1.7 (manual) and it's a very nice lens, but would be considered (relatively) slow on 35mm film, and many ...
10
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6answers
891 views

Do lenses lose sharpness when they age?

I was reading this answer where it mentions, "..it's a lens that can lose sharpness as it ages.." and was wondering if this is true and if yes, true for all lenses. Reasons as to why this happens and ...
10
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4answers
1k views

What are the best methods for cleaning really dirty lens elements?

I bought old M42 Pentacon 50mm f1.8 lens from a car boot sale. It works but is pretty dirty and it has also dirt inside (no mould/fungus though). Opening the lens is not a problem but I would like to ...
10
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6answers
2k views

How to select lenses for sports photography?

I would like to get into sports photography, and would probably want a better telephoto lens so I can get better close up shots. What other factors should I keep in mind as I make my choice? Does IS ...
8
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3answers
513 views

What motor gets used if both lens and camera body have a focus motor?

If both a camera body and lens have motorized autofocus, would one be used over the other or would both work in tandem to speed the focus process along?
8
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4answers
2k views

EF-S 18-55mm kit vs 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 for nature photography

I moved from a point and shoot to a DSLR last year and I love to photograph nature in general. I have a T2i/550D with the 18-55mm kit lens and was wondering if I would benefit from the EF-S 10-22mm ...
7
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3answers
612 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 ...
7
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4answers
3k views

Why and when would you consider Canon 17-55 lens over 24-105?

If I'm to buy a cropped sensor Canon camera for personal needs (family shootings, treveling etc - probably 75% outdoors some macro like + portraits + streetshootings + landscapes, 25% indoors mostly ...
7
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9answers
3k views

What differences exist between third-party and official lenses for Canon APS-C DSLRs?

I am just another guy who just taken up photography as a social hobby who enjoys taking pics of everyday life, social events / parties & some portraits. Need camera for short overseas trip (2-3 ...
6
votes
5answers
8k views

How to reverse the canon 18-55 kit lens to use it as macro?

I have been trying to use my 18-55 kit lens as a macro but have no idea how to go about it. Do I need an adapter to mount the lens reversed on the camera? Also, is it possible to use canon 50mm f/1.8 ...
6
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4answers
823 views

Should I get a kit or separate lens for my D7000?

I am set on getting a D7000 and am drooling already to get one. My only hurdle left is to determine whether the kit lens is good or if i should get the body only and put the 300$ difference between ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I attach a lens without a collar to a tripod?

I have a Nikon 80-200 f/2.8 push-pull and I wonder how to use it on a tripod. There is no collar. What is the best solution to attach it to a tripod? ("Best" is rather vague, it should take into ...
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Between Nikon 18-55mm II and 50mm f/1.8, which suits my needs better?

I am an absolute beginner in serious photography. I'm a position to get a Nikon D70 body for $100 or so. I've been researching lenses and I'm debating if I should get the one that originally came ...
5
votes
4answers
771 views

Why is the front element of a telephoto lens larger than a wide angle lens?

A wide angle lens has a wide angle of view, therefore it would make sense that the front of the lens would also be wide. A telephoto lens has a narrow angle of view, so it would make sense that the ...
4
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4answers
716 views

What lens should I buy to get better pictures of a one-year old running around a dimly-lit house?

I'm an amateur photographer with a Canon Rebel XS, and I'm trying to figure out what type of lens I should buy to take better photos of my one year old when she is running around in our dimly lit ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Will a 35mm lens work for great indoor pictures of my kids?

I just purchased the Nikon D5100 DSLR. The kit lens that came with it (18-55mm vr) is great when shooting outdoors, but once I try to take indoor pictures of my kids, the images aren't that good. Is ...
3
votes
5answers
738 views

Which lenses should I take on a honeymoon trip to Alaska?

Newbie photographer here and really hoping for some expert advice! I go to Alaska on honeymoon in July and really need some advice on lenses. My camera is the Canon EOS 1100D (told you I was a ...
3
votes
3answers
454 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 ...
2
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3answers
387 views

Does the higher price lens always reflect better quality regardless of it being 3rd party or not?

When looking at various lenses you will see the camera manufacturer lenses made by the camera manufacturer. Then you will see other 3rd party lenses (Tamron, Sigma, etc). Does it pay to get the ...
2
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1answer
454 views

Which 70-300mm f4-5.6 lens is “better?” [duplicate]

I'm looking for a budget telephoto lens and I'm wondering which of these two is the better option. They have very similar specs: Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4.0-5.6 Di LD Macro Zoom Lens for Canon Digital ...
1
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3answers
195 views

What web-based expert resources for Nikon are similar to The Digital Picture for Canon?

I've followed Canon photo products for years and I can't go past this great expert resource on Canon cameras, lenses and few other accessories photographer should know about and read before buying ...
19
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2answers
1k views

Why am I allowed to turn my focusing ring beyond infinity?

Is there a good reason why I can turn the focusing ring on my lenses beyond infinity mark on focusing scale? Following recent questions here and here, it sounds like a real usability issue. ...
18
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3answers
2k views

What makes a Carl Zeiss lens so special in a smartphone?

There are smartphones on the market that have a focus towards photography. Some are equipped with a Carl Zeiss lens. I have looked into Wikipedia, which tells me that they are a brand who produces ...
14
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4answers
932 views

Why buy an expensive manual focus lens?

What are the benefits of (expensive brand new) manual focus lenses? Why did you, for example, buy a manual focus Carl Zeiss 85/1.4 rather than an auto-focus Nikon 85/1.4? I'm not concerned with ...
12
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2answers
2k 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 ...
12
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8answers
4k views

How do I choose a macro lens for a Canon APS-C camera?

I have a Canon 40D and like taking macro shots sometimes, so I'm thinking of buying a macro lens. I'd also like the lens to double up as a portrait lens. I'm not a super serious photographer, so my ...
11
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3answers
9k 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 ...
11
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2answers
1k views

When I use FX lenses on a DX camera, does the focal length or minimum aperture change?

If I put a Nikkor 35mm f/2 FX lens on a DX camera, is it still 35mm f/2, or has the effective focal length or minimum aperture changed, because it is being used on a smaller format than what it was ...
10
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6answers
2k views

Which prime lens to get after the 18-55mm & 55-250mm?

I started out with the 18-55mm IS kit lens on my Canon EOS 550D over a year ago, and added the 55-250mm IS a couple of months back to augment my telephoto reach (based on the recommendations in one of ...
10
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6answers
280 views

On smaller prints, will a high-quality zoom lens provide near equal image quality compared to primes?

Let's say I shoot with Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L, Canon EF 50mm f/1.4, and a Canon EF 85mm f/1.8. Can these 3 primes be replaced with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 for the convenience of not needing to change ...
9
votes
8answers
5k 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
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4answers
2k views

What Nikon lens to buy to make photos of birds?

Currently, the zoomiest lens I have is a Nikon 18-200mm. I want to be able to take photos of wildlife, or in most cases birds, which I can't do at 200mm. For a long time, I wanted to purchase a Nikon ...
8
votes
1answer
699 views

What's the small white plastic dome on old Pentax lenses?

My old Pentax lenses have a small white dome between the aperture ring and the focus ring. See the photo below: The clear white dome calls to mind the larger white plastic domes used in light ...
7
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5answers
598 views

Why not have the diaphragm in camera body instead of the lens?

Why is the diaphragm to control the amount of light entering the camera typically in the lens and not the camera body itself?