Open

by damned truths

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

An optical 'zoom' or 'variable focal length' lens is one that has a range of focal lengths at which it can operate. "Digital zoom" is a technology which simulates optical zoom by cropping the image.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

36
votes
5answers
96k views

How do I convert lens focal length (mm) to x-times optical zoom?

What is the rule to convert the 'mm' notation to the 'optical zoom' notation? I searched a bit and found this one: optical zoom = maximum focal length / minimum focal length For example a 18-55mm ...
11
votes
3answers
9k views

Why prefer the 18-55mm and 55-250mm lenses vs 18-200mm?

There seems to be a preference for to have the 18 mm - 55 mm 55 mm - 250 mm lenses, but no mention of why they're better than a single 18-200mm. Could someone please explain why the two separate ...
20
votes
4answers
3k views

What is focal length and how does it affect my photos?

What is focal-length? Are focal-length and zoom synonymous? How does the focal length of a photo affect it?
14
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do zoom lenses and compact cameras have varied maximum aperture across the zoom range?

Why does a camera's maximum (allowed) aperture get smaller when you increase its zoom?
6
votes
7answers
5k views

How can I visualize or simulate the effect of different focal lengths?

I have seen many camera review sites illustrate the effect of using different focal lengths on the same photograph using frames. There are also similar illustrations to compare different sensors (full ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

How does changing focal length affect depth of field?

I'm curious about how my "area of acceptable focus" changes when the focal length of the lens I'm using changes as I zoom (or switch lenses). In particular, I'd like to know how the front & back ...
8
votes
4answers
6k views

What does 'how much zoom' mean?

I have Canon 18-135 and 70-300 zoom lenses. People ask me how much zoom my camera supports. What am I supposed to tell them? "135 ÷ 18 = 7.5" and "300 ÷ 70 = 4.2"?
16
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?
8
votes
3answers
459 views

Would a fixed or zoom telephoto lens be better for learning?

My daughter has a Nikon D-90 camera body and two prime f1.4 lenses 50mm and 35mm. She is interested in learning more, and I am curious which of a zoom or fixed telephoto lens would help her best? Is ...
37
votes
12answers
3k views

Is digital zoom really useful?

I've always wondered what is the use of digital zoom, apart from viewing the subject clearly on the LCD display. We can take a photo with the optical zoom and crop the photo to the desired region of ...
8
votes
3answers
5k views

What is the technical difference between focus and zooming?

This may look like a silly question but I don't know what the difference between zooming and focusing is. Zooming in will usually let me have fewer subjects in the scene while zooming out will allow ...
4
votes
2answers
693 views

How do you choose among different 70-300mm lens for Nikon DSLRs?

I have a Nikon D5100 and it's my first dSLR. I've played with the kit lens for a while and now want to explore the zoom category. I've shortlisted these 70-300mm lenses: Nikon AF Zoom-Nikkor ...
14
votes
5answers
1k views

Why do we talk about focal-length when frame sizes are different?

I keep seeing people talking about focal-length of lenses without saying how large the frame is. Is there a more sensible way to talk about how much a lens “zooms”? (I have seen so many adverts ...
3
votes
3answers
556 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?
0
votes
3answers
987 views

Why don't the zoom buttons work on my DSLR?

I am a newbie to the new camera I just bought. It is a Nikon D5200 it has the original lens that came on the camera a 18-55 lens on it. My question is when I turn the lens to the 55 and then push the ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Fast prime vs. expensive zoom for indoor sports photograhy?

I plan to try shooting my kids' indoor activities (Tae Kwon Do and Figure Skating). I can get pretty close to the action for TKD, and I have access to ice/board level positions for shooting at the ...
11
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
4k views

What differences between point and shoot zoom versus DSLR zoom cause the price disparity?

I'm just getting into the world of photography, stepping up from a point-and-shoot. I've just purchased a Nikon D3100 and it should be here in a couple of days. I've done lots of research, but ...
6
votes
4answers
713 views

Is depth of field and bokeh influenced by distance to the subject?

I know that the aperture size has a direct effect on the depth of field. However, what about distance to the subject? Let's say I took two pictures, one at 24mm and one at 70mm, using the same lens ...
5
votes
2answers
210 views

How do zoom, magnification, and focal length relate?

Zoom lenses and cameras with superzooms are often sold with a times ("×") zoom number — like a 12x zoom or 30x zoom. The question How do I convert lens focal length (mm) to x-times optical zoom? ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What features really matter in a point and shoot camera?

I am planning to buy my first new digital camera. Now I am too confused for more than 20 days about how I can choose a camera. I want to use the camera for domestic purpose. The Canon IXUS 220 HS ...
15
votes
8answers
952 views

Would a prime be redundant with a fast zoom?

Now that I am finally getting a fast zoom (Tamron 17-50mm 2.8) I've been considering a fast prime to go with it, specifically a Sigma 50mm 1.4. Despite its shortcomings, it still does really nice ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

Why choose an 80-200mm over an 18-200mm lens?

Being a beginner, I can't see why I must choose an 80-200 over an 18-200. Are there scenarios where an 80-200 would be preferable over an 18-200? I will be buying a D7000 soon and am looking at ...
11
votes
6answers
352 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
8k views

Canon kit with standard EF-S 18-55mm IS or 18-135mm IS?

I'm going to order a new Canon 550d in a kit with a lens. I'm fairly new to SLR photography which means I have not much knowledge about the difference between lenses. There is an offer for a Canon ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
1k views

How does focal length relate to macro magnification? [duplicate]

I'm new to photography and would like to know a little more about zoom lens, The main thing I wonder about is this, I have a Fujifilm S4000 camera that claims to have 30x magnification. The new ...
25
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
13k 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 ...
9
votes
7answers
439 views

Should I postpone buying a zoom lens until I've learned to zoom with my feet?

After several years of shooting with my point-and-shoot, I upgraded to an NEX-5R, with two prime lenses — a 35mm f/1.8 and a 19mm f/2.8. I don't have a zoom lens, not even the kit lens. I've been ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Why does the maximum aperture change with focal length? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why do zoom lenses and compact cameras have varied maximum aperture across the zoom range? It is rather common with zooms that the maximum aperture changes (in fact, ...
6
votes
4answers
841 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
1answer
5k views

Why does my aperture setting change as I zoom on my DSLR kit lens?

I am new to the photography field, there are few things which I am not able to understand. I am playing around with my Nikon D90 along with its kit lens (18-105mm). While reading about Depth of ...
5
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
3answers
252 views

Variable focal length for macro lenses?

True macro lenses come in fixed focal length. Are there any macro lensens which have variable focal lengths? And please explain why yes or why not?
2
votes
1answer
488 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

What is the meaning of W and T on a camera's zoom buttons?

On every conventional digital camera (excluding the models with detachable lenses), there are buttons to zoom in and out with W side and T side. When you press W, the lens zooms out. The lens zooms ...
6
votes
1answer
407 views

When focusing at max zoom, focus is lost after zooming out. Is that normal?

On my Canon kit lens, I could completely zoom in, focus on the object and then zoom out to take the picture with the object still in focus. Now I have a Sigma 18-200mm (with a Canon 600D) and that ...
3
votes
3answers
425 views

Is a small amount of play on the Fujifilm X-E1 mount normal?

I have a brand new Fuji X-E1 with the 18-55 zoom. The lens has the barest amount of play once mounted, rotating back and forth less than a half millimeter if I twist it firmly. I've had old Nikon film ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Will a prime lens help me get better portraits at a wedding?

I have a Canon 600D with the EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens. I have a friend's wedding coming soon, and I'm not sure if my zoom lens will do a good job or not. I was thinking of buying a prime lens so ...
0
votes
2answers
668 views

How do I choose a telephoto zoom lens? [closed]

I have a Canon 1100D kit (18-55mm IS II) and a 50mm f1.8 lens. Now I'm looking for a zoom lens. What do you think about the following: Tamron 18-200mm f3.5-6.3 Tamron 70-300mm f4-f5.6 DI LD Tamron ...
11
votes
5answers
801 views

Why are 50mm no longer the default kit lens for prosumer SLRs?

Every time someone asks me for a kit recommendation I point them towards some sort of prime lens with a standard focal length. Similarly, almost anyone I talk to about the ideal budget kit swears that ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Do I need other camera lenses if I have an 18-200mm or other super-zoom?

I wanted to ask that once you have purchased a lens of say 18-200mm, then is it required to purchase other lenses — say 24-70mm, 24-105mm, 18-105mm, 28-135mm,etc. Does 18-200mm lens satisfy all the ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

How to take sharp photos while using maximum optical zoom?

When I shoot with high zoom (above 3X on my point-and-shoot camera), the sharpness of the picture seems to come down. Is it a feature of all cameras or is it due to higher sensitivity to camera shakes ...
12
votes
4answers
4k views

How can a lens like a 18-55mm have more than one focal length?

How can a lens have a range of focal lengths? Shouldn't it be a single number? Isn't focal length supposed to be fixed for a lens of a particular shape and geometry? What am I missing? How many ...
8
votes
7answers
8k views

How do I get the best results for sports with a 70-200mm f/2.8?

Can anyone help? I am using a nikon d7000 for sports photography. My husband kindly bought me a sigma 70-200mm telephoto lens 2.8 as I shoot a lot of low light indoor sports. I have only just started ...
8
votes
7answers
2k views

Which lenses are best for macro and for birdwatching (both Canon and Nikon)?

Now I have old Sony A100 DSLR + Minolta AF 24-50/4, Minolta AF 50/1.6, Tokina ATX 80-400/4.5-5.6, ... My camera is old. In near future I am going to buy new DSLR. I think it will be Canon or Nikon. I ...
7
votes
6answers
314 views

Digital zoom versus optical zoom for minimising camera shake

Here's the scenario: every so often our garden plays host to some small deer. Naturally, I try to take pictures of them. From inside the house, I can get a decent shot with full zoom on my camera. ...
6
votes
6answers
5k views

Would the Tamron 18- 270 mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD make a good choice as my second lens?

I have a Canon 50/f1.8. I am looking for a zoom lens. After much research, I have zeroed in two lenses as my second lens: either Tamron 18-270 mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD or Canon EF75-300mm f/4-5.6 III ...
6
votes
5answers
376 views

Alternative/third-party superzoom for Nikon?

I have a Nikon 18-200 VR which I think is great. I often use the 200mm part of it so I'm thinking of an even more extreme superzoom, but I'm not familiar with other lenses than Nikon, but I have been ...