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Thread: What limitations does a lens have?

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    What limitations does a lens have?

    I haven't purchased my first DSLR yet.
    From what I have been reading and seeing, I know that a must have lens will be a Prime 50mm and Prime 100mm.
    What I would like to know is, how versatile is a Prime lens? Can it only be used for Macro?

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    start again, what are you wanting to photograph ? what is your budget, what camera are you looking at ?
    Darren
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    not at all. PRIME just means that it is a fixed focal length. In your example it is a 50mm lens. It is not a ZOOM lens! So it doesnt go from 24-70, or 70-200. It is set at 50mm and that is all, and that is the reason it is referred to as a prime.

    You can use prime lenses for anything, macro, portraiture, landscapes, weddings..whatever you want to use it for.
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    50mm prime's on a 1.5 crop (APS-C) is not ideal, you need a bit longer for portraits and a bit less for landscapes etc.

    As Kiwi said, what do you want to shoot? that will determine a lot.

    Check the New to Photography book and equipment guide before purchasing - lots of good advice.
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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeltoy View Post
    From what I have been reading and seeing, I know that a must have lens will be a Prime 50mm and Prime 100mm.
    You could only really say this if you knew that these lenses would suit your photography needs more than any other lenses could. If it's only because you have read a lot of opinions, then you should re-examine your needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeltoy View Post
    What I would like to know is, how versatile is a Prime lens? Can it only be used for Macro?
    Not all (by any means!) prime lenses are even suitable for macro photography. Perhaps you mean, can a macro lens (the best of which are of the prime lens type) be used for anything else besides macro?

    The answer to this Q would be yes.

    Given your interest in prime lenses, consider what other focal length lenses you may need for other types of photography, say landscapes. I would say a wide-angle lens would be useful here, though not exclusively so.
    And what about the likes of bird/sports photography, where a good telephoto (zoom or prime) would be the go?

    Most DSLRs come in a kit with a couple of lenses included. Although such "kit" lenses are often disparaged, they are a good starting point for a 1st-time DSLR user. I reckon it's better to get such a kit first,
    than to get a body only and to try to match "some good glass" to it, - for a "beginner" that is, and there's nothing wrong with being a beginner. With practice, you'll soon enough sort out your real needs for photography.

    MHOs.
    Am.
    Last edited by ameerat42; 01-08-2012 at 9:25pm.
    CC, Image editing OK.

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    Member Mat's Avatar
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    I agree with what has been said above. You need to know what type of photography you are interested in. but as a side note I have and mostly use a 18 - 125 Sgima lens as I find it a good all rounder for what I do. It does have macro capability at a minimum focal distance of 35cm. A prime lens you will need to zoom with your feet. What does that mean... well if you want a close up shot you need to walk closer until you get the composition you are after. If you are not sure as to the style of photography then I'd suggest a zoom lens either a kit lens or a more expensive lens. But please bare in mind that you will be buying into a system also look at what range of lenses are available for the brand you wish to buy. For example I shoot with a Pentax but the choice of lenses or availabilty is less of what you would get for a Canon or a Nikon.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Oh and to answer your thread title 'what limitations does a lens have?", the biggest one would be the Photographer!

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    Oops. I should have clarified my intentions more clearly.

    Ok, I currently own a Canon G12.
    27yrs ago I owned a Pentax K1000 with 70-210mm, 50mm, 35-105mm, ext tubes, filters etc.

    As I am stepping back into photography I find myself drawn in Macro photography moreso than portraits, landscapes etc. Although, I do love sky photography- clouds, stars etc but let's not go there yet...
    With my G12 I am enjoying shooting fungus, flowers, bugs, leaves, small object etc I really enjoy it.
    This is why I asked about 'prime' lenses. I have read a great deal about the Sigma 100mm Prime and it's fantastic results. I know there are other prime lenses but the 100mm looks like it can help capture the detail I would like to focus on.
    I also asked a 50mm prime because I believe it should be the basis of every kit.

    As for camera. When I make the purchase it will be after playing with a D7000, D7 or K5. Very hard decision at the moment although I am leaning toward the Nikon because of the features and user support out there.
    My choice is based on the fact that I will not be upgrading the machine for at least 10yrs, so I am not going to start with an entry level machine. This purchase has to last- there's no way the bank manager (Mrs) is going to approve finances every 3-5yrs!
    So, I was thinking to forego the entry unit package (camera with stock standard lens) and go with body+Prime lens 1 + Prime lens 2. Hence, why I asked how versatile a prime lens actually is. If I choose to shoot birds, kangaroos, an occasional mountain- will I be ok with a Prime setup? Or should I just buy a machine with the standard lens and then save to buy the Primes?
    These are not easy decisions. The 100mm alone is around the $900 mark which is on par with a D7000 body at the moment (Kogan).
    And seeing as this forum has a wealth of experience and knowledge, I put my question out there.
    You guys make it hard though. The shots that I view here each day, I can only aspire to achieve. Inspiring they are.
    Anyway, I really do appreciate all the responses and guiding thoughts. They help light the way.
    Thank you everyone.


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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    If macro is what you are after, then you need a lens that has the "macro' nomenclature. I shoot my macro's with the Sigma http://www.sigmaphoto.com/shop/150mm-f28-ex-dg-os-hsm-apo-macro-sigma


    There are other ways using extension tubes, reversing the lens etc, but for starters look for a lens that is notated as being a Macro lens. Most of these will be f2.8 lenses. The Macro nomenclature means they have a very close focusing distance from the end of the lens, so you can get in close and get your subject in focus
    Last edited by ricktas; 03-08-2012 at 7:39pm.

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    Hi,

    I'm using a Pentax K5 with a 90mm F2.8 Macro for my macro photography, so I thought I'd share my thoughts...


    Pentax vs Nikon,

    If everything else is equal, If you still have your Pentax gear, I think you should be able to use it on the K5, so that might be worth looking into...

    If you don't have your old gear, then if everything else is equal I'd suggest Nikon, there is a wider range of new macro lenses for the Nikon...


    Lens

    If you're looking for a good macro lens, I'd recommend the Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro, it's really sharp, and in my opinion great value for money.

    The one warning about it I'll give is on a fast screw drive body like the K5 I find it thrashes on occasion when focusing, (over-compensates when trying to focus) I don't think this is an issue on the Nikon.

    For that reason I'm looking to get a Sigma 180mm F2.8 Macro for the Pentax, but that just highlights the point about new glass for Pentax,
    it's available for Canon, available for pre-order for Nikon, Sony and Sigma, but not yet available for Pentax.
    (and it seems there are fewer Macro options for Pentax in general)

    ricktas makes a great point about the lens having Macro nomenclature, but pay attention to the magnification ratio...

    My Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro has a ratio of 1:1 (good)
    My Tamron 70-200mm F2.8 Macro has a ratio of 1:3.1 (not nearly as good)

    Both have Macro in the name, but they are not in the same league...
    (And the 90mm is much sharper...)

    Good luck whatever you decide,
    Hopefully this has been helpful.

    Regards,
    Anon

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    If you're looking for a good macro lens, I'd recommend the Tamron 90mm F2.8 Macro, it's really sharp, and in my opinion great value for money. Quote from above..

    Great lens coupled to a Nikon and you did say the 7000 wasone of your interested options.
    I spent a whole weekend with my Sigma 105 macro on heron Island and it was the only lens i used and not for macro work either and came away rather happy with my shots.
    I have seen plenty of work with the Tamron 90 mm where a friend of my daughters had that couped to her NikonD90 at a Wedding and i was stoked at the shots she came away with.
    getting back to your original question about limitations with variouse Lens??, i doubt there would be any lens without its limitations whther it be reach, focussing or sharpnes and as previousely advised you must know what your type of photgraphy you wish to soot and go from there and then build up your arsenal according to your interest as it developes.
    My advice to you is to start with one Lens only and step forward from there as your passion grows otherwise you will be like me and spend a lot of money which you will have to try salvage back sometime later to spentd on the gear you really want..
    But< still its a learning curve even if it is a tad expensive at that..
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    Thanks to all who helped clarify. Very much appreciated.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

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    I like that reply, Rick
    Last edited by PJI254; 05-08-2012 at 8:31am. Reason: addition

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeltoy View Post
    As I am stepping back into photography I find myself drawn in Macro photography moreso than portraits, landscapes etc. . . . I am enjoying shooting fungus, flowers, bugs, leaves, small object etc I really enjoy it. . . . My choice is based on the fact that I will not be upgrading the machine for at least 10yrs, so I am not going to start with an entry level machine. This purchase has to last- there's no way the bank manager (Mrs) is going to approve finances every 3-5yrs!
    Have you considered the budget for: a Tripod, an Head, maybe Focusing Rails and the Flash unit and perhaps macro Flash accessories?

    WW

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    From little things big things grow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeltoy View Post
    From what I have been reading and seeing, I know that a must have lens will be a Prime 50mm and Prime 100mm.
    If ever you hear that a 50mm lens is a 'must-have', please remember that it's merely someone's opinion.

    If, like myself, you find the focal length utterly boring and useless, then it's not a 'must-have'.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixeltoy View Post
    What I would like to know is, how versatile is a Prime lens? Can it only be used for Macro?
    A prime lens is a fixed focal; ie, it has only one focal length, and you cannot zoom in or out to change the framing.

    Macro lenses tend to be primes, but primes range from ultra-wide through to super-telephoto lenses.

    What you need to determine is what you want to shoot. If you're a beginner and haven't found your subject matter of interest, it's a good idea to start with a general-purpose zoom that will cover reasonably wide angles through to moderate telephoto lengths, as that will give you a broad variety of shooting options.

    Once you've determined your equipment-based limitations, you can then invest in the right tool for the job, or a better quality tool for the job.

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