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Thread: Which all around lens for AK?

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    Default Which all around lens for AK?

    Howdy. I'm just starting to get a bit more serious about photography, and recently bought a canon digital slr. I'm currently using my gf's tamron 28-300mm telephoto lens, but I'm thinking about picking up a canon 50mm 1.4 fixed lens. Should be good for macros, portraits, and all around shooting. Which lens do you guys think is better for all around in AK? I should mention, I don't yet have a tripod, so shooting with the telephoto lens is a bit rough yet...not always clear shots.

    But as far as landscapes are concerned, will one lens be better than the other?

    Thanks for any ideas.

    Tom

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    I have heard the 50 f/1.4 is not worth the dough. I got the 50 f/1.8 ($95) and love it. You may be better off spending the difference in these two lenses elsewhere. Say, a TRIPOD A Bogen Manfrotto with a ball head in the $150-200 range at B&H would be my suggestion.

    The Canon 17-40 is a very well thought of landscape lens. For its price, you may have a very hard time getting a better landscape lens. I would also consider a high quality polarizing filter a must. Additionally, a graduated neutral density filter would be worth having if landscape photography is a priority.

    For general use, I love my 24-105. Just a great walking around lens. If I had to choose only one lens, this would be it.

    Many ways to skin a cat, but these are my thoughts.

    Example below of a shot with no filter, then the same shot just seconds later with a graduated ND filter...




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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    The below images from the Kenai were taken with the 24-105...










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    Quote Originally Posted by dmbartender View Post
    Howdy. I'm just starting to get a bit more serious about photography, and recently bought a canon digital slr. I'm currently using my gf's tamron 28-300mm telephoto lens, but I'm thinking about picking up a canon 50mm 1.4 fixed lens. Should be good for macros, portraits, and all around shooting. Which lens do you guys think is better for all around in AK? I should mention, I don't yet have a tripod, so shooting with the telephoto lens is a bit rough yet...not always clear shots.

    But as far as landscapes are concerned, will one lens be better than the other?
    I use Nikon gear, so I have no basis to make recommendations for specific lenses; but in terms of generic things like focal length there are some obvious points of interest.

    One that has already been mentioned is a tripod. The only point I would make to add to it is that there is no such thing as a lightweight inexpensive tripod. Take your pick, spend a lot of money or get a heavy one. Personally I've never seen a tripod under about $200 that was worth using... good carbon fiber tripods start at well over $300 and go up from there.

    I use a Tamron 24-135mm lens that is available for Canon mounts, and rather like it. I also have a 28-105mm Nikkor lens, which has better bokeh and flares less when a point source of light (such as the sun in outdoor shots) hits the front element. But the Tamron has a wider zoom range, is sharp too, and unlike the Nikkor lens does not flare when used indoors with a brightly lit window in the background. (I have no idea how the Canon 24-105mm compares, but that gives you an idea what makes a difference.)

    Ray can probably give you more details on what makes a good landscape lens for Canon than all the rest of us put together.

    I would not recommend a 50mm f/1.4 lens. Canon has an inexpensive and very sharp 50mm f/1.8 available that everyone should own just because the price is so right. It doesn't have particularly good bokeh, but is sharp. With modern DSLR's that can do high ISO there is nothing to recommend the f/1.4 over the f/1.8.

    And, all that said, I am no fan of "superzoom" lenses and would not personally use any 18-200mm or 30-300mm lense that I'm aware of. Virtually every camera maker also has a relatively good 70-200mm or even 70-300mm lens available that is much sharper than any superzoom. The pro models are f/2.8, which provides for narrow depth of field and nicer bokeh if you do portraits. For wildlife the 300mm reach is about as short as is useful (plus good 400mm lenses start breaking budgets too).

    Focal lengths for macro work depend on what you intend on doing. A shorter focal length is good for flowers and other "large" objects. They are also okay for documents, as are lenses specifically designed for a flatter field. But for 1:1 or higher magnification it is probably better to look at 105mm lenses, and if you need more working distance an even longer focal length is nice. You might consider a 105mm f/2.8 macro lense used with a good 2x telextender, for example.

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    Unless you blew a wad on a full frame Canon DSLR, you have a crop frame camera, like one of the Rebels, or a 10D/20D/30D/40D/50D. For those cameras I prefer my main zoom lens to start wider than 24mm, but otherwise the 24-105 f/4L that Dan refers to is very good. I like Canon's 17-55 f/2.8 IS better for most of what I do. But seldom is one lens enough, and 55mm is not very long, so I need to couple it with a longer lens.

    Another route is go go with one do-it-all lens, like Canon's 18-200. Image quality is somewhat compromised, and the aperture is not very large, but the pictures are reasonably good. I have a Tamron 18-270 that I use when I only want to pack one lens, and I'm not seriously concerned about the utmost image quality. It's not a bad solution, but I don't think it's the best solution either.

    Of course there are those old arguments: "Why buy an interchangeable lens camera if you're only going to use one lens?" And of course, "Why buy a high image quality camera if you're going to stick a mediocre lens on it?" All of which I agree with. So, I don't think there is a good all around lens for Alaska, or anywhere else. I think all DSLR owners should have at least three good zooms, and one fast mid range prime, like a 35mm f/2. Just my opinion, feel free to ignore it.

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    LANDSCAPES AND CITYSCAPES
    For these, all depends of how wide you want the landscapes to look (how much of the subject you want in the picture). With my 40D, I prefer super-wide lenses from 8 mm to perhaps 24 mm. The reason why I like these lenses is because it makes it much easier to show the whole subject in focus, from within a few fee in front of me to infinity. For example, a photo of a field of flowers, some of which are very close to me, or the photo of a lake or field where there are rocks and other interesting objects right in front of me. In this case, a wide angle lens allows you to use wider apertures (smaller numbers), while still maintaining a relatively low ISO speed. One can also use a "tilt-shift lens to do this, but some of these lenses take a lot of practice (I don't have the patience). You can use telephotos for taking photos of landscapes, as others have shown you above. If that's the kind of landscapes or cityscapes you like, then a telephoto or zoom lens will be fine, but these are more like close-up photos of cities and land, water, etc. In this case, for a cropped-sensor camera, a Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 is plenty wide. Or a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L to bring the subject closer to you.

    Wide angle lenses:
    My favorite is Tokina's 12-24mm, or a 10-16mm one. But a lot of people like the Canon EF-S 10-20mm, and Sigma 10-20mm.

    Taken with a Tokina 12-24mm f/4 at around 13 mm


    For zoom lenses, I would recommend one that is relatively low cost, but one that is renown for outstanding image quality and color rendition. This is the Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM. This lens is not a low-light lens, and has no IS, but it only costs slightly under $600.00 at B&H, Adorama, and Amazon. This is the lens I would have instead of the one you mentioned above. If you like primes, then I would recommend the EF 200mm f/2.8L, which costs about the same as the EF 70-200.

    MACRO
    I agree with Floyd on this one. A Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM is the way to go. But you can get-by with a standard 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.4 (a better one), plus a Kenko tube-set. This set has three tubes.

    As a final note: Canon lenses that have IS are a lot more expensive than similar lenses without IS. IS is a highly recommended feature to control camera shake and help you with sharper photos of moving subjects. These lenses also help in low-light situations. None of my lenses have IS, since I mostly take photos in good lighting conditions.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Lots of great info from Ray, Jim, & Floyd. To a newer guy this may seem confusing. I know it did to me not long ago. The ultra wides are great in some cases. Telephoto zooms for wildlife, etc.. Just so many different applications. Luckily, the list of available lenses is just as lengthly. Before buying any lens, give careful thought to your goals. They vary considerably among photographers. So many choices out there it can be hard to figure out at first. Just take your time and research carefully which lenses you need most. Below are a few examples of shots with different lenses....

    Canon 10-22 ultrawide...




    Canon 24-105...






    Canon 100-400 ...

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Canon 24-105....






    Canon 50 f/1.8...




    Canon 100-400...

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    Canon 100-400...






    Canon 24-105...



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    The way I see it is as follows: If the OP wants landscapes that include a large portion of the subject, from his toes to infinity, then a wide-angle lens will do that. If the OP wants a landscape photo of a far away subject, and one that doesn't include the portion of the subject in front of his toes, then a telephoto lens can do that.

    Also, if the OP wants to take a photo of an automobile (the whole front portion of it, by example), or a photo of the interior of a small room, a wide-angle lens can do that. If the OP wants to take a photo of the automobile's blinker, then the telephoto can do that. One can also use a telephoto as a close-up (not macro) lens. For example, I used a Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L plus a 12mm Kenko tube for these:




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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post
    The way I see it is as follows: If the OP wants landscapes that include a large portion of the subject, from his toes to infinity, then a wide-angle lens will do that. If the OP wants a landscape photo of a far away subject, and one that doesn't include the portion of the subject in front of his toes, then a telephoto lens can do that.
    That all relates to depth of field, and is valid.

    Also, if the OP wants to take a photo of an automobile (the whole front portion of it, by example), or a photo of the interior of a small room, a wide-angle lens can do that. If the OP wants to take a photo of the automobile's blinker, then the telephoto can do that.
    For all or parts of something like an automobile it is just a matter of moving farther away for a telephoto or closer for a wideangle. The change in lens to subject distance does affect the visual perspective, so the images are not the same; hence the reason for using long or short focal lengths is the desired perspective, not the subject.

    One can also use a telephoto as a close-up (not macro) lens.
    Telephoto lenses are commonly used for "macro".

    For example, I used a Canon EF 200mm f/2.8L plus a 12mm Kenko tube for these:
    Your examples are nice images. Most people would classify that as "macro" work. (I have no quibble with the distinction between closeup and macro, and tend to agree with you more than not. But that just isn't the most used definition, so I'm leary of using it here.)

    I commonly use a 105mm macro lens with an old Vivitar 2X Macro Focusing Telextender. The combination has a 210mm focal length, focuses down to less than 5 inches subject to lens distance and provides 2.5x magnification when used with a Nikon D2x.

    Obviously telephoto focal lengths are very useful for macro and have the decided advantage of providing a little working room to allow lighting or anything else that needs more distance.

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    Telephotos give you close-ups of subjects. For example, this bird wouldn't have looked as close if I would have used a wide-angle lens (used the 200mm prime, instead):

    But the same telephoto can't do this (won't show the gravel in the foreground in focus):

    Nor this (the dog's nose was around 10" from the wide angle lens, but still shows most of the dog in focus):

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post
    Telephotos give you close-ups of subjects. For example, this bird wouldn't have looked as close if I would have used a wide-angle lens (used the 200mm prime, instead):
    Here you say the bird only looks close because of a telephoto, but you also posted a wide angle lens image of a dog that looks even closer! You say the dog is fully in focus only because of the wide angle lens, yet your image of an owl taken with a telephoto is also in focus for the entire length.

    You photos contradict your analysis.
    But the same telephoto can't do this (won't show the gravel in the foreground in focus):
    And this statement is also incorrect. All you need to do to get the gravel and the mountains both in focus with a telephoto lens is move the camera farther away from the gravel.
    Nor this (the dog's nose was around 10" from the wide angle lens, but still shows most of the dog in focus):
    Your image of the owl shows explicitly that exactly the same thing can be done with a telephoto lens by merely increasing the distance to the subject.

    Changing the focal length doesn't change anything other than the area of coverage. Hence if you shoot a scene with a 50mm lens you get more area from the scene onto the sensor than if you shoot it with a 100mm lens from the same spot. If the extra area of the 50mm image is cropped, the two images will be identical (within the ability of the sensor to resolve detail).

    On the other hand, if you move the camera to maintain the same area of coverage, perspective changes (as does depth of field). Hence the close up of the dog "looks closer" than the close up of the owl (which is exactly the opposite of what you said...). But the difference is not due to focal length of the lens! It's the distance to the subject.

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    I appreciate all the good posts and beautiful pics, but you guys are starting to confuse me a little bit with all the jargon. I figure a wide angle lens would be nice for many landscapes in AK though, cause it seems to make the image more imposing. Is this right? Also, I was thinking of getting a canon 1.8 EFII cause my tamron 28-300 doesn't seem to let much light in, and the depth of field can only be cranked down to 4.5. Plus, the 1.8 EFII costs just 100 bucks. I just bought a tripod, so hopefully that'll help with long-range shots taken with the tamron.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmbartender View Post
    I appreciate all the good posts and beautiful pics, but you guys are starting to confuse me a little bit with all the jargon. I figure a wide angle lens would be nice for many landscapes in AK though, cause it seems to make the image more imposing. Is this right?
    For most landscape photography, a wide angle lens is best. For the occasions when it is not... by the time you start thinking of how to do it, you'll know a lot more about the effects of focal length on composition.
    Also, I was thinking of getting a canon 1.8 EFII cause my tamron 28-300 doesn't seem to let much light in, and the depth of field can only be cranked down to 4.5. Plus, the 1.8 EFII costs just 100 bucks. I just bought a tripod, so hopefully that'll help with long-range shots taken with the tamron.
    I haven't checked out other manufacturers, but both Nikon and Canon make an exceptionally good 50mm f/1.8 fixed focal length lens that they sell for peanuts. The cost is so low and the quality so high that everyone with either brand of camera should have one even if they almost never use a 50mm lens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post

    both Nikon and Canon make an exceptionally good 50mm f/1.8 fixed focal length lens that they sell for peanuts. The cost is so low and the quality so high that everyone with either brand of camera should have one even if they almost never use a 50mm lens.

    After 170 posts, you finally say something that I agree with

    Ha ha ha.. Just kidding man.

    This is a must have lens. No question about it.

    Read more below at B&H (great place to buy from)...

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...0mm_f_1_8.html





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    Quote Originally Posted by danattherock View Post
    After 170 posts, you finally say something that I agree with.
    You're a late bloomer Dan.

    But seriously you aren't expected to learn photography overnight; and certainly neither did I.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Floyd_Davidson View Post
    Here you say the bird only looks close because of a telephoto, but you also posted a wide angle lens image of a dog that looks even closer! You say the dog is fully in focus only because of the wide angle lens, yet your image of an owl taken with a telephoto is also in focus for the entire length.

    You photos contradict your analysis.And this statement is also incorrect. All you need to do to get the gravel and the mountains both in focus with a telephoto lens is move the camera farther away from the gravel.Your image of the owl shows explicitly that exactly the same thing can be done with a telephoto lens by merely increasing the distance to the subject.

    Changing the focal length doesn't change anything other than the area of coverage. Hence if you shoot a scene with a 50mm lens you get more area from the scene onto the sensor than if you shoot it with a 100mm lens from the same spot. If the extra area of the 50mm image is cropped, the two images will be identical (within the ability of the sensor to resolve detail).

    On the other hand, if you move the camera to maintain the same area of coverage, perspective changes (as does depth of field). Hence the close up of the dog "looks closer" than the close up of the owl (which is exactly the opposite of what you said...). But the difference is not due to focal length of the lens! It's the distance to the subject.
    You are correct about 'moving back to achieve the same with a telephoto. I do that with a couple of primes I have, but unlike telephoto, wide angle lenses allow for the following:

    -More depth-of-field at a particular subject distance and aperture. That's why most of the dog is still in focus from the tip of its nose to below its shoulders at the widest lens aperture (f/4). If I would have used a telephoto, including my 100mm macro lens focused ten inches from the nose, only the nose would have been in focus. If I take a landscape photo that shows the foreground as close as my shoes and use a Peleng 8mm lens, my shoes will be in focus, all the way to infinity.

    -Wider field of view. While making the subject seem far away, it also allows for a wider field of view, so more of the subject is included in the photo. Considering a 1.6X crop factor (Canon 40D, XT, T1):
    16mm lens gives you a 107-degree field of view
    200mm lens gives you a 12-degree field of view

    -More foreground. As background subjects seem to have moved back, more foreground is in focus. It means that unlike a telephoto lens, a wide angle one allows for having parts of the subject very close to the lens to be in focus. So, if you want to emphasize the foreground of a nearby subject.

    -Wide-angle lenses allow for the use of slower shutter speeds without the need for image stabilization. Telephotos emphasize camera shake.
    ---------
    That said, if one enlarges and crops a photo taken with a wide-angle lens to create the same subject size as a telephoto lens, this action diminishes the wide-angle lens' DOF, and both photos subject sizes become equal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmbartender View Post
    I appreciate all the good posts and beautiful pics, but you guys are starting to confuse me a little bit with all the jargon. I figure a wide angle lens would be nice for many landscapes in AK though, cause it seems to make the image more imposing. Is this right? Also, I was thinking of getting a canon 1.8 EFII cause my tamron 28-300 doesn't seem to let much light in, and the depth of field can only be cranked down to 4.5. Plus, the 1.8 EFII costs just 100 bucks. I just bought a tripod, so hopefully that'll help with long-range shots taken with the tamron.
    All depends on what you want in the photo. If you want a greater portion of the subject in the photo, then a wide-angle lens is what you want. But you can't forget that while the subjects close-by will look larger, the background will look far away. Just look at the photos taken by Danattherock with his lenses, and then look at mine taken with a wide-angle lens. His are just as (if not more beautiful) as mine.

    The 50mm f/1.8 has a very thin depth of field when opened the most (f/1.8). If you set your camera to Av (aperture priority), you can change the lens aperture with the wheel right behind the shutter button. With the lens at f/1.8, it gathers a lot of light, but the depth of field is greatly narrowed. Lets say that you are taking a photo of a person's face, and that there is another person just behind the first. In this case, most of the face of the person in front will be in focus, while the face of the second person will be blurred.

    To increase depth of field and show the second face, just close the lens to perhaps f/8, f/11, and so forth. But as you close the lens aperture to increase depth of field, you need either mode light to illuminate the subject, or a higher ISO speed.

    The photo of the baby taken by Danattherock gives you a clear example of one of the uses for this lens. And if you look closely, the blankets at the other side of the baby are blurred. The portion of the face in focus is because of the depth of field of this lens. That's why most photographers using similar lenses focus the lens on the person's eyes on frontal shots. The face will be in focus, and the background blurred.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RayfromAK View Post

    Just look at the photos taken by Danattherock with his lenses, and then look at mine taken with a wide-angle lens. His are just as (if not more beautiful) as mine.

    .

    Somebody is feeling modest tonight

    I am light years behind you man, but I do appreciate the thought. Modesty is a virtue.



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