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Author Topic: Lenses (Looking for help)  (Read 2803 times)

Online Soullessone21

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Lenses (Looking for help)
« on: October 28, 2014, 10:42:41 AM »
Hey hey all, happy to see all the new people,
Got a question, its about lenses, Can anyone explain the uses of all the main kinds of lenses for DSLR's

I just got a pretty much free T4i camera from Canon and need lenses but need to know what each kind is used for before I got spend happy.

Please assist.

If someone wants to do a guide that would be a awesome help

-Soul
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Offline Bond007

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 02:33:56 PM »
In the most basic sense (not sure how much you know). Telephoto is a "high zoom" lens. Wildlife, long range shots etc (usually max out in the 200-300mm range unless you put a lot of money in).

Kit and general purpose lenses are usually pretty well rounded to start and offer intermediate aperture and "zoom".

Prime lenses have no zoom  capability, but offer a great apperature range. This is shown by a lower number after f (example is most lenses will be f3.5-5.5, but a prime may be f1.7). They allow a lot more light in at once and make for pictures that have a clear subject and very blurred back ground (depth of field is what people call it). They also work great in low light.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 02:36:04 PM by Bond007 »
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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 02:33:56 PM »

Offline Bond007

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 02:53:52 PM »
On my computer now.That is a very basic rundown...I am by no means more than an amateur with photography, and have only been playing with DSLR for around 2 years. I love my prime lens for portraits and lots of other shots. I have a kit lens that is 18-55mm, a telephoto 75-200mm, and a prime 50mm. You have to work for your shots on the prime because of no zoom capability, but playing with it really allowed me too develop my understanding of the settings (aperature, ISO, exposure time) and how they interact...with pros and cons of each.

I could go more in depth if you need it, but there may be someone else that knows more than me.
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Offline Grampa

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 04:01:35 PM »
Heya John,

Long time no speak.

Just popped into HWC today to see whats new, and noticed the Off Topic thread saying you were "leaving" and working on new endeavours and no longer able to participate on the forums there.
Are you still in Calgary? few blocks away from me?  ;D
Or did you folks move again? LOL


Just thought I would pop in, say "hello" and chime in a little on this thread.

Since I haven't seen anyone answer yet.

I am by no means a pro, but have been an enthusiast and photographing, and taking video for over 2 decades now.

I can help with a VERY BASIC General Overview, by no means a comprehensive guide.
Please feel free to correct me, if anyone sees any glaring errors.
Please also forgive me, if I may mistype a few things, as I just got my flu shot today and my arm is pretty numb and its affecting my motor skills LOL

In regards to your question, some things to consider before blowing your budget on lenses, and the wrong lenses at that.(this is where the largest amount of $$$ is spent in photography).
Its a good thing to consider the subject matter in which you hope to photograph, or record video.
Also good to consider the amount of space that you intend to work within.

Like with any trade, or profession; the lens is just one of many tools you'll use to help you capture and make beautiful photos.

Main purpose of the lens is to help you capture and focus the light toward your camera's sensor, to convert the light signals into digital form.

Various types of lenses are available.
General marketing from each manufacturer will divide them into a few subsets to help people achieve different effects for their photos.

Wide angle zooms
Meant to capture a wide area of view for your photographs.  Generally they are classified as the various focal lengths anywhere from 7 - 35mm zooms
Pricing can range from a few hundred dollars, to up over a thousand dollars from the general manufacturers.  The more expensive lenses in this range are generally weather sealed, and have much much more sophisticated optics, and are much larger and heavier than the regular mass market versions of the lenses.

Standard zooms
These are meant to capture photos at moderate distances from your subject, but also allow the advantage of significantly zoom in closer to your subject.  These from various manufacturers will range in focal lengths between 15mm to 300mm. 
A word of note, the larger the number for focal length (eg. 300mm) the further away you can be from your subject taking a photo, OR they also allow you a unique benefit of taking some interesting closely zoomed in photos, without using whats called a "Macro" lens.
Among all lenses available, these lenses are in the most affordable ranges, because the general consumer market, does not need anything wider angle (smaller focal length number), or longer focal length.
For general use, these will be your best bet.
They're affordable and can serve a lot of purposes.

Telephoto Zoom
These are generally meant for wildlife, or amateur to pro-sports photography... and yes, the paparazzi and intelligence services and local authorities, private investigators will use these for surveillance.. spies.... ehem...   :-X
General focal lengths range between 70-300mm
These lenses allow you to be REALLY REALLY far from your subject matter, and still allow you to obtain very sharp and clear images of the subject.
For example...
You're in camouflage in the woods, and you are taking pictures of deer, or bears at a distance...
Well if you were using a standard zoom you would have to get pretty darn close to those bears, and I am pretty darn sure they might not take too kindly to someone pointing a camera in their face.
While if you had a longer zoom you could be a few hundred feet away... and hiding. Much safer.
Consumer telephoto zooms are available at decent prices (55mm-250mm) for about $250-$350
They are generally longer narrow black lenses.
Since you're shooting with Canon, you'll see pro versions in some stores, as the huge white lenses known as Canon's L-Lenses... L-glass and any number of assorted names people have given them over the years.

The last few groups of lenses which I wont get much into here are called "Prime Lenses"
They are fixed focal length lenses (meaning absolutely NO zoom), so you will have to learn to zoom with your feet, by walking closer, or further from your subject.
These generally provide the highest possible image quality, and while they start off very cheap at about $100, they can range ALL the way up to and over the $50,000 range for professional glass.
For your purposes, you will probably look more towards 35mm, 50mm, 85mm (most popular portrait lens focal length on digital formats I believe), 100mm, and 135mm.
If you are shooting video of yourself, as I saw you, with the webcam on the ASUS laptop in the review section, you would probably use about a 50mm focal length generally.
They will show just a little bit of background, but frame you and possibly the subject matter nicely.
Another thing is that they introduce more image background blur, known as "bokeh" in the industry.  Japanese term... pronounced B-o-keh or B'okay works for most.  I digress.
Great for hiding the unmentionable mess behind us... and allowing the image to mostly focus on the foreground.

To read and understand a Lens' specs, lets use this example.

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products/cameras/ef_lens_lineup/ef_50mm_f_1_8_ii

This example, Canon lists the specs as follows.

EF 50mm f/1.8 II

EF is the Lens mounting type to the camera body.
50mm is the focal length
F/1.8 is the Aperture, otherwise known as "F-stop" explanation forth coming.
II is the version number, much like our software, I believe this may be the second iteration of this lens.

Incidentally I believe this is Canon's most affordable Prime Lens, and perfect for learning the basics of photography with...
If you want I can loan you mine, until I sell it. (I have a bunch of old gear I played around with but don't use anymore)

A word of note about the EF/EF-S stuff you see from Canon...
EF & EF-S lenses will both work on your Canon T4i, as it accepts both types.
EF-S lenses sit closer to the sensor, and are generally much less expensive than their EF counterparts.
If you mount an EF-S lens to a Canon EF mount camera, you will often experience something called vignetting (dark colour fringes in the outer edges, specifically in the corners of the photograph, sometimes it is done on purpose... depending on what the artist wants the viewer to see or experience)

In this case 50mm is great for getting in some of the background, but also allowing the subject to be framed nicely.
My opinion of course, yours may differ :P

F/1.8
Aperture/F-stop this is the maximum aperture your lens is able to open up to, and has to do with the amount of light you allow through the lens in toward the camera sensor.
You are able to modify the aperture in your camera on certain "camera modes"
Modifying this will do a number of things to affect your photos. 
I will give a VERY BASIC example...
But one thing aperture affects is to increase, or decrease the "Depth of Field" or DOF or DF... but that's a whole other can of worms we will open another day, in another thread about composing your images.

The example...
If you hold your fingers over your eyelids and pry them wide open... what happens to your view?
Well, for one, there may be too much light entering, causing your vision to blur, and causing your eyes only to be able to focus on something directly in front of you.
Same for the camera lens... opening up the aperture (larger aperture has a smaller number going towards ZERO.  smaller aperture has a larger number going all the way to F/22) to allow more light in causes the image in the background to blur, and your camera focuses more on the subject matter in the foreground.
Now if you close the aperture down, just as if you were to close your eyelids, and start squinting... what happens?
Well your eyes start to struggle to gather light, to send signals to your brain, as does the camera lens, and thus more of the visible field of view in front of you is brought into focus.

Other things you might see...
Lenses stating they have "STM" "IS" "USM"
This is Canon's specific lens features.

STM stands for Stepper Motor.
This is a "newer" feature for newer Canon lenses. 
Main purpose is to eliminate the motor noise during video recording.
If you've used a camcorder or camera for video recording in the past decade you will have noticed during playback of your videos, they may often have a rather irritating motor whine when you zoom in and out.
STM was meant to minimize and or stop this from interfering in your work.

IS is Canon speak for Image Stabilization.
The kit cameras that include a lens from Canon mostly have an IS lens packaged.
This helps immensely when you are hand holding the camera, and taking photos, as it will minimize or eliminate the blur from shaky hands.
I have both IS and non IS lens for you to try if you haven't already splurged on lenses.

USM means that the lens has the Ultrasonic Motor built-in.
Ultra sonic motor allows for faster, and quieter autofocus function than on standard non-USM lenses.

Play around with the settings in "M" manual mode and you will see what I mean.
If you have problems, just throw it into P what most refer to as "professional" mode LOL because it does almost everything automatically for you :P
Once you start learning about your camera and how to take photos you'll probably get just as hooked as anyone whose been doing it for years.

Don't be afraid to snap the shutter, because you wont know what your pictures look like until you try.
We've come a long long way since the old days of film, no more waiting for your film to get processed at the lab, and wonder if you nailed your shots or not LOL

Cheers,
Grampa

ps:  PM me if you want to borrow some lenses to play around with, to help you decide what you will need.
pps:  How'd you get free gear from Canon??
I am looking at some of their Cinema lenses... maybe I will hit them up for a free lens LOL j/k j/k
« Last Edit: October 28, 2014, 04:11:27 PM by Grampa »
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Offline Grampa

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 04:13:14 PM »

I could go more in depth if you need it, but there may be someone else that knows more than me.

Next time I'll just let you type.
LOL ;D

Sheesh my arm is numb.
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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2014, 04:31:26 PM »
So much info awesome info. I'll give a better reply when I am not on my cell on a bus tonight.

Happy to have you on board. Yup still live in Huntington.  I got a free broken camera and canon has awesome Canadian rma. I would love to borrow some gear and I still need to buy some cases from you haha
-Soul
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Offline TheDarkLord

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 11:08:18 AM »
wow, I was going to reply with:

Get the basic 18-55mm f4-5.6 IS lens and call it a day.

If you decide to take closer pics then get a nifty fifty or a pancake (Really, I'm not joking :P)

If you decide to take long distance pics, get the Canon 75-300mm f/4-5.6 lens

If you decide to go hardcore (and if your pc habits are of any indication, you will end up with a Canon EF 85mm f1.2 soon :) )

and Grampa summed it up, it will require you two weeks worth of reading to choose the best lens (that statement isn't really true, there's a different lens for different people and what they're shooting)

PS: Grampa, I'd be interested in that nifty fifty, let me know how much

Offline GaK_45

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2014, 05:16:23 PM »
First let me state Im a Nikon guy.  I dont like Canon (for my needs their cameras are sub-optimal for numerous reasons)...so I am going to have to use Nikon 'Nikkor' glass as my references.  Canon makes decent to great glass...just like Nikon but Im not as familar with Canon as Nikkor glass. So YMMV on recommendations.

Also Im a firm believer in investing in good glass over better camera.

It really depends on what kind of photography you are planning on doing. 

For portraits a nice 50, 80 or 105mm (f1.4 to f2.8 depending on the glass) is hard to beat as it gives nice 'soft' edges and nice buttery smooth backgrounds that are pleasing for shots of people. 

For wildlife....really depends on your expectations.  For example a 70-200 F2.8 is hard to beat BUT you only get 200mm of 'zoom'.  For many wildlife types you just cant get that close!  So you drop either a new glass on it like a 'son of bigma' Sigma 50-500 / nikkor 70-400  or use a teleconverter (1.4 - which adds one f stop, 1.7  adds 2 stops or 2.0 which adds 3) and 'doubles' the length of your glass....but at the cost of making the camera lens slower to focus, less sharp and sometimes not even being able to AutoFocus (honest tele's are for F2-f3 glass only...anything more than that and its crap)!

 If you want to take shots of itty bitty stuff you will want a macro lens. It lets you focus realllllly close to objects.

NOW if you want to shoot computer gear...forget all about low F stop and buttery 'bokeh' background as you want as much in focus as possible.  Honestly I do a lot of my review shots at f14...or even f18 (depending on the glass Im using...each one has a sweet spot for sharpness vs focal depth).  It doest let much light in...but that can be overcome with MOAR lighting....as the subject aint moving.  :P

For all purpose carry round glass its hard to beat a 18-200 VRII f3.5-f5.6 .  Its the glass I usually recommend as persons first glass for their first dslr.  It does most things decently well.  Can take decent wide open landscape shots, can do moderate zoom duty (say taking shots of your dog at the park as he comes towards or away from you), can usually focus fairly closely (usually about 18inches give or take), focuses fairly fast, is fairly accurate on its AF and doesnt 'breathe' too badly....AND has very good VR....and only costs about 6 bills...which is cheap for decent glass (not great...but not crap either like some of the shit 'kit' lenses).  PLUS you can get off hand shots at 200mm that are sharp without any probs at 1/40sec all day everyday without worries.  With even remotely good hold you can go much slower.  Hell I've gotten 3 second exposure shots at 200m without a tripod thanks to its VR.

Honestly when looking at glass - no matter what you shoot you WANT vibration reduction. It allows you to get 'slower' shots (ie slow shutter speeds) without blurring the shot. For computer review gear you also want min focus distance to be LOW.  You dont really need to worry about low f numbers as you want as much in focus as possible. 

That lens (which Im sure canon makes a clone of as its the 'all purpose' / 'do all' / 'one glass to rule them all' glass) plus a good speedlight (fuggabout the pop flash on the camera you want BOUNCE lighting for all but review shots 45 for long shots 90 for close range) like a SB-700 or SB910...once again canon has their own version but thats why I use and am too lazy to look up the canon version.  Hell even an entry level SB-300 is eons better than what comes on ANY camera....so invest in it. They start at about 1.5bills and only go to 5bills.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 05:21:34 PM by GaK_45 »
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Offline Bond007

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2014, 05:31:13 PM »
First let me state Im a Nikon guy.  I dont like Canon (for my needs their cameras are sub-optimal for numerous reasons)...so I am going to have to use Nikon 'Nikkor' glass as my references.  Canon makes decent to great glass...just like Nikon but Im not as familar with Canon as Nikkor glass. So YMMV on recommendations.

Also Im a firm believer in investing in good glass over better camera.

It really depends on what kind of photography you are planning on doing. 

For portraits a nice 50, 80 or 105mm (f1.4 to f2.8 depending on the glass) is hard to beat as it gives nice 'soft' edges and nice buttery smooth backgrounds that are pleasing for shots of people. 

For wildlife....really depends on your expectations.  For example a 70-200 F2.8 is hard to beat BUT you only get 200mm of 'zoom'.  For many wildlife types you just cant get that close!  So you drop either a new glass on it like a 'son of bigma' Sigma 50-500 / nikkor 70-400  or use a teleconverter (1.4 - which adds one f stop, 1.7  adds 2 stops or 2.0 which adds 3) and 'doubles' the length of your glass....but at the cost of making the camera lens slower to focus, less sharp and sometimes not even being able to AutoFocus (honest tele's are for F2-f3 glass only...anything more than that and its crap)!

 If you want to take shots of itty bitty stuff you will want a macro lens. It lets you focus realllllly close to objects.

NOW if you want to shoot computer gear...forget all about low F stop and buttery 'bokeh' background as you want as much in focus as possible.  Honestly I do a lot of my review shots at f14...or even f18 (depending on the glass Im using...each one has a sweet spot for sharpness vs focal depth).  It doest let much light in...but that can be overcome with MOAR lighting....as the subject aint moving.  :P

For all purpose carry round glass its hard to beat a 18-200 VRII f3.5-f5.6 .  Its the glass I usually recommend as persons first glass for their first dslr.  It does most things decently well.  Can take decent wide open landscape shots, can do moderate zoom duty (say taking shots of your dog at the park as he comes towards or away from you), can usually focus fairly closely (usually about 18inches give or take), focuses fairly fast, is fairly accurate on its AF and doesnt 'breathe' too badly....AND has very good VR....and only costs about 6 bills...which is cheap for decent glass (not great...but not crap either like some of the shit 'kit' lenses).  PLUS you can get off hand shots at 200mm that are sharp without any probs at 1/40sec all day everyday without worries.  With even remotely good hold you can go much slower.  Hell I've gotten 3 second exposure shots at 200m without a tripod thanks to its VR.

Honestly when looking at glass - no matter what you shoot you WANT vibration reduction. It allows you to get 'slower' shots (ie slow shutter speeds) without blurring the shot. For computer review gear you also want min focus distance to be LOW.  You dont really need to worry about low f numbers as you want as much in focus as possible. 

That lens (which Im sure canon makes a clone of as its the 'all purpose' / 'do all' / 'one glass to rule them all' glass) plus a good speedlight (fuggabout the pop flash on the camera you want BOUNCE lighting for all but review shots 45 for long shots 90 for close range) like a SB-700 or SB910...once again canon has their own version but thats why I use and am too lazy to look up the canon version.  Hell even an entry level SB-300 is eons better than what comes on ANY camera....so invest in it. They start at about 1.5bills and only go to 5bills.

I have a lot less invested in my camera then GaK. I have a sony a37. Basically I got it as a getting into dslr style shooting (though technically it operates a bit different). I wanted decent pics with the ability to shoot 1080p and high fps stills (it does 5fps full resolution, or 7 fps at half res). Great for my non-stop kids. Screen on the back is the biggest compromise with it IMO. I can't complain though as I got it clearance for 40% off (picked it up for $299.99 new). Then I grabbed a used minolta f1.7 50mm (great lens) and the 75-200mm (ok lens) for $120 for the pair from someone that bought a bunch of stuff as soon as he started doing photography, but never followed through.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2014, 05:32:55 PM by Bond007 »
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Offline GaK_45

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2014, 05:41:59 PM »
Oh yeah Im not 'typical' when it comes to my camera gear (Im seriously trying how to figure out how to justify a D4s and even better glass). 

But I review enough and need the gear that I had to invest in it. Im assuming Soul is going to eventually be the same way...and why not just cut to the chase and save him money in the long term....and the 'good enough' lens is only 6 bills.  :P

First let me state Im a Nikon guy.  I dont like Canon (for my needs their cameras are sub-optimal for numerous reasons)...so I am going to have to use Nikon 'Nikkor' glass as my references.  Canon makes decent to great glass...just like Nikon but Im not as familar with Canon as Nikkor glass. So YMMV on recommendations.

Also Im a firm believer in investing in good glass over better camera.

It really depends on what kind of photography you are planning on doing. 

For portraits a nice 50, 80 or 105mm (f1.4 to f2.8 depending on the glass) is hard to beat as it gives nice 'soft' edges and nice buttery smooth backgrounds that are pleasing for shots of people. 

For wildlife....really depends on your expectations.  For example a 70-200 F2.8 is hard to beat BUT you only get 200mm of 'zoom'.  For many wildlife types you just cant get that close!  So you drop either a new glass on it like a 'son of bigma' Sigma 50-500 / nikkor 70-400  or use a teleconverter (1.4 - which adds one f stop, 1.7  adds 2 stops or 2.0 which adds 3) and 'doubles' the length of your glass....but at the cost of making the camera lens slower to focus, less sharp and sometimes not even being able to AutoFocus (honest tele's are for F2-f3 glass only...anything more than that and its crap)!

 If you want to take shots of itty bitty stuff you will want a macro lens. It lets you focus realllllly close to objects.

NOW if you want to shoot computer gear...forget all about low F stop and buttery 'bokeh' background as you want as much in focus as possible.  Honestly I do a lot of my review shots at f14...or even f18 (depending on the glass Im using...each one has a sweet spot for sharpness vs focal depth).  It doest let much light in...but that can be overcome with MOAR lighting....as the subject aint moving.  :P

For all purpose carry round glass its hard to beat a 18-200 VRII f3.5-f5.6 .  Its the glass I usually recommend as persons first glass for their first dslr.  It does most things decently well.  Can take decent wide open landscape shots, can do moderate zoom duty (say taking shots of your dog at the park as he comes towards or away from you), can usually focus fairly closely (usually about 18inches give or take), focuses fairly fast, is fairly accurate on its AF and doesnt 'breathe' too badly....AND has very good VR....and only costs about 6 bills...which is cheap for decent glass (not great...but not crap either like some of the shit 'kit' lenses).  PLUS you can get off hand shots at 200mm that are sharp without any probs at 1/40sec all day everyday without worries.  With even remotely good hold you can go much slower.  Hell I've gotten 3 second exposure shots at 200m without a tripod thanks to its VR.

Honestly when looking at glass - no matter what you shoot you WANT vibration reduction. It allows you to get 'slower' shots (ie slow shutter speeds) without blurring the shot. For computer review gear you also want min focus distance to be LOW.  You dont really need to worry about low f numbers as you want as much in focus as possible. 

That lens (which Im sure canon makes a clone of as its the 'all purpose' / 'do all' / 'one glass to rule them all' glass) plus a good speedlight (fuggabout the pop flash on the camera you want BOUNCE lighting for all but review shots 45 for long shots 90 for close range) like a SB-700 or SB910...once again canon has their own version but thats why I use and am too lazy to look up the canon version.  Hell even an entry level SB-300 is eons better than what comes on ANY camera....so invest in it. They start at about 1.5bills and only go to 5bills.

I have a lot less invested in my camera then GaK. I have a sony a37. Basically I got it as a getting into dslr style shooting (though technically it operates a bit different). I wanted decent pics with the ability to shoot 1080p and high fps stills (it does 5fps full resolution, or 7 fps at half res). Great for my non-stop kids. Screen on the back is the biggest compromise with it IMO. I can't complain though as I got it clearance for 40% off (picked it up for $299.99 new). Then I grabbed a used minolta f1.7 50mm (great lens) and the 75-200mm (ok lens) for $120 for the pair from someone that bought a bunch of stuff as soon as he started doing photography, but never followed through.
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Online Soullessone21

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2015, 04:43:55 PM »
Rocking the 24mm canon pancake now, love the lens so much, for a cheap lense it's quality is amazing and so easy to use.

Grampa we still need to grab a coffee.

Thanks for all the advice

-Soul
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Offline TheDarkLord

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2015, 09:21:03 PM »
Rocking the 24mm canon pancake now, love the lens so much, for a cheap lense it's quality is amazing and so easy to use.

Grampa we still need to grab a coffee.

Thanks for all the advice

-Soul

50mm 1.4 and never look back

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2015, 09:19:24 AM »
Used a 50 as my starter lense and really did not like it.

Really like the pancakes more.
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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2015, 10:58:11 AM »
There's a huge difference between the 50 1.4 and the 50 1.8

But, if you're doing video, then yeah, nothing beats a pancake.

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Re: Lenses (Looking for help)
« Reply #14 on: February 16, 2015, 11:31:14 AM »
You win this round the 1.4 is a kick ass lens, the 1.8 is junk to me plastic less than fantastic haha. Plus I will never trust a plastic mounting lens after the horror stories canon told me
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