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Frequent Contributor
Posts: 27
Registered: ‎05-10-2017

Choosing a lens...

Is there a lens I can get that will be usable for landscape and telephoto? Or am I better off getting a prime like the nifty fifty for landscape and a separate zoom lens for something like birding? For instance, I would like a lens that can take in waterfalls and big vistas, can the nifty fifty perform well in that area?

Shooting waterfalls, valleys, just mountain stuff, and birding. Would a prime lens be best for the vistas and a zoom lens be best for birding? If so what focal lengths?

 

Ben

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Posts: 8,598
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Choosing a lens...

" .... usable for landscape or telephoto?"

 

What camera body are you using?  What lenses do you already own?

I suppose that question requires more info about what sort of subjects you have in mind, and what camera body you're using.  If you want to capture "big vistas", then a wide angle, or ultra wide angle, lens is the usual recommendation.  You could also capture "big vistas" with a standard range lens using a tripod, rolling the camera to portrait mode, and create a panorama in post processing. 

I love to shoot outdoor landscapes and cityscapes.  I like to use the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens on a full frame camera body for landscape shots, and general photography when I'm going to unfamiliar locations.  That lens would be comparable to the EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM or EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM lenses on an APS-C body, like any camera in the Rebel Series of cameras.  The standard 18-55mm lens that comes in most Rebel kits has a range that is more than suitable for shooting landscapes.

As far as telephoto goes, the best lens to use really depends upon what are you trying to photograph, and how close to it will you be.  So, I have no answer for you there.  

As a general rule, I think anyone new to photography would stand to benefit a LOT by purchasing the 'nifty fifty" EF 50mm f/1.8 STM lens,  Note the last "STM" on the end of the model number, because that version has a metal connection with the camera.  Zoom lenses have improved dramatically from a couple of decades ago, to the point where their performance rivals that of all but the most high performance prime lenses.  

Primes are not the "go to" lenses they used to be.  Despite that, there is so much to learn about photography from having a fast f/1.8 lens, that the cost of the nifty fifty is more than worth the cost of a similarly priced photography class.  So, I'm making one lens recommendation, the nifty-fifty, if you do not already own one, which has nothing to do with your question.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
VIP
Posts: 8,598
Registered: ‎08-13-2015

Re: Choosing a lens...


@Dragoncamera7 wrote:

Is there a lens I can get that will be usable for landscape and telephoto? Or am I better off getting a prime like the nifty fifty for landscape and a separate zoom lens for something like birding? For instance, I would like a lens that can take in waterfalls and big vistas, can the nifty fifty perform well in that area?

Shooting waterfalls, valleys, just mountain stuff, and birding. Would a prime lens be best for the vistas and a zoom lens be best for birding? If so what focal lengths?

 

Ben


Now, for the short answer.

 

Your idea to use a separate lens for landscape and another for birding is a good one.  There is no single all purpose lens.  When it comes to zoom lenses, you want to limit the ratio of the long focal length to the short focal length to about 4:1, or less.  Greater ratios than that usually means design compromises that reduce the overall image quality of the lens.

Serious birders want a lens that is at least 600mm.  Lenses in that focal range are costly.

 

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If you do not have a VERY good and robust tripod, find a way to buy one. I recommend one that has a head that can support 20+ pounds, and legs that can support 30+ pounds. Why so much load capacity? First, load ratings are not standardized, and manufacturers do not tell you how they determine their ratings.

 

There are a couple of things you can count on though. Tripods are probably "tested and measured" with their center columns in the fully lowered position, because raising the column with a load on it tends to destabilize the tripod, reducing the amount of weight that it can support. 

Tripod head load ratings are even murkier.  I think one fair assumption to make is that, like tripods, the heads are tested with the product in a position where it is most stable, and for tripods that means a level balanced load.  Once you tilt the head toward the sky, the load becomes off-center, and the amount of weight that a head can support without wobble is dramatically reduced.

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"I don't rent software. I use Photoshop CS6, ACR 9.8 and Lightroom 6.8 ."
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