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      04-07-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
R12ax7
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New Lens Dilemma

First off, thanks in advance for anyone who reads this.

I am looking for a new lens (for no particular reason), originally I was just going to grab a Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S DX for $330. Currently I have only an 18-105 and a 35mm F/1.8 prime, so I thought I wanted something with a bit more range. I have only had an SLR (D3100) for about 6 months and frankly there have been very few times I really wished I had a true telephoto, but I figure the 55-300 would round out my lenses and once I had it in my bag of tricksI might like it.

Then I started looking at the lensbaby lenses. I had also planned to get extension tubes in addition to the telephoto just to have a cheap way to try my hand at some macro photography, but then looking through that lensbaby site and reading some reviews I started getting other ideas. I have never used any of these products but everyone seems to give great reviews and the results look great (even from pictures not on their site). I was then starting to lean towards a lensbaby Composer, plus their macro kit, plus the fisheye glass and have a lot more interesting and versatile toys (for about the same price as the 55-300).

Then I started looking at "actual" fisheye lenses, which seem to range from $300ish all the way up over a thousand.

My questions are the following:

1) What are the pros/cons of an "actual" fisheye lenses over the lensbaby system? Is the lensbaby just another crap, fake fish-eye simulation or is it at least better than those?

2) Is my line of thinking way off in the first place - should I just get the telephoto, forget the gimmicks and just keep practicing at this point?

3) Am I missing anything else in my bag of tricks in the sub $500 price range I should be looking at?


I know kind of a scatterbrained post appreciate any thoughts.
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      04-07-2011, 07:22 PM   #2
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You really have to think about what it is that you want to shoot. Choosing a lens is a hard part but once you answer the first question on what you are going to be shooting, then it becomes easy.

If I were to be given a choice of only those lenses (zoom and fisheye), i'd probably go with the zoom. Why? Because when taking pictures, I sometimes find myself looking for a longer range. I've never really thought of taking pics and saying, I should get a really distorted image like a fish eye to make this picture look nicer. Fisheye lenses are for those extra wide angle that you want.

So, it's really hard to tell you which lens you should get unless you know what you want. If you're lacking distance, get the zoom. if you want a wider coverage, get the fisheye.
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      04-08-2011, 10:07 AM   #3
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I'd personally do zoom first, however, i don't think you'll find yourself using it as often as you might like.

same will go for a wide angle or fisheye. But i guarantee you'll get more use out of the telephoto then you would a fisheye.

so value for dollar, i would go telephoto just so you can have the extra reach.
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      04-08-2011, 10:33 AM   #4
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      04-08-2011, 01:05 PM   #5
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I think that is the general progression most enthusiasts make....kit ~17-55mm to ~50-300mm to ~10-22....so standard telephoto, to zoom telephoto, to wide-angle....
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      04-08-2011, 01:06 PM   #6
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On a crop sensor, 300mm is a long way... but if he goes that route, all the basis will be covered.
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      04-08-2011, 01:51 PM   #7
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hence the "~" and generally by the time you get out that far the IQ has fallen off and the picture is soft anyway (at least with the sub $1000 range)
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      04-08-2011, 01:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by adrean8j View Post
hence the "~" and generally by the time you get out that far the IQ has fallen off and the picture is soft anyway (at least with the sub $1000 range)
lol, technicalities...

you can always tell which people on the boards use full frame cameras

they are always making a comment of crop, actual conversion, aps-c, and etc...

but the most confusing part is when you have both, a full frame, and an APS-C body, you sometimes have to think for a second to remember which one you have in your hand.......

I've picked up the wrong one a few times for the wrong application when i think i'm doing something else.
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      04-08-2011, 02:06 PM   #9
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LOL...Well it is refreshing to me being a beginner and all is the fact that I actually understand what you guys are saying now....a year ago I would have had a seriously bewildered look on my face. In just the last 3 months alone I have learned more from you guys and various websites than I did in the 12 months before that! I do think we need to start specifying it we are talking about a APS-C specific lens, ie Tokina 11-16 or a FF lens with equivalent crop factor (even further Nikon 1.5x versus the Canon 1.6x crop factors...)
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      04-08-2011, 02:34 PM   #10
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Ha, I hear that, I sort-of understand all this stuff, I will say reading all these reviews on ~$500ish telephoto lenses is making it clearer what someone told me when I first started looking at SLRs and I had no idea how important the lens was relative to the body.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The1 View Post
On a crop sensor, 300mm is a long way... but if he goes that route, all the basis will be covered.
When you say "a long way" are you referring to the drop in quality a longer focal lengths?

Reading all these reviews this morning, it seems at this price range with a C-sized sensor, much over 200mm isnt really going to be a very good image. I wonder If i should just save some money and get a comparable 55-200mm, possibly even used/refurbished.
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      04-08-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R12ax7 View Post
When you say "a long way" are you referring to the drop in quality a longer focal lengths?
He's saying for a crop sensor, you basically multiply the focal length by the crop factor (1.5x I believe), and that's essentially the equivalent you're actually getting. So like, 300mm on FX is 450mm on DX, due to the pixel density. That's why DX is nice for extra reach, and FX is great for wide angle.


Quote:
Originally Posted by R12ax7 View Post
2) Is my line of thinking way off in the first place - should I just get the telephoto, forget the gimmicks and just keep practicing at this point?
I don't even think you should "just get" the telephoto. The very first thing you said was you want one "for no particular reason", and you mentioned you've rarely felt the need for one. So why do you want one? Scratch that, why do you need one?

Photography isn't about covering the entire focal range. And the last thing you want is overlapping ranges. I originally thought it would be cool to have an entire range, like 12-24, 24-70 and 70-200, but you begin to realize you don't want to lug around lenses or spend time deciding what to use. You're either using wide angle for landscapes and architecture, or telephoto for nature and sports. It makes very little sense to overlap as much as you will with a 18-105 and 55-300 in your setup.

If you had the money, I'd say a 200 or 300 prime with a teleconverter is the way to go since you have the 18-105, but that's really expensive. From what I remember, the 55-300 wasn't that great (for that price and that large of a range...it's common sense, they had to cut corners somewhere). The 70-300 is a much better option, and it's a pretty popular choice for an economical telephoto. I had the 70-300 on a D60 before I switched to the D300s and got a 70-200 f/2.8, here are a couple galleries with it:

http://www.rlsmithphotography.com/An...12633730_CTgUY
http://www.rlsmithphotography.com/An...13359034_ZzVZa
http://www.rlsmithphotography.com/An...13532240_yyrAz

(only the first 3 in the birds gallery are the 70-300, the rest are the 70-200)

Produced some very sharp shots imo. So the real question is, what type of shots do you want, and if you need the reach, the 70-300 is a good lens.

Last edited by skinrock; 04-08-2011 at 08:49 PM.
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      04-08-2011, 10:12 PM   #12
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There's no need to avoid overlapping zoom. I can shoot the 70-105mm range on either my 24-105mm or my 70-200mm. I chose which one to put on the camera based on whether I'll be shooting at the wide end or the long end.
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      04-09-2011, 10:41 AM   #13
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sell the 18-105 as fast as you can. get the lensbaby.
if you're putting slow zooms on your dslr, you might as well have gotten a point an shoot.
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      04-09-2011, 11:53 AM   #14
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...if you're putting slow zooms on your dslr, you might as well have gotten a point an shoot.
I'm not sure what you mean by "slow". In the context of today's dslrs, f/4 is not slow. Back when there was Kodachrome 25 and 64 and Ektachrome 200, f/1.8, 2.0 and 2.8 was almost required, but shooting at ISO 800 (and above) with today's camera's is routine, making f/4 plenty fast for most situations.

Sticky with high quality zooms, like the EF 70-200mm f/4fL IS or f/2.8 gives up little, if anything, to the best primes. When I move from my $6000+ 500/f4 prime to either my 24-105mm or my 70-200mm, I don't think to myself, "This is going to suck because it's not my fast prime."

I know that you know this Rodi and you know that there's a place for primes and a place for zooms. I just don't want the noobs to take you exaggeration seriously. There's a lot of out of date and misinformed belief on forums that gets perpetuated by people with no hands on experience, which I know that you have.

When a lens gets a f/5.6 and it's less than 800mm, I start thinking of it as slow.

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      04-09-2011, 02:06 PM   #15
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I know, I just I get frustrated knowing people are spending $1,000 on a dslr and kit lenses (3.5-5.6) when they could get the same shots with a point and shoot. In my attempt at helping, I guess I come off as this irritable pusher for the beauty of the basics and bare-boned essentials that is a cheap old dslr and a normal fixed-focal lens.
Apologies for that.
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      04-09-2011, 04:51 PM   #16
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All these were taken with the 55-300m - enough to convince it's not soft?

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=513935
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      04-09-2011, 05:41 PM   #17
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All these were taken with the 55-300m - enough to convince it's not soft?

http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=513935
are they all shot at full zoom 300mm?

are they all post processed?

if the lens has a history of being known for lots of abbarition at full zoom, then there's a big chunk of unusable zoom.

By "long way" i meant zoom factor, on a canon you multiply by 1.6 and on nikon you multiply by 1.5. it makes a large difference.

when i'm doing horse events, i have to pick my lenses based on what ring people are riding on because the same lens on 2 different cameras reacts so differently.

on the one hand, i can get it in nice and tight when someone is close up at an actual 100mm, however if i swap camera bodies, i'm really shooting at about 160mm with the zoom pulled all the way in on the same lens. and in the end, i can't get the pictures of the people when they get really close to me, I actually have to back up, which is a pain when there's lots of people around. But the benefit to this, I can clearly see the other side of the ring, and still shoot the shot like i'm standing next to them because the same lens (100-400mm) will shoot the equivilent of 160-640mm. that extra 240mm just because of switching camera bodies is like having a whole other lens strapped to my camera for long distances.

If i get a chance tonight, i'll take 2 pictures of the moon with the same lens, but different camera bodies so you can see the difference in what i'm talking about.
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      04-10-2011, 03:25 AM   #18
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All post processed - all reduced in size and converted from raw to jpg. Nearly all of those are at full 300mm. I don't notice any CA. It's a great lens for the money imo. Works well on my D7000 anyway.
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      04-10-2011, 05:38 AM   #19
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Here's a 100% crop for reference. Raw to jpg through CS5.


100% crop for reference with 55 to 300mm nikon lens by rozter, on Flickr
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      04-10-2011, 05:46 AM   #20
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^^^Where is the full exif data?
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      04-10-2011, 05:48 AM   #21
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Camera Nikon D7000
Exposure 0.001 sec (1/1250)
Aperture f/8.0
Focal Length 300 mm
ISO Speed 400
Exposure Bias 0 EV
Flash Off, Did not fire
Orientation Horizontal (normal)
X-Resolution 240 dpi
Y-Resolution 240 dpi
Software Adobe Photoshop CS5 Windows
Date and Time (Modified) 2011:04:10 11:35:01
Artist name removed for e90post!
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Exposure Program Aperture-priority AE
Date and Time (Original) 2011:04:09 10:52:56
Date and Time (Digitized) 2011:04:09 10:52:56
Max Aperture Value 5.7
Subject Distance 15.8 m
Metering Mode Multi-segment
Light Source Unknown
Sub Sec Time 10
Sub Sec Time Original 10
Sub Sec Time Digitized 10
Color Space Uncalibrated
Sensing Method One-chip color area
CFAPattern [Red,Green][Green,Blue]
Custom Rendered Normal
Exposure Mode Auto
White Balance Auto
Digital Zoom Ratio 1
Focal Length In35mm Format 450 mm
Scene Capture Type Standard
Gain Control Low gain up
Contrast Normal
Saturation Normal
Sharpness Normal
Subject Distance Range Unknown
Compression JPEG (old-style)
Coded Character Set UTF8
By-line name removed for e90post!
Date Created 2011:04:09
Time Created 10:52:56
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Global Angle 30
Global Altitude 30
Photoshop Quality 12
Photoshop Format Standard
Progressive Scans 3 Scans
XMPToolkit Adobe XMP Core 5.0-c060 61.134777, 2010/02/12-17:32:00
Creator Tool Adobe Photoshop CS5 Windows
Rating 0
Metadata Date 2011:04:10 11:35:01+01:00
Lens 55.0-300.0 mm f/4.5-5.6
Lens ID 172
Image Number 1105
Approximate Focus Distance 15.8
Format image/jpeg
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Color Mode 3
ICCProfile Name Adobe RGB (1998)
Original Document ID xmp.did:5E744F275E63E0118CE6AE5B63557172
History Action saved
History Instance ID xmp.iid:5E744F275E63E0118CE6AE5B63557172
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      04-10-2011, 09:09 PM   #22
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hmmm doesn't look like too much sharpening was done post processing, looks like the lens gets the thumbs up from me.

I had an old 70-300 canon lens that i couldn't bare to look at the pictures i took full zoom.... Needless to say, it was replaced with an L series and i never looked back.
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