How to Choose DSLR Camera Lenses
by howdodat -
Introduction:For Wedding Photography. Well you will want a Fast lens for that, like the Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS and often a 24-70 2.8 ( I prefer the 24-105 F4 IS myself). The kit lens that comes with the xti is not very good, same for most standard kit lenses for entry level cameras. The lenses is normally more important than a fancier camera, at least as far as image quality goes, in most cases.
If you got a great lens on a soso camera you will get good images, but if you put a junk lens on the best camera you will get junk images, because the better camera will amply all the problems with the lens. Hope that makes sense.
Keep in mind that true Macro photography is done a matter of inches from the subject and normally you will want to use a true macro lens, and all of them are fixed focal length, like the Canon 100mm F2,8 Macro or the wonderful Canon L series 180mm F3.5 macro. If you want to do some close up shots of flowers and even some insects
Depending on the amounts of wedding you plan to do and such, I would suggest these lenses for the XTI (or XSI or the 40D)
Canon 17-40 F4 L Its a great lens, fast and sharp. Not the best for weddings, but still works well, esp on the 40D which has less noise/grain at the higher ISOs...
Canon 16-35 F2.8 L but this is very pricey, over 2x the price of the 17-40 and I prefer my 17-40...
Canon EFS 17-55 2.8 IS again a very $$ lens, but its fast at 2.8...
Canon 24-105 F4 IS L series Not truely a wide angle but for most people its wide enough for landscapes and its also a great walk around lens!!!!
Canon 70-200 F2.8 IS L Pricely but worth the $$$ Great for low light as well as action shooting and can be used for shooting flowers and insects as well.
Canon 70-200 F4 IS L series about $700-800 less than the 2.8 and tack sharp. If you step up to the 40D you can save some $ by getting the F4 lenses and shooting at a higher ISO and you should be fine!
General walk around. If you are just looking for a fast lens for a wedding but just a good all purpose lens there are a ton of them.
Canon 70-200 F4 L this is a great lens. The IS version is nicer as it allows slower handheld shutter speeds but this is a bargin lens!
Tamron 28-300 or 18-250 These are nice lenses, but not as nice as the Canon L series are nor anywhere as fast but they cover a huge range and serve for thsoe that only want 1 lens to worry about for their hobby.
The following info should be on all lenses:
Focal length, or focal length range- will read as follows 28mm-200mm, or 18mm-55mm, or 85mm, or something similar. This number is arrived at by use of a formula that involves the distance from the film plane (or sensor) to the optical center of the lens....what it means to us is to give an indication of the angle of view covered by this lens- wether wide angle, normal, or telephoto, or a zoom range.
- The largest f- stop of the lens. these will read as one number like f/2.8, f-2.8, 1/2.8...or in the case of most consumer zoom lenses a range of say f/3.5-5.6. Again there is some math involved involving a ratio of the diameter to the focal length, but it measures the light gathering ability of the lens. The lower the number, the more light the lens can let in- so the more expensive ( & heavy to carry) it is.
- The filter thread zize will be indicated with something like (theta, or zero with a slash)- 52mm, or 72mm, or 77mm(rally big)
- The lens may have "IF", meaning Internal focus, wich means the front of the lens does not rotate when you focus- Most if not all digital SLR lenses are this.
- Also will be proprietery letters indicating wether the elements are "coated" (most are these days), or special expensive glass was used, or the lens company just wants it to sound expensive. For example Niokon uses "ED" to indicate anti dispersion glass, where another mfr. uses "XD" to mean pretty much the same thing. Nikon uses "VR" to indicate vibration reduction, which is helpful to avoid camera movement blur, Canon uses "IS" to do the same thing (image stabilization).
In summary- the 18-55mm lens would be a nice start, great focal length choice for weddings(groups), up to what is termed "short telephoto (for your digital sensor size)- which gives a nice perspective for portraits. With the addition of another lens, say a 70-200mm, you should be set for most types of photo situations you might find yourself in.
Conclusion:In VERY simple terms those numbers describe the focal length (the amount of magnification) provided by the lens. Divide the larger number by the smaller to get the "X" factor: 55/18 = 3X (rounded). An 18mm-200mm would be 11X. At 3X the object appears 3 times closer than at 1X. Don’t confuse the X factor with absolute magnification though. That 70mm-300mm (4.3X) will get you "closer" than the 18mm-200mm (11X) lens will.
The minimum focus distance (how close you can get and still get the lens to focus) will vary with the lens but you usually find it in the lens specs. The 70mm-300mm in your package has a minimum focusing distance of 4.9’ (1.5m). This does not mean that you can’t do closeups though. Last summer I got some very nice flower closeups up in Portland, Maine with a Nikon 55mm-200mm VR lens (minimum focus distance 3.6’)...I just had to back up a few feet to get the lens to focus properly. (It was pretty funny: two guys were on their bellies shooting from 6 inches away with macro lenses, I was shooting over them from 5 feet away. But I still got very good closeup detail and color.)