Before "what lens to get"

Started Dec 17, 2005 | Discussions thread
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balloonchasers
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Before "what lens to get"
Dec 17, 2005

One of the most common questions found on this forum is “what lens to get?”. Often this question is asked by someone who describes themselves as new to dslr or awaiting the arrival of their newly purchased camera. I would like to make the following suggestions before someone considers purchasing a new lens to replace the kit lens:

1. Experiment with the kit lens. Find out what it is capable of. This lens will amaze you with what it can do if only given the opportunity.
2. Take pictures at all zoom levels, f-stops, and shutter speeds.

3. Discover the relationships between the variables listed in #2. Learn how to expose an image differently by altering one variable and then another.

4. Try taking the same picture with different ISO settings. See how f-stop and shutter speeds are affected by different ISO settings.
5. Use each of the different program modes found on your camera.

6. Intentionally underexpose or overexpose an image to create a feeling that you want to convey to the viewer of your picture.

7. Experiment with bokeh and use it in a creative manner. Yes, the kit lens is capable of bokeh!

8. Set your lens to a zoom level and leave it there all day long. Practice zooming with your legs.

9. Spend an entire day with the lens set on manual focus. Learn how to focus without relying upon the automatic focus feature.

10. Take some pictures at slow shutter speeds (handheld and on a tripod). Learn at what shutter speed you can no longer hold the camera steady enough to take a shake free image. Create a feeling of motion in an image that you would like to hang on your wall. Slow a waterfall down until the water looks like slow moving fog. YES, the kit lens is capable of all this.
11. Take some pictures at fast shutter speeds. Stop action in mid air.

12. Take pictures in the bulb mode. Star trails, automobile taillights, ghost images, and fireworks are all great opportunities to create an image you would be proud to share with others. Yes, the kit lens can do all this too.
13. Capture an image of a lightening bolt.

14. Take a picture of the moon. Not a close up of the moon, but a landscape picture which includes the moon.

15. Try panning. Fast moving vehicles or an athlete at a sporting event are great subjects to practice the technique of panning.
16. Take some pictures of water drops until you get one that you want to print.
17. Take some portraits of your friends.
18. Take some candids of your friends.
19. Ask 10 strangers if you can take their picture.

20. Take some self-portraits of yourself. Find one that you would like to share with others.

21. Try taking some pictures of items close up. You may not be taking true macros, but you will be amazed at what the kit lens can do.

22. Go downtown at night and take some exposures without the flash. Learn to use the available light.

23. Be thankful that Canon gave you an onboard flash. Learn how to use it. Try using a coffee filter/tissue to soften the flash’s effect or an index card to create a bounce effect.

24. Take pictures in the middle of the day. Learn how shadows can create a mood.

25. Catch yourself knelling on one knee to capture an image. The best angle is not always found standing up.
26. Make someone laugh with a picture you took.
27. Make someone pause and reflect with a picture you took.

28. Practice using your software program that you process your images with. This is your darkroom, learn how to make most of it.

29. Visit someone else’s online photo gallery. Find an image you like and see how close you can imitate it.

30. Look through a magazine. Find a picture you like and see if you can imitate it as well.

31. Print these suggestions out and highlight those that you have not done with the kit lens. Do those that you highlighted.

Once you have followed these suggestions and others you will discover along the way, ask yourself what you enjoyed the most, what you would like to do more of, what would you like to do easier, differently, or in another way. Then you can begin to answer the question, “what lens should I get”.

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