Your recommendation: Single lens

Started Aug 24, 2009 | Discussions thread
photosen
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Re: Your recommendation: Single lens
In reply to Panda9, Aug 27, 2009

Thank you for your reply, I find it very thorough. One goal with this question is to help people realize the opportunity their interest and the age we live in represents: A good DSLR with two more than decent lenses for $550 USD? Madness! Some of the very best zooms and primes on the planet within reach of any lowly amateur with $1,500 USD to spend? Lunacy!

But then they go and buy the latest camera with all the bells and whistles, a "me too" lens, shoot in automatic modes... And bore the pants off anyone who has the misfortune of having to actually see their photos... And I don't blame them, it's just so very complicated...

Someone else in these replies also made a good point about getting the most out of the kit lenses first, which are apparently better from Olympus and Pentax than from Canon and Nikon - but even those are no dogs (at least not anymore, the previous Canon made more than one wince).

Without imposing my own preferences or wishes on anyone else I'm trying to offer an option, which in this case is to establish a reasonable budget with which to start, which would allow very good to excellent results.

There are many more parameters, and while reading all these really very fruitful replies I realize now the question shouldn't have been "Which single lens" but "How would you start with $1,500 USD to spend?". I am truly astonished that people picked up so easily on that. The one big bias I will admit to is trying to get people into primes; I only have but the one, and it's not even one of the mythical beasts, but it has been the lens that doesn't fail to make me smile and get me more into this.

Here's one particular parameter: what would you take on a trip? All those wonderful primes sound great until you start lugging them around... That's when the Olympus 12-60 or Canon's 17-55 start to take on a special charm...

Another parameter: "learn first, spend later"; really sound advice, except that buying those other lenses might not be that easy and could take you a few more years, simply because you have to travel to another country to get them... And these are perilous exchange rate times...

Perhaps my other bias is that I do have a P&S, which as a gift was really a great gesture... But the truth is I just never use it - not for lack of trying, it's just all blurry, flashed to death, takes the shot when it eventually decides to... I'm still going to try to use it for macro and "zero movement" situations... But while it became a pain to try to get something, anything out of it, my DSLR has given me nothing but joy, and I'm just beginning to scratch the surface of what I want to do - that's the kind of experience I would wish for others...

The amazing thing about Olympus in particular is that for that budget you could get a very safe and versatile kit with the e620, 14-42, 40-150... And a seemingly amazing lens like the 50mm 2.0... What I'm trying to convey to anyone starting out is that Olympus isn't merely an "ok" option, it's an amazing one! And I don't even own one, but I sure appreciate the great pictures this gear can produce...

On the other hand I think something can be said for the "crazy option" of getting a lens like the Panasonic/Leica 25mm in the hands of - gasp! - an amateur: You have the best of the best - now go and do something interesting with it! Is the learning curve going to be Himalaya-steep? Absolutely, but some (not all) people do enjoy a challenge...

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Canon EOS 30D Canon EF 35mm f/2.0 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM Canon EF 70-200mm f/4.0L USM +3 more
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